On Listening As A Practice in The Brave New World

(Man standing with sign in front of a Mosque in Texas.) So much recently about "listening," especially related to something called "bubbles." A few thoughts from my Buddhist practice (you can also check out Chapter 6 of The Road Home if you want more in-depth ideas):   1) Listening is always a great practice, but it can *only* be done with another person who also wants to listen to you in return.   2) Listening is a shared practice based on good intentions on both sides. You are not required to listen to anyone in the current moment, especially if it becomes clear that they are not speaking with good intentions, or are not willing to listen in return, or are deliberately presenting misinformation.   3) You get to decide who you want to practice with. You could try to listen to everyone (eventually), but it's probably asking too much to start with

7-Point Practice Plan for Engaged Mindfulness in 2017

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2016 saw the death of many special people. It also saw the death of many misguided ideas, including the obliteration of my own misguided view that my practice of meditation and Buddhism can happen without full and complete engagement with modern society. I came up with a 7-point practice plan for myself. If any of this is useful to you, please make use of it. If not, then at the very least, don’t fall into the trap of thinking your practice is an escape from the world. There is no escape from the world. Whatever happens to human society in the coming years, we are all in this together. The first three practices have to do with personal work. The final four have to do with participation in community and society. (friends meditating at Zuccotti Park in 2011, credit unknown) 1) Be Stubborn About Taking Care of Your Body: In times

Defining Home in 140 Characters or Less: The Road Home in Paperback!

With The Road Home just out in paperback, we asked people to define "Home" in tweet-able sized portions. We quickly ran out of paperbacks to give away, but you can order them from wherever books are sold, or by following this link. There were a lot of profound answers, not many with a sense of humor, but that's ok. Here are just a few of the responses we received: "Feet find ground, heart space flourishes, popcorn." -Lisa, New York "When you can't hold on any more, when you've white-knuckled it for far too long, letting go feels like coming home." -Shannon, Illinois "The place we keep returning to." -Frank, Dublin, Ireland  "It's not where you live but how you choose to live!" Cecilia, New Hampshire "Home is the right attitude that you hold in your heart, not an actual place found on a map." -Deborah, New York "A hearth of the heart - where each

Thank You, Bernie.

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It seems exceedingly clear that Hillary Clinton will end up being the best choice for President. Congratulations to all my friends who said ‪#‎ImWithHer‬. I strongly disagree with my friends who voted for Bernie (or tried to vote for Bernie, in my case in the NYC voter disaster) but are questioning whether or not to vote for Hillary in the general election. For me, the skillful means of supporting her right now feels very clear. I think there is a good chance she will make an excellent president. However, just FYI and BTW, I'm also going to support a thousand more Bernies in the future, and not just in politics, but in art, in dharma, in my colleagues and friends, everywhere. Hopefully many of these Bernies will be less white, less male, and a bit more able to follow their breath, but they are the only ones who can really speak through the

True Love And RomComs – Buddhism and The Dance of Desire: New Free Podcast

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Check out Ethan's new lecture on the Shambhala Podcast, True Love and RomComs." How does meditation, and the dharma, help us dance with the intensity of love and relationships? Remember to check out the award-winning book The Road Home: A Contemporary Exploration of the Buddhist Path if you haven't already. This Shambhala podcast has lots of great teachers and lectures on it (Ethan is featured about once every three or four episodes), so you probably just subscribe via iTunes. Enjoy!    

Buddha With A Smartphone: New Free Podcast and Interview

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Ethan talked about mindfulness and the modern era via usage of our smartphones in two separate venues recently. First Check out Ethan's new lecture on the Shambhala Podcast, Buddha with a SmartPhone." How does a person work mindfully with technology? He also did a recent interview with Tech Insider about a similar topic. Check that out here. In his book The Road Home: A Contemporary Exploration of the Buddhist Path Ethan uses lots of ancient and not so ancient wisdom and thoughts on the matter of technology.  This Shambhala podcast has lots of great teachers and lectures on it (Ethan is featured about once every four episodes), so you probably just subscribe via iTunes.  Enjoy!    

Buddhist Film Critic: The Revenant and The Big Short

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I must say, although I am not exactly a Leonardo DiCaprio fan (When I began teaching meditation, I would use his performance in Titanic as my example of a “irritating person” to practice for during lovingkindness meditation - a knee-jerk response for which I assume full accountability), I also get zero joy from his recurring tortures in The Revenant, a film which is probably better titled Watch Leo Suffer (A Lot).  Alejandro Iñarritu is a deeply talented filmmaker, and a meditator, as evidenced by Birdman (which was supposedly somehow influenced by the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh). The photographic quality of Iñarritu’s movies is amazing, and The Revenant is perhaps his most visually beautiful film, set among the cold landscape of the 1820’s in Montana, involving brutal collisions between opportunistic white fur traders and several warring Native American tribes. (more…)

Buddhist Literary Critic: My Favorite Books of 2015

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What an amazing year it has been, for myself as both a writer and reader. I never expected that The Road Home would make best-of-the-year book lists, but it made two of them. Crazy. I wanted to return the favor and share five of my favorite books of the year, including an honorable mention to a  few books I read this year that were actually published in 2014 or 2013 (because I'm slow, sometimes).  Favorite Books of 2015: (more…)

Buddhist Film Critic: Star Wars is All About Family Karma

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So let me start with the tiny bit of bad news that I have about the new Star Wars movie, because it really is pretty tiny, but still worth mentioning: The Star Wars saga has always been weak in two areas. First, galactic politics are never clearly explained. In The Force Awakens, nobody bothers to explain where these good guys or bad guys came from. Very little of the story is given to sketching how the new villains, The “First Order” came about after the Empire was vanquished 30 something years ago in Return of The Jedi. We hear a little about how the new wannabe Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, came over to the dark side, but that’s all we get. We never hear how these awfully mean (and, yes, once again very British) folks took over most of the galaxy yet again. But hey, I can’t really explain the

New Free Podcast Via Shambhala’s Meditation in The City: Self(Less) Promotion

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Check out Ethan's new lecture on the Shambhala Podcast, Self(less) Promotion." How does a person who believes in "egolessness" and the traps of self absorption find a way to mindfully promote his or her "self," to find voice in an egocentric world and find a way to promote good work he/she/they are doing? For anyone living in the world in 2015 and studying meditation, this is a key question. Check out what Ethan has to say about that, drawing on his book The Road Home: A Contemporary Exploration of the Buddhist Path and lots of ancient and not so ancient wisdom and thoughts on the matter.  This Shambhala podcast has lots of great teachers and lectures on it (Ethan is featured about once every four episodes), so you probably just subscribe via iTunes.  Enjoy!