Zen Blog

This blog collects various internet feeds aimed towards information, experience and technique exchange in support of our shared spiritual journey.....

”Namaste - may the light in me, honor the light in you…”

Buddha Buzz Weekly: Monkeys Take Over Thai City

Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.

Aggressive Monkeys Overrun Thai City

The New York Times described Lopburi, Thailand, as “a city under siege,” because it is overrun with aggressive macaque monkeys. Although the monkeys draw tourists, the territorial species has forced dozens of businesses, including a barber shop, movie theater, and music school, to close in recent years. Buddhist tourists and residents in the area believe feeding the monkeys is a meritorious act, but with fewer people on the streets because of the coronavirus pandemic, the monkeys have become angry that their food source is gone. 

People living in the Buddhist-majority culture view killing the monkeys as unethical, and with such consistent access to food, the monkeys have been able to reproduce at astonishing rates. Local wildlife officials have begun sterilizing monkeys in order to control the population, but even this has been difficult, the Times reports. On the first day of capturing monkeys, wildlife officials wore camouflage-printed uniforms. On the second day, the monkeys recognized their clothing and avoided them. Officials had to switch to wearing shorts and floral shorts, posing as tourists.

Chinese Tourists Flock to Religious Sites in Tibet Where Locals Are Barred

As coronavirus precautions have eased, large numbers of Chinese tourists have poured into Tibet’s regional capital, Lhasa, visiting places that Tibetans are highly restricted from entering, reported Radio Free Asia (RFA). The Chinese tourists have acted in ways that are disrespectful to holy sites, including littering, smoking, and posing for photos where it is forbidden. Tibetans feel that “their culture is becoming a show piece of Chinese tourists, while the Tibetans themselves are denied the opportunity to preserve and cherish their traditions,” a source told RFA, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Rubin Museum Offers Free Meditations—and Free Entry—for Health Care Workers 

The Rubin Museum of Art, a museum of Himalayan art in New York City, is offering free online mindfulness meditations every Monday at 1:00 pm EDT during the month of August. Although it remains closed to the public, the museum offers a series of online events and exhibitions, including an online stream of its Tibetan Shrine Room and a participatory installation called The Lotus Effect. On Thursday, the Rubin announced that it will, upon reopening, provide free museum admission to healthcare providers through the end of the year. “While we can’t confirm the exact date quite yet, when we reopen we want to express our immense gratitude towards those who have put their lives at risk to provide care for our communities during this pandemic, while coping with the emotional and physical impact of their work,” Executive Director Jorrit Britschgi said in an email press release. “We understand the benefits of Himalayan art on the hearts and minds of our visitors, and therefore we want to offer those who have been working hard in hospitals, nursing homes, or emergency rooms a space to find stillness, inspiration, and connection.” While New York has moved into Phase 4 of its reopening plan, museums around the city remain closed.

Continue reading
  15 Hits
  0 Comments
15 Hits
0 Comments

Showing Up Even When You’re Not Feeling It

By Leo Babauta

Some days, you’re just not feeling it. It’s not that you’re exhausted, it’s that you’re not in the mood to do the important task that’s in front of you.

You want to just go to distractions all day long, do anything but this thing you’re resisting.

I get it. I have these days too. And sometimes, the answer is just rest.

Other times, it’s useful to find a way to do the work anyway, because if we only do our important work when we feel like it, we might not ever get it done.

It’s useful to learn to do it even when we’re not feeling it.

Continue reading
  22 Hits
  0 Comments
Tags:
22 Hits
0 Comments

A Gentle Practice for Opening Up to Painful Emotions

This is a meditation that I sometimes rely on when I find myself feeling the reactivity that comes up from what’s happening in the news, what’s happening in our communities, what’s happening in our country, and what’s happening in the world right now. Whether it’s because of the pandemic, a shooting, or an unnecessary killing of a good human being—it happens too frequently. It happened to Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others. 

Pausing with all of these sorts of things that obviously are coming at us, especially because we are people seeking to move in the direction of the suffering, to work, and to alleviate it, through our actions and our engagements in the world.

So, this is a gentle practice that can provide support to you in remaining grounded as you open up to information that might cause you pain. 

1. Noticing any of these kinds of reactivities coming up for you, you can, as always, just take a few deep and conscious breaths. And as you do so, you’re turning your attention in a very purposeful way toward these sensations that are coming up for you beneath the breath and in the body. 

2. Taking a long, slow breath in, and a gentle, even longer breath out. Continue to follow the flow of your breathing as best you can, resting your attention there.

Continue reading
  23 Hits
  0 Comments
23 Hits
0 Comments

Taking Our Seat: Cultivating Strength and Stability

How can the concept of taking our seat serve us in the midst of our current challenges? Many of us are familiar with this phrase: A meditation teacher may say “Let’s start by taking our seat” to signal the transition into beginning our practice. But it can also be meaningful outside of seated, formal mindfulness practice. I have been considering this perspective of “taking my seat” as a metaphor for developing the capacity of how I want to move through the world, especially now.

In taking our seat, whatever that posture looks like for you, we begin by establishing a solid base, a foundation.  We cultivate some stability, strength, and a sense of being grounded. It is this steady base that forms the foundation for the rest of our practice and our capacity to cultivate calm, insight, and open-heartedness. Once our base is established, we can begin to open up with balance and equanimity to whatever is arising. In practice, as in life, it is crucial to cultivate this sense of balance and stability so we aren’t buffeted around by the difficulties in our lives and the world. We are developing the capacity to be steady amid life’s challenges.

The capacity to open and touch into our vulnerability is a key aspect of moving towards working with our experience in an open and loving way.

With this stability, we now have the framework to release and soften around that foundation. In softening and letting go, we begin to invite a sense of ease and calm. The inherent safety in the strength of the posture is supportive of ease, as we consciously cultivate calm through our practice.  This capacity to open and touch into our vulnerability is a key aspect of moving towards working with our experience in an open and loving way. As we move through the world with the support of a solid foundation, we can also now come to the edge of difficult experiences and emotions and begin to soften and open to the vulnerability.

And finally from the stability and support of the posture and the calm we have cultivated in body and mind, we begin to see more clearly as we open to what is arising in our moment-by-moment experience with more grace, compassion, and insight.

Continue reading
  17 Hits
  0 Comments
17 Hits
0 Comments

How to Deepen Empathy and Reconnect with Your Estranged Child

Both in my capacity as a therapist and as a regular citizen, I’ve talked with adults who are struggling with the decision to cut ties with their parents, have already done so, or have recently reconciled with a formerly rejected parent. I’ve also followed the research that studies the feelings and motivations of these adult children. By all accounts, these folks take parental estrangement seriously. They feel weighed down by it. It hurts them profoundly to lose connection with a parent, even by their own choice.

Here’s what one estranged child wrote in response to one of my posts:

It is awful when you choose to end a relationship…especially when your parent doesn’t (maybe even can’t) understand what they did wrong. To turn away from them in order to move forward as a healthier person feels absolutely selfish and goes against my instincts to maintain that connection with my mother.

I’ve heard similar expressions of dismay from my clients, friends, and colleagues who reluctantly avoid their parents. Everyone wants to have parents they love, and who love them back, without chronic trouble or pain between them.

It Cuts Both Ways

Most parents don’t get to see the vulnerability and unhappiness in their distancing child. Instead, they’re presented only with heated rejection or chilly indifference. No wonder they’re sometimes ready to believe they created a monster.

Continue reading
  15 Hits
  0 Comments
15 Hits
0 Comments

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to http://taooflightyoga.com/