Are you asking yourself toxic questions?

FIRST OF A SERIES ON INQUIRY Inquiry is an intrinsic part of the Insight Meditation tradition. After a meditation session, we are usually more relaxed and mindful. It can be a fruitful time to do a some self-inquiry. As we develop a regular meditation practice, the mind becomes more spacious, resilient, compassionate and wise, and […]

Monster Mash :: What are you waiting for?

Last week we took a trip to the East Coast, a whirlwind week of new sights, old friends, extended family and autumn foliage. Pretty much ‘perfect’ in every way. Until we arrived at the airport for our flight home and were informed it was delayed four hours. We made the best of the situation and […]

Equanimity :: Holding life in an open embrace

In the last few posts of my dharma talks we have been looking at the Brahma-viharas, spacious mind-states where we can dwell in loving-kindness, compassion and happiness for others. Now we look at the fourth of these mind states: Equanimity. Equanimity is the ability to hold all that arises in an open embrace. It is […]

Exploring our relationship with the ‘enemy’

On especially hot days I am reminded of the summers I spent in Philadelphia when I was in my late teens. My parents had moved there from California, so when I went ‘home’ for the summer it was to this place that didn’t feel like home at all. It was a brick oven of a […]

What’s in a Name?

Lately I’ve been noticing how often people call themselves names: ‘stupid’ or “idiot”; or they describe themselves as ‘technologically challenged’ or ‘anal’, etc. They may start sentences with ‘I’m the kind of person who…’ What’s wrong with that? This is such a common human thing to do that it doesn’t seem problematic on the surface. […]

After meditation, gentle investigation

Investigation as an important part of the Insight Meditation experience. After the practice of meditation, chances are we have cultivated a more spacious compassionate awareness that allows us to look at the nature of mind with less fear, judgment or expectation. In meditation, we practice just being present with physical sensations, thoughts and emotions as […]

Do You Get an ‘A’ for Effort?

As we look at the aspects of the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path, at first glance Wise Effort seems the easiest to understand. We see from our own experience and by observing others how over-efforting and under-efforting cause all kinds of problems in life, from the tense host striving to make everything ‘perfect’, causing her guests […]

Feeling overwhelmed? Something’s gotta give!

Continuing our look at the Paramita of Resolve, I notice my resolve gets undermined when I get overwhelmed by too many commitments. I get exhausted, upset with myself, upset with others, and irritated when things don’t go smoothly. In that state, it’s not easy to ask really useful questions. Instead, I’m more likely to ask […]