Tag Archives: awareness

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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America’s Quietest Meditation Room

Our sitting instructions state, “sit as quietly as you can,” but perfect silence during meditation is neither necessary nor possible. Listening to sound without running away from it, or chasing after it, is actually an important part of our basic practice (“Listening to Survive”). If, however, you happen to be looking for some real peace and quiet, you might study a new map that scientists have constructed of noise levels on an “average summer day.” The quietest (deep blue) regions include parts of Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming) and the Great Sand Dunes National Park (Colorado).

New map shows America's quietest places

NPS Natural Sounds & Night Skies Division

Discover wonders

Every day I receive an email with a bit of wisdom or a question in it. Today’s message seemed to capture perfectly the spirit of adventure that one might find in ‘just sitting.’

Be in harmony with each breath, each moment, and know that in giving yourself this time to develop awareness and a steadiness of attention you are nourishing spirit, head, and heart. Let it be an adventure, and in the silence and the stillness that comes with practice you’ll discover wonders here for you, now. – Elena Rosenbaum, “Awareness Meditation” from Tricycle’s Daily Dharma collection, March 4, 2015

Meditation apps

Can a smartphone (or tablet, or laptop) be conducive to the cultivation of mindful awareness? It just might if it happens to equipped with a meditation app. The NY Times Personal Tech file published reviews of four iOS and Android meditation apps, Calm, Headspace, Happier, and Digipill that claim to help users calm down, cultivate awareness, get better sleep, and so on.

NOTE: Some of these apps are free and some are not. I have not tried any of them and I am not endorsing any of them. If you decide to try one, let me know what your experience is like.

Update (Mar 30, 2015): Robin passed along info about another app: Simply Being – Guided Meditation for Relaxation and Presence (available for iPhone and iPad).

Oliver Sacks on living life, detachment, and gratitude

Oliver Sacks is a medical doctor and professor of neurology at the New York University School of Medicine. He is also the author of many popular books, including “Awakenings,” “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat,” and “Uncle Tungsten.” Dr. Sack recently revealed in a NY Times op-ed (“My Own Life,” Feb. 19, 2015) that he has terminal cancer, a by-product of cancer treatment that he had received nine years ago, and he does not have long to live. About this he writes:

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