At the recent antiterrorism rally in Paris in response to the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, participants wore signs saying “I am Charlie Hebdo” and “I am a Jew” in solidarity with those who were targeted by Islamic extremists. At the same time, France was rocked by anti-Muslim violence in retaliation for the attacks. It’s so tempting to reduce events of this kind to a simplistic us vs. them rhetoric, as if this makes the situation easier to address and resolve, which of course it does not. But there’s a deeper opportunity here, an invitation to look beneath the surface and find our solidarity not just with those who agree with or resemble us, but with everyone, no matter their skin color or religion. Not just “je suis Charlie,” but “je suis tout le monde.”
Happiness is your birthright, your natural state—but It’s been obscured by the negative beliefs and stories you’ve accumulated over a lifetime. Everything I offer on this website, the fruit of decades of spiritual experience and teaching, is intended to support and guide you in penetrating through the layers of conditioning and attachment to reveal your natural state of inherent wakefulness and peace.
If you’re drawn to the practice of mindfulness, I recommend that you begin with my Mindfulness Meditation mobile app—it’s filled with comprehensive instructions, guided meditations, and an eight-week plan to help you establish a regular practice.
If you’re seeking guidance on the journey of spiritual awakening, you can begin by watching my interview with Rick Archer of Buddha at the Gas Pump or reading one of my books, Wake Up Now or Beyond Mindfulness. If you’re ready to go deeper, I offer both spiritual mentoring and counseling designed to foster the realization of your true nature while helping to release the core stories that perpetuate suffering. And if you’d like a full immersion experience, I lead periodic retreats and intensives in the “direct approach” to spiritual realization in Tucson and New York.
Wherever you choose to begin, I offer you my heartfelt wishes for a fulfilling journey home to this timeless, luminous moment . . .where you’ve always been.
With love and blessings,
For many years I spent New Year’s eve reflecting on the events of the year drawing to a close and New Year’s day clarifying my plans and aspirations for the year ahead. Eventually, I recognized that my aspirations were the same year after year: to be more present for my life, to open my heart even more fully to love and connection, to be of benefit to others. Over the years I discovered that I could affect the circumstances of my life to a limited degree, but I always had the power to find happiness in the midst of any situation. And in my work with people as a teacher and therapist, I’ve come to realize that we all aspire to essentially the same thing. Who among us doesn’t want to be happy, to enjoy life, to share love and connection? Even the suicide bomber and the drug dealer have the same aspirations. The only difference lies in how we go about actualizing them.
As much as you may love the holidays, they’re uniquely designed to seduce you into believing the thoughts and stories you otherwise hold in spacious awareness. As the old adage goes, if you think you’re enlightened, go home to mom and dad and the rest of the family and see what happens. If you haven’t completely released the grip of the past, it will surely come back to haunt you. The holidays are an especially good time to sit quietly and welcome the full range of your experience. Here are some reminders for flowing through the holidays with presence and grace:
Only the present moment exists.
It’s tempting to get embroiled in the unfinished business of a lifetime when you’re spending time with the people who helped create it in the first place. Even if your parents are no longer with you, or you’re the parents now and the kids come home to you, it’s easy to get triggered by the old familiar faces, the habitual chatter and patterns of behavior. But the truth is, the past no longer exists except as thoughts in your mind right now. In this moment, is there any problem that isn’t generated by your thinking, judging, interpreting mind? Let go of the thoughts, and the past has lost its hold over you.
Here’s another post on working with mindfulness in everyday life:
One thing about mindfulness meditation that few writers have noted is that it’s contagious. Once you’ve been practicing for a while and started to notice how much more relaxed and focused you feel and how much more enjoyment you get out of life, you’re likely to want to share the benefits with others. And who comes to mind first if not family members–your partner, kids, parents, brothers and sisters and cousins and close friends. When you see them suffering through stress or boredom or depression or anxiety or attention deficit, as you yourself once did, you want to shake them and say, just sit down and follow your breath!
Because we’re so close to them, and their well-being is at least as important to us as our own, we may feel especially motivated to influence our children. Needless to say, shaking is counterproductive; instead, the most effective approach is to set a shining example yourself. If you’re interested in introducing your kids to mindfulness, the best thing you can do is practice mindfulness. When they notice that you’re now calmer, less reactive, and more enjoyable to be with, your kids will be curious and want to discover your secret.
Listen to my recent conversation with Paulette Pipe about the benefits and limitations of mindfulness and the direct approach “beyond mindfulness” to unshakable happiness and peace. Includes a 10-minute guided meditation. Enjoy! http://www.unity.fm/episode/TouchingTheStillness_102814