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Thanksgiving Meditation

The model for our modern Thanksgiving was a celebration that happened in 1621, at the Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts. The Wampanoag Native Americans helped the pilgrims cultivate the land and fish, saving them from starvation. Giving and gratitude was a way of life for Native Americans, not just a special celebration of safe passage. Their generosity was not just kindness but initiation. They were inducting the mostly English settlers in a new way to be on this Earth—participating in every aspect of life as if it is sacred. Their pipe ceremony was a form of prayer like the pilgrim’s Lord’s…

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One Day This Will Happen

One day this will happen to you: life will surprise you. Life will show you that you have been dreaming, and it will wake you. We each have countless examples. Here is one of mine. Once many years ago, I took my young daughter on a meditation retreat led by Thich Nhat Hanh—a retreat that…

Sunrise, courtesy Wikimedia

The Power of Giving Up

“When you can’t go up, down, or sideways, then practice really begins,” said the revered meditation master Ajahn Chah. Life is challenging. Sometimes the demands on us are so great that we go into commando mode. We plot and plan and mentally rehearse the operations to be executed, the trips from here to there and…

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Out of the Frying Pan

“This suspense is terrible,” wrote Oscar Wilde. “I hope it will last.” When we practice mindfulness meditation we leave the known world of our habitual thoughts and emotional reactions for the wide open territory of NOW. Returning to the body and the breath is a quiet but radical act. Opening up to a moment-by-moment awareness…

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Into the Fire

All Hallow’s Eve is upon us, dear readers. Tomorrow is All Hallow’s or All Saints Day, and the following day All is Souls or (in Latin America) the Day of the Dead. A symbolically deep and rich time. It is also the time of the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain (an Irish source has the…

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Being With What Scares Us

“A life is just the history of what we give our attention to,” says a character at a funeral in the novel At Last by Edward St. Aubyn. Another character chides him for being so stark—we impact others without knowing it. Yet I know what he means, don’t you? As the days grow shorter, it’s…