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.
The world is broken. We want to fix it. But most of the time, what we do to satisfy that desire actually makes things worse, not better. How can we really fix the world when our actions are really just about trying to heal the pain we feel? Is it possible to treat these as separate activities? Could we be more effective if we did?
Pain is inevitable. But is all pain inevitable? And is there any way to have a healthier relationship to pain?
Anxiety comes not so much from knowing that something could go wrong, but imagining that there is something I can do to control that. Social anxiety is no different. Learning to let go of this idea of control can lead to a profound reduction in the anxiety the desire for control normally produces.
Tamara asked for some clarification on the different ways that inner conflicts that come up in meditation can find resolution. In this post I go into a bit more detail about that.
Is there such a thing as awakening? Is it worth doing? How? Someone asked this today, and I felt like it was worth writing this brief answer. TL;DR: “yes, probably, and you have to read the post for the rest.”
In stage four, we have to learn to develop introspective awareness. But how do we actually do that? Do we think “now I will be introspectively aware?” Not so much.
It’s not enough to be calm and centered. But it’s a good place from which to start.
You thought you were meditating to get more focused, or calm, or whatever, and suddenly some anger, frustration, sadness or self-hatred wells up while you are sitting, and you think "what's gone wrong with my meditation?"
I talked about magical thinking in an earlier post; perhaps I should have said wishful thinking instead. Thinking that things will just take care of themselves, that I don’t have to do any work, or any thinking, this is wishful thinking. Imagining that a result will come with no effort. Thinking that your teachers are infallible is actually an example of this kind of thinking. To succeed in the practice, we have to take responsibility for our own success, and not put it on someone or something else.
When we see the world as we wish it were, and not as it is, we weaken our ability to actually make that wish a reality, and make ourselves suffer in the bargain. It is possible to reach a state of mind where we can accept what is and work from there; in doing so, we become much more effective and also much happier.