This is my blog about meditation, philosophy and awakening. I wear many hats in my life—my living is as a computer geek, but I have been interested in meditation and insight for the past twenty-five years, and studied Buddhism and awakening in several traditions before turning to modern research on the topic. I write quite a bit about this topic in various places around the Internet; this blog is a place for me to gather some of the things I've written and share them with my friends. Welcome! I hope that what I've written here is of some value to you.
It is important when practicing not simply to go off in a corner and practice, but to rely on community help keep you on track. This is a story about a recent experience I had with community, and the benefits I got from it in my practice.
What is the point of loving our enemies, anyway?
The inner toddler really, really doesn’t want to keep sitting. How do you get it to chill out?
One of the bugaboos of practice is the difference between right and wrong. I say “bugaboo,” because although virtuous behavior is very important to practice, there is no right that can be stated. There is no wrong that can be stated.
If you have read about or studied Buddhism at all, you’ve heard the idea that part of the Buddhist path is to “overcome desire.” This can be a bit off-putting, because it leaves us with the impression that wanting things is bad, and on the one hand this sort of seems true, but on the other hand, if we entirely give up on wanting things, won’t we starve? The confusion actually boils down to the difficulty of translating Pali or Sanskrit to english: “desire” means more than one thing.
We all have a powerful mental function, the problem finder, that looks for potentially life-threatening problems in our environment and brings them to our attention. In most of us, it is tuned way too high, and so it’s always telling us stuff that not only don’t we need to know, but that will actually make us feel unsafe and insecure and even worthless. What to do?
How do I become the person I wish I were? How do I even know if the person I wish I were is who I would want to be if I were that person? There is no perfect answer to this question, but here’s some thoughts about it.
Sometimes when we don’t want to do something, it’s because we’re struggling with resistance. Sometimes it’s that it’s not what we need to do.
You may have encountered the Buddhist idea that all suffering comes from the three poisons: desire, hatred and ignorance. Honestly, this sounds kind of judgy. Am I supposed to never want anything? But more importantly, I’m not a hateful person, so why am I suffering from that? Actually, “hatred” isn’t the best translation.
Helen asked how meditation provides comfort and validation. This is an attempt at an answer.