Real Happiness

  • Choosing a time to meditate Paid Member

    Plan to meditate at about the same time every day. Some people find it best to sit first thing in the morning; others find it easier to practice at lunchtime, or before going to bed at night. Experiment to find the time that works best for you. Then make a commitment to yourself. Write it in your datebook.I suggest you start by sitting for twenty minutes of meditation three times the first week—but if you'd rather start with a shorter time and gradually lengthen it, that's fine. Decide before each session how long it's going to be. (Set an alarm if you're worried about knowing when the time is up.) You'll add one more day of meditation in Week Two, another in Week Three, and two in Week Four, so that by the end of the month you'll have established a daily practice. More »
  • What to do when mindfulness is not easy Paid Member

    The primary approach of mindfulness is to pay attention to what's happening and to develop a different relationship to our experience so that we're not rejecting it or hating it, but we're also not overwhelmed by it. So mindfulness has an inherent sense of balance. But the reality is that there are times when mindfulness is not that easy. We may be exhausted, or we may not be able to find balance through coming back to the breath, or mental noting, or other techniques we employ, or our mindfulness may be too intermittent. So there are a whole host of approaches to help us come back into balance and once again be mindful. It's fine to explore these methods instead of following a traditional mindfulness practice. Sometimes people think, "Oh, I blew it, I can't do the real thing." But it's not like that at all. More »
  • Sharon Salzberg's Real Happiness is back Paid Member

    Back by popular demand, Sharon Salzberg's Real Happiness is available to Tricycle Community members for the month of April. So if you missed the Tricycle Book Club discussion in February, or didn't get to ask Sharon all of the questions you wanted to, this is your opportunity. Sharon will also be hosting a Tricycle Retreat this upcoming month, entitled "The Five Hindrances." Our hope is that the book and retreat combination will help enrich your meditation practices.From Real Happiness: More »
  • Where do we go from here?: Day 28 of the 28-day meditation challenge Paid Member

    We did it! We just finished sitting together in the office for the final day of the 28-day meditation challenge. It feels good. Now we're all completely enlightened and we'll never have to meditate again. Just kidding. While the 28-day challenge has been a wonderful experience for all of us here at Tricycle—and hopefully for all of you—the real challenge is keeping up the meditation practice moving forward. Ideally, this experience has given you a taste of what a consistent meditation practice can do for your overall well-being and will provide you with the inspiration that you need to continue. For tips of maintaining your practice, check out Sharon's article on how to sustain your practice ("Sticking with It") in the most recent issue of Tricycle. More »
  • Where is the love?: Day 25 of the meditation challenge Paid Member

    In Real Happiness Sharon tells us about one of her students who thought “the whole idea of lovingkindness meditation seemed hokey and rote to her, but she focused on the phrases nevertheless.” I’ve thought the same exact thing about lovingkindness meditation. It’s a group hug, mushy, mawkish. As much as I like the idea of lovingkindness in theory, I’ve never taken it very seriously. I might say to myself “May I be happy,” a few times and think of my mom for a while, but sooner or later—usually around the time I start trying to extend that warm feeling to some jerk or other—it just starts to feel silly and I go back to the serious business of trying to develop concentration. More »
  • The sun and the wind: Day 18 of the challenge Paid Member

    I haven't sat yet today. It's so nice outside I thought that I might just count my pleasant stroll to lunch as some walking meditation. Although, I'm sure that it doesn't qualify—I was somewhere between autopilot and mindful. I definitely wasn't focusing my attention on my feet and legs, as Sharon instructs us to do in Real Happiness when she invites us to walk "as if your consciousness is emanating from the ground up." However, I also wasn't lost in thoughts of future and past, like I so often am. I saw the man with headphones, shouting angrily at his own reflection in a window (impressive, I know, noticing a screaming lunatic). There was also the Dorrito bag in the tree bed on the corner, the incessant honking of a taxicab. In New York, one is always surrounded by more than enough grit and grime to think "This is a dirty world," but today I was thinking more "What a wonderful world" so maybe this meditation is doing something for me. Or maybe it was just the weather. More »