What Happens When We Die

“How can a creature who will certainly die have an understanding of things that will exist forever?” BY MARIA POPOVA When my atheist engineer grandfather died, my atheist engineer grandmother leaned over the body in the hospice bed that had contained half a century of shared life and love, cradled the cranium in which his stubborn and sensitive mind had dwelt, and whispered into the halogen-lit ether: “Where did you go, my darling?” Whatever our beliefs, these sensemaking playthings of the mind, when the moment of material undoing comes, we — creatures of moment and matter — simply cannot fathom … Continue reading What Happens When We Die

What We Gain When We Learn to Let Go

There are two sides to this Buddhist practice: letting go of something and letting go into something. By Gil Fronsdal Letting go is an important practice in everyday life, as well as on the path of liberation. Daily life provides innumerable small and large occasions for letting go of plans, desires, preferences, and opinions. It can be as simple as when the weather changes, and we abandon plans we had for the day. Or it can be as complex as deciding what to sacrifice, when pulled between the needs of family, friends, career, community, or spiritual practice. Daily life provides many situations where letting go … Continue reading What We Gain When We Learn to Let Go

Believe in astrology? You might score high in narcissistic traits

KEY TAKEAWAYS Astrology is an ancient practice that has been growing increasingly popular in recent years, in part due to the availability of astrology smartphone apps.   A recent study found correlations between certain personality traits and the belief in astrology. Of all personality traits tested, narcissism correlated most strongly with the belief in astrology. Or you might just be a Leo. by Scotty Hendricks “Idon’t believe in astrology; I’m a Sagittarius and we’re skeptical.” ― Arthur C. Clarke Astrology, a pseudoscientific approach to understanding individual personality based on the movement of the heavens, has enjoyed a surge in popularity over … Continue reading Believe in astrology? You might score high in narcissistic traits

One Hundred Karmas

For the first time available in English, a collection of Tibetan teaching stories helps us see how modest acts can have major consequences. By Mindy Newman and Kaia Fischer “When the time arrives—even ifA hundred eons pass—Fruit is born of every actThat sentient beings amass.”—Karmashataka Why is karma, one of the most central Buddhist concepts, so hard to wrap our minds around? It’s nearly impossible for most of us to avoid mistaking karma for a system of reward and retribution, in which we are punished for our “bad” behavior and compensated for the “good.” As Buddhists, even as we work toward kindness and compassion … Continue reading One Hundred Karmas

REVISIONING JUNG’S IDEA OF SYNCHRONICITY

Paul Levy, Guest Waking Times Synchronicity is considered to be one of the most important ideas emerging out of the twentieth century. Jung coined the term synchronicity to describe a category of experience that defied and had an altogether different logic than the widely accepted and virtually unquestioned logic of linear sequential causality (in which a cause precedes an effect in linear time), which was generally thought to be the only kind of causality operating in the universe at the time. Bringing forth the notion of synchronicity was a bold and heretical act by Jung that was a radical departure from … Continue reading REVISIONING JUNG’S IDEA OF SYNCHRONICITY

Buddhism’s Biggest Open Secret

Taking a look at adverse effects of meditation in Eastern and Western Buddhist practice By Wendy Biddlecombe Agsar  I began moping around in a dark, melancholy state. I was always nervous and afraid, weak and timid in mind and body. The skin under my arms was constantly wet with perspiration. I found it impossible to concentrate on what I was doing. I sought out dark places where I could go to be alone and just sat there motionless like a dead man. Neither acupuncture, moxacautery [burning dried flowers on or near the skin], nor medical potions brought me any relief. These are … Continue reading Buddhism’s Biggest Open Secret

THE ART OF DEATHPROOFING

Gary Z McGee, Contributor Waking Times “Just as a well-filled day brings blessed sleep, so a well-employed life brings blessed death.” ~Leonardo Da Vinci Death comes to us all. But life does not, necessarily. Most of us live life half-alive, or half-dead, depending on how you look at it. Quiet desperation tends to rule the day. Most of us merely survive rather than vitally thrive. Ironically, death can help us with this conundrum. Death can help us live life more fully. It can help us go from mere survivor to resolute thriver. It puts life into perspective by teaching the living … Continue reading THE ART OF DEATHPROOFING

10 surprising new things we’ve learned about death

Studying death can improve life. By Kevin Dickinson Black cloak. Scythe. Skeletal grin. The Grim Reaper is the classic visage of death in Western society, but it’s far from the only one. Ancient societies personified death in a myriad of ways. Greek mythology has the winged nipper Thanatos. Norse mythology the gloomy and reclusive Hel, while Hindu traditions sport the wildly ornate King Yama. Modern science has de-personified death, pulling back its cloak to discover a complex pattern of biological and physical processes that separate the living from the dead. But with the advent of these discoveries, in some ways, death … Continue reading 10 surprising new things we’ve learned about death

When Your Parents Are Dying: Some of the Simplest, Most Difficult and Redemptive Life-Advice You’ll Ever Receive

“Death makes human beings seem like very small containers that are packed so densely we can only we aware of a fraction of what’s inside us from moment to moment.” BY MARIA POPOVA “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself,” Kahlil Gibran wrote in his poignant verse on parenting. And yet we are, each of us, someone’s child — physiologically or psychologically or both — and they sing themselves through us as we sing ourselves into our longing for life, whether we like the melody or not. Like a Zen koan, … Continue reading When Your Parents Are Dying: Some of the Simplest, Most Difficult and Redemptive Life-Advice You’ll Ever Receive

Freedom From Illusion

Simple steps to awakening to the true face of reality By Pema Düddul A shooting star, a clouding of the sight,a lamp, an illusion, a drop of dew, a bubble,a dream, a lightning’s flash, a thunder cloud:this is the way one should see the conditioned. —trans. Paul Harrison This revered verse from the Diamond Sutra points to one of Buddhism’s most profound yet confounding truths—the illusory nature of all things. The verse is designed to awaken us to ultimate reality, specifically to the fact that all things, especially thoughts and feelings, are the rainbow-like display of the mind. One of the Tibetan words … Continue reading Freedom From Illusion