Feb 2014 I had a chance to go on a field trip to an anatomy lab recently with a class studying the nature of the human body. There are Buddhist meditation practices related to bringing us into right relationship with the body through contemplating the human body in various ways. One is a contemplation on the “32 parts of the Body”. More details can be found at the excellent website of my colleague Bob Stahl who teaches a class on this topic in Santa Cruz, CA.
Dec 2013 Nelson Mandela has passed away, a great leader in South Africa and the world, who spent 27 years in prison. Mandela was oriented towards meditation and self-reflection. Of his time in prison, he said:
“You may find that the cell is an ideal place to learn to know yourself, to search realistically and regularly the processes of your own mind and feelings. In judging our progress as individuals we tend to concentrate on external factors such as one’s social position, influence and popularity, wealth and standard of education …. but internal factors may be even more crucial in assessing one’s development as a human being: honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, purity, generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve your fellow men – qualities within the reach of every soul – are the foundation of one’s spiritual life “
April 2013 I am starting a regular dharma group in San Francisco Mission, which will start in May w a 6 session meditation class, and then continue as a regular dharma group (Monday Night Dharma).
Part of the reason for my starting the group is that it was pointed out to me that almost all of the Dharma groups in the area are run by male teachers, and it seems an imbalance that there are not more voices of women (or people of other genders) sharing the Dharma as well. This is a common pattern in most spiritual traditions, which I think is not good for anyone, and not reflective of the truth. So instead of just complaining about it, I am stepping up to the seat, 15 years after my teacher initially suggested I do this, and after 7 years of being a gypsy dharma speaker around town. Better late than procrastinating forever! The group is open to everyone, so please come join us. The group will meet at CIIS, 1453 Mission St in San Francisco on most Mondays at 7pm. Check the home page here for dates and details. See you there!
June 2012 I’m currently teaching a meditation retreat up in Santa Sabina Retreat Center in Marin w the SF Insight Community, and am reminded of my spiritual ancestor Thomas Merton since they have pictures of him around this Dominican retreat center. A well-known quote from him “I didn’t become a monk so I would suffer more, I became a monk so I could suffer more effectively”. And a less well-known quote “In the night of our technological barbarism, monks must be as trees which exist silently in the dark and by their vital presence purify the air”. Whenever you meditate, you too are performing this function!
Jan 2011: It’s now official that meditation works, because it says so in the New York Times 😉 Neuroplasticity continues throughout life, so you can change your brain!