Category: Jack Kornfield

Jack Kornfield on The Tim Ferriss Show: How to Overcome Apathy, Find Beautiful Purpose, Befriend Anger, and Make Your Own Damn Sandwiches Ep. 601

Jack Kornfield on The Tim Ferriss Show: How to Overcome Apathy, Find Beautiful Purpose, Befriend Anger, and Make Your Own Damn Sandwiches Ep. 601

00:00 Start 🙊
00:03:12 Apathy and polarization
00:04:43 Truth beneath anger
00:19:17 Ajahn Chah and contractor-ese
00:23:18 Retuning the tone of rage
00:29:13 Coping with trauma-induced hypervigilance
00:37:43 Making group therapeutic models work
00:44:11 In any effort to make the world better, put on your oxygen mask first
00:50:39 How can an aspiring Bodhisattva cut through widespread disengagement and apathy?
01:01:46 Thich Nhat Hanh and death
01:13:35 Out-of-body experiences
01:18:27 “A Brief for the Defense”
01:23:12 A guided meditation for recapturing the adventure and joy of childhood
01:38:58 The benefits of loving-kindness meditation
01:48:10 “Last year, foolish monk. This year, no change.”

The post Jack Kornfield on The Tim Ferriss Show: How to Overcome Apathy, Find Beautiful Purpose, Befriend Anger, and Make Your Own Damn Sandwiches Ep. 601 appeared first on Jack Kornfield.

Did I Love Well?

Did I Love Well?

 

Even the most exalted states and the most exceptional spiritual accomplishments are unimportant if we cannot be happy in the most basic and ordinary ways, if we cannot touch one another and the life we have been given with our hearts.

In undertaking a spiritual life, what matters is simple: We must make certain that our path is connected with our heart. In the end, spiritual life is not a process of seeking or gaining some extraordinary condition or special powers. In fact, such seeking can take us away from ourselves. If we are not careful, we can easily find the great failures of our modern society—its ambition, materialism, and individual isolation—repeated in our spiritual life. In beginning a genuine spiritual journey, we have to stay much closer to home, to focus directly on what is right here in front of us, to make sure that our path is connected with our deepest love.

When we ask, “Am I following a path with heart?” we discover that no one can define for us exactly what our path should be. We must look at the values we have chosen to live by. Where do we put our time, our strength, our creativity, our love? We must look at our life without sentimentality, exaggeration, or idealism. Does what we are choosing reflect what we most deeply value? If we are still and listen deeply, even for a moment, we will know if we are following a path with heart.

In the stress and complexity of our lives, we may forget our deepest intentions. But when people come to the end of their lives and look back, the questions that they most often ask are not usually, “How much is in my bank account?” or “How many books did I write?” or “What did I build?” or the like. If you have the privilege of being with a person who is conscious at the time of their death, you find the questions such a person asks are very simple, “Did I love well?” “Did I live fully?” “Did I learn to let go?”

These simple questions go to the very center of spiritual life. When we consider loving well and living fully, we can see the ways our attachments and fears have limited us, and we can see the many opportunities for our hearts to open. Have we let ourselves love the people around us, our family, our community, the earth upon which we live? And, did we also learn to let go? Did we learn to live through the changes of life with grace, wisdom, and compassion? Have we learned to shift from the clinging mind to the joy of freedom?

All other spiritual teachings are in vain if we cannot love. Even the most exalted states and the most exceptional spiritual accomplishments are unimportant if we cannot be happy in the most basic and ordinary ways, if, with our hearts, we cannot touch one another and the life we have been given. What matters is how we live. This is why it is so difficult and so important to ask this question of ourselves: “Am I living my path fully, do I live without regret?” so that we can say on whatever day is the end of our life, “Yes, I have lived my path with heart.”

The post Did I Love Well? appeared first on Jack Kornfield.

Heart Wisdom – Ep. 152 – The Most Basic Truths

When I first entered the monasteries in Thailand and Burma, I was taught everything is anicca (impermanent), dukkha (unsatisfactory), and anatta (no-self). The reason these were repeated over and over again is because if you see these, you see with the eyes of wisdom. Because everything is changing, the more you cling and hold on, the more you suffer.

To free ourselves, we need to quiet the mind through mindfulness in meditation. Then, instead of identifying with the changing conditions, we learn to release them and turn toward consciousness itself, to rest in the knowing. My teacher Ajahn Chah called this pure awareness, “the original mind,” or resting in “the one who knows.” We learn to trust pure awareness itself. This is one of the ways Ajahn Chah taught about liberation. Awakening is always here and now. Practicing this way, your life is transformed.

The post Heart Wisdom – Ep. 152 – The Most Basic Truths appeared first on Jack Kornfield.

Heart Wisdom – Ep. 150 – The War-Free Heart

In this talk given at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in 2007, we explore our innate capacity for love, compassion, generosity, and forgiveness. Yes, we can develop these qualities, but they are also our true nature, and when the stuff that gets in the way of them is released, they shine.
Because of the shame and unworthiness many of us carry, loving ourselves can be a particularly powerful practice. It opens the pathway to the gold of our natural love. Then it can spill over to bless all we touch.

 

 

The post Heart Wisdom – Ep. 150 – The War-Free Heart appeared first on Jack Kornfield.

Video: The Most Basic Truths: Gateways to Freedom Dharma Talk

When I first entered the monasteries in Thailand and Burma, I was taught everything is anicca (impermanent), dukkha (unsatisfactory), and anatta (no-self). The reason these were repeated over and over again is because if you see these, you see with the eyes of wisdom. Because everything is changing, the more you cling and hold on, the more you suffer.

To free ourselves, we need to quiet the mind through some mindfulness in meditation.Then, instead of identifying with the changing conditions, we learn to release them and turn toward consciousness itself, to rest in the knowing. My teacher Ajahn Chah called this pure awareness, “the original mind,” or resting in “the one who knows.”

As the Jiddu Krishnamurti said, “It is the truth that liberates, and not your efforts to be free.”

With practice, we discover the selflessness of experience; we shift identity. We can be in the midst of an experience, being upset or angry or caught by some problem, and then step back from it and rest in pure awareness. We let go; we release holding any thought or feeling as “I” or “mine.” We release the whole sense of identification, and the conditioned world is just anicca (impermanent), dukkha (unsatisfactory), and anatta (empty of self) — it has nothing to do with our true nature. We learn to trust pure awareness itself. This is one of the ways Ajahn Chah taught about liberation. Awakening is always here and now. Practicing this way, your life is transformed.

For more teachings like this, please subscribe to my YouTube channel HERE.

This talk was originally livestreamed by Spirit Rock on May 16, 2022.

The post Video: The Most Basic Truths: Gateways to Freedom Dharma Talk appeared first on Jack Kornfield.

Freedom to Make Mistakes

Freedom to Make Mistakes

Gandhi said, “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.”

Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Step out. Fly. Even if you get burned, you can fall back to earth and start again. It is never too late to start over. Zen Master Dogen laughingly called life “one continuous mistake.” Yes, there is the fear of looking bad, but later when you review your life, will you wish you had held back? Probably not.

Sometimes, we limit our own freedom because we think it will overwhelm us. Or we think we don’t deserve it. Or we fear that our ego will lead us astray, that we’ll get too big for our britches and try to fly without restraint. We worry that if we act and express our true freedom, we will burn up or take a gigantic fall, like in the myth of Icarus. We constrain ourselves from being “too free.”

Relax. Everyone stumbles. It’s how all children learn to walk. In the ordinary rhythm of life, we falter and then learn from our falls and our suffering. Sometimes we might worry about our tendency to overreach, to dream up heady plans for ourselves, inflated visions of the future. Other times we might feel inadequate or unworthy. Acknowledge these fears kindly. But don’t follow their advice.

Modern life offers many possibilities and we worry about making a wrong choice. Listen to your heart, and consult your body and your head. Then, experiment, act, take a step, learn, discover, grow. Discover the ease of making mistakes, trusting, failing, learning anew, letting yourself be carried by something larger than yourself. When Rossini was composing his great chorus in G minor, he accidentally dipped his pen in a medicine bottle instead of the inkpot. “It made a blot, and when I dried it with sand [blotting paper had not yet been invented], it took the form of a natural, which instantly gave me the idea of the effect which the change from G Minor to G Major would make, and to this blot all the beautiful effect of the chorus is due.”

In this way you learn what is called the freedom of imperfection. With this freedom comes joy, playfulness, forgiveness and compassion for yourself and others. You can enjoy even the mistakes; they are part of the game. In this way you can become more gracious, forgiving, wise. Then you can act with your best intentions, all the while recognizing you cannot control the results.

“Not knowing for sure” is a famous Zen practice—it conveys the truth of our human incarnation. Not knowing and acting anyway, with a playful and caring heart, you cede control of the outcome and willingly cast your unique spirit into the mystery.

The post Freedom to Make Mistakes appeared first on Jack Kornfield.

Heart Wisdom – Ep. 149 – Tending the Garden of the World, Tending the Garden of the Heart

What kind of seeds are you planting and tending with your words and your deeds? There are unhealthy seeds of ignorance, greed, fear, hatred, and delusion—when we plant these seeds and allow them to grow, they bring enormous suffering. But there are also seeds of generosity, clarity, gratitude, compassion, and mutual respect. As Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Consciousness has all these seeds embedded in it. Which ones will you water? For those are the ones that will grow.”

 

 

The post Heart Wisdom – Ep. 149 – Tending the Garden of the World, Tending the Garden of the Heart appeared first on Jack Kornfield.

Video: Here and Now Meditation

Let yourself be settled. Turn your attention to here and now, and the present experience. You can rest on the Earth with ease and trust in this moment. With this embodied presence, begin to notice the experiences here and now. There will be sensations of the body, sounds, emotions, feelings. A parade of images and thoughts will come and go. You can take your seat just where you are, in the midst of these rising and passing experiences.

For more teachings like this, please subscribe to my YouTube channel HERE.

This meditation was originally livestreamed by Spirit Rock on 5/16/22.

The post Video: Here and Now Meditation appeared first on Jack Kornfield.

Heart Wisdom – Ep. 148 – Open, Spacious Awareness Meditation

Reflect on the value of a peaceful heart. What is it like to have a peaceful heart among the worldly winds of praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow, fame and disrepute? These are the worldly winds that constantly change. It’s important to stop, take a pause, and feel that we are part of something so much greater than the individual life that we live. Our awareness is big enough to hold all of this, because we are awareness itself.
With each breath allow the sense of vastness and openness to grow. Make your mind like the sky—without boundaries, vast, open.

 

 

The post Heart Wisdom – Ep. 148 – Open, Spacious Awareness Meditation appeared first on Jack Kornfield.