When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid. Audre Lorde
I love to travel and take in the wisdom of wonderful teachers, speakers, and conscious leaders. Here are some of my favourite inspirations from recent adventures in California.
Sitting At The Feet of The Masters
For a mindfulness advocate, teacher and student, I don’t think there is anything quite like the opportunity of sitting in practice with the world’s greatest teachers. This year I was blessed with the opportunity to meditate with John Kabat-Zinn, Roshi Joan Halifax, Jack Kornfield, and Sharon Salzburg. For this opportunity alone, I would fly 10 hours to California.
Still resonating with me are these words from John Kabat-Zinn…
Mindfulness is infinitely available and close and it is the hardest work in the world to get in touch with it. Meditating every day is a radical act of self-love. Mindfulness is not a performance and it requires no rehearsal. (On teaching mindfulness) None of us are really capable of doing this, but when the house is on fire, you do the best you can.
… and Jack Kornfield’s mini practices for walking mindfully through life:
Try to see others as if they were dearest members of your own family. Imagine the innocence of a child in the person in front of you – you can see it. Pretend you are the Dalai Lama, who meets everybody as an old friend. Offer silent blessings to all those you meet. Eg. May you be happy, may you be well.
Relationship, Mind & Community, Dan Siegel
When Dr. Dan Siegel opened the conference that I was attending by presenting the quantum science that proves that we are one, explained how mindfulness and meditative practices drop us into the plane of possibility, and offered the quote: You are not the wax of the candle, you are the flame, I knew it was going to be a memorable weekend! If you are not familiar with his work, Dr. Dan Siegel is clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and the founding co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA. He is also the Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute which focuses on the development of mindsight, which teaches insight, empathy, and integration in individuals, families and communities.
My takeaways from his keynote:
• Unhappiness arises from the drive to accumulate stuff for the perceived self. • Meditation drops us into the plane of possibility. • Self is a plural verb, not a singular noun. • You are not the wax of the candle, you are the flame, the light. • Deep in the heart of practices we access consciousness, we drop into love. • Compassion practices help us overcome our ‘in group’ ‘out group’ biases. • As humans we are on a journey to integrate Me and We, to discover MWE.
The Wisdom of Death, Frank Ostaseski
Frank Ostaseski is an internationally respected Buddhist teacher and pioneer in contemplative end of life care. He is the visionary co-founder of the Zen Hospice Project, and founder of the Metta Institute. He has lectured at Harvard Medical School, the Mayo Clinic, and the Long Now Foundation. He is the author of The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully.
Frank’s talk was accompanied by a slideshow of beautifully moving photographs of many of his patients, whom he tended at the Zen Hospice Project.
• If we have a human body, we should expect it to have problems. • The two most important questions in life are: Am I loved? Did I love well? • Do we need to die before we can Rest In Peace? • Death is the secret teacher, you don’t have to wait.
Tristan Harris is the Co-Founder of the Center for Humane Technology and is getting used to being introduced as the ‘closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience’! (He was the former Design Ethicist at Google). I have been following Tristan’s work closely over the last few years having briefly connected with him one summer. In my view, the questions he is asking of technology companies are critical to the path we take as a civilisation from here as we enter the era of AI and robotics. If you’d like to find out more about Tristan’s work and the great tips he offers for digital wellbeing and how to create a shift in the focus of tech giants – search for the Center for Humane Technology.
This article was written for us by International Mindfulness Advocate and Conscious Visionary, Neil Seligman is dedicated to sharing the power of mindfulness globally, transforming lives, and inspiring excellence in all aspects of human endeavour. He is the Founder of The Conscious Professional, the Author of 100 Mindfulness Meditations, and the Originator of Soul Portrait Photography. For more information about Neil, visit his page here