Despite all of the teachings to the contrary, it still seems like most of us, even those of us with committed Dharma practices, still fall into the trap of trying to avoid, dissolve or destroy difficult emotions. It's not so much that we want to go to war with our own thoughts and emotions, it's more like we want to hire a ninja assassin to take our difficult thoughts in the middle of the night, to quietly slit the throat of our feelings when no one is watching.
Several months back I gave a few meditation lessons to Vogue magazine editor Sally Singer. No, it's not in the Kimye issue, I just can't get enough of that couple. :) Sally wrote an article about her meditation practice and our conversations about Buddhism in the modern world for Vogue.com. She compared me to both Paul Auster and Paul Rudd. I'll take it.
A new podcast of a talk Ethan gave entitled "Meditators Make Better Lovers" is available both on the iTunes podcast and the Shambhala NYC website. The talk is a few years old but we especially like this one about love relationships and heartbreak. Enjoy!
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
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
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. (more…)
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. (more…)
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. (more…)
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. (more…)
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. “ -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1967 Christmas Sermon on Peace (Photo of Dr. Martin Luther King with Thich Nhat Hanh)