Tag Archives: attitude

Greater Good Science Center Resources

Today I received a copy of the “Student Life Scoop” email that Dr. K sends out periodically (for those who don’t know, “Dr. K” is Karnell McConnell-Black, EdD, Reed College Vice President for Student Life). In the section of the email devoted to “Keys to Well-Being”, Dr. K gives a shout-out to the many useful resources available online from the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

I’ll quote from Dr. K’s email to give you a quick taste of what you can access from that website:

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On this fractured morning: a call to connect

I don’t know how or when you started your day. Me? I did what I nearly always do: petted the cat, reached for the remote, and waited for the weather forecast. The horrible news from Las Vegas is what I got instead.

I guess I’m lucky … I don’t think I know anyone in Las Vegas. But we’ll see … I may know someone who knows someone.

One thing that meditation has taught me: we are all connected. I sometimes think the opposite. “I’m just sitting here with the circus of my thoughts. Me. An island.” But I also notice that in my thoughts are relationships: anything or anyone that I imagine pulling closer to, and anything or anyone that I imagine pushing away from, is something or someone I am connected to. What I am imagining is, in fact, connection, and that connection comes before my ability to imagine it.

We are already connected. What makes me strong is the unconscious knowledge, built into the cells of my body and the wiring of my heart, that I am always drawing on you, the big You, the entire universe of people, animals, plants, planet and sun, to hold me up and you will never let me down. What sometimes makes me weak is the nagging conscious fear that I can’t explain how all of this works and so I never know if my ass is completely covered.

Sitting with others … just sitting … silent … just acknowledging with each breath, and each heart beat, that there is an unconscious web, beyond my ability to fathom … keeping me alive … is enough.

If you have a little time, please join me in the chapel tomorrow for meditation. If you cannot, please know that wherever you are, whatever you are doing, no matter what you think about your life, you are appreciated. This network of connection that sustains us is “love” by any other name.

You are loved.

The Sangha – One of Three Treasures

I know that our group is a secular one, but I can’t resist sharing this tidbit of Buddhist doctrine.

Buddhists take “refuge” in, i.e., derive spiritual support from, what are called The Three Treasures: Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. The first two, Buddha and Dharma, can be interpreted in various ways, but its fair to say that they attract the most attention from Westerners because, compared to Sangha, they represent relatively elevated spiritual ideas. Sangha is mundane by comparison. It simply means the community made up of those committed to following the eight-fold path.

I find this ancient recognition of the importance of community (it’s a Treasure!) incredibly relevant today. As modern people of the West and descendants of the European Enlightenment, we believe that we live lives of individual accomplishment and suffering. As such, we nearly always overlook the subtle, and often subconscious, influence that others have on us (and we on them).

Adopting the ancient view that community (Sangha) is one of the treasures that energizes and supports our practice is a different view entirely. Something new and different happens when we sit together. You lean on me. I lean on you.

I thank you for your practice.

Hallie Bateman’s 10 Day Adventure

I have not gone on a meditation journey. 30 minutes of silent sitting (or walking) each day feels about right.

Some days, though, I do a bit more, and these days can make me wonder what a full day, or several days, of meditation might be like. I have never done anything like that, but I’ve talked with those who have and they insist that there’s something to be said for longer practice periods. Hallie Bateman, cartoonist, decided to take a 10-day plunge into silence and she recently wrote (and drew) some things about her experiences on BuzzFeed, “What Happens When You Try to Stay Silent for 10 Days.”

Emerging science: Meditation for teachers

There is an ever-expanding scientific literature on the impact of meditation, especially mindfulness meditation, on health care professionals and their patients. This work is now spilling over into the academic arena. The August 2015 issue of the Mindfulness Research Monthly newsletter describes a recent study this way:

The high emotional demands of public school teaching can contribute to impaired teacher morale, professional burnout, and the fact that 40-50 of teachers quit teaching within their first five years on the job. …

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Resources for troubling times

Troubling times. They come in all shapes and sizes: the personal – a missed exam, a fractured friendship – and the global – a civil war, a devastating earthquake. How does one find the courage, the enthusiasm, and the joy, to go forward when confronted by troubles beyond our control?

Writing in the Tricycle blog (“In The Spirit of Service”), well-known author and meditation teacher, Sharon Salzberg, describes a path for cultivating an open heart that combines service and meditation and service. On the topic of meditation, she describes practices for cultivating mental states that “foster a connection to our own inherent capacity for wisdom and love. They put us in contact with a world beyond the moment-to-moment fixations of our mind.”

Practice Rules

When I sit (or walk) I usually go through a period of time where I tell myself what to do. This may take several forms: “pay attention to the … (breath, sounds, sensations, …),” “label thoughts,” “ask, ‘What is this?’” and so on.

Essentially I have set up ‘rules’ for my practice. This inevitably leads me into territory that is familiar to many meditators.

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Advice for the beleaguered office worker (and anyone else)

5 Buddhist Slogans for the Office

Photo ©istock.com / Yusufgonden, from “5 Buddhist Slogans for the Office,” L. Rinzler, Lion’s Roar, Jan 6, 2015

Has something about your office been bugging you?

Try this maybe: ponder some of the 59 ‘lojong,’ or mind-training, slogans that Atisha (980-1052 CE) brought from India to Tibet a thousand years ago.

Not sure where to start? Author Lodro Rinzler (“The Buddha Walks into a Bar”) says that office workers might find the study of 5 slogans especially helpful: “5 Buddhist Slogans for the Office.”

Loving the Not Now Mind

My taxes are due in a couple of weeks. I think I have a few more days to turn in my 2014 medical receipts for reimbursement. Half the yard is covered by moss and weeds, the rest by grass that grows 3 inches every night. Dishes to wash, thesis drafts to read, lectures to write, assignments to grade – who has time for meditation?
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