is a Buddhist meditation teacher and has been teaching Insight meditation for 20 years. He is author of Awake in the Wild and Make Peace with Your Mind and leads nature-based meditation retreats and mindfulness teacher trainings in the U.S. and Europe.
Following ancient traditions on this winter solstice, we will take this poignant time to retreat, slow down, and enter stillness, silence, and inner exploration. While the natural world appears to be dormant, the inner realms are alive with transmuting the passage between the old and the new. The solstice asks how we stand openhearted in face of the darkest night while holding faith in the returning light. On a practical level it is a time of sorting what wants to be released that is no longer serving our potential, and what wants to be called in to help us fulfill that journey.
Awareness and love (metta) are essential and beautiful aspects of any spiritual life. Awareness as developed through mindfulness practice leads to clarity, insight, and understanding. Love opens the heart, allows a kind embrace of ourselves, and connects us intimately with life. The fusion of love and mindfulness supports a compassionate response to the pain that we encounter in ourselves and in life.
A disciplined mind brings happiness. — The Buddha
The teachings of the Buddha (dharma) and the practices of Insight Meditation (vipassana) and Loving-Kindness (metta) are at the heart of early Buddhist teachings. They are vehicles for awareness, wisdom, and compassion. Practicing Insight Meditation develops mindfulness and clarity into the conditions that limit and liberate our experience of life. And by cultivating loving-kindness, we meet the challenges of life with a wise compassion for ourselves and others.