Relax, observe, immerse. That's the practice in a nutshell. Some people try to skip the relaxation step, but that makes it more difficult to observe something completely and without bias. And it makes it impossible to immerse ourselves in what we're observing. Any relaxation method is fine, but I recommend one you can use on … Continue reading Immersion Meditation
One thing at a time. That's the path to a simple life and a straightforward mind (not-two). Instead of multitasking, instead of our minds jumping rapidly from this to that, or trying to balance this, that, and the other thing simultaneously---we're living one step at a time. Even when we're not multitasking, we're usually still … Continue reading One Action Practice
Zen involves not carrying things around---no-dwelling. That said, Zen carries a lot with it. Dhyana, Chan, Zen, Seon, Thien, these are more than the same word translated into different languages. They're places. Zen carries the heaviest thing of all with it: the land. There's a simple explanation for this that every writer can understand. Where … Continue reading Where You Are is Practice Too
The Sutras often ask us to have a maternal attitude toward things, including meditation. Approaching meditation with a stern, analytical, or goal-oriented mindset is as counterproductive as nodding off or daydreaming---maybe even more so. Goal-oriented meditating can fool us into thinking we get it when we really don't. Really, that thought, "I get it!" is … Continue reading What’s the Best Attitude for Meditation?
I probably should've written about this sooner considering that many of you are probably necks-deep in the holiday deluge by now, but here we go anyway. Christmas is great. Well, ideally it's great. The prototype for Christmas is of happy kids, good food, and a harmonious gathering with family. But it's called an ideal for a reason. … Continue reading A Zen Christmas: Seven Tips for Surviving the Holiday
Here's a (deceptively) simple meditation exercise based on Part One of the Hsin Hsin Ming. Find a quiet place to sit and get comfy. But not too comfy. Neither slouching nor sitting up too straight. Once you've settled in, feel free to relax for a few minutes using whatever relaxation exercise works for you. Now, we're turning … Continue reading Hsin Hsin Ming Meditation Exercise 1
We could easily take sanskara (the 4th aggregate/2nd link of whatever) and translate it as "routines." Routines are everything in life. These simple actions of body and mind wear traces through time. What began as a single step turns into a well-worn path that we follow without a second thought. Routines govern everything from our … Continue reading Growth Means Changing Routines