Kindness, Judgement, and Self-righteousness

We can look inward at our own worst fears in order to understand our “foes” from the inside out. We have to start with compassion and kindness for ourselves in order to sincerely be able to understand and develop kindness for others, even if we don’t immediately see where that kindness we radiate will fall. If the first step is showing kindness and listening to ourselves, the second may be listening to others without collapsing into judgement and self-righteousness.

Carl Sagan on Moving Beyond Us vs. Them, Bridging Conviction with Compassion, and Meeting Ignorance with Kindness


Ignorance, Discomfort and Seeing Clearly

As a teacher, one of the things that I find out about students relatively early on is whether they are interested in the real thing—do they really want the truth, or do they actually just want to feel better?Adyashanti

Hoping to live days of greater happiness, I forget that days of lesser happiness are passing by.Elizabeth Bishop

Look, everybody, we’re all looking for answers … We all want to understand who we are and where we come from, but sometimes we want to know the answers so badly that we believe just about anythingStan Marsh, South Park

What Our Minds Do

As those of you that showed up today know, I was not up to the task of discussing this great article, so we talked about confusion, delusion, and our expectations of authority figures, teachers and our relationship with the Dharma and retirement. Now that I think about it, it still ended up being a challenging, but interesting, discussion!

Your Brain Doesn’t Work the Way You Think It Does

Article: Awakening to Dependent Origination


Anxiety, fear, anger and resilience

We talked about how our sense of anxiety, fear and anger is related, how we are dealing with depression, and also real ways we examine how to build up our resilience “muscle.” We also know that it’s great to have “how to” guides encouraging us to be resilient in difficult times, we still have to be patient and gentle. We can also just be overwhelmed and out of balance sometimes.

And here’s a charming take on optimism. It’s good for you!

One Fine Day: David Byrne Performs His Hymn of Optimism and Countercultural Anthem of Resistance and Resilience with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus




Keep On Keeping On

We talked about free association in meditation and everyone contributed their totally unique experiences that somehow made everyone feel understood and was every enjoyable. I have no associated online articles about this, but Jason Siff gave a talk on association as part of his Recollective Awareness technique, and I’ll be sure to include a link to his recorded talk when it’s available.

Have a great Thanksgiving holiday and be safe!

Proust and Acquiring Wisdom

Today I sort of subjected you to Marcel Proust, who, besides writing a really long book, had a lot to say about suffering, wisdom, art, and habit:

“In Proust’s view we don’t really learn anything until there is a problem, until we are in pain, until something fails to to as we had hoped.”

— How Proust Can Change Your Life (Vintage International) by Alain De Botton

Proust on What Art Does for the Soul and How to Stop Letting Habit Blunt Our Aliveness


The Self, Desire, and Hope

We talked about the need for having hope and how we distinguish between more worldly, or narrow desires and a more loving way of using hope to be kind to ourselves. Here’s a lovely article which I didn’t actually get to talk about.

Octavia Butler on Creative Drive, the World-Building Power of Our Desires, and How We Become Who We Are

And, as promised, a lovely and unexpected vote for hope as we go toward election day, as Stephen draws from his vast knowledge of Lord of the Rings to comfort his bud, Jon.