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How Loving-kindness Practice and Meditation Can Help with Military Suicides

NOTE:  This post is a revised and expanded version of an earlier Metta Refuge post of mine called Veterans Day-The Wounds of Combat Can Be Healed.  I wanted to update and repost this particular message, because I was so disturbed and saddened by the news of so many more military suicides this year.  As a recent […]

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Skillful Ways to Deal with Your Demons

Recently, on Facebook, I posted a Photo to my Wall with a comment about working with “demons.” As I said at this Photo post: “Demons are not bloodthirsty ghouls waiting for us in the dark; they are the forces we find inside ourselves that fabricate around ego-clinging and that we project “out there” on others, […]

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Thich Nhat Hanh – “Contemplation” – Poem and Music

Contemplation A Poem by Thich Nhat Hanh Since the moon is full tonight, let us call upon the stars in prayer. The power of concentration, seen through the bright, one-pointed mind, is shaking the universe. All living beings are present tonight to witness the ocean of fear flooding the Earth. Upon the sound of the […]

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Some thoughts on talent, success, failure and compassion for ourselves

The ego has many traps, but one of the worst is self-identification with one’s talent. If one self-identifies with one’s artistic or creative talent, this inevitably leads to suffering as the ego’s unquenchable needs and desires can never be satisfied by that talent. Indeed, the world is filled with “hungry ghosts” whose attachment to their […]

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Pema Chodron – Renunciation as saying “yes!” to life

Trungpa Rinpoche once said, “Renunciation is realizing that nostalgia for samsara is full of shit.” Renunciation is realizing that our nostalgia for wanting to stay in a protected, limited petty world is insane. One you begin to get the feeling of how big the world is and how vast our potential for realizing life is, […]

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Choose life! Choose love! Choose to live!

“Most people can look back over the years and identify a time and place at which their lives changed significantly. Whether by accident or design, these are the moments when, because of a readiness within us and a collaboration with events occurring around us, we are forced to seriously reappraise ourselves and the conditions under […]

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The Marriage of the Princess and the Dragon-A Dharma Story

I’ve been thinking about “dragons” recently and thought I’d share this wonderful retelling of a Swedish fairy tale by dharma teacher Jack Kornfield from his wonderful bookAfter the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path. We all have our own “dragons” in our hearts. May this simple tale help us […]

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Song and Message for those Alone or Bereft on Thanksgiving

As I do every year, I offer this song, “By Way of Sorrow,” to all those who may be alone this Thanksgiving, without family and friends—or maybe even without hope. Please don’t give up! There is a way “home.” The first step may be hope and trust in our own innate capacity to change, to […]

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Veterans Day-The Wounds of Combat Can Be Healed

As an ex-GI, I often find my heart and loving-kindness practice embracing our enlisted men and women throughout the world, and especially those in war zones. War is hell. That’s no cliché, and only those who have been in combat can truly testify to what that phrase means. That’s why around Veterans Day I highlighted the […]

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Krishnamurti-Fear of Death is Really Fear of Life

Death & Life J. Krishnamurti You cannot be frightened of the unknown because you do not know what the unknown is and so there is nothing to be afraid of. Death is a word, and it is the word, the image, that creates fear. So can you look at death without the image of death? […]

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Ways to work with fear rather than avoiding it

One of the great dharma resources in the Boston area is the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center: The CIMC Guiding Teachers and Teachers are (left to right) Larry Rosenberg, Narayan Liebenson Grady, and Michael Liebenson Grady: Below are some excerpts from a summary of a 1997 talk by Michael Liebenson Grady on how to deal skillfully […]

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Freedom from fear-is it really possible?

This article from Thanissaro Bhikkhu is filled with deep and helpful insights into the problem of fear and how delusion makes fear dangerous. It’s one of Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s longer articles, but there are so many gems here, so many very helpful insights, I hope you’ll take the time to ponder what he has to share. […]

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Using Meditation to Get Acquainted with Pain-Are You Serious?

Everybody has to deal with pain. It’s one of the biggest problems we face as human beings. If we are dealing with chronic or acute disease, pain can literally fill our world. Over time, chronic pain can feeling like we are being ground down by a mountain. And one of the worst aspects of chronic […]

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For the Sake of Strangers-Poem and Music

For the Sake of Strangers by Dorianne Laux No matter what the grief, its weight, we are obliged to carry it. We rise and gather momentum, the dull strength that pushes us through crowds. And then the young boy gives me directions so avidly. A woman holds the glass door open, waits patiently for my […]

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Prayer and Metta for all beings affected by the BP Gulf oil disaster

Like millions of others in the United States, and around the world, I’ve been keeping a close watch on the tragic situation with the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. I don’t live in the Gulf area, but I’ve tried to help by various forms of advocacy and by getting good, solid scientific and technical information […]

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A Blessing-Beyond the Face of Fear-Poem and Music

blessing the boats (at St. Mary’s) may the tide that is entering even now the lip of our understanding carry you out beyond the face of fear may you kiss the wind then turn from it certain that it will love your back      may you open your eyes to water water waving forever […]

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The Thorn in Your Heart

The Thorn in Your Heart Selections from the Attadanda Sutta of the Sutta Nipata (935-939) (948-951) [Translation and comments by Andrew Olendzki] Fear is born from arming oneself. Just see how many people fight! I’ll tell you about the dreadful fear that caused me to shake all over: Seeing creatures flopping around, Like fish in […]

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Thich Nhat Hanh on Healing the Wounded Child in Us

From the great heart of the Buddha, and from the great heart of Thich Nhat Hanh, to the wounded child in each of us: “In our childhood we may have been through stages of great difficulties. We have been wounded, we have had traumas and we generally do not want to remember those stages of […]

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What Actually Happens Inside Us When We Are Hurt By Another?

We feel that someone has hurt us, but is the hurt we feel caused by the other person?  Or are the actions of others merely the “approximate cause” of the suffering—in other words, the trigger, but not the actual cause of the suffering itself? Put that way, it might seem obvious. Others can’t really make […]

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