Year: 2009

The Mindfulness Watch

To cultivate mindfulness, I’ve heard teachers give the following advice: “Short moments, many times.” To help me on that path, I bought a watch with a vibrating alarm. I set it to go off every 30 minutes. (No one else

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Reflections on a Ten-Day Retreat

When I signed up for the June retreat with Steve and Kamala, my overriding concerns were whether I’d be physically comfortable and whether I’d make it through ten days. I was pretty much uncomfortable the whole time … and the

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Five Big Questions on Karma and Buddhism

When I think of karma, it’s usually in the context of an ill-chosen word of mine, or an unskillful act, or a plain-and-simple, flat-out, bone-headed decision. Then there is the gnawing sense that it’s something that will come back to

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Reflections on Heart of the Forest retreat

I remember thinking that people who went on last year’s Heart of the Forest Retreat were much further along in their meditation practice than I was.  I had only done a few of the three-day Holy Spirit retreats. I liked

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Observations of a barely yogi

I recently finished my first residential retreat (a weekend) at the Christine Center, led by Steven Armstrong and Kamala Masters. I had anticipated the mental dullness and torpor and–for someone who likes to talk–the stress of being silent. Got that.

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Reflections on dana

On the last day of my very first meditation retreat, I kept thinking, “Who is Donna and why is everyone giving her all this money?” I soon learned (of course) that dana is the Pali word for generosity and is

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Countless thanks from Steve Burt

Hello to the Common Ground Sangha, This month is the two-year anniversary of my motorcycle accident, two more years of my life that I almost didn’t have. I’m filled with gratitude for the members of this Sangha, who helped and

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Paul: Classroom practice and openness to unpredictability

This is the third of three conversations with Common Ground members about how they take their practice into the world. Scroll down for the first two conversations. Paul Sackaroff, an English teacher at Columbia Heights High School, first got interested

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Cindy: Garden practice and the hindrance patch

This is the second of three conversations with Common Ground members about how they take their practice into the world. Scroll down for the first installment, titled “Patrice: Prison practice and letting go.” For my second conversation, I had a

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Three cups of tea and lessons in taking the practice into the world

I was at Target one recent day, shopping and musing about the blog. I bumped into Patrice Koelsch and asked her about her prison volunteer work. I thought it would make an interesting story. Patrice said that her prison work

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