Once you become established in the technique, you can practice being the master of your own life -- you get to choose how to react to your body sensations. And this has a benefit not only when you are sitting calmly on the beach, but also when you are in a stressful situation.
You may not know the name of S.N. Goenka, who died Saturday at the age of 90. But if you've counted your breaths to relax in a hospital, or if you've ever tried to eat, walk, or speak "mindfully," you've felt his influence.
In Thailand, on a budget, and looking to explore your spiritual side? It's time to consider signing up for one of the ubiquitous seven-to-ten-day (generally silent) meditation retreats held all across the country.
I carry an extra 20 pounds, which I prefer to the extra 40 that I used to have. I've come to think them as individuals, these 20 hangers-on, but when considered together they constitute my powerful Corps de Chub.
Whether it is the internal or external sense of being "maxed out," what is often helpful is to seek a larger landscape in which to hold one's experience. This is not only a skillful means of coping with difficulty, but it is also an aspect of mindfulness and awareness.
A Vipassana course is travel of a very personal kind, as it is above all a journey with the self, which may or may not involve conventional travel. If you love travel of all types, you can, as I did, combine both.
Meditation will change your life -- drastically, and there's a very good chance it is the answer you are looking for. In the short term, it provides more focused attention, ability to deal with emotions, and fulfilling relationships.
Sitting silently, simply breathing, then becoming aware of what is arising in the mind and in the body. What thoughts and mind states are occurring? Are they wholesome or unwholesome? Edible or inedible?
We bring alive the spirit of Radical Acceptance when, instead of resisting emotional pain, we are able to say "yes" to our experience. The instant we agree to feel fear or vulnerability, greed or agitation, we are holding our life with an unconditionally friendly heart.
Consider your mind being like the platform of a train station where different trains of thought pull through the station in each moment, heading to various destinations. The untrained mind gets on every single train that pulls through the station.
Integrating Buddhist practices with western psychology is vital, Jack Kornfield says, because the latter is traditionally pathology-oriented whereas Buddhism offers a positive, wellness-oriented science of the mind.
Having just attended a silent Vipassana meditation retreat at Spirit Rock in woodsy Woodacre, I can report that sitting still and doing nothing was, in fact, the primary activity on my summer vacation.