How to Deconstruct Thinking

Again and again, meditation teachers talk about the benefits of “popping out of your thoughts” – of panning back to a more spacious perspective, no longer embedded in fatalistic loops of rumination and mood and whatever else. To successfully do this, it helps to understand the terrain of thinking and feeling in the first place.

Giving Up

In this meditation, we are going to allow ourselves to be utterly defeated. It will be a race to the bottom, as each of us attempts to out-defeat the other. To say nothing of how each sensation will defeat us (by continuing to be ungraspable), each expectation will defeat us (by continuing to be unfulfillable), and each shining Enlightenment will defeat us – whoosh! – as it passes us by on the way to some sanguine dolphin or industrious garden shrew.

The Well Of Appreciation

In my experience, there are two kinds of time: horizontal and vertical. Horizontal time is the conventional time we all know. It is mind time – it has a past, and a future, with our worries stretched across it. Vertical time is time out of time – time hidden in plain sight. “There is another world, and it’s inside this one,” said the French surrealist Paul Eluard, probably stoned on absinthe. Vertical time is body time – no past or future here, only the upwelling of the present moment.

Relationship to Self

The template for our relationship with others is the one we’re engaged in already with ourselves. There is no escaping that truth: friendly or critical, neglectful or curious, the longer someone’s with us and the closer they get, the more we end up treating them as we treat ourselves. Among other things, that means the greatest kindness we can do for others is the one we begin doing for ourselves.

Nothing Is Healing

Our deepest healing happens when we rest. That’s when our system makes most of its repairs. I think it is healthy to plug into little nourishing wells of rest throughout the day, by stopping and doing nothing. In this meditation, we do exactly this, and explore what it might mean to orient to the stillness below the busy-busy.

Emptiness And Form

Let’s see … “something something something,” then “nothing nothing nothing.” “Nothing,” you say? “Nothing of any importance,” you respond. “Well, that’s something.” “But it isn’t,” you insist! “It isn’t any thing at all.” etc etc. Yup, this week we’ll explore The Really Big Mystery of Emptiness = Form and Form = Emptiness.

Practice Enlightenment

One of my favourite life and meditation practices is called “practice enlightenment.” It comes by way of Dogen, the famous Japanese founder of Soto Zen, and is a kind of antidote to spiritual striving. What if you were already exactly where you needed to be? In this way, we practice our own “enlightenment,” moment by moment. It’s a superb practice for lazy people and I intend to ruin your motivation forever.

Thanks For Nothing

“Hey, what are you doing today?”
“Nothing.”
“But, you did that yesterday.”
“Yes, and I haven’t finished.”

Something mysterious and beautiful happens when we do nothing together. It seems to make space for a particular kind of intimacy that – as per the theme of this month – we can call devotion. This Monday, we explore.

Full Body Absorption

Hello Exploded Brains! My own exploded brain wishes to communicate with you, but (on account of said explosion) I find myself unable to summon the necessary resources. Fortunately, like all of us, I have a strange nature-given capacity to un-plode myself. Call it focus, call it absorption. As I commit myself to the activity at hand, I can almost feel the various task-relevant parts of my brain, body, and attention all converge and synchronize. In this way, moment by moment, we secure the world in front of us. Join me as we explore this everyday miracle.

Journeys of the Up and Down

So apparently there is this thing called awareness that we are supposed to be aware of. It sounds ridiculous! But let’s give it a shot anyway. This Monday night, your CHALLENGE (should you choose to accept it) is to very lightly and delicately stay aware of the present moment, for 35 whole minutes, despite the artful shenanigans of yonder mind and yonder world, which will endeavour in their usual charming way to take us up and take us down and take us, frankly, all around.