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Halloween as a Practice

At a certain point, the summer of our innocence passes. The bright hope that spiritual practice might be a way for us to bypass suffering vanishes. The bliss we might have felt at the beginning gives way to the realization that the more we practice, the more we feel not just joy but also the […]

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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 it […]

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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 streets […]

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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 too […]

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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 sounded […]

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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 […]