Resources for Wise Action

heart-of-goldDear Friends,
In the wake of last month’s election, how do we take our practice of awakening beyond the mat and the meditation cushion and into wise and compassionate action? How do we stand up—with presence, clarity, and strength–for the many communities and ecosystems who are under assault? How do we nurture the courage and competencies to speak and act against racism, misogyny, ignorance, lies and greed—without burning out?
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Protecting the Wilderness Within

kayakMy family and a couple of our close friends just returned from a week off the grid in a rustic cabin on a lake on the edge of the Desolation Wilderness—no electricity, no roads, and most blissful of all, virtually no cell reception or wifi. We all agreed that we’d keep our phones turned off to preserve power for emergency use—we would turn them on just once a day to check for urgent messages (which could be intermittently downloaded by standing on tiptoe on a granite boulder north of the cabin and waving a phone overhead).… Read the rest

 

Remembering My Mother

anne-momMy mother died last November, at age 91. As she had wanted to, she died at home in her own bed, with my father and all seven of her children gathered around her bed to sing her to sleep.

My mother is the one who taught all of us how to love and take care of another person, through the way she loved and took care of us.… Read the rest

 

Practicing for Future Generations

sisterly-chatPicture this: a circle of 87 yogis and yoginis meditating in a darkened temple, around a central altar of 87 flickering candles, each representing the glow of one heart’s deepest intention. As they sit in silence, a one-year-old baby toddles around the encircled space, humming and burbling—securely held in the web of a community’s collective practice.… Read the rest

 

Some Things My Friends Are Up To

teachersI taught with Anandabodhi Bikkhuni for the first time on the recent women’s retreat at Spirit Rock, and was blown away by her unswerving passion for awakening and her commitment to breaking free of limiting patriarchal forms, whether in spiritual practice or in daily life. After leaving the security of an established Buddhist monastic order that didn’t offer equal opportunities for women, she and a handful of fellow bikkhunis (fully ordained nuns) have taken a radical leap into the unknown by establishing a small community in the foothills of the Sierras, where their practice emphasizes simplicity, renunciation, service and an orientation towards learning from the natural world.… Read the rest

 

Six Steps to Establish a Daily Practice—of Almost Anything

hiking2I recently returned from three wonderful weeks of back-to-back teaching in three venues that on the face of it, couldn’t be more different: A five-day “embodied dharma” retreat that combined Buddhist meditation, yoga, and qigong in a Jesuit retreat center in the foothills of the Sierras, with Tibetan prayer flags fluttering over the chapel doors.… Read the rest

 

How Meditation is Like Animal Tracking

trackI’ve started going on monthly hikes with the Point Reyes Tracking Club out at Abbott’s Lagoon, a beautiful seashore sanctuary north of San Francisco. In just a couple of guided outings, I’ve realized that tracking is a kind of meditation.

Our meditation hall is the rolling sand dunes that surround the estuary, a site I’ve hiked and picnicked at countless times in the past 25 years.… Read the rest

 

How to Keep a New Year’s Resolution

anne-cushmanFor many years I’ve used New Year’s Eve as an opportunity to journal about my aspirations for the coming year–for so many years, in fact, that the other day when I tried to look up some of my long-ago New Years visions to see how they might be coming along, I found that my computer could no longer open the ancient files.… Read the rest