I just returned from our 24th annual summer weeklong Dzogchen retreat, held again on the Hudson River bank in Garrison, NY, where hundreds of acres have been reserved in their sylvan beauty and natural grace. We meditators rejoiced in and enjoyed the delightful presence of so many different kinds and types of people---- colors, professions, ages, genders, nationalities; for all breeds and all creeds are heartily welcomed at our Dharma Dog-House! Bow wow! Along with all variety of characters, Paris-based singer-songwriter Ben Beirs, a long time Dzogchen student, played classical guitar on two evenings...
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." And so, here we are, living in volatile times, even capable of eradicating ourselves from the face of the planet. If we are paying attention, days like these can provide us with a genuine learning opportunity for conscious evolution and enhancing our discernment, combined with a heartfelt need to build community for solace in kindred spirits and meaningful connection.
To help muster the energy required to face the challenges of our complex world, I rely on what Buddhist activists call
The Three Freedoms:
Freedom from undue...
1) Rest in the breath while letting go of all thoughts, concerns, plans, worries, and preoccupations.
2) Be mindful of the physical sensations you feel right now.
3) Feel the good earth beneath your feet or the seat that cradles you.
4) Chant a mantra or sacred phrase again and again, with pure, undivided concentration and focus.
5) Make eye contact with another being, and feel compassion and loving-kindness for whomever you are with.
6) Smile at someone, hug someone, or help someone
7) Go outside and make contact with nature through the sky, clouds, trees, a flower, a body of water,...
February 14, 2017
Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite times of year. The Tibetan New Year is also a favorite, and because the two often fall around the same time, I make a practice of reflecting upon New Year’s resolutions relating to my loved ones, and renewing my commitment to cultivating altruistic compassion and an unselfish open heart—the very essence of authentic love.
These resolutions encompass opening both my heart and mind; listening better; learning to forgive and love even those I dislike; and accepting and blessing the world, rather than fighting or feeing...
“You have been telling people that this is the eleventh hour.
Now you must go back and tell people that this is the hour!
And there are things to be considered:
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
With the The American Lama column, we are proud and delighted to offer bestselling author and Dzogchen meditation teacher Lama Surya Das as our spiritual elder and Lama-In-Residence at Elephant Journal.
Here’s your opportunity to ask the Dudeha from Long Island, New York—whom the Dalai Lama affectionately calls “The American Lama”—whatever questions you may have about spirituality, the purpose of life, your own spiritual path or sexuality.
Autumn leaves are turning red and gold here in New England, The High Holy Days are upon us, and the Day of Death (Halloween) is approaching– and my spiritual mind turns towards the poignancy of aging and death. Perhaps it’s because my Dad died in late august and my Mom in September. Or is my own later season approaching as well? Who knows? Life is tenuous. Lama says: Handle with prayer.
This has always fascinated me. I love to take slow, solitary walks in the old cemeteries of New England, in every season: read their inscriptions, feel my feelings and intuitions, and contemplate the lives...
Let Go or Be Dragged Down
Attachment to things which don't help us very much is a Buddhist definition of the cause of suffering and distress. We say "Let go or be dragged down," but what does it really mean? How can we re-condition ourselves to really "let go" and accept things when there's so much wrong with the world as we know it? And moreover: Let go of what, exactly- our possessions, family, emotions, thoughts and opinions, and our hatred and prejudices? Easier said than done.
Here's what I've learned, and continue to practice, flawed as I am and may be. Letting go means letting be, a radical...
Another day, another dollar, and oh yes, another senseless shooting spree. My mind is a swirling mess of confusion and my heart is overflowing with grief for the insanity in Orlando this past week.
So, after the initial shock and weariness wears off, how do we move forward? We start within. Unconditional acceptance and appreciation is a vital part of wise and compassionate living; it is one of the most generous and loving gifts one can bring to the world, and the source of great peace.
After attending a peace vigil and memorial prayer service Monday night with my friend Rev. Kim Harvie,...