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The Power of Stillness

This afternoon, I stood very still on the blue stone floor of my front porch, looking out the screen door at flowers and green and trees. Everything looked so still in the golden afternoon light, yet so much has changed—some of the flowers and even the slabs of blue stone I stood on were not…

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Rise Up Rooted Like a Tree

“If we could surrender to Earth’s intelligence, we would rise up rooted, like trees.” –Rainer Maria Rilke When all else fails, sit down and be still as a tree. Even if everything is not failing, take time every day to let go of all of the stories that are constantly spinning to just sit down.…

A Beautiful Mind: A Conversation with Gina Sharpe

I arrived at meditation teacher Gina Sharpe’s house prepared to talk about what it means to live a beautiful life for the “Beauty” issue of Parabola. The bare facts of Sharpe’s life were promising. Born in Jamaica, Sharpe moved to New York when she was eleven. She excelled in school and in the world of work, studying  philosophy at Barnard College, working in the office of the mayor of New York, in movie production (on the iconic 1970s movies Little Big Man, Paper Lion, and Alice’s Restaurant), and finally becoming a successful corporate lawyer. I expected a story about brave…

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Protest Sutra

Last night at New York Insight, we practiced Meditation 101, in the midst of a great protest.   We took our seats, spines straight, feet planted firmly on the ground, affirming our right to take up space in the world in the midst of chants and shouts and the sound of more and more news and…

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Boats Against the Tide

It never stops being wondrous and strange. Your brain can be boiling, your heart breaking, your fate like being wrapped and locked in chains. And then you sit down, give up thinking and straining and striving, just being with the breath and the sensation of sitting there—and you discover who we were truly meant to…

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Being Here Together

“My guru told me ‘Be like Gandhi,’” Ram Dass told me during an interview that took place about a decade ago.  “Gandhi said, ‘My life is my message.’” The words came haltingly, short phrases followed by long pauses.  The former Dr. Richard Alpert, the once eloquent spiritual seeker and psychedelic rebel, sat in a wheelchair,…