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.

Finding Simplicity

Many times I’ve heard Shinzen say how we begin with trying to fit meditation into our lives, but over time, a figure ground reversal can happen: our lives become more meditative. In part, that means they become simpler.  Amidst the growing complexity of our entanglements, we find ourselves beginning to appreciate simple things. Things well done. Simple pleasures once overlooked in the momentum of our busy days. This Monday, we slow things down and explore how relaxing our awareness and valuing simplicity can change our experience of meditation.

Choose Your Own Adventure

You can just sit and do “Nothing,” you know (that is a meditation) or you can choose to do “Something.” Which do you choose? Good choice! The category of Something has much to recommend it, in particular its vast … particularity. The next choice is form. Some options: “Stillness” (the obvious candidate), “Movement,” or “Relational,” “Expressive” (for the artists), or any “Life Activity” for that matter. Which do you choose? This Monday night, we ask: how might a practice address our needs of the moment?

Primordial Tugs

There is some interesting new research emerging from the field of smart-people-in-lab-coats that suggests we have more agency around our emotions than many of us realize. The key isn’t in the suppression; it’s in the reframing. We can choose HOW we want to experience our various tugs and tingles. And if we choose to experience them in an empowering light, it seems they no longer cause us the same kind of suffering.

Don’t Know

What actually wants to emerge in each moment, before thinking jumps in? Inquiring minds want to know! As the saying goes, thinking is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. Many traditions argue that our actual default conditions – the factory settings, as it were – are wise and caring, but that we cover them up with our maddening stresses and schemes and agendas. In this meditation, we see what emerges when we practice not knowing.

What is this?

In this first Monday of the month, we’ll set the stage with a classic bit of Hindu Vedanta-inspired self-inquiry. This particular version of the practice comes by way of my colleague Vince Horn, who runs the Buddhist Geeks podcast and offers many excellent courses with his partner Emily Horn over at meditate.io.  Instead of asking “Who am I?”, we make it less personal, and ask “What IS this?” – as in, what is this whole existential boondoggle that we find ourselves running around inside?

The Battle To Win Ourselves

I love pop music. My friends play me some hip electro banger I’m like ‘ya ok,’ but when I hear Carlye Rae Jepsen Cut to the Feeling my inner teenage girl goes mental (never mind when Selena Gomez samples the Talking-Heads – sick!) I love these songs because they make me feel free. They make me realize that at anytime I can actually kick off my leg warmers and do cartwheels down the sidewalk. That in a million different ways I imagine I’m limited and constrained and that I must act or be a certain way but really, really, at anytime I can just … step off. Step off the ride. And the world will hold me.

Three Views of Reality

For this weekly instalment of November’s devotion month, we’re going to explore what it means to be goo goo ga ga in love with the hottest sexiest meanest and most ass-kicking entity in all of reality – that is, Reality itself, aka the existential wrapper thing that you, me, and everyone seems to find themselves inside, now and always, for reality just keeps on being real.

The TV Screen

Wow, lots of caveats around action this month, I guess we are a tender bunch – learning about self-care, about boundaries, about humility. But let’s not let our humanist realism trump our contemplative hearts, because, as everybody knows, love and service are still the only real games in town. Is there a place for this kind of idealism in our mangled modern world? What might it look like, and how can we help each other come to it in our own ways?