Urgent appeal for donations

woman hands with wooden bowl of water with petals,Wildmind needs to raise at least $3000 before the end of July, and preferably a bit more since $3000 would just allow us to scrape by.

Right now we have a financial crisis. The end of the month is coming and we don’t have enough in the bank to pay our staff. That’s rather worrying for all of us on a personal level, for obvious reasons.

(This has been an unusual month for Wildmind, financially. I’ll put a note with more details below.)

Anything you can contribute would be most welcome. You’d not just be helping those of us who work at Wildmind (Mark, Amy, and myself), but also the “greater us,” which is the tens, and even hundreds of thousands of people Wildmind benefits.

It would be wonderful if you could donate $1000, or $100, or even just $10.

If you want to use a credit card, you can go to this page, enter the amount you want to donate, and then begin checking out by clicking on “add to cart.”

If you have a Paypal account, you can click on the button below and enter your chosen donation:

Checks can be mailed to: Wildmind, 55 Main St. Suite 315, Newmarket NH 03857, USA.

If you’ve been participating in our 60 Days to Jhana (which may extend beyond 60 days, since I’ve slowed the pace of posting — a development that many people have welcomed) I hope you’re enjoying and benefiting from the event. If not, I hope to see you when we repeat this event next year.

Wildmind’s activities are largely supported by donations. We’re very grateful to everyone who contributes to what we do. Without the support of people like you, we wouldn’t be able to offer free events like our Year of Going Deeper, or maintain our free online meditation guides, or keep bringing you a constant stream of advice, news, and inspiration to nourish your meditation practice. So please do help support Wildmind!

With metta,

PS. I said I’d say a bit more about our financial situation this month and why it’s unusual. First, last year our tax accountant messed up our tax filing, and we just paid $3000 to a new accountant to fix the previous accountant’s errors. Second, we had a major computer malfunction and had to pay for specialist help. And lastly, the supplier of one of our meditation timers put a fraudulent charge for over $1300 on our debit card; the best case scenario is that it’ll take a few weeks to get this refunded, and the worse case is that we’ll just have to accept the loss.

Posted at 8pm on Jul 24, 2014 | no comments

How to raise compassionate kids

I'll be reading this again when I'm less tired. There's much to reflect upon here.?

Are you raising nice kids? A Harvard psychologist gives 5 ways to raise them to be kind
Think your kids are being raised to be kind? Think again. A Harvard researcher and psychologist has 5 ways to train your child to be kind and empathetic.

Posted at 11pm on Jul 19, 2014 | no comments

Coming soon to Tricycle

I have a new Fake Buddha Quote column in the Fall edition of Tricycle, which will soon be trundling into a bookstore near you.?
Posted at 7pm on Jul 19, 2014 | 2 comments

Getting the dead dog off of your shoulders

Lady in furs.What kinds of things do we get up to when we are meant to be meditating, but have become distracted? Most people will say they “think” or “fantasize,” but that’s not very specific. What kind of thinking is going on? What kinds of desires drive our fantasies?

There are five traditional hindrances to meditation. Speaking very non-technically, what we tend to do when we’re distracted is one of the following:

  • Getting annoyed about things we dislike
  • Fantasizing about things we like
  • Worrying and fidgeting
  • Snoozing and avoiding challenges
  • Undermining ourselves with stories about what we can’t do

These are the five hindrances in very non-technical language. Each of them is a form of mental turbulence that prevents us from experience the natural calmness and joy of the undisturbed mind.

The Buddha suggested a number of ways to calm the mind by dealing with the hindrances.One approach, which we could call “reflecting on the consequences,” uses thought to calm our thinking.

He suggested that we reflect on the disadvantages of continuing to be caught up in the hindrance that is currently dominating our minds. For example, we can ask, What will happen if I continue to let my mind be dominated by anger or doubt? Will it make me happy? Are the consequences of these mental states with those that I want to live with? By consciously reflecting in this way, we bring alternative visions of the future into our present consciousness. We thus create the possibility of choice. We are then able to experience an emotional response to each of the alternatives we’ve imagined.

So, if you imagine that continuing to indulge in angry states of mind is going to lead to isolation and conflict, then the emotional response to that imagined future outcome may well be one of aversion. And generating aversion to the outcomes of anger will tend to lead to aversion to the anger itself. (This is a useful aversion to have!) And we may imagine being calm, confident, and kind, and this exerts its own emotional pull, making it more likely that we’ll choose the path that leads us there.

The Buddha used a very colorful image to describe this antidote. He said it was “like a young woman or man, in the flush of youth and fond of finery, who would be ashamed to have the carcass of a dog or snake hanging round his neck.” I like this image. It reminds us there is beauty already present beneath the hindrance, and that the hindrance itself is something that mars our inherent spiritual loveliness, and that is relatively superficial and extraneous.

So, when you notice you’re in an unhelpful state of mind, see where that’s leading you by reflecting on the consequences. Become aware of the unwholesomeness of the negative mental state that you’re experiencing, and allow a natural and wholesome aversion towards it to emerge. But also be aware that there is an inner beauty just waiting to be revealed.

Posted at 9am on Jul 18, 2014 | no comments

Father and son

A portrait of me, by my son. The small bundle in my arms is him when he was a baby.?
Posted at 12pm on Jul 17, 2014 | 11 comments