Author: Travis Newbill

MBSR

[Watch] Janet Solyntjes on How Mindfulness Helps Reveal Our Personal Truth

In the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and the uprising for social justice in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, it seems fair to assume that many people are experiencing intense emotions right now and uncertainty about how to navigate… all of this.  In a few weeks, SMC will be hosting an online Mindfulness Meditation Intensive, and recently we asked Janet Solyntjes—a longtime MBSR teacher, and co-leader of the retreat—to share her thoughts.    While Janet didn’t claim to have all the answers, she offered that mindfulness practice—especially in an intensive retreat context—is a way to “feel into, and relax into, the truth of what you don’t know—and perhaps little threads of what you do know. It’s an invitation to do the personal inquiry that we all need to do in one way or another. And, in retreat, it’s a way to do that in community, and to feel the interconnectedness.”  For those seeking some guidance for their practice and/or considering the benefits of carving out some retreat time, I encourage you …

Andrew Holecek

[WATCH] Andrew Holecek on Working with Fear & Anxiety; Navigating This Bardo

Andrew Holcek is a Buddhist teacher and author (and dentist and concert pianist) who has earned the nickname Dr. Death because of his extensive knowledge of the death and bardo teachings of Tibetan Buddhism. And his presentations on this universally relevant (and dreaded) topic are enriched by his unending interest in the findings of western psychology and neuroscience as well. Basically, he’s a good person to check in with if you realize that life as you knew it is over and you need a map for navigating the in-between state—the bardo.  Of course, some of the trickiest, most crucial, and most immediate tasks in navigating the bardo have to do with relating to—rather than from—fear and anxiety. It’s quite possible to do this well, Andrew says. And, if you can, this crisis, this time of uncertainty, can accelerate your spiritual and psychological development rather than initiate a spiral of regression.  Andrew offers helpful perspective, as well as one of his “emergency meditations,” in this recent interview. Enjoy the video below, or scroll down to stream/download …

[WATCH] Dr. Rick Hanson: “Finding Calm and Contentment in Turbulent Times”

  In this video, filmed live with Shambhala Mountain Center, Dr. Rick Hanson—the renowned psychologist, best-selling author, and meditation teacher—shares techniques and insights that are directly applicable to life in these challenging times. In addition, Rick has offered a package of bonus material to everyone who finds their way to this video. It includes a few guided meditations, as well as the first chapter of his new book Neurodharma—which just came out May 6! Click here to get the bonus material! As Dr. Hanson says: “The deepest roots of the highest happiness are in the body. At the intersection of modern science and ancient wisdom – which could be called neurodharma – we can find very effective tools for resilient well-being.” May this be of benefit. About Rick Hanson Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a psychologist, Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, and New York Times best-selling author. His books are available in 28 languages and include Resilient, Hardwiring Happiness, Buddha’s Brain, Just One Thing, and Mother Nurture. He’s been an invited speaker at Google, NASA, …

Susan PIver

[VIDEO] Susan Piver Gets Personal

And that’s part of what makes her such a great teacher. She notes that she doesn’t have fancy credentials, so what she has to offer—rather than some expertise from on-high—is the way meditation and Buddhist teachings influence, and manifest within, her life experiences.  It’s helpful to hear that someone who I regard as being a serious practitioner still experiences things like claustrophobia on an airplane, or disappointment in relationships.  And, it’s also helpful to hear how these everyday bits of suffering can transform us into more gentle & delighted people if met by the touch of a practitioner.  In our recent interview, Susan discusses her personal approach to teaching and living the path, and also the importance of retreat.             ABOUT SUSAN PIVER Susan Piver is a Buddhist teacher and the New York Times bestselling author of nine books, including The Wisdom of a Broken Heart, and Start Here Now: An Open-Hearted Guide to the Path and Practice of Meditation. Her latest book is The Four Noble Truths of Love: Buddhist …

Hands of Hope: The Possibility of Bodily Ease in Sitting Meditation

A few years ago, my experience of sitting on my meditation cushion was changed in a dramatic, simple, and sustained way, when Hope Martin placed her hands on my spine for just a few minutes. Over the past three decades, countless students have had similar experiences, as she has gained a reputation for being a profoundly sensitive, intuitive body-worker as well as a gentle and brilliant meditation teacher. As she says, what she offers is highly experiential. In that space with her, a shift occurred: emotionally, in the body, in the mind. It was profound. I flash on that experience just about every time I sit to meditate, and the body, remembering Hope’s hands, relaxes into a dignified posture. The experience is elusive, and better to be experienced personally than described. But, hearing Hope speak about her work, along with some clips of a recent session I had with her (lucky me!), may bring it to life a bit more. Please enjoy this short video, and may the hands of Hope be with you. Shambhala …

Rick Hanson

[VIDEO] Dr. Rick Hanson – Neurodharma: Practicing Meditation with the Brain in Mind

In this clip from SMC’s Reality Online Summit, Dr. Rick Hanson discusses scientific and spiritual importance of recognizing that our basic needs our met, and how this can allow for more full experiences in meditation. Join us at SMC for Neurodharma Retreat with Dr. Rick Hanson: A 10-day Experiential Exploration of the Deepest Roots of the Highest Happiness (Sep. 20–29)             About the Author Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a psychologist, Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, and New York Times best-selling author. His books are available in 26 languages and include Resilient, Hardwiring Happiness, Buddha’s Brain, Just One Thing, and Mother Nurture. He edits the Wise Brain Bulletin and has numerous audio programs. A summa cum laude graduate of UCLA and founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom, he’s been an invited speaker at NASA, Oxford, Stanford, Harvard, and other major universities, and taught in meditation centers worldwide. Dr. Hanson has been a trustee of Saybrook University, served on the board of …

[Video] Susan Piver Discusses Meditation and Writing

If someone were able to take a snapshot of your mind right now, what would it look like? If you were able to choose when this image would be taken, when would that be? What would you do to prepare? Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche says that as we practice meditation, our thoughts become more elegant — and likewise our spoken and written words, and the myriad other expressions (or snapshots) of mind. From that point of view, the link between meditation and writing seems to be quite clear: sit, settle, allow for some clarity, and then express. Meditation can also be helpful in navigating the obstacles that come up during the writing process, such as doubt, and can help us to fine-tune our relationship to our mind and world, so that what we express in writing is perhaps more luminous than it would be otherwise. The relationship between meditation and writing is a huge topic, and there are several avenues for exploration, including practical questions like “How can one find time for both writing and meditation?” …