lunes, 31 de julio de 2017

Thanks for subscribing! In this issue we bring you an exclusive article, as well as news 
of three events running in August. We hope you can join us on one of them!

1. Feel Greater Calm and Joy

This 50-day online course offers a step-by-step guide that will lead you into
 deep states of calm, relaxation, joy. Jhana (or dhyana) is a joyful state of f
ocused attention that can arise in meditation. It’s what modern psychology 
calls a “flow state.” Very few modern teachers are able to explain how to 
consistently experience this state, and so it's commonly thought of as being 
unattainable for all but "elite" meditators, or for those in on long and intensive retreats
. None of these things are true. Jhana is doable! It can be experienced by 
ordinary meditators, and all that is necessary is to know the steps involved.
Join Bodhipaksa on this course, and learn how to bring greater calm and joy
 into your meditation practice — and your life!
This event can accommodate complete beginners, but is aimed at those
 with an established meditation practice.
Join us to bring greater joy into your life!

2. Make Your Life Your Journey

How do we make the most of life? This course is for anyone who wants their life 
to be a journey. With humor and profundity, mixing poetry and myth with down-to 
earth instruction, Maitreyabandhu — a well-known Buddhist teacher and a
 prize-winning poet — describes what it means to set out on the Buddha’s
 journey and how you can follow it, day by day and week by week.
This course leads participants step by step along the Buddhist path from
 mindfulness and emotional strength to receptivity, spiritual death and rebirth.
 On the course we will be learning how to put spiritual life into practice here and now.
Course participants will receive a discounted copy of Maitreyabandhu's new book
 "The Journey and the Guide" as part of the course.
Sign up now to begin your journey!

3. Experience the Power of Mindfulness

Research shows that we spend, on average, 48% of our time in distracted thinking
, and that these thoughts are often detrimental to our wellbeing and happiness.
 In many cases, compulsive thoughts create out-of-control states of depression or stress.
Stress Reduction Through Mindfulness is a 28-day online meditation event
 — a practical guide showing how the power of mindfulness can reduce stress in 
your life and offer you access to peace in every moment. You'll learn how to relate 
more healthily to stressful situations, how to avoid "catastrophizing," and how to
 become more emotionally resilient.
This event is suitable for people of all levels of experience, including complete beginners.
Sign up now to start reducing stress!

Fully embracing this present moment

It was late in the evening when my son told me he'd left his backpack in the car. 
That's not a huge deal, but there were things in it that he needed for camp tomorrow, 
and because of where I live my car's parked a few minutes' walk away from
 my apartment. Again, not a huge deal, but I was tired and I was in the middle 
of getting both kids together for bed, and would have to wait until they were 
asleep before I went to retrieve the backpack.

So, with the kids asleep, and my energy failing, I trudged downstairs to fetch 

the forgotten backpack. I was grouchy and a little resentful — you know,
 where you have to do something you hadn't expected to do because someone 
didn't do what they're supposed to. Grumble, grumble.

I was just exiting the building when I realized that I was making myself unhappy

 with this train of thought. I noticed that my state of mild resentment had
 eroded my wellbeing, making me feel weary and put-upon. It wasn't a 
pleasant state to be in.

Fortunately a wiser part of myself stepped in. If this part of me had been verbalizing, it would have said, "You're making yourself suffer unnecessarily. Drop the story. Look at your actual experience, and you'll find that there's fundamentally nothing wrong."

So, first of all I recognized that I was making myself suffer. That's key. 

A lot of the time we don't realize we're doing this. Maybe we think it's 
life that's making us unhappy, and so we think we don't have any choice about it.
 But it's not life that makes us suffer: it's our reactions to the things that happen 
to us in life. Realizing that we're making ourselves suffer gives us the freedom 
to stop doing that. It gives us the freedom to act differently.

One of the things we can do differently is to drop our stories. It's our stories 

about events that make us unhappy. I had a story about how my son "should"
 have remembered his backpack, and how I "should" have remembered to check 
he had it, and how I'd "failed" in that task. And the story was also that going to
 the car was an unpleasant task and that I could be doing better things with my time. 
Those stories were making me feel mildly miserable. To drop our stories, we need 
simply to turn our attention to something else. In this case, "something else" 
is our immediate sensory experience.

When we focus on what's arising in our present-moment sensory experience, 

we reduce our capacity for rumination — overthinking that creates or increases 
our suffering. The mind has limited bandwidth, and the more attentive you are
 to the body's sensations, to perceptions from the outside world, and to feelings,
 the less capacity there is for the mind to carry thoughts  — thoughts that make us unhappy.

So when I turned toward my attention in this way, I was aware of the movements

 of my body, the rise and fall of my breathing, the coolness of the night air, 
the darkness outside, the smell of the river nearby, the sound of traffic on Main Street. 
I was aware also that unpleasant feelings were present. There was a tense, knotted
 ball of resentment in my chest. Now the important thing here is just to accept these 
 unpleasant feelings. React to them or try to get rid of them, and you'll just make 
things worse. So you need to find a way to remind yourself, "There's an unpleasant 
present, and that's OK. There's nothing wrong with having an unpleasant feeling present.
" You just allow that feeling to be there.

This is a radical thing to do. Our mental reactions are attempts to escape or

 fix unpleasant situations. It seems counter-intuitive to turn toward painful 
feelings. But turning toward our suffering reduces our suffering.

Once you're no longer bolstering your pain with reactive thinking, you're still

 left with the feeling. It may still be strong, or it may be that now all you experience 
is a just a kind of "echo" of the original, which quickly dissipates. But even if the 
suffering is strong and persistent, in the absence of obsessing about what you think is wrong, each moment now becomes bearable. (If you think your feelings are 
unbearable, you're back into rumination. So drop the thinking and turn back to 
the feeling again.) Simply let go of thinking, observe painful feelings, and you
 feel more at peace.

In fact you may become aware that there are pleasant things happening too. The night is cool. 

the darkness is soothing. You're getting a little more exercise than you expected. 
You're alive. You're breathing. Fundamentally, everything in this moment is OK. 
You're OK. There's just this moment, and this moment is fine.
With love,

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