A teacher of shamatha meditation, after instructing a newcomer in the proper sitting posture, proceeds to the second instruction. The abbreviated form of this instruction goes something like this: "Having assumed the proper posture, now place your attention on the breath." Or, "Begin to notice the breath." The gist of the second instruction is to bring greater awareness to the breath, the vital fluid whose passage through your tissues, for the most part, escapes your attention, fading into the background unnoticed.
Sunday, September 30, 2012
Monday, September 24, 2012
Q: Tell me what you were like before the stroke, in terms of how you handled emotions.
A: I was very domineering, very in control.
Q: Type A, would you say?
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
photo: monique theriot
These pumpkins rot so quickly, more quickly than pumpkins from the store, like how buttercups turn to jelly after one day in the vase while a rose imported from Ecuador will remain beautiful for a whole week, even longer if you put that little packet of magic in the water.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
There's a roach in my toilet, dead. Found it on its back near the garage door this morning. When I bent over to pick it up by an antenna, I braced myself for the possibility that it might still be alive, that it might curl and crawl around when stimulated by the wadded tissue I pinched between my fingers, but, no, it was truly dead.
Monday, September 3, 2012
Sprinkle birdseed outside your home religiously, and it won’t be long before you attract a crowd of regulars. I sprinkle birdseed on our back patio when I wake up each morning, and about thirty birds stop over for breakfast: doves, pigeons, sparrows, cardinals, usually at least one bluejay. The doves are addicted to my sunflower seeds. The sparrows love my millet.
Saturday, September 1, 2012
IN ONE SENSE there’s a clear boundary around the brain. Reach into a cracked-open skull, peel away some membranes, and you can wrap your hands all the way around one. And in school diagrams, it’s clear where the brain stops and the rest of the body begins. The brain is that pillowy ball of pink, sometimes with a tiny tail at the bottom, sometimes not, floating in the middle of the head. In one sense, there’s a clear boundary around the brain. That boundary is an illusion.