My practice has helped me cultivate acceptance. When I give up on the present moment being any different than it is, there is equanimity. I am free to engage fully with what is because I’m not stuck in what I think should be. I’m free to respond with grace, empathy, compassion, spontaneity, and love. And when I fail, acceptance forgives me and invites me to try again.
Featured Guided Meditations
The Magic of Non-Resistance
Running to Stand Still
“A wise teacher, and a wise centre, needs to offer a whole range of skillful practices, because people come along at different stages of their inner development, with different temperaments, and with different sets of problems.” -Jack Kornfield
Our dominant culture in the West seems almost devoid of ceremony. If there is a ritual, it would be in unboxing an Amazon package. We gulp our coffee. I sit in Zazen, too often, not in reverence for the eternal position, but as an item to check off on a daily list of them. The connection to the eternal, the collective wisdom of our ancestors, is frayed.
A paradox is the expectation of a relief that doesn’t come. “Herein lies the paradox”: a paradox is also an opportunity. It is an experiment that invites itself to be held and played with curiously. It is an invitation to sit with the not-knowing, and the you-must-know-but-you-will-never. It is a 5000-piece puzzle with a missing piece, a cliff-hanger with no landing, a problem with no solution (it will never have one).
Here’s the truth of it - our bodies are built to respond to stress, release the energy created by the response, and then recuperate. This is the function of our autonomic nervous system. Disrupting or controlling this natural process can lead to a host of physical and mental illnesses. So how do we embody our stress response, and still operate in a society that largely seeks to oppress it? And how do we deal with the stores of stress gathered over years without unleashing a maelstrom?
We just finished version 2.0 of our CEC Community Practice Activation Kit available for free here. The idea of this kit is to inspire people around the world to start up their own community practice groups, in a way that’s unique to them and uniquely responsive to their local needs and context.
Suddenly, we exist. Existing is complicated. We turn to practice. As we love to say at the CEC, being human takes practice. But what is a practice? The simplest definition of practice is some action – mental, emotional, physical, social – that you choose and repeat, so that it can become a habit. It is the deliberate cultivation of habits. Contemplative practices are practices that rehearse how you want to exist and relate to yourself and others.
This primer is about the broadest possible classes of meditation and spiritual experience. It’s a work-in-progress. Every time I come back, I find myself cutting more details, for they seem like technique-specific effects, and not the human universals I once imagined. So it goes. In a couple years there may be nothing here at all.
Almost any domain or activity in life can be approached as an intentional practice, and the people who specialize in these domains have learned important things about being human. How can we draw this wisdom out? Introducing the Consciousness Explorers Club's new pluralistic practice paradigm :)