Daniel Davis's blog

Five Ways to Jump-START Your Practice

1. Start Where You Are

Remember, the moment you think, "I should meditate" is a moment you can practice mindfulness.

Whether you're watching television, working on the computer, playing with a friend etc., you don't have to drop everything and run to your meditation cushion - nor do you have to wait and hope you remember to do it later.

Instead, in that moment, pause and start where you are by bringing mindfulness to whatever is happening in that moment.

Then . . . 

Changing Your Relationship to Food Through Mindfulness

Manijeh Motaghy on Real Food Inspired Blog Radio.

"It's Not Going to Work Out . . . "

Here is the point to the discussion which I intentionally didn’t answer on Saturday. It is in response to the question:

“What is the point of meditation if everything isn’t going to work out and we are still going to get old, get sick and die?”

Here is the answer:

“To find a dependable happiness and well-being that isn’t subject to the circumstances of our lives – a happiness that does not depend on pleasure or getting rid of displeasure.”

For Beginners (or, “What have I gotten myself into?”)

Have you had the thought yet, “What have I gotten myself into?”

Maybe you’ve had this one, “I can’t do this. Everyone else can but not me!”

You may know this one well, “What’s the use?”

Occasionally some of you may even think, “I’ve got this down. I’ll be enlightened by the third class!”

If any of these or similar thoughts are strutting their stuff, trying to get you to buy-in, then you are on the right track! The first few weeks of practice are for getting acquainted with your mindfulness practice. Learning how you approach it and what your particular obstacles are - this is more valuable than gold.

Who We Are

Here is a draft of a beginning template that we can read at the beginning of each meditation group. Feel free to add and create, change and give feedback of what works and what doesn't.

    Mindful Valley is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience strength and hope with each other that we may solve our common problem of stress, dissatisfaction and suffering and to help others to achieve happiness and wellbeing. The only requirement for membership is a desire to end stress and suffering.

On Music and Meditation

Mindfulness Provides the Harmony of Our Lives.

from "Wings to Awakening, by Thanissaro Bhikkhu:

". . . we can say that the Dhamma — in terms of doctrine, practice, and attainment — derives from the fully explored implications of one observation: that it is possible to master a skill. This point is reflected not only in the content of the Buddha's teachings, but also in the way they are expressed . . ."

Mindfulness Isn't Enough

Talking about mindfulness is a little like reading a label on a prescription bottle without taking the medicine, and expecting it to work anyway.*

When therapists come to our workshops and classes on integrating mindfulness with psychotherapy, the most common difficulty we notice them having, is that they see mindfulness as a philosophy or accessory to add to their toolbox. Some have a sense that because of their intense training in the realm of feelings and emotions that they know what mindfulness is without achieving the same intense training for it.

The Mindful Child

The New ABCs of Mindful Learning
by Susan Kaiser Greenland

The techniques of mindful awareness have helped millions of adults reduce stress in their lives. Now, children—who are under more pressure than ever before—can learn to protect themselves with these well-established methods adapted for their ages. Based on a program researched by UCLA, The Mindful Child is a groundbreaking book, the first to show parents how to teach these transformative practices to their children.

When children take a few moments before responding to stressful situations, they allow their own healthy inner compasses to click in and guide them to become more thoughtful, resilient, and empathetic. The step-by-step process of mental training presented in The Mindful Child provides tools from which all children—and all families—will benefit.

What about God? pt. 2

It's amazing how the mind can be so cunning, baffling and powerful, isn't it? However, I came more from my mind, and less form the heart in my views in the previous post.

Let me share a gift with you, from Thich Nhat Hanh. He says much the same thing, but there is no mind - just love and understanding. What a difference.

"I have a poem for you. This poem is about three of us. The first is a twelve-year-old girl, one of the boat people crossing the Gulf of Siam. She was raped by a sea pirate, and after that she threw herself into the sea. The second person is the sea pirate, who was born in a remote village in Thailand. And the third person is me. I was very angry, of course. But I could not take sides against the sea pirate. If I could have, it would have been easier, but I couldn't. I realized that if I had been born in his village and had lived a similar life - economic, educational, and so on - it is likely that I would now be that sea pirate. So it is not easy to take sides. Out of suffering, I wrote this poem. It is called "Please Call Me by My True Names," because I have many names, and when you call me by any of them, I have to say, 'Yes.'"

Please Call Me by My True Names

Don't say that I will depart tomorrow --
even today I am still arriving.

Look deeply: every second I am arriving
to be a bud on a Spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

What about God? pt. 1

Through many years of practice and teaching, I've discovered that many Buddhists (and non-Buddhists who know me) are either silently or loudly asking a nagging question that they can't seem to shake; "What about God?"

To look into a question like this, we must first ask which god are we referring to? There are many. For me, in simple terms, God is love - and love is greater than hate because it can include and accept hate - hate can't accept love.

I spent 9 years in Catholic school (for the better I might add). I was an alter boy and considered becoming a priest before I left the church. From a very early age, I experienced many definitions of God. Even at a young age, it seemed to me that God changed depending on who I was talking to. 

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