Community

By Paul Woodward When I was a Buddhist monk and the Dalai Lama visited us in France, there was a meeting of most of the Western monks and nuns in our community. At that time, the majority were living in a monastery and neighboring nunnery near Toulouse, but others were visiting from elsewhere in Europe, […]

Musings on identity and self…

I often say about the voice I use in my work that I’m speaking as an empowered patient (rather than the professional I also am), but the fact is I’m speaking as a vulnerable human being — that which every seven billion of us are if we allow ourselves to be honest. We must rid our imaginations of artificial hierarchies. …

What passes for health are a variety of degrees of anesthesia

We live in a society that has a hard time with idiosyncrasies and differences; that doesn’t recognize the uniqueness of each individual predicament. This turns the experience of life as a struggle into an anomaly when in reality, I think life is a struggle for everyone. People differ in as much as they successfully or unsuccessfully construct shields that make that struggle unconscious. But no one can really embrace life without seeing how much pain it contains. So what passes for health are a variety of degrees of anesthesia. …

Consider gratitude

I want to suggest and even underscore that practicing gratefulness does not entail denying the difficulty in our lives.

Guest authors

This blog owes much of its success and influence to the great authors who chose to share their work here. Below are just a few of the more prolific contributors. There are links to their blogs or websites in the body of the posts where you can get more information about each author. There were […]

Monica: healing documented

The archives of this blog now span over ten years. They are a record of a time in my life when I was learning and transforming at a rate unlike any other time in my life. I say this as a way of disclaimer. In the earlier years of this blog I am processing shock and […]

A good day to consider a practice of gratefulness

Practicing gratitude came upon me as a form of grace. It was not something that made a whole lot of sense to me during the darkest times of illness. No, gratitude did not come easy from that darkest of dark nights and yet the little there was I clung to for dear life (quite literally). For me the bearers of this gift were my cats. While there was nothing else I could find any consistent source of comfort from, I could find it from my cats. For that, I was profoundly grateful and because I had that gift my practice of gratitude began. … I want to suggest and even underscore that practicing gratefulness does not entail denying the difficulty of our lives. I think it’s equally important to honor and embrace our pain and anger and hurt. If we are feeling those things we need to approve of and love the parts of us that feel all those things. That does not negate also being grateful for that which we can be grateful for. So many times when things like gratefulness or forgiveness or other virtues are considered the message is that we should not feel all the bad stuff. I say that’s crap. Feel it all…the bad and the good. Feel grateful and angry. It’s all good and necessary. … [click on title to read and view more]

Novel way of thinking about anxiety…

There’s a term in Buddhism, manasikara, which means attention. It’s a fundamental component of awareness because it directs the mind to it object — it’s the charioteer of the mind that directs it where to go. It comes in two forms: appropriate and inappropriate attention.

Anxiety is a form of inappropriate attention. A scripture describes a monk whose meditation practice revolved around obsessively ruminating on things that were making him unhappy. … [click on title for the rest of the post]