Month: January 2022

How to Meditate

by:  Loden Nyima, Resident Teacher at DMC Meditation is a process of trusting ourselves and coming home.  We often come to meditation for relief from stress, turmoil, or from inspiration for meaning and truth.  It’s that very part of ourselves seeking such things that already has them.  It’s like longing for like.  It’s our innate wisdom, compassion, and freedom shining through.  We’re learning to trust that intuitive part of ourselves, to come home, and let it expand.   Shamatha is a Sanskrit word that means “peaceful abiding”.  It describes an ancient form of mediation that pre-dates Buddhism by a long shot and has been practiced by people of all or no spiritual or religious tradition for thousands of years.  Many of the teachings we know today in the popular mindfulness movement were derived from these and related teachings, either in Buddhism, Yoga, or more.   Anyone can practice shamatha, we don’t need to have any interest in Buddhism or in any spiritual tradition..  And if we do have an interest in Buddhism, shamatha is quite foundational to …

Becoming Our Own Best Friend

by:  Loden Nyima, Resident Teacher at DMC All of us long for connection.  It’s just part of what we are.  From a Buddhist point of view, it’s actually a form of our innate compassion, even if it’s all tangled up into loneliness or grasping at others to make us feel at ease.  The irony is, we’re connected already…but more on that in a bit.   We all want friends to talk to, people to share life with, to enjoy the ups and support the downs, people to understand us, to love us, etc.  To a greater or lesser extent, we want to offer that to others, in one big cycle.  And that’s a wonderful thing!   And, we’re actually the only ones who can give that to ourselves completely.  The more we offer unconditional love to ourselves, the more loving and healthy our relationships with others will be.  The more we have to give, the more our innate compassion unfolds and embraces others. The more that happens, the more we feel how much of that also comes …

Freedom from the Inner Netflix

by:  Loden Nyima, Resident Teacher at SMC First of all, I actually love Netlflix, so please don’t sue me or cancel my subscription if anyone from there reads this—my problem isn’t with you! What this article is about is what I call the “inner Netflix”—the repetitive stories, dramas, narratives, that play out in our minds over and over again. Do you know what I mean?  Like the situation in our lives we think about constantly, whether at the workplace, or in our relationships, or other situations. It’s the thing we keep mulling over… ”if only I would have, if only they would have, one day it will be this way, next time I see them I’ll say this” etc, etc.  Or, the list of things we have to do later, or the big regrets we have, or the endless self-criticism, or the various fantasies, or the hopes and fears or anxieties about the future. The list goes on and on. The inner Netflix has it all. We’ve got the drama, the workplace sitcom, the relationship …

Our Self-Healing, Self-Rejuvenating Mind

by:  Loden Nyima, Resident Teacher at DMC Many of us these days come to meditation or a spiritual path with a wish to heal. To heal from one or another form of suffering or turmoil that we’ve experienced, or from the pace, demands, and challenges of modern life.  We often come seeking relief, peace, stillness, rejuvenation, wellness, and even freedom from whatever limiting conditions we experience.    The good news is that those qualities are already present in us already and are the parts of us doing the seeking and the asking.  While we certainly don’t need to be a Buddhist or even interested in Buddhism to practice many forms of meditation (and I actually mean that!), one name for this part of ourselves is our Buddha nature.  It’s our innate wisdom, compassion, freedom, health, and strength.  The way it shines through in our lives can be by recognizing that we’re suffering and that we long to heal, to release, to be free.*  It’s like longing for like.  It’s the sun shining through the clouds, present …

Coming to Our Senses

by:  Loden Nyima, Resident Teacher at DMC The world meditates us All of our senses are an expression of basic wakefulness.  Right now, we’re seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and feeling—because we’re awake.  And everything we perceive is sacred, living, and free.  It’s all actually made from the earth and the elements, even if it’s so impossibly refined and processed that it’s easy to forget that.  Isn’t the earth sacred?     In meditation, we remember this.  Every perception is a reminder, a wake-up call, a notification that we’re alive and that life is precious, fleeting, and beautiful.  We’re part of an ecosystem, a circle of life.  This can be an especially helpful way to meditate when we feel scattered, anxious, alone, or stressed out by a situation in our lives.  It can help us reconnect with our greater whole.       We can do this by grounding our practice in our senses.  Let ourselves feel our connection to the earth below us, like a tree with deep roots that go down.  The earth has been holding and accommodating us …

Speaking of Silence

by:  Loden Nyima, Resident Teacher at DMC Healing in Space and Stillness When I lead silent meditation retreats, I often begin with a somewhat cynical joke.  I ask, “OK, let’s have a show of hands, how many people here feel like we can keep up with everything in our lives, process all the information we receive in a day completely, give as much time and care to all of our interactions and relationships as they need, thoughtfully attend to all of our work and tasks with no rush whatsoever, take as much time as we need for self-care and health, relax at the end of the day with not a care in our minds, sleep as much as we need, then wake up the next day refreshed and ready to go?”…at this point usually we’re all chuckling and shaking our heads in empathetic commiseration and the kind of relief that comes from being able to laugh in authentic connection with others. That said, it’s no joke.  From a meditative point of view, our spiritual energy …

Daily Practice: Our Reservoir of Sanity

by:  Loden Nyima, Resident Teacher at DMC Meditation practice is a lot like physical exercise: the consistency is more important than the amount.  Having a daily meditation practice can be key to seeing real benefits in our lives.  Every time we practice, it’s as if we’re deepening our reservoir of sanity, peace, resiliency, from which we can draw at any moment when we need it.   The right amount of daily practice is the amount that feels attainable to us—even on, or especially on, a busy day.  If we pick an amount that we know we can do, we’ll do it, and we’ll feel good about it, and that will help us build momentum and want to keep practicing, or even extend our practice.   However, if we pick an amount that’s too much, we might get to it once in a while and just feel bad the rest of the time…that doesn’t help. So, err on the easy side.  Ten minutes a day can actually be quite good.  It sounds small, but try it out and …

Three Breaths at a Time: On the Spot Practices for Life

by:  Loden Nyima, Resident Teacher at DMC Now that we’ve established a daily meditation practice (or even if we haven’t), we’ve built a reservoir on which we can draw at any moment when we feel like we need it. One practice I like a lot during the day when I start to get stressed out or upset about something is the practice of three breaths.  We can just close our eyes, and take three meditative breaths, then go from there.  On the spot meditation.   Or, if there’s stronger emotional energy, we can use the same method we talked about earlier (in “Our Self-Healing, Self-Rejuvenating Mind”) where instead of going with our narratives we find the raw feeling in our bodies with curiosity and care, and just breathe with it as if we’re massaging a knot in a muscle, in this case, with our breath. Another practice we can use is to connect with the elements.  We can step outside the office for a second, or even look out a window, and gaze into the sky.  …

an invitation

An Invitation

by:  Katharine Kaufman A retreat has a beginning, middle, and end to it and certain things are bound to happen during these phases.  I listen to a chef on the radio. First thing to teach novice chefs is: mise-en-place. This means to gather and put all the ingredients and tools you’ll need for the recipe in one place and also to prepare them. Chop, grate, stir. This is the beginning. She said the new chefs want to rush to make the recipe without preparing.  I have packed and traveled and checked in, removed my shoes, and lined them up with the others and am standing outside the meditation hall. There is one thing left I need to do to begin. My meditation cushion. I need to find a place to sit down and wait. “Stay in the middle of the event and listen for messages there,” Barbara Dilley, my friend, and a contemplative dance mentor said to a group of us. I wrote it down and pasted the instructions on the inside cover of my …

relationship tips

5 Tips for Relationships in the Midst of Coronavirus Times

by:  Harville Hendrix Ph.D. and Helen LaKelly Hunt Ph.D As couples find themselves at home now more than ever before due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many relationships are feeling the strain. Work-related stress, childcare difficulties, interrupted routines and lack of social connections compound the difficulty of these uncertain times, leading overwhelmed partners to interacting from a place of frustration. Struggling for a way to make this time one of triumph rather than tragedy? You are not alone, and there is hope. Relationship experts Harville and Helen have shared their top tips for improving your interactions during this time: Honor your partner’s time by making an appointment. Ask, “Is now a good time to talk about…?” We are all facing life circumstances that fall outside of the “norm” right now. By choosing to make an appointment with your partner before engaging in conversation, you show them respect and care. While this system may feel formal, structure creates safety which in turn invites spontaneity. By honoring boundaries in this way, you prevent negative interactions with your partner. Allow for boundaries by …