Take a Break From Stress: July 7 & July 9 2020 Meetings

Meeting #29:  July 7, 2020

Meeting Theme: If we choose a pathway of mindfulness, it is not only for periods of meditation, it is for each ordinary and extraordinary moment of our lives.  Being mindful allows us to catch those moments of mental afflictions, giving us the opportunity to “apply the antidotes.”  And what are these antidotes?  Each of us must answer that question for ourselves.  But there is a hint in the words of Patrick Stewart: “you will never achieve success by insuring against failure…You have to be brave.”

Today’s Quotes:

From “Mind in Comfort and Ease,” by Longchen Rabjam, 14th Century Tibetan Buddhist Teacher

As a beginner, it is most important that you secure your own well-being.  Guarding your mind in solitude, abandoning distractions and busyness, avoiding unfavorable situations, and subduing the mental afflictions with appropriate antidotes.

Ensuring that your view and conduct are in harmony, enthusiastically devote yourself to meditation.  Whenever any of the ordinary five poisons arise (e.g. Hate, Greed, Ignorance, Distraction, Conceit), in that very moment, catch them with mindfulness and, without distraction, apply the antidotes.

From an interview of the actor Patrick Stewart on NPR’s “Fresh Air with Terry Gross,” July 2, 2020, found at:


INTERVIEWER:  You’ve said that when you first started, when you first started acting, your performances were cautious and that you didn’t want to expose yourself too much. What did you – what do you mean by that?

STEWART: Oh, yes. And I was told about it by my – the director of my acting school. I went to the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. And towards the end of my two years there, he called me into his office and gave me a pretty tough talking to. But the last thing he said to me was, Patrick, you will never achieve success by insuring against failure.

And I thought I knew what he meant, but I didn’t, not for years and years and years. And I learned that you have to take risks. You have to be brave. You have to step into the unknown. You have to jump off the edge of the cliff. All of those things are required of actors. Once I’d finally understood that, I knew what direction I had to go in.

Gently Guided Meditation: Breath/Body/Mind awareness.

Meeting Video:


Meeting #30: July 9, 2020

Meeting Theme: The “antidotes” to suffering are found in the establishment of our own well-being in solitude.  While the specific antidotes are unique to each person, they are to be found by each of us in solitude in the experience of the “higher faculties of perception.”  Our mindfulness practice brings comfort and ease to our bodies, and opens the gateway of perception to these higher faculties.

Today’s Quotes:

From “Mind in Comfort and Ease,” by Longchen Rabjam, 14th Century Tibetan Buddhist Teacher

Nowadays, when people are so unruly, it is vital that you first achieve your own well-being in solitude.  Just as a bird cannot fly without both wings, the welfare of others cannot be accomplished without the higher faculties of perception, so strive diligently for your own well-being, while mentally considering the welfare of others.

From “The Varieties of Religious Experience” by William James: Lecture XVI & XVII

One conclusion was forced upon my mind at that time, and my impression of its truth has ever since remained unshaken. It is that our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. We may go through life without suspecting their existence; but apply the requisite stimulus, and at a touch they are there in all their completeness, definite types of mentality which probably somewhere have their field of application and adaptation. No account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded. How to regard them is the question, for they are so discontinuous with ordinary consciousness. Yet they may determine attitudes though they cannot furnish formulas, and open a region though they fail to give a map. At any rate, they forbid a premature closing of our accounts with reality.

Gently Guided Meditation: Breath/Body/Mind awareness with Coherent Breathing Exercise

Meeting Video: