mindfulness

Mindfulness meditation: Be like a cat purring

If you’re interested in a simple introduction to mindfulness meditation, search the Internet for a free, 25-page PDF booklet named, “Buddha in Blue Jeans,” by Tai Sheridan. Despite that name, the booklet has good, non-denominational tips about meditating and mindfulness (and only mentions the name “Buddha” twice in the main text).

Here’s a favorite quote: “Be like a cat purring. Follow your breath like ocean waves coming in and out.”

Mindfulness lesson: Keep practicing, even when you don’t want to alvin May 18, 2017 - 6:12am

Today’s mindfulness “lesson of the day” (mostly for myself) is a reminder to keep practicing, even when you don’t feel like it. You don’t get to choose when moments of enlightenment happen, so the best thing you can do is keep practicing so those moments will be possible when the right circumstances (karma?) come into alignment.

What happens is that over time, both the mindfulness and the enlightenment bits change the wrinkles in your brain, change your perspective and attitude, and cleanse the environmental conditioning of whatever happened to get you to this point. With continued practice you evolve (think “metamorphosis”) into a new person over time — this time a person of your own choosing, rather than a person conditioned by where and when you were born and lived.

(And who knows, maybe one day you’ll break free from the endless cycle of karmic existence, if you’re into that sort of thing.)

Namaste. ;)

Why we keep our eyes open during zazen alvin May 9, 2017 - 11:08am

“If we close our eyes (during zazen), the darkness may provide us some relief from visual distraction and give us a feeling of peace and calm. But in zazen, we keep our eyes open. If we want to close our eyes because we feel distracted by what our eyes see, we need to understand that it is our minds that are distracted, not our eyes.”

When you’re truly living in the present moment alvin March 22, 2017 - 10:27am

A little personal enlightenment (from March 22, 2014):

Since I started passing out a few weeks ago, I’ve had conversations with doctors, nurses, friends, and even a shaman caregiver about life, death, quality of life, goals, and desires. I had a hard time answering some of those questions, and yesterday I realized why that was:

If you’re truly living in the present moment, those questions don’t make any sense! You can’t think about life, death, the past, or the future if you’re absorbed in the present moment.

When eating, just eat. When planning for the future, live fully in that moment of planning for the future. And when writing text like this, just write. That’s all.

I’ve cow-towed to a culture of sensitivity alvin February 25, 2017 - 12:48pm

A quote from the founder of Buddhist Geeks: “I’ve cow-towed to a culture of sensitivity, whose aim has been to avoid offending others over having difficult conversations.”

This made me think of two things. First, many years ago my company worked as a consultant with a large church, and any time there was conflict about something on the project, all productivity came to a screeching halt. People there all felt the need to be nice to each other above all else, and as a result the tough decisions couldn’t be made, and they were our slowest-moving client of ever.

Second, as I learned from Zen, being your true self doesn’t mean “being nice above all else” all the time. That’s just faking it. There will always be disagreements, and the philosophy I try to follow is, “The best idea wins.”

I learned part of that philosophy — and how to handle conflict — from this article by Bill Parcells, The tough work of turning around a team.

Mindfulness meditation reduces stress alvin January 30, 2017 - 8:20pm

Here’s yet another article that helps demonstrate that mindfulness meditation helps to reduce stress.

What to do on those days when you just can’t meditate

This morning I’m reminded of a favorite meditation tip: Some days when you try to meditate, it just doesn’t work. On those days just put in your time on the cushion, or try to make game of it. Get up when the timer goes off, have a cookie, but don’t punish yourself for being a “bad meditator.” New wrinkles in the brain aren’t easily made.

But then on those days when it comes easily and naturally, turn off the timer/alarm, think, “Surf’s up, dude,” and ride that wave as long and as hard as you can. Good rides like these make those struggles worthwhile.

Happy New Year & Namaste