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…”

Be Kind to Your Inner Parent

In his new book, Prizeworthy: How to Meaningfully Connect, Build Character, and Unlock the Potential of Every Child, psychologist and mindfulness advocate Mitch Abblett explains the benefits of prizing, which he defines as the act of recognizing and acknowledging the inner landscape of potential in every child. He frames this as an alternative to praising, which he explains can have negative consequences. He also shares advice for parents on how to skillfully prize kids while building their own inner awareness.

What parents need—for the sake of their children as well as themselves—is help in walking with, instead of struggling against, their pain, confusion, and doubt. Leave the rationales to sociological, political, and even religious debates, because here we are focusing on the nitty-gritty of making parenting not just a tolerable ordeal but an opening, a doorway to the widest possible array of experience—the grandeur and the gore. 

It is crucial for you to learn to mindfully stand in place and face the parental experience internally—your painful emotions. To face your “inner parent” is to bring self-compassion and mindfulness to bear on your relationship with yourself, with the pain that parents so readily magnify through unskillful means into unnecessary suffering and that gets in the way of the mindset required for seeing into and behind your child to their prize. 

I am not aware of any tool or strategy for ending the inevitable pain of parenting. The vivid momentum of sweet moments such as when kids first learn to pump their legs on the swing will eventually go still. Young kids will walk out of your sight and you will surge with fear. Older kids will hurl dagger eyes and sledgehammer words at you across the years. Even when they are only three feet tall, your emotional buttons will never be out of their reach. 

The whining will continue. Your sleep will be interrupted, either through their crying in their childhoods or your worrying in their adulthoods. They may be disabled or in other ways hampered from the easy happiness you wished for them. You will have no clue what to do in that crossroad moment as they hover in the doorway, their eyes expecting your parental reaction to save them. Every other life domain—your jobs, relationships, your own extended families—will press at you just as they ask for one more thing. And they may lose more than their fair share in life. 

Continue reading
  7 Hits
  0 Comments
7 Hits
0 Comments

Aung San Suu Kyi’s Lawyer Says He’s Not Allowed to Speak About Her Case

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

Aung San Suu Kyi’s Lawyer Says He’s Not Allowed to Speak About Her Case

In a Facebook post on Friday, Khin Maung Zaw, the head lawyer for deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, wrote that Myanmar’s military has banned him from speaking to the media, international organizations, or foreign governments about the Suu Kyi’s case. Suu Kyi was arrested after the February 1 coup, and has been held in an undisclosed location ever since. She faces numerous charges, including corruption, and she is not allowed to communicate with anyone but her lawyers, who she sees only in court. Reuters reports that the order reads: “Khin Maung Zaw’s communications may cause harassment, hurting a person who is acting in accordance with the law, may cause riots and destabilize the public peace.” The military junta has not released any information about the deposed leader’s case, and on Thursday Reuters reported that while the military is allowing an envoy from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to enter the country, they will not allow him to meet with Suu Kyi. 

LGBTQ Monk and Makeup Artist Joins TIME’s 2021 Next Generation Leaders

On October 13, Japanese monk, makeup artist, and LGBTQ activist Kodo Nishimura was featured as one of TIME’s Next Generation Leaders. Though both of his parents are Buddhist monks, Nishimura was not interested in following their footsteps until he moved to New York City to study at Parsons School of Design. There, he learned to embrace both his LGBTQ identity and his Buddhist roots. At the age of 24, Nishimura began splitting his time between makeup artist jobs in America and monastic training in Japan. Now a certified monk, the 32-year-old lives alongside his parents in the temple where he grew up—but he hasn’t given up his passion for makeup. Recently, he worked as the makeup director for the Miss Universe Japan finals, and his regular clients include celebrities such as Christina Milian and the musical duo Chloe x Halle. While he is an outspoken LGBTQ activist and hopes to help change discrimination legislation in Japan, Nishimura feels that simply staying true to his identity and expressing his most authentic self is also a form of activism. “I want to stretch the horizon and inspire people,” he told TIME. “I can be a monk wearing heels, so you can be who you are.”

For more on Kodo Nishimura, read his interview from Tricycle’s Fall 2017 issue.  

New Report Reveals How China’s Environmental Policies Negatively Impact Livelihoods on the Tibetan Plateau 

This week, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, an NGO based in India, released a report that shows how Chinese policies that claim to mitigate climate change force nomads off their land, even though their traditional way of life generates very few emissions. China has also labeled large Tibetan watersheds as national parks in an effort to offset its reputation as a major source of global emissions. “[But] as the world’s biggest maker and user of coal, cement, steel, aluminium, copper, and much else, China is the primary cause of climate change emissions,” the report says. The Tibetan Plateau accounts for two percent of the earth’s land surface and is roughly the size of Western Europe, the National Herald points out, underlining the imperative that the region receive adequate attention at the 26th UN climate change conference (COP26) in Glasgow, taking place from October 31 to November 12.

Continue reading
  18 Hits
  0 Comments
18 Hits
0 Comments

10 Mindfulness Tips for Every Day

Adobe Stock/artbesouro

Being fully aware of your experiences and noticing what is happening in the moment is one of the keys to health and wellness. Often, we go through daily life on autopilot, not fully aware of the present. We can dwell on the past, plan the future, and get hijacked away from paying attention to what is happening right now. Here are 10 ways you can interrupt your day with moments of mindfulness instead of moments of distraction.

10 Mindfulness Tips for Every Day

Three simple ways to bring your attention back to the breath

Breathe when you’re still in bed: Bring awareness to your breath and body when you wake up in the morning, take a few conscious breaths, and practice half-smiling before getting out of bed. 
Take 10 mindful breaths a few times a day: Bring awareness to your breathing at various times of the day. Choose to take a few conscious breaths, following the breath in and out. Count 10 full breaths and then start again.
Use the natural rhythms of the day as triggers to practice. Return your attention to the present moment: when the phone rings, pass through doorways, stop at red lights, when a sound comes into your awareness. Use these moments to breathe, experience your bodily sensations, and feel your feet on the ground. 

Incorporate Mindfulness in Your Work Day

Bring awareness to your communication patterns: talking, listening, and periods of silence; notice your states of mind during these activities. Especially, notice the silence and the sounds in between the silence. 
While sitting at your desk, computer, etc., pay attention to your bodily sensations and consciously attempt to relax and rid yourself of excess tension. Remember to be present to whatever you are working on and focus your attention on your breath. 
At lunch, change your environment. If you take your lunch, or work at home, go to another room. Try eating at different times and being aware of the sensations of hunger or satiation. 
Close your door (if you have one) and take some time to relax consciously. Close your eyes and breathe, counting your breaths and letting go of the day behind you and ahead. 
At the end of the workday, try retracing the day’s activities. Acknowledge and congratulate yourself for what you’ve accomplished, and then make a list for tomorrow. You’ve done enough for today!

Unwind in the Evening

When you get home, create an unwinding routine. Change out of your work clothes, and say hello to each of your family members, the people you live with, your pets, plants, even your couch. Take a moment to look and take five to 10 minutes to be quiet and still. Wash your hands as if you are starting a new phase of your life. If you live alone, feel what it is like to enter the quietness of your environment.
Before falling asleep at night, bring awareness to your breathing and your body sensations for at least five full breaths, all the way in and out. These deep breaths will activate the parasympathetic nervous system and help you to rest.

Adapted from The Mindfulness Experience: 8 Strategies to Live Life Now by Keith W. Fiveson. Copyright © 2021 by Keith Fiveson. Published by Work Mindfulness Institute. Reprinted with permission.

Original author: Keith Fiveson
  29 Hits
  0 Comments
29 Hits
0 Comments

Create a Powerful Framing for the World

By Leo Babauta

The way we view life is usually invisible to us, and yet it is probably the most powerful thing in our lives.

For example, one person might hear the words of another person and feel incredibly hurt, stressed, angry, and then it ruins their entire week … while another person might hear the same words and feel compassion and love for the other person. Neither person is right or wrong, they simply have different views of the world.

The way we look at the world is called our “framing” of the world. The lens through which we see our lives. Our view of things.

There is no “right” lens or framing, nothing that we “should” choose. In fact, “right” and “should” are two common framings of the world. There are simply different lenses, different ways to frame anything. And if we bring awareness to the frame, we can choose.

I’m going to share a few examples of framing, and then share how you might create something powerful for yourself.

Continue reading
  17 Hits
  0 Comments
Tags:
17 Hits
0 Comments

The World Beneath a Tree

Having never asked for a birthday gift in my life, I found it difficult to do, especially when I was asking it of a man who has never cared for the aura around birthdays. 

“I’d like to turn forty under that tree,” I said. 

Like most women, I’d have liked to believe that a husband of long years would be able to interpret the italicized word in my voice. Like most men, my husband looked askance at me, trying hard to recover any clues he might have missed from a previous conversation. 

We were talking in our bedroom, the room in which I spend most of my time when I am at home. It is an unusually large room. In one corner, by the giant windows that I open to let in the cool northern air, stands a big tree. I use the word “big” consciously—it is tall, much taller than my husband who is six feet tall. But it was dead. I had found it abandoned by the roadside near a church and had felt an onrush of affection and attraction for it immediately, of the kind that it is possible to feel only for dead plant life, not dead animals, or dead men. Soon after, the tree had become an occupant in our bedroom, the carpenter having given it wooden stilts so that death had not been able to take away what it immediately does—the dignity of the vertical position. Beneath that leafless tree now sat a statue of the Buddha, his eyes closed. 

My husband turned to the tree and then to me. He looked confused. If his wife wanted to meet her fortieth year by sitting under that tree, who was he to refuse? Especially as, given the kind of person he is, he wouldn’t have been able to remember how his wife had brought in her thirtieth or the thirty-ninth—sitting on a chair or crouched under a table.  

Continue reading
  12 Hits
  0 Comments
12 Hits
0 Comments

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