Looking back at this page noting that I have not written anything since November. I don’t know why I only posted a photo, and no commentary on the International Symposium on Contemplative Science. It was a most stimulating conference and calming all at the same time. This feeling in the air was one of peace. Rooms of people trying to pass along their messages of how, mindfulness, meditation and compassion practices have helped them and how they would like to help others. There is often a lot of frenetic energy at these conferences but this one felt different. In spite of the excitement and energy there was a sense of calm about the place.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke. He expressed his wish for a more compassionate world. He expressed his hope that if we practice now perhaps a couple of generations down the road the planet will be more peaceful. He views life quite simply. “If you want to be happy practice compassion; if you want others to be happy practice compassion.”
Perhaps it was the overwhelming sense of awe at being in this conference filled with people wanting so badly for things to be better. The message however, paradoxically, is that we need to allow things to be as they are in order to relax enough to find the energy and space to make things better.
I believe you can actually listen to some of the talks that were given and read some of the materials if you go to the Mind and Life Institute’s website.
I recently completed teaching an eight week to MBSR program at Massachusetts General Hospital. It was part of a research study. It never ceases to amaze me how people respond to this material and these practices. Time and time again I observe as participants find their voices and their breath. They leave with a sense of control and steadiness in their lives that they either never had or lost along the way.
Next week I am going to the Insight Meditation Society for a seven day retreat. It is a retreat especially developed for teachers and researchers in the field of mindfulness. I am looking forward to sitting with John Peacock and Christina Feldman who will be leading the retreat. I hope to come back newly refreshed and ready to teach the next series of workshops and programs that I will be offering this Spring beginning with a special Valentines day Mindful Self Compassion Workshop and MBSR in March.
I am so grateful that teachers like Pema Chodron, the Dalai Lama, Thich Naht Hahn, Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein have brought the gem of mindfulness to Western culture. We are lucky to have them among us and to be able to access these wonderful teachings so easily.
The media driven dialogue/debate about mindfulness having become a buzz word and a social trend is so interesting. People are suggesting that we be careful not to create something called “Mc Mindfulness.” There’s great concern about the teachings of the Buddha and others being diluted and meditation becoming simply a fad.
Make no mistake the mindfulness that I hope to bring to my students is anything but a fad.
Life is good today.