Thursday, December 31, 2015

Siddhearta's Essence of 2015.

2015 was a year of formation. 

Many of the changes that have occurred over the past several years are starting to take take on stronger forms.  One of the best new shapes in my life has been my daughter, I enjoy spending our mornings together, learning from each other and playing.  I appreciate this brief moment in time that we get to do this, to share and influence each other, to watch each other grow. 

I haven't been as consistent writing this year due to many changes in my life, both personal and professional.  I thank you for supporting me, for taking a moment out of your day to share this space, to influence each other and to bring new form to our life. 

Thank you.

Here are some of this years highlights:
1.  A story of my teacher and appreciating those before you.
2.  What it means to be remarkable.
3.  I wrote about doing no harm and how to work with anger.
4.  How passionate amateurs become professionals.
5.  The experience of groundlessness and how to rest in movement.
6.  How teachers change us.
7.  Compassion and its activity.
8.  Karma and the influence of our choices.
9.  Questioning ourselves and our potential.
10.  The difficulty in starting a daily practice.
11.  5 faults to developing a stable practice.
12.  What a perfect day looks like.

I wish all of you a great year, a year of health and happiness.
May you find what you are looking for,
May you share generously,
May your kindness bring light to the world around you,
and may your determination accomplish not only your own aims, but the aims of others.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Karmic debt.

Your past actions and choices can be heavy.  They can wear on your present state, limit your opportunity, influence your choices and your experience of the world around you.

Karma can be a debt.  It can hang over your head for eons until it is paid back. 

Actions without mindfulness often lead to karmic debt.  Poor choices with short term interests often put us in a bind.

Actions with mindfulness can be an investment.  Generosity and patience, which seem like a lot to give now, often reap substantial rewards over a duration of time. 

How do you relate to your debt and what are you choosing to invest in?

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Buddhism in a nutshell.

How do you orient to your practice? 

A lot of times we think of our practice as being one part of our day, like when we are meditating or doing yoga.  Practice in that sense is rather isolated and we can struggle with how to bring that practice into the rest of our day. 

Buddhist's tend to think of their practice in terms of view, meditation and conduct.


Your view is how you see the world.  What is your relationship to the world?  How do you understand yourself and the world around you?  How does your perception influence your experience?  Is your view based on the truth or is it based on assumptions and bias?


Meditation is based on the view.  We stabilize our understanding and experience of the view.  We familiarize ourselves to seeing clearly and eliminate distortion in our lens.  We cultivate mental states that are beneficial like compassion, and learn to let go of mental states like anger and anxiety that bring us suffering.


Conduct is how we bring the view that we have cultivated in meditation into the world.  What posture do these teachings embody?  How do we walk through our day?  How does our view and meditation benefit our family and community?  What does your view look like in action?

Using this triad of view, meditation and conduct, you can develop a complete practice that includes all aspects of your life.  You can clarify your view through study, contemplation and seeking out teachings.  You can deepen your practice of meditation by receiving further instruction or going on meditation retreats.  You can share the fruits of your practice in the communities in which you live and work. 

Clarify your view.
Deepen your meditation.
Share the fruit.

That's the practice of the Buddha's teachings in a nutshell. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Buddhism 101.

Meditation is in the news a lot today.  We hear a lot about the benefits of mindfulness and meditation on our health and its impact on our mind.  This has lead a lot of curious people to look deeper into the meditative traditions, of which Buddhism is a major contributor. 

My intention with this blog is not to convert people to Buddhism or spread the Buddha's teachings.  If you have an affinity for these teachings I think that you will naturally pursue your interest and follow your heart wherever it leads you.  I write to share my experience of a practice tradition, in hopes that it will inspire those of you who are interested in starting your own practice and connect with those of you who already have a strong practice.

A lot of people who are interested in meditation ask me about Buddhism.  If you happen to be one of those people here are some good places to start reading:

The Four Noble Truths which is the first discourse the Buddha gave after his enlightenment. 

Practice Essentials which form the basis for any Buddhist practitioner. 

Impermanence and its impact on our life

Karma and the importance of our choices

Liberation and what is truly beneficial

The Buddha, and his story

Refuge and the important role of a teacher in our practice. 

Compassion, the essence of the practice

Our best tool, meditation.

Wisdom and realization.   

The importance of the Sangha, or community of practitioners

Generosity and doing work that matters

The importance of starting.

Get started

Friday, December 18, 2015

A myth.

There is a myth that goes around the Buddhist world that liberation is somewhere else.  That it is fantastic and beautiful.  That it is perfect. 

That myth harms our practice, because we see our present circumstances as something to be rejected.  This is a mistake because we need to use our present circumstances, they are the fuel for our awakening.  If we reject them as unfit then our practice isn't based on our reality but on a myth.

What can we transform if we don't use our present circumstances?  What else is there to liberate?

We need to experience the truth of suffering in order to realize its cessation.  As difficult as it can be to acknowledge the truth of suffering, it is the start of our path.

Then real awakening is possible.  Buddhahood becomes possible.  

Monday, December 7, 2015

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

5 faults to developing a stable practice.

There are five faults to developing a stable meditation practice.

1. Indolence
2. Forgetfulness
3. Agitation and Dullness
4. Inaction
5. Over-exertion

Indolence prevents you from actually starting.  You may want to start, you may have the idea of what you would like your practice to look like, but you don't actually follow through.

Forgetfulness happens when you actually take your seat, but don't remember what you are supposed to do.  You forget the instructions.  You aren't prepared, so you quit.

Agitation and Dullness occur when you are actually doing the practice.  You are engaged, but now you are experiencing all of this inner turmoil.  You either have all of these thoughts and emotions that are stirring like crazy, or you experience a heavy dullness and mental laxity.  You swing between these two states throughout your practice.

Inaction occurs when you notice this resistance popping up in your practice and you do nothing about it.  There is a thread of indifference in your practice.  As that thread builds on itself it creates a web in which we are caught up in not caring enough to remedy the situation.  We don't care to act and this continually drags on our practice.

Over-exertion occurs when we are doing the practice correctly, we are fully engaged, alert, responsive.  But we can't stay there.  We ask what's next?  What else?  We stray from the object of our practice into elaboration.  Unable to maintain a state of equalness, we continue to stir up more and more waves.