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?… Read the rest
My 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
Last week my honorary daughter, Rio, helped me clear out my spice rack.
Rio is my partner Teja’s daughter by birth– a recent college graduate who’s living with us while she recovers from getting an education.
She was inspired to tackle my spice rack after she opened a jar of cayenne for her refried beans and found bugs wriggling in it. … Read the rest
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
Picture 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
I 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
I 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
I’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
A few weeks ago I was interviewed by an editor from a major yoga magazine who was working on a story about meditation. One of the questions she asked me was, “What have you witnessed in your students as the top two or three roadblocks to starting or sticking with a meditation practice?… Read the rest
For 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