If we are suffering, it is because we are believing something that is not true and caught in emotional reactivity. A key tool in meditation is investigation–actively inquiring into what is happening inside us. When we investigate with sincere interest and care, the light of our attention untangles difficult emotions and nourishes intimate relationships. As this light is turned toward awareness itself, it reveals the radiance and emptiness of our true nature.
If we can recognize thoughts as thoughts, it becomes possible to open from virtual to living reality. This meditation guides us in awakening the senses and discovering the freedom, the awake space of Being, that is beyond the confines of thoughts.
How we relate to change and loss is directly connected to how fully we live and love. This talk looks at the classic ways we avoid opening to the realness of loss, and how our sorrows and grief can become a portal to awakening our heart and spirit.
The acronym RAIN – Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nurture – guides us in bringing mindfulness and compassion to difficult emotions. With practice, we can find our way home to open-hearted presence in the midst of whatever arises.
“Don’t turn away.
Keep your gaze on the bandaged place.
That’s where the light enters you.”
This talk differentiates between egoic intentions (driven by wants and fears), and our true aspiration (deepest desires) to manifest our full potential for awake awareness and love. We explore ways to realize and open to our deepest desires when we are stuck in self-promotion, grasping and conflict, so that our aspiration becomes a compass of the heart that can guide us in living with wisdom and compassion.
This meditation guides us through a body scan and into a relaxed, open presence. When we realize we are lost in a thought cloud, our practice is to relax open, listening to and feeling the life of the present moment. We are training to become increasingly aware of the gap between thoughts, the space where the light of awareness shines through.
Unprocessed fear cuts us off from our full aliveness and spirit, and it separates us from others. This talk looks at how we bring healing to the trauma and deep fears that cause us to dissociate from our body. We focus on ways we increase safety, diminish shame and then, with a courageous, embodied and compassionate presence, learn to contact and integrate fear into our larger awareness.
In this meditation, we relax and open our body and mind, and then explore an encounter with our Future Self - facing Fear in a Traumatized World is the expression of our most evolved and awakened heart.
Anger is natural, intelligent and necessary for surviving and flourishing. Yet when we are hooked by anger, it causes great personal and collective suffering. This talk explores how to transform patterns of reactivity by bringing a mindful and compassionate attention to the unmet needs that underlie angry reactivity. When we learn how to pause and connect honestly with our inner experience, we are then able to respond to others from our full intelligence and heart.
We awaken a present heart by relaxing with the breath, and bringing the kindness of a smile into our bodily experience. This meditation ends with offering blessings to our inner life and all beings.
The often unseen cause of our difficulties in relationships is the societal structures that are marked by violence and domination. This conversation looks at what blocks authentic and loving connectedness, and ways to intentionally cultivate authentic, openhearted awake relationships.
Meditation can empower us as we learn to access our potential for stability, strength and openness. This meditation calls on the image of a mountain as we awaken our body and mind to a full, vibrant presence. Closes with a metta (loving-kindness) prayer.
Mark is a spiritual teacher, wonderful poet, and author of many books including best selling "The Book of Awakening." In this wide-ranging and rich conversation, Tara and Mark explore shedding our defenses, faith, compassion for ourselves and others, spiritual practice, and facing illness, aging and death.
This meditation awakens a receptive attention to the senses, starting with physical sensations and opening to sound. Then we sense how open awake awareness is receiving the moment to moment arising and passing life. In the final part of the practice, we explore how awake awareness is receiving the experience of our heart and offer blessings to our inner life and all living beings.
When we are caught in self-judgment we forget the truth of who we are - our wholeness, awareness and love. This talk examines how we take the imperfect waves of our being personally, and become imprisoned in the trance of unworthiness, a limited and distorted reality. We then look at how the practice of radical acceptance enables us to come home to a fullness of being, and live from a growing sense of loving connectedness with all beings.
When we are stressed, our conditioning is to tighten our body. We tense against our moment-to-moment experience. This meditation is a powerful practice of de-conditioning this reactivity by learning to relax back into presence, and to respond to difficulty by saying “yes.” Through relaxing back and saying “yes,” we discover our heart’s capacity for unconditional love.
One of the great gifts of mindful awareness is access to true contentment. These two talks look at the universal blocks to contentment—habits of fixating on what's wrong and what’s missing. We then explore the practices of presence that awaken us from wanting life to be different, reveal our intrinsic wholeness and offer a profound sense of well-being. (Part 2 of 3-part series)
When we’re having difficulty, we typically tense up our body and mind, and armor our heart. This practice offers a pathway of relaxing that tension and tasting the peace that comes from resting in presence.
One of the great gifts of mindful awareness is access to true contentment. These two talks look at the universal blocks to contentment—habits of fixating on what's wrong and what’s missing. We then explore the practices of presence that awaken us from wanting life to be different, reveal our intrinsic wholeness and offer a profound sense of well-being.
We are conditioned to scan for “what’s wrong” and contract our body and mind in anticipation of danger. This meditation helps us undo these primal survival habits, and frees us to inhabit the full aliveness, creativity and love our natural being.
In Buddhism and most faiths, humility – feeling that we all share common ground, feeling neither superior or inferior to others – is both a prerequisite to awakening and an expression of mature spirituality. This talk explores how our conditioning and culture reinforce a swing from ego-inflation to ego-deflation. We then look at how a wise and kind attention opens us to who we are beyond these confining egoic states, and enables us to live with humility and grace.
This meditation cultivates a gentle, wakeful presence - arriving into our bodies and meeting the present moment with the image of a smile. When the mind drifts, we relax back to our senses…into the openhearted awareness that is our true home.
Poet Mark Nepo uses the phrase “exquisite risk” to describe our willingness to be fully alive, open, available, living true to our heart. This talk explores the challenges and blessings of taking the exquisite risk, both in becoming more intimate with our inner life, and in engaging with others from full authenticity.
This guided practice begins with a conscious breath that relaxes the body and mind, and then a body scan to awaken to the aliveness of the present moment. We then open into the natural awareness that includes the changing flow of sounds, feelings and sensations, and practice “relaxing back” when the mind gets lost in thought.
Natalie Goldberg has inspired an entire generation to experience writing as a practice that can awaken our hearts and minds. In this interview Natalie gives guiding tips on approaching writing and, drawing on stories and verses from her beautiful recent book, “Three Simple Lines,” helps us feel the power and depth of haiku.