Cheryl Wilfong teaches mindfulness meditation at Vermont Insight Meditation Center when she isn’t rearranging one of her 28 flower beds or tending her out-of-control vegetable garden. Master Gardener and mistress of metaphor, she delivers the Dharma into daily life in the garden.
A year ago, i wrote 10 blog posts about Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which i see year after year for its Buddhist teachings. Now i have yet another insight into this old chestnut of a story.
The Ghost of Christmas Future shows Scrooge his own death, and this is his transformative moment. We may have several insights in our meditation practice, but only a very few of them lead to a transformation of our personality. Continue reading →
What is a ghost anyway? A disembodied spirit; a vague, shadowy or evanescent form. Once in a while we might say, “He’s a ghost of his former self,” meaning the resemblance remains, but the body seems to be thinning out.
In The Foam Sutta, the Buddha says, “Form is like a glob of foam.” What??? Is my body no more substantive than dishwater or a bubble bath? Continue reading →
When we practice loving-kindness, we first infuse ourselves with kindness and friendliness. Then we think of dear friends and relatives and pervade our minds with more benevolence. Next, we consider neutral people–those people we see in our daily lives, whose names we may not know–the grocery store clerk, the bank teller, the post office clerk. But what if we had no neutral people? Continue reading →
In the past 5 days, four of my neighbors have made trips to the hospital. Last Friday, which was above freezing, Ellen was walking into her garage when the snow on the roof let loose and avalanched down on her. Her hip broke. Luckily her husband had not yet left, though he was in the house. She screamed. He took her to the hospital, and she got a brand new hip later that day.
My sweetie played a beautiful piano concert Saturday afternoon.The audience applauded. Then, an hour later, it was all over. Ten months of practice, several months of planning for the November concert and for this January concert, the applause–it’s all over.
Sweetie kept reviewing the pieces in his mind, replaying them for himself. This is a form of stress. He kept reviewing the critical comments that a couple of friends made. “The piano was too loud.” This is a form of stress. He wondered why certain friends hadn’t come. This is a form of stress. He congratulated himself on having played a masterful concert. This too is a form of stress, because even though it’s a pleasant memory, that pleasantness comes to an end after a few seconds, and the ending of pleasantness is unpleasant. Continue reading →