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Archive for November, 2017

A Meditation on Gratitude

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

You are invited to a meditation focusing on gratitude.

Take a nice slow breath – in through your nose and out through your mouth. Soften your gaze. Make your spine long and tall. Allow your shoulders to drop away from your ears.

How are you breathing? Allow yourself to breathe in and breathe out. And with your next breath, hear the words: Thank You.

Take a deeper breath. Allow more to come in and exhale and allow more to go out. Allow your mind and heart to take in more and let go more.

Invite a free hand onto a part of your body that needs some attention. Listen and send the mantra Thank You to that part of your body. Allow the mantra to move more deeply there. Breathe in and out. Follow the inhalation and exhalation. Follow your brilliance. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

Direct your hand to the center of your chest – your heart center. Direct the words Thank You to your heart center. Allow the gratitude to grow in and around you. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

Carry this mantra with you. Notice when you are not in gratitude. Thank You. Notice what takes you closer to gratitude. Thank you. Notice how we can be gratitude with each breath. Thank You.

And take a deep full breath in and out. Repeat the mantra: Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

Invitation: In the next 24 hours, find at least three people to say Thank You to and pass on a transmission of gratitude.

Open your eyes and look at the world you help co-create with gratitude. Look at the world with Thank You eyes. Look at the world with a grateful heart.

When we see this love and gratitude in ourself, it will be seen in others. Thank You.


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The Lost Art of Good Conversation – Book Review

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

In his new book, The Lost Art of Good Conversation, Sakyong Mipham uses the basic principles of the Shambhala tradition – meditation and an authentic belief in the inherent wisdom, compassion, and courage of all beings. At a time when noise and technology fills our days, Mipham offers us a new lens of connecting. The Lost Art of Good Conversation provides a map to help us to listen and speak more mindfully with loved ones, co-workers, strangers, and even ourselves. Providing guidance grounded in his spiritual traditions (he is head of a worldwide Shambhala community), Mipham explores effective and intentional aspects of conversation

Most of our days are spent cutting through all the noise, cell phone distractions, and social media. Rather than connect deeper with these tools, we have disconnected from ourselves and those we love. Mipham offers practical advice to help us increase our attentions spans, become better listeners, and strive to appreciate the people around us. In a world of digital resources and connectivity to social media and email, we are all in constant connection with one another. Then why are so many people feeling burned out, distant from loved ones, and experiencing deep loneliness? The path starts with recognizing our own goodness and cultivating meaningful conversations. As Mipham says, “Mindfulness is the act of noticing. It is not engaging in like or dislike; it is paying attention to be alive. Mindfulness begins with awareness of feeling.”

Good conversation starts with kindness and compassion. It is the experience of syncing our mind to our heart (rather than a computer). What if the truth we are seeking, the connection we are longing for, and the wisdom that exists in our relationships starts with recognizing our own goodness? If we are willing to look at the deeper truth of ourselves – it starts with a good conversation. Sakyong Mipham provides inspiring ideas and practical tips on how to be more present in your day-to-day life, helping us to communicate in ways that elevates the dignity of everyone involved.

“When we are gentle with ourselves, we can open our hearts to others.”

What is quite powerful in this book is how Mipham gives examples of how to share words as a meeting place. We can stay in the place of what connects us rather than fear the unknown and perhaps areas of what we view differently. “Finally, what makes good conversation great is wisdom – the wisdom to see your world.”

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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Wait, So You Just Sit?

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

For the first few years of my meditation practice, I sat in formal lotus posture cross-legged with my back straight and often unsupported. Now for the past two years I sit very differently. My sitting practice teaches me to listen. It’s my way of becoming present. It’s my way of being completely relaxed and comfortable on a chair, or a cushion, or even on a seat in the subway. I have chosen to be comfortable during my practice. This comfort has taught me about how my body rests. My sitting practices has taught me how to more deeply listen to my body and mind. My legs can be crossed or not. My legs can be flat on the floor or not. I just sit upright, comfortably, relaxed and natural. I give myself complete permission to just sit without judging my sitting or anything that arises during my practice.

I place my hands either resting on the arms of the chair, my lap or my palms facing upwards on my lap, whichever is more comfortable. My palms are in the cosmic or also known as the universal mudra, left palm on top of my right, thumb-tips touching. I expand my shoulders so I can feel my heart-center open. I am in receive mode. I either close my eyes or leave them partially open looking down.

I begin sitting with four very slow, deep breaths, expelling all the air through my mouth. Breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth, I continue to count these slow deep breaths for a few moments. Then I begin breathing naturally with mouth closed, through the nostrils only, dropping the counting and just sitting without judgments. I allow my mind to wander until it fades. I see the thoughts as floating and passing – this way there is no grasping at one particular thought. Sitting in a non-judging mind takes time – a daily or lifetime practice.

Sitting in this way I can completely relax, and make adjustments if I feel any pain anywhere in my body. I sit for fifteen minutes to one hour. It has become a daily ritual that allows me to start my day with ease and grace. Sitting daily teaches me how to be present. I don’t need to get caught up in chaos. Sitting has taught me to slow down.

There is real joy and pleasure in serving and being present for others. There is a very deep appreciation for being who we are, and not needing to change or fix anyone. Allowing you to be you and me to just be me. Sitting gives me permission to let go, drop into a deeper place within, and live from that place. It is not always easy. When I am stuck, I go back to the breath. When I feel overwhelmed I go back to the cushion. In the stillness within, I experience peace again and again and again. If I am willing to sit, just sit, I discover what remains – pure joy.

Wait, so you just sit? Yes.




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