Tagged Meditation

Ivan Aivazovsky, Between the Waves, 1898

On Being Nobody…and No One

How deeply we fear being nobody. One way to think of the ego is as a defense against pain, particularly the pain of being no one. It shores us up, reminding us that we are somebody. We update our internal resumes and narratives constantly. We seek new skills and go on self-improvement regimes of all…

Holy Week

This is Holy Week, a good time to reflect on what it can mean to be part of a greater wholeness. It is also Passover, celebrating liberation from bondage. Strange as it may sound, being still is also a way of coming to a new wholeness, a way of feasting on your life, realizing that…

Light in the Dark

This is the dark time. December is the month of the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the day when the North Pole is tilted farthest from the sun. Our ancient ancestors observed this event, watching the stars and the shortening days, patiently abiding and taking note until one day…it changed. They learned that the…

Determination

“If we could surrender to Earth’s intelligence, we would rise up rooted, like trees.” –Rainer Maria Rilke   One day recently I woke up with no voice, just a breathy whisper. This is challenging under ordinary circumstances but on this particular day it felt like catastrophe. I was scheduled to teach mindfulness meditation and give…

Share the Light

The Buddha had no plans to teach after he became enlightened. Isn’t that interesting? He planned to abide peacefully and at ease. Undoubtedly he beyond pleasant when someone happened to cross paths with him. But he had no plans to try to convey the great shift that had taken place inside him. And who could…

Keith V. Johnson, "Day glow art from interior of The Electric Circus, 19-25 St. Marks Place NYC, 2002 (Wikipedia)

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…

Thich Nhat Hanh. Photo by Peter Kramer / Getty Images

My True Home Is Brooklyn

Tracy Cochran takes her child on a Thich Nhat Hanh retreat and meets her very own pint-size Zen master. On the first night of my seven-year-old daughter, Alexandra’s, first Buddhist retreat, Thich Nhat Hanh smiled and looked into her eyes as few adults ever look at children. Although he sat very still on a stage, the…

Halloween Sutra

Last Sunday, a group of us talked about how meditation is like Halloween. This was understandable since we were sitting in a yoga studio that happens to be just up the street from the legendary cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, now ablaze with jack-o-lanterns. But no matter where you are autumn and Halloween in particular brings…

Finding the Path

Among the tasks or “yogi jobs” a participant can volunteer for during silent retreats at the Insight Meditation Society, a Buddhist meditation center in rural Massachusetts, the most resonant in every sense is that of bell ringer. Before dawn and before every meditation session during the day, the bell ringers walk around the grounds and…