“Life is Tough. Six Ways to Deal with It” is the title of a Shambhala Sun article by Norman Fischer published in March 2013. Lately I keep this well-worn SS issue next to my bed, and last night as I was reading Fisher’s article for the n’th time, a few pages of this trusted resource finally fell out of the magazine.
Seeing the magazine fall apart was not an unpleasant experience. It reminded me how much I had gone to Fischer’s words over the past year and how important it is to have places to go for support. In this post I’ll offer a brief description of Fischer’s article; then I’d like to share some of my favorite online supports. It’s my humble experience that having a variety of resources stimulates different layers of mindfulness practice and informs its application to life. This can help keep our mindfulness practice energized and grounded at the same time.
Fischer writes, “Times are tough. We need a way to cope. Halfway measures probably won’t work. We need to really transform our minds–our hearts, our consciousness, our basic attitudes.”
To describe how we might do this, Fischer comments on a section of a 12th-century text on the lojong, or “mind training” practices. Fischer says of this text, “Of the many important teachings presented in the lojong text, none is more useful than those discussed under the heading, ‘Turning Difficulties into the Path.’” He uses the SS article to comment on the six mind-training (lojong) slogans under this heading.
Here they are:
- Turn all mishaps into path.
- Drive all blames into one.
- Be grateful to everyone.
- See confusion as Buddha and practice emptiness.
- Do good, avoid evil, appreciate your lunacy, pray for help.
- Whatever you meet is path.
Fisher’s article, as of this morning, can be accessed in full here: http://shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4015&Itemid=0
And below is an annotated list of a few favorite podcasts and online subscriptions:
- Dharma Seed (free/donation): Dharma Seed collects dharma talks and guided meditations from teachers and meditation centers all over the world. It also provides archives of our leading western teachers’ teachers, Sayadaw U Pandita and Ajahn Chah to name a couple. You can search the podcasts by topic, which has been very helpful for me when I wanted more guidance on Lovingkindness, Forgiveness, Anger, Mudita, Mindfulness, etc.
- Tricycle Magazine (some free access or 30$/year as a Supporting Member): My favorite resource in the digital Tricycle is access to retreats. Most recently I have benefited very much from Sharon Salzberg’s retreat, Real Happiness at Work. Most retreats are offered once a week for four weeks and are only 15-30 minutes long. They are brief, with depth, substance, and a lot of heart.
- Dharma Talk Podcasts (free/donation): Insight Meditation Society (Barre, MA), Tara Brach, and Insight Meditation Center (Redwood City, CA) produce very good-quality, supportive talks from teachers like Jack Kornfield, Norman Fischer, Sharon Salzberg, Gil Fronsdal, and Joseph Goldstein. I can feel my heart relaxing as soon as the teachers begin talking.
May all beings be safe. May all beings feel love and joy. May all beings be healthy and free from pain. May all beings be free.
In service to these things,