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Thich Nhat Hanh – Healing Through Resting in the Breath

I’ve not posted here at Metta Refuge for quite a while, which I something I plan to remedy, and I thought I would begin by sharing an excerpt of a wonderful talk from my heart teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh.  It’s called “Healing Through Resting,” though it could just as well be called “Healing Through Resting […]

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How Metta Can Help You When Meditation is Hindered by Overwhelming Feelings

When I woke up this morning, I found my that my breath “anchor” came to mind within just a minute or two, with no conscious impulse to do so. This progress feels like a carryover of last night’s sitting meditation, right before I went to bed, which itself, seemed to be quite a lot of […]

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How Practice and Creativity Can Open Up Your Metta

It was an honor to join millions around the world in giving metta, loving-kindness meditation, to my fellow beings on World Day of Metta! Although, like most Buddhists, I do “formal” metta every day, as well as “metta in the moment,” it felt good to set aside a special time to give metta with so many […]

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Some Helpful Suggestions on Working with the “What is this?” Koan

Recently, I have been focusing on working with the Zen koan, “What is this?” This is not really a question to be answered with the conceptual mind or mental analysis, but more of a way of being with things with an openness and inquisitiveness into “what is.” This “What is this?” path or practice is […]

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How Facing Pain Helps to End Suffering

The Joy Hidden in Sorrow Reflections by Ajahn Medhanandi “When Marpa, the great Tibetan meditation master and teacher of Milarepa, lost his son he wept bitterly. One of his pupils came up to him and asked: ‘Master, why are you weeping? You teach us that death is an illusion.’And Marpa said: ‘Death is an illusion.  […]

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What is Our Life About? (poem and music)

Few dharma teachers speak to my heart as does Ezra Bayda. His books Being Zen: Bringing Meditation to Life and At Home in the Muddy Water: A Guide to Finding Peace Within Everyday Chaos came into my life when I really needed to learn more about the gentle wisdom of opening up to what is […]

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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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What to Do in Meditation When You Are Flooded with Mental Pain

Each meditation is so different. Today, as I settled into my breath, I was immediately aware of a great deal of mental pain. The pain didn’t seem to be tied to anything in particular, but was more an existential kind of pain—just “being” felt painful. One I got mentally quiet enough to feel its full […]

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How to Get Started with Sitting Meditation

Because it was free and available online, Buddha Smile by Roberto Vicente, was one of the earliest dharma books I read when I first began investigating Buddhism.  I feel very fortunate that I read his book during my initial discovery period, because the author conveys such a wonderful, joyous sense of the Buddha’s teaching and […]

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Letting Go and Picking Up in Buddhism (with music of Chris Smither)

The following excerpt if from Living Meditation, Living Insight: The Path of Mindfulness in Daily Life by Dr. Thynn Thynn. Dr. Thynn Thynn is a Burmese born retired physician and Dhamma teacher. She is mother of two and is the resident yogi at the Sae Taw Win II Dhamma Center in Northern California. She is […]

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Whose Silence Are You? Thomas Merton Poem and Music

Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk who was well-known as a social activist, writer, and poet.  An deep student of comparative religion, Merton was a keen proponent of interfaith dialog.  He became close friends with prominent Eastern spiritual teachers, such as the Dalai Lama, D.T. Suzuki, and my own heart teacher, Vietnamese Zen Master Thich […]

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Working with The Six Properties in Meditation-Earth, Water, Air, Fire, Space, and Consciousness

For the past few months I’ve really been focusing on “body work” in my dharma practice.  I’ve been working with full-body awareness and vipassana, as well as using deep loving-kindness meditation to embrace mental and physical pains.  This essay by Thanissaro Bhikkhu has been especially helpful in getting in touch with the actual feelings of my […]

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The Importance of Alertness and Attention in Developing Concentration

As I have grown in my meditation practice, I have been able to develop deeper and deeper levels of concentration and corresponding insight. And yet, when I’ve read about some of the various deeper levels of jhana (deep concentration, or samatha) I’ve sometimes wondered about my progress and whether I’m going “deep” enough. This great […]

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