Posted: February 13th, 2014 | Author: Ethan | Filed under: Post | Tags: Buddhism Civil Rights, Dale Hansen Michael Sam | 1 Comment »
Recently, Missouri star lineman Michael Sam announced that he is gay, headed into the NFL draft later this year. This makes him the first openly gay player in the NFL. Apparently, his father had a really hard time with him coming out, which can’t be easy for a young man to deal with. These kinds of stories make me sad, because if the Dharma has taught me anything, it’s that we need to create a world where people feel comfortable being who we really are. This is the key to being awake and available in the present moment. Being safe in your own skin is prerequisite for truly benefiting others.
And then someone sent me this clip from Dallas sports caster Dale Hansen. It’s hands-down the most amazing civil rights speech I’ve seen in a while. Bravo, Mr. Hansen. I also love the critique of hypocrisy of those who want small government but want to patrol people’s sex lives. Especially in Texas.
Some men love Football, but Real Men make Speeches like these. Please Watch.
Posted: February 10th, 2014 | Author: Ethan | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: karme choling, Meditation, Meditation Retreat, meditation retreat 2014 | 7 Comments »
The idea of a meditation retreat freaks people out in the best possible way.
An in-depth meditation retreat, something longer than just a weekend, is almost always a worthwhile and transformative experience, both for our relationship to meditation practice and for our life in general. We build confidence in our own mind, and clarify our intention for moving forward along our path in life.In less than a month, I will be co-leading my only in-depth meditation retreat of 2014. I can’t wait. I notice, that as I talk to students and friends about their practice, people often meet the prospect of a longer retreat, say a week of mostly silent practice, with both inspiration and trepidation. Sometimes their resistance is palpable. But slowing down and getting away like this, and also building trust that we can actually handle our mind during long periods of practice, is an invaluable experience. I personally think everyone should have it at least once, possibly every year.
So I thought the best thing to do would be to hold a discussion forum about retreats below. Would you do me a favor, pretty please? If you have attended a meditation retreat, let’s say of five days or longer at a residential location, could you leave a comment and share your experience below?
And if you have any questions about doing a meditation retreat, such as how to work with your resistance, or when to know if your practice is ready for this kind of immersive experience, could you also post those below? I will be checking in from time to time and will be happy to share my thoughts and feedback on your questions and comments.
Posted: February 7th, 2014 | Author: Ethan | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: addiction, Buddhism and addiction, drug addiction, drug laws, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Russell Brand, russell brand guardian | 2 Comments »
A lot of us were so surprisingly saddened by the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. He was undoubtedly one of the greatest actors of this generation. I had heard various cool stories about him from an old friend who knew him. I love this story here of a critic who met him on the subway. Given that he was only 46 when he overdosed from heroin, there is a huge pile of sadness from the sudden reality of his death.
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Posted: February 5th, 2014 | Author: Ethan | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: being gay in russia, burt and ernie, civil rights, GQ Being Gay in Russia, inside the iron closet, new yorker, pussy riot, putin | No Comments »
I just finished reading this lengthy piece in the current aedition of GQ, “Inside the Iron Closet” about the culture and strange legality of homophobia in Russia right now. From Pussy Riot to random people on the street, there seems to be a massive crackdown on all kinds of self-expression in that country, especially the freedom to be queer or gay in public (or private) life.
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Posted: January 31st, 2014 | Author: Ethan | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Buddhist Super Bowl, Forbes Super Bowl Ad $4 million, Macho Man Randy Savage, Richard Sherman | 4 Comments »
I wonder, as I prepare to host a Super Bowl party with my girlfriend for people who don’t really care about the Super Bowl (aka artists and Buddhists), what future sociologists might think about the event. Will they think it was a beautiful celebration of the human drive to achieve and compete? Or will they think it is a greed-driven gladiator arena, a 21st century Rome, emblematic of a society in steep decline? Optimism tells me the former, realism tells me the latter. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 29th, 2014 | Author: Ethan | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Ethan Nichtern, Mindfulness, Slavoj Zizek, The Mindful Revolution, Time Magazine Cover, Time Magazine Mindful Revolution, Twin Peaks Buddhism, Zizek Buddhism | 49 Comments »
The next cover for Time magazine is getting a lot of attention—and a ton of heat—from the mindfulness community. It is actually the second time that they have run a cover about meditation with a beautiful blond Caucasian woman on the cover. The first was Heather Graham in 2003. I must admit that my biggest personal bias against Heather will always be her performance in Twin Peaks, not her Time cover.
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Posted: January 20th, 2014 | Author: Ethan | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
Happy Dr. Martin Luther King day y’all. Nothing I could say that he didn’t say better, and first.
Here’s the man himself:
“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied together into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality . . . Before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world. This is the way our universe is structured, this is its interrelated quality. We aren’t going to have peace on Earth until we recognize the basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality. “
(Photo of Dr. Martin Luther King with Thich Nhat Hanh)
Posted: January 6th, 2014 | Author: Ethan | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: insight timer app, Meditation, Meditation in Everyday Life, meditation podcast, midwest right now, Shambhala Center of New York | No Comments »
Here are four very simple tips for turning your dabbling, on and off, casual, swinging, it-loves-me-it-loves-me-not relationship with meditation into a daily practice that actually helps you. I will be talking about a similar topic tomorrow night at the Shambhala Center of New York. Hope to see New Yorkers there. It’s supposed to be cold, but not as cold as it is in the Midwest right now! Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 3rd, 2014 | Author: Ethan | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 2014 Resolution, Aspiration, Buddhism, Ethan Nichtern, Immersion, Meditation, Meditation Tips, Retreat, Snow Day | No Comments »
I recorded a little YouTube video message on this snow day in NYC. I’m feeling optimistic about 2014. Hope you are too. Please be in touch if you have questions about deepening your practice and study of meditation.
Links to the programs I referred to in the video are here:
-“Finding Your Path” Online Course – Begins January 13
-IDP 2014 Yearlong Immersion and Instructor Training Program – January 15 Application Deadline (Program Starts Feb 21)
-Shambhala Training Retreat with Ethan and David Nichtern January 24-26
-Retreat in Vermont with Ethan and Acharya Suzann Duquette March 6-20
Posted: December 30th, 2013 | Author: Ethan | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 2014, 2014 aspirations, 2014 meditation, Intention, New Years Resolution 2014 | No Comments »
Here is a practice I often give to my private Dharma students at the end of each year as we contemplate the year ahead.
The difference between a resolution and an aspiration is that a resolution usually lasts only for the first few days of the year, if that. An aspiration is Buddhism’s codeword for a long-term intention that we return to again and again and again. An aspiration forms the basis for a complete life path, not just a fad or impulsive decision. I’ll be talking about this in NYC on January 7 at the first Weekly Dharma gathering of the year at the Shambhala center.
Read on if you would like to engage in this contemplative and journaling practice as you prepare for 2014. I would do this practice in three steps.
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