All posts filed under: Mindful Living

What Does It Mean to Be in a Secure-Functioning Relationship? and Why Should It Matter to Me?

By Stan Tatkin and Tracey Boldemann-Tatkin // Secure functioning refers to an interpersonal system based on principles of true mutuality, collaboration, justice, fairness, and sensitivity. It means that you and your partner are in a foxhole together, protecting each other from the outside world… and from each other. Secure functioning assumes you and your partner have different minds, with different interests, drives, and histories. Secure-functioning partners are fully interdependent in the sense that each happily accepts the other as a burden, and both agree they are in each other’s care. In this kind of two-person system, you and your partner form a couple bubble, which you can think of as a protective boundary that protects your resources and sense of ongoing safety and security. Think of a couple bubble as an ecosystem or terrarium that provides you and your partner with the sustenance you need to carry out your daily tasks, deal with fears and anxiety, handle difficult situations and people, and undergo personal growth. In a secure-functioning relationship, you and your partner assure each …

The Beauty of Pristine Mind

By Orgyen Chöwang // At its core, our mind is pristine. Pristine Mind is a beautiful, naturally vibrant state, brimming with life, self-sustaining in its capacity to provide a dependable, inexhaustible source of happiness and joy. Sadly, most of us do not realize the true nature of our mind. We have become disconnected from it. Pristine Mind becomes obscured by the mind’s misperceptions and inner experiences—thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and judgments—that pollute its true nature. As a result, we live in a mind that leaves us insecure, alternating between times of happiness and sadness. This robs us of the ultimate experience of life, deeply connected and aware of this pristine state of mind. In Pristine Mind we are not detached or withdrawn from the world. We do not need to reject worldly pleasures. In Pristine Mind we are far more present to the world than we have ever been before. We experience life’s pleasures more robustly, work more effectively, and, above all, love more richly and more universally. Living in this way does not leave us …

Writing as a Path to Awakening

By Albert Flynn DeSilver // Writing as a Path to Awakening begins with a primal human question; who am I? Who am I, really? I can not tell what I am, because words can describe only what I am not, said the great Indian mystic Nisargadatta Maharaj. We set off writing on the path to awakening by tuning into what we are not. If we are not what words can describe, and words can describe pretty much everything, then what the heck are we? This is Writing as a Path to Awakening’s ultimate question, with the invitation to write and live your way into the answer. Writing as a Path to Awakening is about how conscious living informs conscious writing (conscious creativity) and in turn, how conscious writing and creativity inform conscious living. It’s one infinite loop, the helix of return. The practice of writing is an exploration of consciousness, a practice toward deeper self-awareness, and moves us along the path of awakening to our true nature. Many of our greatest spiritual teachers from around …

Mindful Hiking

Practicing Mindfulness and Awareness in Nature

By Kay Peterson // A passing rainstorm doesn’t have to ruin a hike if we remember to bring a raincoat or don’t mind temporarily getting a little wet! The clouds are certain to pass and we may even be left feeling stronger and more rejuvenated than we expected. Our emotional landscape is much like the weather – we may not be able to control it, but we do have power over our reactions to it. As human beings, we have a tendency to gravitate toward pleasurable experiences and to avoid potentially painful ones. One could argue that some of that tendency is a by-product of important survival instincts. We need to be able to identify and act when we encounter potentially life-threatening situations. However, this “instinct” can also run amok – especially these days when we rarely find ourselves being chased by dinosaurs 😉 Sometimes that part of the brain that alerts us to potential danger has been trained to be reactive – to be especially sensitive – often due to some kind of trauma …

MBSR

28,762 days

By Janet Solyntjes // This is the number of days that make up the average life expectancy of a person born in the United States. How many of these days will US citizens spend appreciating life? How will you spend this one? We are a time-conscious society. Productivity, connectivity, pressured to beat the clock—how often do we look at our iPhone or laptop to see what time it is? Do we understand what time is telling us? The clock and the calendar are both saying that we won’t be here forever. They reveal one simple truth: time only runs in one direction. An aspen tree doesn’t look at a clock to see when it is time to turn golden. The northern lake doesn’t need a timeline or deadline to tell it when to freeze or thaw. As humans, we often experience time-related stress. Rather than seeing the passing of time as a source of pressure or a reason to feel that we are too lazy, too crazy, or that we are losing our grip on …

The Path of Grief, Joy, and Awakening

By David Chernikoff // I was a little surprised when I arrived at Maria’s room and found out that I needed to put on a gown and gloves because she was at high risk for infection. I understood what compromised immunity was. Still, I felt awkward and silly whenever I put that stuff on. The discharge planner had spoken to Maria about our hospice program and Maria agreed that hospice care was an appropriate next step. Still, Maria wanted to meet one of our staff people and I was happy to put a human face on our organization. She didn’t have any real questions that she couldn’t answer for herself. What she really wanted was to share the story of her life, and to prepare for the end of what she called, “my life in this world.” This was the kind of listening that I savored, a peak into another person’s soul that left me with a felt sense of what the Sufis mean when they talk about “the privilege of being human.” That night, …

With Nature as Our Guide

By Kay Peterson // These days I’ve been contemplating how hard it can sometimes be for us to come together to meet the challenges of today’s world with wisdom, compassion, and skillful action. In the wake of dramatic events that stir fear and uncertainty, it can be so easy to get lost in the split of right vs. wrong, good vs. bad, or us vs. them. There’s a seductive illusion (or delusion) that choosing a side will bring safety and security, yet this actually narrows our view and a collective uneasiness remains. Somehow, I think we instinctively know that it’s not so simple, and being with nature reminds us of the delicate balance that is the web of life. There are so many causes and conditions that contribute to this life unfolding as it does. We may find ourselves often reacting to challenging situations with our habitual versions of fight, flight or freeze. While we can appreciate these coping strategies for how they may have helped protect us at one time, we also know that …

Katharine Kaufman

The Good Vehicle

By Katharine Kaufman // My father taught me how to move with wind and water. He taught me to read the direction of the wind by turning my cheek, appreciate the lines of the sail and cleats and tiller. He said, watch out, you’re luffing. Luffing is when the sail is not taught; there is bagginess in the bottom triangle of the sail. If the wind was steady, and sea calm, and if it wasn’t too cold, and the current didn’t drag the boat; that was the best thing. Sometimes we’d sing about the drunken sailor as we bailed water with a cut out clorox bottle, watched out for buoys, looked ahead for reefs, shallow places, looked at the sails, horizon, water, my family’s barefeet. ~ When I first learned about Yoga and Mediation I thought when teachers said return to what is happening now, that it was their present moment I should have. That the present was more magical, fancy, mysterious then what my present had to offer. I wanted Richard Freeman’s present moment, …

5 Things To Know About Meditating for a Whole Week

By Ryan Stagg // At the end of a recent week-long meditation retreat at Shambhala Mountain Center another participant remarked about how difficult it would be to explain her experience back home. “We sat a lot, walked in circles, and didn’t talk much,” she said with a laugh. And yet somehow after a week of performing this simple routine, often in complete silence, we all had smiles on our faces and a clear appreciation for the journey we had just completed. It was hard to pinpoint exactly what, but some transformation had undoubtedly occurred. The atmosphere in the room was simply lighter and more spacious. There is something very radical about choosing to go on a meditation retreat. In many ways it stands in contrast to the speediness and excitement of our everyday lives. It also creates a fundamental shift in our perspective—rather than seeking fulfillment externally, we resolve to sit and look inside, at our own bodies, hearts, and minds. The effects of embracing this contemplative perspective have long been promoted by practitioners and …

How a Meditation Retreat Can Change Everything

By Daniel Hessey // Acharya Bill McKeever and I led a dathün a few years ago, and at the beginning of the month–long retreat, he filled a glass of water and stirred some mud into it. It became murky and funky. You could not see through the glass, and you wouldn’t want to drink it. Even when the the water stopped swirling, the dirt remained suspended and the water opaque. Bill put the glass on the shrine, where it sat untouched for four weeks. The first week, it didn’t seem to change all that much, but on the second week you could see some sediment accumulating at the bottom—though the water was not clear. The third week, you could see through the water much better, though it was still a little brown. Then, in the fourth week, Bill picked up the glass and drank from the clear water above all the mud that had settled to the bottom. Daily meditation practice changes everything. We learn we can make friends with ourselves, our thoughts, our emotions, and …