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Posted in meditation

What Meditation Is Not

Many people have ideas about meditation.

I want to address some of those ideas that I think might be misconceptions. I’m doing that because many times I think people go to meditation events with certain expectations. Some ideas we associate with meditation are true and others are not. And some ideas may apply to some systems of meditation, but not the simple practices that I lead at Fountain City Meditation.

We do not chant secret words, we do not visualize magical things appearing, we do not pray or ask spirits to appear. And also we aren’t going to shave our heads or put on weird costumes. That’s not what we do, we’ll leave that to others.

We are training our minds to be fully present and to gain insight into our selves. The goals are attention and awareness. So, with that being said, I’m going to go over some common misconceptions.

  1. Meditation is just for relaxation: the issue here is with that word “just”. Relaxation is a part of this but it isn’t everything. Concentration, relaxation, and insight. This is about changing the way we interact with the world. If it was all relaxation, we’d just be going to sleep.
  2. Meditation is zoning out: There may be forms of meditation where this is true, but that’s not what we’re doing. If anything, it’s the opposite. We’re zoning in. We’re becoming more deeply involved in our experience, not going away from our experience.
  3. Meditation is mysterious and/or weird: I like to say I’m selling water by the river. It may not always be easy to talk about, especially if we’re thinking in terms of measurement or success, but it is about being where we already are. It’s all right here.
  4. Meditation is for people who are calm or spiritual: I think it’s for everyone. We can all improve our lives with this practice. There are no gatekeepers or prerequisites. If we think we have to have some measure of stability BEFORE we start a meditation practice, we’re probably never going to start.

 

So, those are some common misconceptions. It’s all here. Are you?

What are some other misconceptions you can think of?

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Visit my YouTube Channel to hear  Talks!

If you’d like to support my work, please consider making a donation.

And go check out my Podcast The Kansas City Meditation Podcast

 

Posted in videos

What is Equanimity? (video)

Equanimity is our ability to be okay with what’s happening, to keep it together when things are hard.

Further reading:

Equanimity in Adversity

Addiction to Preferences

The Constant Chaos

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Visit my YouTube Channel to hear  Talks!

If you’d like to support my work, please consider making a donation.

And go check out my Podcast The Kansas City Meditation Podcast

Posted in videos

Kindness as an Antidote to Fear (video)

Some monks were afraid of ghosts in the woods. They went to the Buddha and asked what they should do. The Buddha offered Kindness as an antidote to fear.

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Want to come meditate with me? I’m at Ubuntu Village Monday nights at 7pm. Meditation Practice, Support, and Encouragement. 4327 Troost, Kansas City, MO.

Visit my YouTube Channel to hear  Talks!

If you’d like to support my work, please consider making a donation.

And go check out my Podcast The Kansas City Meditation Podcast

Posted in videos

Q and A: Is Meditation Hard? (video)

I answered these questions:
Is Meditation Hard?
Why Don’t You Come Teach Meditation in my Church?
Do I Need “Official Teacher Training”?
Is Meditation Religious?

Do you have questions? Let me know!

 

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Want to come meditate with me? I’m at Ubuntu Village Monday nights at 7pm. Meditation Practice, Support, and Encouragement. 4327 Troost, Kansas City, MO.

Visit my YouTube Channel to hear  Talks!

If you’d like to support my work, please consider making a donation.

And go check out my Podcast The Kansas City Meditation Podcast

 

Posted in stories

The Buddha Holds Up A Flower

This is the story that gets told as the beginning of the Zen tradition. The Buddha was a beloved and well known spiritual teacher. People just followed him around and listened to what he had to say. He would regularly just get up in front of a crowd and start dispensing wisdom.

On one occasion he stood up before a crowd. They were all very excited, thinking they were about to hear some great wisdom, something that would really awaken or encourage them.

The Buddha stood up and just stood there silently. Then, he held up a flower.

So, we can imagine, the crowd is thinking “What the fuck?” They were expecting some great, serious, profound teaching and they didn’t get one. It was just a flower.

They were holding onto their expectations, memories, and disappointment.

And one guy in the crowd smiled.

Why did he smile?

He smiled because he wasn’t holding on to anything. When he saw the flower, it was just a flower. He wasn’t carrying all the baggage and expectations that we often carry. Sometimes a flower is just a flower.

This story is meant to inspire and encourage us. If he can see the flower and just see a flower, so can we. We don’t have to bring all of our baggage into every situation all the time. We can also just smile at a flower.

here’s a video about this story:

here’s the audio version:

The Flower and the Smile

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Want to come meditate with me? I’m at Ubuntu Village Monday nights at 7pm. Meditation Practice, Support, and Encouragement. 4327 Troost, Kansas City, MO.

Visit my YouTube Channel to hear  Talks!

If you’d like to support my work, please consider making a donation.

And go check out my Podcast The Kansas City Meditation Podcast

Posted in videos

Hakuin and the Accusation (video)

Hakuin was a zen teacher in Japan in the 1700s.

further reading:

Hakuin and the Accusation

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Want to come meditate with me? I’m at Ubuntu Village Monday nights at 7pm. Meditation Practice, Support, and Encouragement. 4327 Troost, Kansas City, MO.

Visit my YouTube Channel to hear  Talks!

If you’d like to support my work, please consider making a donation.

And go check out my Podcast Scharpening the Mind

Posted in Uncategorized

40

Today I am 40 years old.

I have grown SO MUCH in the last 5 years. I used to be afraid of so many things.

I’m in the best relationship I’ve ever been in, with someone who really encourages and supports me. I never knew what was missing before. I have a partner.

Two kids became four, creating a big family. I’m thankful all four of these children are in my life and I’m so excited to watch them grow up. I always wished for a big family when I was a kid. My brother is 8 years older than me, so I didn’t have a lot of the experience that my kids are having. I think big families are good.

I taught myself public speaking, which would have been terrifying just a few years ago. I can get in front of a crowd (or a camera) without feeling nervous anymore. My next thing to work on is learning how to be better at communication when I don’t have total control of the situation. I’m not always great at that. 😉

I learned how to budget money so I can take trips and have adventures, so I’ve visited mountains and been to the Great Lakes. Of course I’ve found adventures to have here at home too. I think there are interesting things to see and do everywhere in the world and we often miss what’s in our hometown because it’s so familiar.

I started doing union work, which is leading to all sorts of opportunities. I’m learning how to help workers advocate for themselves (I still can’t believe I’m going to go to Washington DC).

I started a meditation group of my own. I found the confidence to do it in spite of my fears and without thinking about people who think I’m not good enough. (if you’re wondering if you’re good enough to do something, you are. Do it) And yes, it’s not sustainable yet. My wish is for it to pay for itself. But I’m comfortable with the possibility that I’ll have to shut it down, things will come and go. That’s how life is.

I have faced some of my baggage and learned how to put it down. I’ve learned how to be more mindful and not so anxious all the time. I think a lot of people I know would have a hard time believing I used to be a very negative person. I’m not that now. I am joyful.

 More than anything, I am so lucky that Alicia Marley fell in love with me.

 I’m looking forward to my 40s. I’ve spent a lot of my life afraid of getting older. But now I am fearless.

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Want to come meditate with me? I’m at Ubuntu Village Monday nights at 7pm. Meditation Practice, Support, and Encouragement. 4327 Troost, Kansas City, MO.

Visit my YouTube Channel to hear  Talks!

If you’d like to support my work, please consider making a donation.

And go check out my Podcast Scharpening the Mind

 

 

Posted in podcast

Desire (Podcast)

This talk and discussion was recorded at Fountain City Meditation on 12/23/19.

Desire – Talk and Discussion

Can we relate to our desires in a more meaningful way?

Do you want to be a dog or a tiger?

 

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Want to come meditate with me? I’m at Ubuntu Village Monday nights at 7pm. Meditation Practice, Support, and Encouragement. 4327 Troost, Kansas City, MO.

Visit my YouTube Channel to hear  Talks!

If you’d like to support my work, please consider making a donation.

And go check out my Podcast Scharpening the Mind

Posted in meditation, videos

Insight Meditation by Ram Dass (video)

These are Vipassana (Insight) Meditation instructions that were written by Ram Dass. Ram Dass passed away yesterday at the age of 88. He was a beloved spiritual teacher who wrote the books “Be Here Now” and “Be Love Now”. He said, “I want my life to be a statement of love and compassion and where it isn’t, that’s where my work lies.” Giving this guided meditation is my tribute to him. Go here for more: https://www.ramdass.org/meditation-2/

 

 

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Want to come meditate with me? I’m at Ubuntu Village Monday nights at 7pm. Meditation Practice, Support, and Encouragement. 4327 Troost, Kansas City, MO.

Visit my YouTube Channel to hear  Talks!

If you’d like to support my work, please consider making a donation.

And go check out my Podcast Scharpening the Mind