mindfulness

Notes from a retreat in 2006

Day 3: Yesterday I had way too much energy, but today’s mood is frustration, agitation, and impatience. Like this meeting tonight, I am not in the mood to be here. The part I hate is that I can’t be comfortable and happy with the people here. We’re all interested in the same thing (finally, people I can relate to!), and they’re all open and supportive. I hate that about myself.

Day 4: Arghh. I have way too much anger (rage!) right now. Everything here is so damn vague and the answers are #!$@ elusive. I just need to get out of this gathering and hit something. What am I really angry at? Where is this coming from?

Day 5: I would have left yesterday if it wasn’t for C stopping me at my car. I don’t know if she knew that she stopped me, but she did. Evening: Long talk with P. She spoke of giving fifteen years to her family, and while she doesn’t regret it, she expressed some remorse at giving up her career. But tonight she was dancing, and said I looked much happier.

Day 6: Last day. Long goodbyes with everyone, including C, I, F, J, N, and more. Asked N about something that happened last night at the rock, and she said I was very fortunate, it’s very rare. Leaving here is hard, it feels like graduating high school, knowing you’ll never see these people again who have been friends through all of this. I’m so grateful that C stopped me from leaving. Lots of tears all around.

(A few notes from a retreat I went on in 2006. I wrote a lot that week, and some of the notes get very personal, and it’s time to shred those, but I thought I’d share a few here.)

Morality, the first meditation training alvin January 13, 2020 - 8:52am

I wrote a long time ago that compassion and forgiveness are important when you get into deep meditation states. As this paragraph from Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha suggests, they’re also helpful for beginning meditation states.

(As an example, a long time ago I went to a Zen center for a meditation retreat, and when I’d start meditating I’d think, “I wish I had done X when I was at home, it really bothers me that I didn’t do that. In fact, it’s driving me nuts.” I was eventually able to meditate, but whenever I lost my concentration, this was always the first thought that came up.

Quotes about work and Zen (practicing Zen at work) alvin December 28, 2019 - 7:28am

For many years I struggled with how to combine two of my main interests, Zen and work. I have read that the Zen mind is the mind before thinking, so it seems like Zen and work must be totally unrelated. Over time I came to understand phrases like, “When working, just work.”

This article contains a collection of quotes that have been helpful to me in understanding the relationship between Zen and work. Please note that I don’t wrap each quote in double quotes, and I also try to attribute each quote to the correct author/speaker. If you’re interested in how to combine Zen and work, I hope you’ll find them helpful.

Live in the moment (unless it’s unpleasant, in which case I’ll eat a cookie) alvin December 13, 2019 - 8:37am

“Today I will live in the moment ... unless it’s unpleasant, in which case I’ll eat a cookie.”

~ Cookie Monster

When there is no attachment to the past and no expectation of the future ... alvin October 31, 2019 - 8:30pm

“When there is no attachment to the past and no expectation of the future, there is only this moment — the eternal present, here and now.”

~ Ram Dass, in be love now

Eckhart Tolle, Guardians of Being: Spiritual Teachings from Our Dogs and Cats alvin October 15, 2019 - 2:20pm

Having lived with many great dogs (and a couple of cats), I just orded this book by Eckhart Tolle. The few pages I can see on the Amazon preview look great. It looks to be more about “mindfulness” and “spirituality” than “religion,” which suits me well. I’m looking forward to it.

Now will never come again alvin October 7, 2019 - 5:55pm

“Seize the time. Live now. Make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again.”

~ Jean-Luc Picard

Stuff that will make you wonder about the nature of reality alvin September 22, 2019 - 5:21pm

When I woke up this morning I was very refreshed and my brain was quiet, so I decided to meditate. Shortly after that the room got a little busy, and then a terrific Michael Jackson song started playing. As I watched what was going on in the room and listened to the musicians and the lyrics, I realized it was a song that doesn't exist here in awakeland. Stuff like that will make you wonder about the nature of reality.

Over 100 of my favorite “mindfulness” quotes alvin September 3, 2019 - 8:05am

This page contains a list of my favorite “mindfulness reminder” quotes. In particular these are short, concise quotes that I think work well with my “Just Be” mobile app.

Just Be is currently an app for Android users. If you haven’t seen it before, this is what the reminders/notifications look like when you receive them on an Android phone or tablet: