InsightLA is celebrating a joyful occasion tomorrow (Saturday) at 5pm. It’s our second Teacher Authorization Ceremony. This special moment is the culmination of thousands of years of passing on the teachings of liberation and loving awareness from teacher to student. You’re invited to join us in honoring Ron Ames, movie producer, and Allen Weiss, professor of internet marketing at USC. Allen and Ron are being recognized as senior teachers — and you’re invited to join us at this important time for our history and our future.
You can learn more about them both on the Teacher Authorization event Page.
InsightLA is a refuge where we can bring all of who we are — our inspiration, longing, and very real life dilemmas. As human beings, we naturally face personal difficulties and losses; we live with the larger limitations of our society and our planet as well. Sometimes it can be hard to keep going.
All our teachers are here for you. They want to be a lamp, a guide, a buoy, a ladder; your teachers are the heart and strength of InsightLA. They help you learn how to be with yourself and your life with compassion and understanding. They show you how to [...]
In a conversation with a student, she told me with longing and sadness that she feels very far away from her practice, her spiritual life. You probably know what she means; sometimes our lives get too full to set time aside for meditation, mindful walking, or any other dedicated mindfulness practice. Often we experience a palpable sense of loss, as if we’re exiled from a vital connection to our true selves, far from what’s most beautiful in our lives.
As her teacher, though, what I see is different. She truly embodies her practice of loving awareness, expressed in countless ways — caring for her aging parents, her own large family, her work.
The sense of being far away is not something to overcome but to respect and include in loving awareness. This is the way to work with our difficulties, to include them and learn from them. Feelings that seem like adversaries can become our allies when they’re included, and mindfulness offers us nobility and joy as we open to what is present completely.
In fact, there can be something more authentic in the times you feel something’s missing than when you feel satisfied. The more deeply you practice, the more you realize [...]
At InsightLA we’re renewing our efforts to be a more diverse community; we want everyone who comes to learn and practice mindful living to feel at home. This means examining closely the various hindrances to diversity – institutional, cultural, and individual biases we carry in our hearts, often unwittingly, outside of awareness.
In some of our trainings on privilege we read Peggy McIntosh’s seminal article, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”. It was written 25 years ago and it’s still relevant and important. In it, she describes the ease of privilege that white people take for granted, privilege that also operates when we’re heterosexual, or young, or healthy or wealthy — it’s as invisible as the air we breathe. One participant writes:
“I do not see white privilege as a backpack, because my white privilege does not come off…. My white privilege is not a separate thing. It is my entire house, my entire life. I am made up of benefits that I have received at the expense of others. The clothes on my back are made by people who are not white and whose existence I ignore. When my back is tired, I go for a Korean or Thai massage, both [...]
If you’d told me twenty years ago that Norman Fischer – Zen master, author, poet, regular guy extraordinaire – was giving the commencement speech at Stanford about the need to live a life of spiritual practice, I’d have said, “You’re dreaming.” And this is the year it actually happened, 2014. Our year - we are alive and awake, right now!*
Skillfully, humorously, he led up to asking the graduates, “Who are you, really? Why were you born? When this short human journey is over, where are you going? Why, and how, does any of this exist? What is the purpose of it, anyway?” And then said:
“Not even your Nobel prize-winning professors know the answers to these questions. None of us knows the answers. All we know is that we are here for a while before we are gone, and that we are here together. The only thing that makes sense and is completely real is love. Love is the only answer….but how do you love? How do you make love real in your life?”
Norman had the courage to make a pitch for regular and committed spiritual practice to navigate the good and the tragic times that come to us. Whether cultivating [...]
I love the outdoors, from damselflies and crickets, to the deep blue of twilight, to the roar of pounding surf. Nestled with a deep sense of belonging among Earth’s teeming life, I know our Earth is ill and calling out for our loving attention. As you or I would tend to an ill child or an ailing parent, I turn with a loving heart to protect our Earth as best as I can, as an individual and as a member of widening circles of relationship, with my mindfulness practice as my guide.
On September 21st, I participated in the People’s Climate March in New York. The march and associated events were incredibly heartening. Marchers from around the globe revealed a vast and growing network of concerned citizenry engaging in the call to individual and collective action. Time and again throughout the week’s events, I heard people talk about their transformation from grief and isolation to being part of a caring community willing to bear witness and respond compassionately.
The rapid climate changes exhort us to live with uncertainty consciously. I arrived home with far more questions than I had brought. How can we effectively address the institutionalization of greed, aversion and delusion hampering [...]