Monday, March 5, 2018


Fear of missing out.

You might have heard this acronym being passed around lately. Fear of missing out can take many forms. It can relate to connections, recognition, accomplishments or any other form of worth and belonging. There is a very special form of FOMO that our culture tends to breed:

The fear of not doing something important or creating something meaningful. 

We are told to live our best life, to contribute something meaningful to the world. We all aspire to live a life of purpose and for our work to have an impact. However, most of us feel that what we are doing isn't good enough. We should be doing something more, we should be doing something better. We should be making more of an impact, changing the world in more meaningful ways.

This fear of missing out is based on a projected sense of self. A better version of you, Greg 2.0. The ideal you that lives a life of great meaning and purpose.

This fear really points to a deep conviction of unworthiness and a lack of perceived value or meaning. We are looking for confirmation or validation from others about our worth. Fundamentally, if we cannot recognize our own value and worth then no matter how much praise or acknowledgement others give us, it doesn't penetrate to our heart.

The fear of missing out confirms this sense of shame and inauthenticity. I have to do this thing in order to prove that I am worth it, that I belong and that I am important.

Follow the fear. The fear is in you, it is not out there in the world. It is in your own heart and in your own mind.

Learn to sit with that fear. Learn to extend your kindness and patience to it. As you learn to sit with fear, it will reveal its hidden layers- your self-contempt, insecurity and shame.

Learn to sit with these too. Extend your love and kindness to all of your shadows.

Your shadow follows you. But you are not your shadow.

As we continue to move through various layers of self-awareness, we eventually end up in completely open, transparent awareness- a state of equanimity and complete self-acceptance. When we discover this deep sense of self-acceptance, we simultaneously recognize our value and our worth. Appreciating our own value, we can recognize the value and worth of others. We no longer harbor any fear of missing out, because we are not incomplete. We are fulfilled, just as we are.

Friday, March 2, 2018

You don't need to perform well to be loved.

You don't need to be the best at what you do.
You don't need to be the smartest, or have the best questions or most insightful answers.
You don't need to be a generous donor or diligently contribute in meaningful ways.
You don't need to show progress. You don't need to prove your worth or your value.

Come as you are.

In circles where you are doing the deep work of waking yourself up, of wrestling with your inner demons and trying to free yourself from the prison of your own confused perceptions and emotional trauma, you don't need to perform well to be loved.

We accept you as you are. And we are going to support you in your practice until you can figure out how to do that as well.

Monday, February 26, 2018

A second is a long time.

All the real work in our practice takes place within a second.

Within a moment, we have the opportunity to be patient. To not get caught up in our own feelings or anxiety. To maintain our composure.

We have the opportunity available to us to respond, rather than react. To make a choice, rather than be propelled. To listen and understand, rather than retort.

A second lasts a long time, and it is within those brief moments that we get to decide who we are and who we want to be in the world.

Of course we are going to fail. Fail a lot. That is why it is called a practice. We have to keep practicing. What other choice do we have?

Friday, February 23, 2018


We all have negative self talk. We all beat up on ourselves more than we should. We are our greatest critic, and we don't mince words with ourselves.

This is a really deep seated aversion and guilt about who we are and who we should be. The root of the problem lies in our conception of who we are, but it is not enough to simply see that ego is the problem. If anything, seeing that ego is the problem can further inflame our self hatred, because we should know better and even do know better.

But what can we do about it?

Recognize for a moment that there is a part of you that knows what you did, what you said, or how you screwed up isn't you. That moment in time isn't you. It was just a sentence, or conversation, or an action.

Let's call that moment of confusion, ignorance or stupidity your smaller self. Then, the knowing aspect that recognizes the actions of the smaller self, but also recognizes that is not who you are, let's call that your wisdom self. 

Your smaller self screwed up. You acted inappropriately, or lost your cool, or said something stupid. It happens.

Your wisdom self sees how you embody many different facets and roles in this life. Your wisdom self sees the bigger picture, knows that you care, that you try to do the right thing and strive to meaningfully contribute. Most importantly, your wisdom self knows that your past affects who you are today, but it doesn't define who you are. You get to decide that. Let your wisdom self decide that.

When your stuck in your head, beating yourself up about what you said or did, take a moment to notice that smaller self and then step back and notice the wisdom self. Smile and even laugh at the actions of the smaller self. Don't take yourself to seriously. With love and kindness, look at that smaller self and reflect on how far you have come, and how much further you have yet to go.

Then, taking a moment to acknowledge the pain and frustration of the smaller self, thank them for the lesson. Finally, set your intention with wisdom, and get back to work.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Compassion, redefined.

I have spent a lot of time leading meditation workshops and discussions about compassion. Most people tend to focus on the action of compassion. Compassion means helping the homeless, feeding the hungry, tending to the sick. Compassion means doing. If you take the action out, then somehow compassion seems to fall away.

This type of compassion is results focused. It needs to demonstrate an impact. No impact, no meaning.

The Buddha taught this type of compassion as 'normal' compassion. This is the type of compassion that we have for our friends and family, and even to strangers in times of crisis or shared humanity. We see this type of compassion in certain mammals, this natural instinct to take care and nurture our loved ones for our own welfare and survival.

When we are trying to cultivate compassion in meditation, we are trying to cultivate unconditional compassion. This is compassion that is objectless and unbiased. For this type of unconditional compassion, we need a new definition of compassion.

Unconditional compassion is open, available and responsive.

It is open- receptive, accommodating, vulnerable.
It is available- present, alert, attentive.
It is responsive- dynamic, engaged, attuned.

Unconditional compassion is focused on being, not doing. Being open, available and responsive, we can offer others our attention and understanding, we can acknowledge the pain and suffering they are going through, we can stay with them through struggle and strife. Embodying this unconditional compassion, we can offer others our warmth, kindness and generosity, or we can simply be present, listen, and witness.

"I see you" and "I hear you" can be more powerful than offering a solution. Compassion doesn't always need to have an answer, we don't always need to provide a fix. Sometimes offering others dignity and understanding are enough.

We can learn to rest in a state of openness, availability and responsiveness. We can learn to rest in unbiased equanimity, allowing ourselves to witness our own pain and the suffering of others. We can learn to be patient with adversity and ugliness, to witness rather than react, to embrace rather than reject.

And we can learn to carry this openness, availability and responsiveness off the cushion. We can carry it into our homes, our communities and into the world. We can walk with openness, be present and available in the world, and respond and engage with the way things are.

Friday, February 16, 2018

You will be judged.

There will be haters and critics. You will encounter dissenters and contempt. Others might even try to make you feel worthless.

It's going to happen.

Don't react.

Listen, acknowledge, but don't respond. It is not your job to change their minds. No matter how astute your arguments, you will lose. Let your silence and presence do the work.

Focus on what you can control, your own mind and your intentions. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Every Step Matters.

Every Step Matters. 
Transform your practice into the path.

1716 NW Market St
Seattle, WA  98199

February 18, 2018
Sunday 10am to Noon

Join us for a weekend workshop on carrying our practice into the world. This workshop will explore the practice of compassion and the Four Dharmas of Gampopa, a short aspiration prayer on how to carry your life as the path to awakening.

All classes by donation (recommended $20)


For more information contact Greg at