Many thanks to all the people who sent in suggestions in response to my last newsletter. Below are a few highlights, and I plan to keep updating this from time to time. Bike path, Auckland, New Zealand Speaking of New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand is on the ‘right side of history’ as MPs pass zero-carbon bill 2019-11-07 This landmark climate legislation has … Continue reading Readers suggestions for taking action in relation to climate change
Sydney Insight Meditators 2018 New Year’s retreat
Making positive changes
The New Year is traditionally a time to try to make positive changes for the year ahead. And yet most of us have had the experience of starting out with a rush of good intentions, only to find ourselves collapsing back into old habits very quickly.
Having recently finished teaching a seven-day retreat over the New Year, the same pattern can be seen after a period of intensive practice. Many people experience a wave of inspiration, and have the intention, post-retreat, to renew their commitment to meditating on a daily basis.
Yet again, these intentions often don’t last very long. The momentum of daily life re-asserts its hold on us, and we’re soon back where we started. When one retreat participant was recently asked on their retreat registration form to describe their daily practice, they wrote that it mostly consisted of “looking at their meditation cushion and feeling guilty!”
Establishing and/or maintaining a daily meditation practice
Most of us can probably relate to that description, at least at times. So this month, I’d like to focus on some strategies for establishing or maintaining a daily meditation practice.
Seven Factors of Awakening
I’ve recently enjoyed leading a couple of longer residential retreats in New Zealand and Australia, exploring the teachings from the Satipatthana Sutta on the Seven Factors of Awakening: mindfulness, investigation, energy, joy or rapture, tranquillity, concentration or stability of mind, and equanimity.
When cultivated together and brought into balance with each other, these seven factors provide the optimum conditions for the deepest insights to arise, so they play a very important role in the development of wisdom. In fact Bhikkhu Anaalayo, in a recent study retreat exploring the Satipatthana Sutta, said that all the various techniques and methods found in that sutta are designed to develop these Seven Factors of Awakening. Continue reading “August 2016 full moon – Seven Factors of Awakening and Equanimity (again)”
Equanimity: Evenness of mind Last month I wrote a bit about equanimity, and how the possibility of not holding on to changing experiences can offer a sense of ease, even in the middle of difficult circumstances. So this quality of equanimity can be a kind of refuge, but – at least in my own experience – it doesn’t always arise spontaneously just when you most … Continue reading September 2014 full moon – equanimity part 2
I was recently given a copy of Ajahn Sucitto’s latest free book, “Parami: Ways to Cross Life’s Floods,” and have found it to be one of those rare books that I don’t want to put down, and can’t wait to come back to. The ten parami (sometimes translated as “ten perfections”) are qualities of heart/mind that the Buddha is said to have developed to perfection … Continue reading Parami – a new book by Ajahn Sucitto
More on generosity – this time from the English monk Ajahn Sucitto. He asks some great questions in his latest blog: “So how well does the notion of the self-centred human, motivated by profit and personal gain, stand up in this light? What is noticeable is that when given a free choice, people incline towards voluntary service and towards taking on a challenge.” To me, … Continue reading Generosity part 2 – Christmas