Thursday, October 18, 2007

mindfulness: the budding and the bloom

The Buddha taught that mindfulness is the direct antidote to suffering because it leads to wisdom. I like to think of mindfulness practice as a way of becoming wise and being wise at the same time.

The becoming part is a gradual process. By paying attention calmly, in all situations, we begin to see clearly the truth of life experience. We realize that pain and joy are both inevitable and that they are also both temporary. We remember, more and more often, that struggling cause suffering and that compassionate, considered responses make life manageable. Sometimes we forget. The long term goal of practice is to never forget.

The being wise part of mindfulness practice happens as we act now, in this very moment, on the way to never forgetting. Mindfulness practice cultivates the habit of not getting angry with life because it isn’t happening the way we’d like. Unpleasant situations call for balanced responses. Anger is extra. Mindfulness practice also cultivates the habit of enjoying pleasant experiences while they last without lamenting their passing. Camera film ads notwithstanding, we cannot capture the moment.

Mindfulness practice means acting as if we are already enlightened.

Sylvia Boorstein, Don't Just Do Something, Sit There.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Friday, October 5, 2007

Sitting Tonight

Last week's sitting was beautiful and illuminating. Join us tonight. We would love to have you as our guest.

When: Friday, October 5, 2007
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Location: Revive Studios in Chatsworth

Cost: This event is offered for dana. Space is limited. BMP hosts this event and donations support the continued effort in and around the Los Angeles Area.

Dana: Dana is the Pali word for Generosity. Cultures that support the practice of meditation and the teaching of the Dharma understand that the practice of giving dana is both a training of one’s heart to be open and generous, as well as the means through which teachers receive support for their material needs.

Description: First there will be a 30 minute guided meditation, followed by 35 minutes of dialogue, ending with a 10 minute sit. This is a kalyanamitta (Pali for spiritual friend) group that is just forming; all are welcome. It takes place every Friday evening in the beautiful Revive Yoga Studio in hills of Chatsworth. Jasai Madden will lead the group weekly.

This week’s
Exit Strategies 101

Items to
Sitting cushion (or pillow), mat and comfortable clothes. Some meditators like to wear a shawl or blanket while sitting. Please do not wear any scented perfumes, and turn-off beepers, cell phones and digital watch alarms. Tea and cookies will be provided.

Contact by email

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Song of Mahamudra

Do naught with the body but relax;
Shut firm the mouth and silent remain;
Empty you mind and think of naught.
Like a hollow bamboo rest at ease your body.
Give not nor taking, put your mind at rest.
Mahamudra* is like a mind that clings to naught.
Thus practicing, in time you will reach Buddhahood.
The practice of Mantra and Perfections, instructions in the
Sutras and Precepts, and teaching from the Schools and
Scriptures will not bring realization of the Innate Truth
For if the mind, when filled with some desire should seek a goal
It only hides the light.

*Mahamudra is the practice and teaching that leads to realization of One Mind
which occurs when the human conscience and the God conscience become one.

Monday, September 24, 2007


Though we seem to be sleeping, there is inner wakefulness that directs the dream, and that will eventually startle us back to the truth of who we are.

Monday, September 17, 2007

on the "monkey mind"

Elizabeth Gilbert, in her hilarious and gaspingly honest memoir, Eat. Pray. Love., talks about the “monkey mind” and how by practicing to calm it through meditation, we gain the ability to be present. Presence, being the thing we most need, to first recognize and then change the conditions of our lives.

Like most humanoids I am burdened with what the Buddhists call the Monkey Mind – the thoughts that swing from limb to limb, stopping only to scratch themselves, spit and howl. From the distant past to the unknown future, my mind swings wildly thorough time, touching on dozens of ideas a minute, unharnessed and undisciplined. This in itself is not necessarily a problem; the problem is the emotional attachment that goes along with the thinking. Happy thoughts make me happy, but – whoop! – how quickly I swing into obsessive worry, blowing the mood; and then it’s the remembrance of an angry moment and I start to get hot and pissed off all over again; and then my mind decides it might be a good time to start feeling sorry for itself, and loneliness follows promptly. You are, after all, what you think. Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts and you are the slave to your emotions.

The other problem with all this swinging through the vines of thought is that you are never where you
are. You are always digging in the past or poking at the future, but rarely do you rest in the moment. It’s something like the habit my dear friend Susan, who – whenever she sees a beautiful place – exclaims in near panic, “It’s so beautiful here! I want to come back here some day!” and it takes all of my persuasive powers to try to convince her that she is already here. If you are looking for union with the divine, this kind of forward/backward whirling is a problem. There’s a reason they call god a presence – because God is right here right now. In the present is the only place to find him, and now is the only time.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

coming home to an open heart

The practice of mindfulness, the practice of meditation consists of coming back to ourselves in order to restore peace and harmony. If we come back to ourselves to restore peace and harmony, then helping another person will be a much easier thing. Caring for yourself, re-establishing peace in yourself, is the basic condition for helping someone else.

-Thich Nhat Hanh, True Love