mindfulness

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

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

“The path I have followed has been dangerous”

“The path I have followed has been dangerous, destabilizing more than calm, excruciating more than pleasant, and hard to integrate (into ‘normal’ everyday life). It has also been profound, amazing, and glorious. Surfing the ragged edges of reality has been easier than slowing the thing down.”

~ A quote from the book, Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, by Daniel Ingram.

A few meditation notes (calming, quality)

When I first sit down to meditate, my mind is often too busy to get into it well, so one thing I’ve learned to do is to try to meditate for about eight minutes, then get up, stretch a little bit (a few yoga stretches), then sit back down to meditate normally. My second attempt is usually significantly better than my first attempt. There are other things you can do to calm the mind, but this works well for me.

Another thing I was reminded of again today is that the quality of meditation often changes over time. Today there was something new, and I thought, “Cool ... this is different,” before getting back to the meditation at hand. For me that happens a lot, so I assume it happens for other people as well.

Mindfulness in baseball (Joe Maddon, Cubs)

From time to time Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon stresses mindfulness in sports. He may not refer to it as mindfulness, but he certainly refers to staying in the present moment, which is the same thing.

In terms of sports and winning, I like his quote at the end of the clip I’m showing: “It comes down to what team competes better in the moment.” It may not be as obvious in baseball as it is with sports like football, basketball, and tennis, but as I’ve gotten older it’s become very clear that a lot of close games are won and lost in just a few key plays.