Allowing Change to Happen

For a time during my high school years, I tried to make a psychedelic sanctum of my bedroom, declaring it a separate place from the rest of the house. I asked my father to bolt a three-foot ultraviolet black light to the ceiling. He did this to make me happy, and understanding that while itContinue reading “Allowing Change to Happen”

Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There

One night at New York Insight, a meditation center in downtown Manhattan, I taught meditation in the midst of a protest against injustice.   I taught people to take their seats, spines straight, feet planted firmly on the ground, affirming their right to take up space in the world, all the while people in the streetsContinue reading “Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There”

Being Still

The good news is my voice is back. The bad news is my voice is back. As I reported last week, I have been without a voice of late, just whisper, sometimes soft, sometimes rasping. I had my hair cut last week and the din of the hair dryers and music and conversation was tooContinue reading “Being Still”

A Net That Catches Us

On Sunday, I showed up to teach mindfulness meditation with no voice, or almost no voice. When I opened my mouth to speak a rasping, breathy whisper came out and sometimes (when I really felt moved and enthusiastic) there was a layer of squeaking and gasping. In the acoustics of my own head, I soundedContinue reading “A Net That Catches Us”

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 andContinue reading “The Power of Giving Up”

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 awarenessContinue reading “Out of the Frying Pan”