Category Archives: practice

The Comparing Mind

I just got back from a camping trip in an area we enjoy around Carson Pass on Highway 88 in the Sierra mountains. We set off for a hike we had taken before, up the trail to Lake Winnamucca. The previous hike had been so glorious that my husband, the artist Will Noble, had come home and commemorated it in paint. (See painting at right) That time there were thousands of species of wildflowers in bloom, literally every inch of hillside was gloriously festooned with color.

On this hike either spring was late or we were early. There were just a few tentative blossoms, mere hints of the wildflower explosion to come. “This will be really something in another month,” my husband said. We were both seeing this beautiful mountainside through the filter of our last experience. Much as we admired the beauty of the snow-capped peak before us, the rushing stream beside us, the rock outcroppings, the towering trees and the brilliant green of new shoots emerging now the snow had melted, we couldn’t seem to free ourselves from the heavy overlay of the vision of loveliness that had so captivated us on our last visit. We remembered how long it had taken us to walk back down the hill because I was stopping every few feet to take another photo of yet another spectacular flower. We remembered that there had been so many other hikers out enjoying the glory of it all that it had been festive and celebrational. Now we had the muddy trail pretty much to ourselves. We tried to enjoy the solitude, but finally decided perhaps with the limited time we had on this trip we might want to try a trail we hadn’t hiked before. And so we turned around half way up to the lake.

It is our nature to compare and contrast experience. It is part of the function of mind to notice similarities and differences. It is a skill set that is useful in decision making. It keeps us from getting stuck staring at a menu or paint chips for hours ad nauseum. But the mind often fails to distinguish when comparitive analysis is useful and when it is unskillful.

My memory of that hillside covered with wildflowers got in the way of my simple enjoyment of the beauty of the moment I was living. But at least I noticed my comparing mind. Years ago I would not have noticed it. I just would have whined and complained and made myself miserable.

Noticing is really all our practice asks of us, noticing with as much compassion as we can bring to ourselves when our minds get caught up in the tangle of preferences. To whatever degree we are able, we bring our attention gently back to the present moment. For in any present moment there are incredible riches to be noticed. You don’t have to be on a mountainside to feel the glory of just being. You can look up from your computer right now and notice the light and shadow, the colors, the textures, the feel of the air on your skin, the sensations in your body. Every single moment fully noticed is illuminated and beyond compare.

When we meditate we often find ourselves comparing this meditation to some other meditation we did before. Perhaps we had some glorious wordless wonder of a meditation where we were in a state of bliss. Lovely. Had we only known we would turn around and use this exquisite meditation as an instrument of torture in every subsequent meditation, it would not have been so blissful!

All we can do is notice our comparing mind and smile at its capacity to get itself caught up in a tangle, like a little kitten in a ball of yarn. “Oh sweetheart, look at you, caught up in the tangle again,” we might say to our mind as we bring ourselves back to the present.

(Yes, we can be that kind. It doesn’t matter if we feel we deserve kindness. It is just the practice. Nothing personal. Be kind! It’s good for you. You don’t have to earn it! It’s free!)

Over the past weeks we have been exploring creativity and the challenges to accessing the bountious flow. Comparing mind is certainly one of those challenges. We compare our creative abilities to others, not just in our immediate circle but artists throughout the ages. I remember in art school my friend saying, “What’s the point? It’s not possible to be original. It’s all been done.”

Sometimes we do feel as if there is no point in adding one more painting, poem or ceramic piece to a world already so full of art. But accessing the creative flow is a rich and glorious experience. Whatever comes out of it is simply by-product. Yes, the world is awash with the by-products of others of our species who have also accessed the creative flow. Imagine it! All that luscious creativity flowing through us all! What a rich festive generous world of wonder!

Is it possible to let go of needing our by-product to be unique, special, best in show? Is it possible to put away the ruler by which we measure our creative output? Is it possible to allow the process to be so nourishing and enriching that we have no need of admiration or comparison of any kind? Is it possible to simply rejoice in the celebration of life?

Of course it is possible. But the practice is not about striving to achieve this ideal where we have gone beyond any need for praise. The practice is simply noticing with great compassion the tangle of thoughts and emotions that pass through us as we go about creating, meditating or living our lives. We notice. We give gratitude for noticing, for noticing is the gateway to the present moment. With tenderness and understanding, we usher our minds and hearts back, even if very briefly, to the present moment. The present moment where we are able to relish the process rather than some end product, where we can tap into the infinite source of love and creativity, and where we see with new eyes and beginner’s mind the beauty of the world around us in this moment, a moment beyond compare.

Meditation & Creativity: Process vs. Product

We have been talking about creativity and the challenges to getting into a free flowing creative mode. We are exploring the subject from various angles that have some overlap because different people resonate to different approaches.

Last week we talked about shifting from a limited exhaustable (and exhausting!) finite source into accessing the infinite, the bottomless spring of universal creative energy.

This week we will focus on another shift we need to make if we are to embrace and sustain creative life. The challenge here is to see ourselves and our creativity more clearly, because the myopic view prescribed by our culture gets in the way of being able to step into the flow of true creativity.

Prescribed by our culture? Yes. I spent a decade in advertising writing prescriptions, and I saw how advertising, with the goal of getting us to buy something, very effectively convinces us that we are somehow lacking. Since advertising is all around us, we have grown up under the collective cloud of believing that we are in need of improvement, that we are products ourselves.

We may be following a spiritual path with the hope of self-improvement, striving to get to the point where we can say, “There, now I can be happy with who I am.”

Even as we recognize the crazy fallacy of this idea, we don’t know how to opt out of it because we are so deeply habituated to believing we are lacking. We strive to gain self-acceptance, to weed out this faulty belief that we are a self-improvement project, only to find that we are even more deeply entrenched. It’s like one of those Chinese woven finger puzzles where the more you try to pull, the tighter it holds onto your fingers. Because pulling, the obvious choice, is not in this case the right effort.

In this same way we struggle to like ourselves just as we are until we can struggle no more. We give up, exhausted. In the aftermath of giving up our struggle, in the burnt out emptiness of our inner devastation, having given up the fight, having laid down our weapons, having surrendered to the impossibility of our struggle, then, in that stillness, we may begin to notice what is true in our experience right now. We may notice our body sensations, the sights and sounds around us, the emotions and thoughts that pass through us. Aha!

We have been practicing accessing this state of passive awareness, where we see clearly the hopes, fears and stories that storm through us. Perhaps we judge them, then notice the judgment. We bring as much compassion as we can manage to our own experience. And we create a compassionate space to experience whatever arises, even our least compassionate thoughts.

This practice of meditation is a practice. It is an ongoing process, and it is all about the process itself, in each moment, and not about some end product of liberation or enlightenment. Because the liberation that is possible is in each moment, not at the end of some path. The enlightenment is lost when we strive for it.

Now what does all this have to do with creativity. Well, as long as we believe we are products, how can we not believe that anything we create is even more of a product. And then, if we sell what we create, it is impossible not to take into account the marketing aspect of what we do.

But for creativity to truly thrive within us, if we are to access the infinite source instead of the finite depletable one, then we need to stay present in the moment of creating, present and fully engaged in the process.

The minute we think of it as product, we are projecting into the future. We are imagining other people looking at it, and that can send the chilly finger of fear into us, knocking us out of the infinite and into the fear-based finite shallow safety-seeking depletable mode. The infinite is only accessible from the present. Thinking of our creativity as a product knocks us out of the present. It’s as simple as that. The fear shuts us down, clams us up and maybe even causes us to abandon our passion.

In a poetry workshop I took with Prartho Sereno at College of Marin, we did many in class writing exercises to free ourselves from the confines of the finite source. And I found it incredibly helpful to remind myself ‘This is just an exercise.” I was freed of worrying about what I was writing being a Poem with a capital P and calligraphic script and all the other encumbrances that would make it a product to be read, discussed and criticized. So now whatever I am writing, I tell myself it’s just an exercise.

So what about marketing? Well, that’s just a different process. That’s a process that happens after we are done with a series of exercises in which we have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The process of marketing is all about sharing a passion, communicating and opening to connection. Whether you are reading a poem at a mike, sending slides to a gallery or serving up your newest recipe to your friends, this too is process. Staying in the process we bring to it our full attention, noticing the fearful thoughts, the hopes and dreams, and having compassion for ourselves. Staying in the process, we nurture ourselves when we are feeling vulnerable. Staying in the process we remember that we ourselves are not products to be judged, that we are like drops of water briefly dancing above the oceans depths where we will soon return. Staying in the process we accept the challenge of sharing that which is joyful in us with a loving generosity to the world. This is what Buddhist teacher Philip Moffett so aptly calls “Dancing with Life.”

I have had a lifetime of struggles with this theme of product vs. process. But there are moments where the struggle falls away, where the process itself is so powerful that my resistance, my misgivings, my fears of failure and ridicule evaporate for a time. And when they rain down again another day, as they are prone to do, I bring as much compassion and awareness as I can muster. Again and again.

That is the practice.

Mother’s Day Dharma

I am every kind of mother — a step-mother, a biological mother, an adoptive mother, a mother-in-law and a grandmother. And I am blessed in all those close loving relationships.

But I’m also a daughter, and on Mother’s Day, that’s where my heart goes. My mom hated Mother’s Day. She thought it was just Hallmark making up a phony event to sell cards. I would beg her to just let me thank her, just let me celebrate that I had the good fortune to have her for a mother. She could be prickly that way. Now she can’t complain, and my brother and I coo over the phone about our beloved mother, whom we’ve missed these last twenty years.
Motherhood is most definitely a practice. I suppose our kids might wish we would go practice on someone else and come back when we’re more skillful! But nature didn’t set it up that way. We are thrust into parenthood without much to qualify us for this huge and important task, and much of the time we feel we are failing. (I remember the intensive parenting classes we had to take to become adoptive parents, and I was horrified to think that as biological parents we had not had to take parenting classes. What other position of such responsibility comes with absolutely no training requirements?)

Mothers who are able to bring awareness into the moment through their practice of meditation have a much better chance of responding skillfully to whatever arises. Mothers who know how to stay fully present are able to savor all the little joys that make parenting such a delight. They can pace themselves better, they can really give their child full attention instead of focusing on some goal of getting the shopping done or any of numerous other practical requirements of their day that seem at the time so much more pressing. They can let go of comparative parenting, worrying about whether their child is keeping up with little Bobby in pre-school.

But let’s face it. No matter how well prepared we are, parenthood is impossible to perfect! In the first place, it’s a 24/7/365 job with very little down time! (I remember feeling I was much more skillful as a stepmother than a mother because I had all week to prepare myself for the weekend when our sons would come stay with us. I cleared the time for them, so I wasn’t distracted, didn’t have to run errands, talk on the phone or be two places at once. I came fresh to the task of entertaining two young boys. I devoted myself to making their time with us enjoyable. We went on fun outings, played lots of ball in the park, did art projects, and I taught them to cook. Now if they read this, they might remember it differently, because once their little brother and sister arrived, I became a different kind of stepmother, not wicked but certainly distracted! When the boys would arrive I was already exhausted, and the needs of the younger two took precedence because they were more dependent on me for everything. The older two probably felt that they had been replaced. Older children always feel that way. But they should also remember that because I was a full-time mother to the younger two, those two rarely got the best of me. While caring for them I also had to take care of the house, the bills, the errands, and when they got to be school age, I was a working mom, coming home tired, giving them much less of me than they really needed and feeling guilty as hell.)

Children, due to ongoing close proximity to their mothers, see us in all our various guises from fairy godmother to Satan incarnate. And we deal with remorse for not being the perfect mommy in every moment, even as we know that’s an impossible expectation.

So what does the Buddha say to mothers or about motherhood? Well, we know that he revered motherhood and encouraged meditators to practice “as a mother would risk her life to protect her child, her only child.” But all the Buddha’s teachings can be useful in mothering, because they help us to be skillful and balanced.

Parenting is a dharma practice in itself, requiring an unparalleled level of commitment and discipline. This is valuable to remember while we are in the process of raising our young, when sometimes the work involved can feel mind-numbing. Chop wood, carry water, raise baby. Allowing the mind to be spacious, to let go of the need to be mentally challenged in every moment, to let this be enough for now. These are the gifts of the practice.

And in this parenting practice we learn a good deal of dharma, develop intuitive understanding and an earthy wisdom. Like every transformative life experience, motherhood has its lessons. And like many of life’s transformative lessons, one of the major one’s is learning how to let go.

From the moment a woman gives birth she finds she is in a protracted state of letting go. Suddenly that little person who was so safely curled within her womb is now out and vulnerable and in need of her protection. But with each step toward independence, the mother must step back a little further. When the child can walk on his own, she doesn’t insist on supporting him, but she’s close at hand to catch him. When a child can dress or feed himself, she doesn’t insist on stuffing his sweet chubby arms into sleeves or continue to spoon pureed carrots into his mouth when he wants to do it himself, even though she knows he will make a mess of it at first. She lets go, bit by bit, and tunes herself to subtle and not so subtle cues that tell her she needs to let go more, or maybe, oops, she’s let go a little too much a little too soon.

The letting go reaches an often painful crescendo in adolescent years. The child slams doors against the mother, fiercely forcing her to step back further and further. This retreat is a challenging one, because of course the child is not independent, does not have perfect judgment, and may be doggedly pursuing a course sure to bring pain or worse. So finding that balance of support but release is a tightrope for the parent. It requires being fully present in this moment. Letting go of the past – almost impossible with a child you have known so intimately in all his stages – acknowledging that this person is at least to some degree new in every moment, rebirthing themselves, discovering themselves and making choices. Just as we do in meditation, we exert Right Effort to find that right balance, neither too much nor too little, firm but compassionate.

And then the child is an adult, and the definition of motherhood, parenthood, is revised totally. How to skillfully craft a relationship with this wondrous young person that acknowledges that the intense mothering period of the relationship is done. That is the challenge we face now. How far do we step back? What is skillful? How much buttoning and zipping of lips can we do without making the relationship inauthentic, a surface exchange of niceties that satisfy no one?

I remember when my mother and I were working to develop an adult friendship. She clearly felt she had the right to dictate my behavior and my appearance. Exhausted from our bickering battles, I finally asked her to stop before speaking and ask if she would say such a thing to a close friend. Eventually our relationship became truly a joyful friendship, but even then I recognized how much effort she had to exert to develop this new pattern of talking to me. And now I challenge myself to do the same with my adult children, and I am humbled again by her valiant effort and how much love she expressed in doing so.

Each of us faces our own challenges in relationships with our parents and our children, and we do the best we can. We mothers support each other as we deal with these challenges, and that has been true since our children were born. The sangha of motherhood is a strong one, and necessary for the survival of the species. A mother struggling alone needs to reach out to her friends.

For most of us who are mothers of adult children, the challenge is to let go enough so that our children know that we love them but don’t feel us breathing down their neck. My wonderful Aunt Frannie, mother to seven, six living, advises to be “distant but interested.” We do a disservice to our adult children’s development if we are a ready resource for funds. We cripple them if we short circuit their thinking through a problem and coming up with their own solution. And we cripple our relationship with them as well. A breast-feeding mother will sometimes feel like the only thing this little sucker wants her for is milk. We can re-enact that same relationship with adult children if we aren’t careful. Let support come in our willingness to listen and to express our pride in them, nourishing them in ways that promote their well being rather than their dependence on us.

Beyond Motherhood
Part of the art of not being overly involved in our adult children’s lives is discovering another passion equal to our ability to nurture it. If we are healthy and sufficiently secure, perhaps we come to this rich period with some sense of excitement about some long deferred focus we want to pursue, even if we haven’t named it quite yet.

We can take this lifetime of mothering experience, this earthy wisdom and natural ability to create and nurture into another arena. Perhaps this has been our lifework, or perhaps it is what we have been waiting to do until we had more time. Or perhaps its something we have yet to discover. But whatever it is, the skills we bring to this creative project, this worthy cause, or this exploration are of enormous value and can sustain us in whatever we do.

Eightfold Path: Right Intention, Part Two

I mentioned in the previous post that as meditators and Buddhist practitioners we have three main intentions: First to develop a regular practice, second to return again and again to the present moment, and third to practice kindness to ourselves and others. In this post we will explore these three intentions in a little more and find useful means to help keep our intentions.

Intention: To develop a regular meditation practice
Setting the intention to develop a regular practice involves first recognizing that the practice is valuable. To the degree that we have already practiced, in a class or retreat, we may have begun to notice a subtle or perhaps significant change in our lives. This recognition of the gift of meditation sparks the desire and fosters the discipline to maintain a regular practice.

Setting up a regular practice requires a few practical decisions. Where, when and for how long will we practice?

Choosing a place to practice in your home, you will want to find somewhere you can sit comfortably erect where you will not be disturbed. Many people find creating a specific space is useful in reminding them to practice – everything set up just so. But this is a very portable practice, and place is ultimately not that important. Sitting in the airport waiting for a flight is as good a place as any. But in this tender time of developing a regular practice, designating a specific spot in your home and setting out reminders – a zafu cushion, an altar, a bell, for example, can be visual aids to remind you to practice. But place alone is not enough.

Setting a specific time that works best in your daily schedule and keeping that date with yourself no matter what is very important. Let meditation be the non-negotiable focal point of your day, and work everything else around it. For many, first thing in the morning is the best time. It’s usually quiet, easy to be alone while others sleep or have already left for the day, and is less likely to be interrupted by phone calls or doorbells. Usually the mind is not yet full of the day’s story, making the sitting easier. If mornings are a busy time for you, you can either get up earlier so you can have the time, or choose another time of day that works best, not just on some days but every day. Right before bed is another time of day that is usually available, but it is more challenging as most of us are inclined to fall asleep.

Setting a length of time for your practice is also important. Ideally you want to meditate for 30 – 40 minutes, or twice a day for 20 minutes each. There are no hard and fast rules on this, but its important that when you set a time you keep it. If you are new to meditation, starting with ten minutes, then working up to a longer meditation is a good way to go. You can set a timer to help you stay with the meditation.

Taking your personal practice seriously can be challenging at first. You are not used to sitting in silence with your eyes closed, and when your thoughts wander you might actually physically begin to wander, acting upon a thought of something you have to do. Be kind to yourself during this adjustment period, but don’t give up! When you find yourself reaching for the phone or standing at the refrigerator door, with great compassion but firmness bring yourself back to your practice.

Intention: To be fully in the present moment
In our practice we find ourselves lost in thought and we bring ourselves gently back to an awareness of the breath and sensations in the body. In our daily lives we can also use this embodiment practice, just sensing in to our general sense of aliveness, as well as to any specific sensations. We can run our hand against a texture – a rough fabric, a smooth stone, the bark of a tree. We can listen to sounds without attaching story to them that leads us into memories. We can look around us with fresh eyes, noticing light and shadow, pattern, color, varying levels of detail, etc. – using our artist eyes even if we never intend to paint what we see. We can really taste our food as we eat, savoring the melding flavors.

To help you stay in the moment notice when you are multi-tasking and decide which thing you will stop doing and which you will continue to do right now. Giving full attention to whatever we are doing is necessary in order to stay in the moment.

Notice when you are doing something out of habit, i.e. mindlessly. We want to bring mindfulness to all our doings. For some people it helps to turn habits into rituals. Think Japanese tea ceremony and the possibility of bringing a beauty and artfulness into making the bed, brushing your teeth, washing up, and cooking. On retreat we each have yogi jobs in which we learn to be mindful while doing simple useful tasks. It changes everything to have these daily duties change from things to be gotten through before ‘real life’ begins to being the essence of life well and fully lived.

Pay attention to the moments in between ‘real life’: waiting in line, waiting on hold on the phone, waiting at a stop light. See these as opportunities to pause, calm down, sense into the body, to be fully present with all that we see and experience. Don’t waste your time ‘killing time,’ filling these periods with mindless distractions. Each moment is a precious gift if only we can bring our full awareness to it, no matter what is going on.

For more about staying in the moment go to the Archive and read the posts in July 2008.

Intention: To be kind to ourselves and others
Developing kindness begins with noticing how we are treating ourselves and others now. When we are nice to people, is it an act or our true feelings being expressed? When it’s an act, then it’s not kindness, not a true caring. Instead it’s using kindness as a tool to keep ourselves safe from potential harm, or using it to obtain a desired result. That’s not really kindness at all.

If this false kindness is our modus operandi, once we know people, we may feel we can let down our guard. And because we see kindness as a shield or a tool, we might feel we can set down our shield and let our true feelings out. Perhaps we misinterpret a sense of connection as entitlement to impose our opinions, or we think we are creating intimacy by being (maybe teasingly) abusive. We may treat the ones we love with less respect, because for us respect is based in fear, and we no longer fear them. We may feel we have a certain shorthand together so we can skip the niceties of please and thank you. Or perhaps we feel that those close to us should understand us and we shouldn’t have to be kind.

These kinds of interactions with others are usually about power, and the need for power is rooted in fear. So when we stop to listen to how we talk to ourselves in our minds, it’s not surprising to find we are calling ourselves names and beating ourselves up at every turn. Rooted in fear, seeing the world as a dangerous place and ourselves as bumbling idiots making mistake after mistake, it is almost impossible to be truly kind.

True kindness stems from the Right View, from that shift of vantage point from seeing ourselves as separate in need of creating a protective fortress and operating our of fear, to seeing ourselves as an integral part of the universe, as interconnected with all life. We see that we are yet another expression of the loving creative mystery.

Once we make this shift – even a brief glimpse of this wise understanding can transform a whole life, the way one drop of something can flavor a whole glass of water – then we can become the natural conduits of the loving energy (metta/loving kindness) that flows through and around us, previously unnoticed.

This is vital understanding. We have all experienced the ‘kindness’ of people whose body language spoke otherwise, and we have felt the discomfort of that dishonesty. From our deeper more spacious vantage point, we can have compassion for them. Because we can imagine how they treat themselves, how cruel their inner conversation must be. We know because we have experienced it ourselves.

In order to develop true kindness, we must start with ourselves. We will explore this more fully in an upcoming post on Right Speech as we notice the language we use when we talk to ourselves. But there is much more about loving kindness/metta in the August 2008 posts. Check the archive.

Setting these three simple intentions will radically enhance your life. Start with one of them, the one that resonates most deeply right now, and begin. Then begin again. No matter how many times you lose the intention, it is there for you. Keep it alive. Write it down and put it some place you will come across it often. Explore it with as much spaciousness and compassion as you can. The rewards are infinite, and absolutely free!

Why In Times of Crisis Meditators are Especially Grateful for the Practice

As meditators, we are grateful for our practice that helps us more skillfully navigate this current financial crisis and all situations in our lives — not as observers untouched by the experience, but as conscious participants, fully engaged but clear seeing.

Here are some examples of the kinds of differences in our daily lives that we meditators often find between having a regular meditation practice and not having one:

Say you have a headache or stomach upset after looking at the value of your retirement fund or the daily news. As a non-meditator you might take a drug or try to distract yourself in various unskillful ways, and if it persists call the doctor in hopes of more heavy duty drugs.

As a practiced meditator you will more likely sit with the sensation of the pain, notice the emotional component and breathe into the experience. You may recognize the tension in the body and understand the cause and condition from which it arose. You may give yourself more spaciousness, be gentle with yourself right now, not take on too much during this period, and perhaps take walks in nature or meditate more frequently.

As a non-meditator you may not connect the fear you are feeling with the anger you are expressing to family or fellow drivers on the road. You may not see the connection between your anxiety and your difficulty doing your work, so you give yourself a hard time for being so stupid. And you may give coworkers, also affected by the crisis, a hard time for their suddenly less than stellar performances as well.

As a practiced meditator you will be more likely to see the connection between your emotions, thoughts and behaviors, and sense your connection to all other beings. So you will be more likely to take the fear experience, sit with it, and allow it to inform your interactions with your coworkers, family and everyone else, in the form of compassionate understanding for any unskillful displays they show in response to their own anxiety.

As a non-meditator you may compound your fear by getting caught up in incessantly imagining a dark future, rerunning images of the 1930’s in your head, thinking back over what you might have done differently in the past that would have changed this outcome or cursing the past actions of others in an endless loop of blame. This leaves you unable to be attentive to the current moment that requires your full attention.

As a practiced meditator you have trained your mind to notice when your thoughts get caught up in the future or the past and you can skillfully and gently bring your attention back to this moment, knowing that this is the only moment that is real, the one you can experience with all your senses and the only one in which you can take action. The future and the past are just plans, fantasies and memories, in other words, just thoughts.

As a non-meditator you may have your identity firmly invested in your material wealth or your position. As a practiced meditator you have a greater opportunity to begin to recognize that you are not your stuff, that your value is not composed of material wealth, prestige or how you make that wealth, that you – and all of us – are uniquely and universally valuable just the way we are.

These are some of the reasons why at times of crisis meditators turn to each other and say, “I am so grateful for the practice. I can’t imagine going through this without the practice.”

Of course there are people who don’t have a regular sitting practice who have found the same spaciousness of mind. Perhaps they do Qi Gong or some other form, or perhaps they have a naturally spacious mind. But for most of us, without a meditative practice of some kind, we fall into the habitual and unskillful patterns of mind that bring us ongoing suffering.

At a time of crisis those who don’t have a regular practice might say to themselves, “I really should start to meditate.” or “I need to meditate more regularly.” It’s never too late to start!

If you would like to learn more about getting started meditating, click on the link (right side of this page) to my website — In the meditation section you will find several downloadable pages that offer ways to begin. If you need more help, contact me, or find a meditation center in your area.