insights

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    Spiritual Friends Paid Member

    The following is an excerpt from her essay, “Adventures of a New Age Traveler.” A few years ago, I began to attract a new breed of men that over time I came to call Zen boyfriends. I use the term Zen loosely here because a man doesn’t have to be a Zen Buddhist to fall into this category. He could be a Tibetan Buddhist, a Sufi, or even a practitioner of some obscure brand of yoga. The more rigid the tradition, the better for this type. What defines a Zen boyfriend is the manner in which he skillfully uses spiritual ideals and practices as an excuse for his terror of, and refusal to be in, any type of real relationship with a woman. He is both too identified with his balls to become a celibate monk and, at the same time, too little identified with the wider implications of them to take responsibility for them. The result: a righteous, distant, and very intelligent substitute for a real man. More »
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    Returning to Occurrence Paid Member

    Home Again Among Fields and Gardens Nothing like all the others, even as a child,rooted in such love for hills and mountains, I stumbled into their net of dust, that onedeparture a blunder lasting thirteen years. But a tethered bird longs for its old forest,and a pond fish its deep waters—so now, my southern outlands cleared, I nurturesimplicity among these fields and gardens, home again. I’ve got nearly two acres here,and four or five rooms in our thatch hut, More »
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    Fit to be Thai-ed Paid Member

    A Thai prison reforms prisoners on a vegetarian diet, chanting, and the teachings of S. N. Goenka. Inmates at a Thai prison responded so positively to an Indian guru’s vegetarian diet and meditation course that the Corrections Department plans to expand the program nationwide, Thai officials said. The inmates—fifty men and fifty women serving time for drug offenses at a prison in provincial Thailand—participated in a program in which they practiced meditation at 4:30 a.m., ate vegetarian meals, and listened to tapes of chanting. More »
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    Judging with a Nonjudgmental Mind Paid Member

    Whatever our ability to live in the present when off our zafus, the circumstances of daily life often compel us to make judgments. This is something I do regularly as a trial judge in a court of general jurisdiction—a court that deals with serious felonies as well as with civil disputes. It is with some irony that I carry the title “judge” while taking refuge in a tradition that has as a central tenet the cultivation of the nonjudgmental mind. More »
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    We Can Still Be Crazy Paid Member

    We may think meditation will improve us, but it’s really about accepting ourselves as we are right now. When we start to meditate or to work with any kind of spiritual discipline, we often think that somehow we’re going to improve, which is a subtle aggression against who we really are. It’s a bit like saying, “If I jog, I’ll be a much better person.” “If I had a nicer house, I’d be a better person.” “If I could meditate and calm down, I’d be a better person.” Or the scenario may be that we find fault with others. We might say, “If it weren’t for my husband, I’d have a perfect marriage.” “If it weren’t for the fact that my boss and I can’t get on, my job would be just great.” And, “If it weren’t for my mind, my meditation would be excellent.” More »
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    Between Eternities Paid Member

    The whole question of why our lives seem so unsatisfying needs close examination. Why is it that our experiences or possessions never seem to bring us lasting happiness or completion? We always want something more, and it is always eluding us. Not only do we want to hold on to what we already have but we also want to acquire as much more as we can. I think of possessions as possessing me rather than vice-versa. If you own something, then you are responsible for taking care of it and are continually worrying that it might get harmed or you might lose it. More »