Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mindful Living: Teachings and Guided Meditations for Living in the Present Moment

Please enjoy this resource guide I put together for Sounds True - Mindfulness Learning Tools. Includes free teachings and guided meditations from Joseph Goldstein, Tara Brach, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg, Kelly McGonigal, Dan Siegel, Rick Hanson, Erin Olivo, and others. 

Mindfulness is the art of paying attention, non-judgmentally, to whatever arises in the present moment. When we are mindful, we experience directly whatever presents itself in our experience, no longer resisting the flow of life. We can bring mindfulness to anything we experience - breathing, eating, thinking, feeling, walking; even physical pain. Mindfulness is a skill that anyone can learn, offering scientifically-proven benefits such as deep relaxation, less stress, better sleep, more fulfilling relationships, and a greater sense of aliveness.   

To learn mindfulness, it is not necessary to take on any new beliefs, adopt a new world view, or accept a new philosophy or religion; mindfulness can be integrated into your daily life exactly as it is. You need not have any background in yoga, meditation, or any other spiritual or contemplative practice; in mindfulness, everyone starts right where they are.

We're happy to bring you the highest quality resources in the area of mindfulness, including easy-to-learn teachings, tools, and simple exercises that you can start using today, enjoying the profound gifts that the practice of mindfulness has to offer.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Courage to Be Vulnerable... with our friend Brené Brown

Friends, I want to share a conversation with you that we had last week with our friend Brené Brown. My longtime colleague and friend Tami Simon spoke with Brené about the cultural myth that equates vulnerability as weakness instead of recognizing it as the greatest measure of our courage. She and Tami also explore Brené’s research about the qualities that allow someone to live in a wholehearted way. 

As many of you know, I write a lot of about embracing vulnerability as a gateway to a life beyond belief, and the radical choice to take the risk that intimacy, nakedness, and utter exposure demand of us. We will never resolve the transformative movement of love, for it comes offering fruits beyond this world. As we open to this life, as it is, we might begin to see that those vulnerable, fragile, raw, tender dimensions of this human experience are none other than the expression of a certain kind of grace. We know that heartbreak may be around the corner, that the terrifying realities of intimacy are waiting to bear its gifts, and that these precious hearts could shatter in love at any moment, never to be reassembled again. We sense that we might be asked to live with a broken heart forever. A part of us must defend against this reality, it seems; it is just too much. We can’t open ourselves all the way to this sort of devastation, to living in such an exposed way, without any protection, without any ground, without any confirmation. It is as if our hearts are somehow on the outside of our skin, no longer safe and secure within the rib-cage of our beliefs, hopes, and fears. We start to see very clearly how our strategies – spiritual and otherwise – have come into being to help us to live a life without vulnerability. This is very natural, very sweet, and very precious in its own way. But I’m hearing from some of you that you’re being called now to something else…  

In just one moment of being willing to risk the known for love, we then throw ourselves down on the ground and thank everyone and everything for *this* very moment, for the unfathomable reality that that breath is still moving in and out of our lungs, knowing that in the very next moment we may not be so graced. We will no longer dishonor the sacredness of this one precious human life as it is – demanding that it be different – and instead we fall forever into unknown mystery of love as it pours through this world, giving this body to love forever, to use as it wishes.