We learn by watching others, seeing what works and doesn’t work. As human beings we have mirror genes that allow us to empathize with the sufferings of others. Our feelings of safety and security depend on feeling accepted and protected by the tribe; being ostracized cuts deeply, often leaving us feeling alone, insecure, self-doubting. It can be disconcerting when we are criticized, in relationships, work, families, friends, art. —sharp, chiding, disparaging words about our reputations security feel threatened. —there’s a tendency to turn disparagements into identity views, to feel trapped —it can leads to papanca, an inner debate with those who disapprove of us. […]
Josh KordaJosh Korda has been the guiding teacher at Dharmapunx NYC since the summer of 2005; his talks can be found at dharmapunxnyc.podbean.com. Over the last five years he’s been a visiting teacher at Zen Care and Against the Stream, where he is a full teacher as well. Josh teaches multiple retreats each year, mentors dozens of spiritual practitioners, and writes for a number of Buddhist publications.
Everything is in flux. One of the most fundamental insights of spiritual practice is that despite all the safeguards civilization provides, the feelings of security we achieve through work, relationships and family, etc, we remain inherently vulnerable to abrupt loss and change. Everything is in flux: the world, people in our lives, moods and thoughts arising and passing in our minds. This fundamental change includes the way we relate to people, places and things: each new iGadget feels exciting and promising out of the box; months later it brings little more than a momentary diversion to the day. So, what […]
Its a common practice to rely on certain phrases as self-motivating, activating mantras; mottos to get us going, to hurry us along, put a move on it, pick up the pace, set stuff in motion and focus our attention. These inner incitements come in many forms, but they all have the same, underlying message: We’re really screwed this time, unless we work ourselves up into a lather. Let’s listen in on these enlivening mantras: “I’ve got to get myself together… It’s later than I thought… I’ve got to get going… There’s not enough time… Time’s running out… There’s even less […]
It’s taught that the Buddha managed to live 28 years before encountering old age, sickness and death. Today, such a remove from distressing events is all but impossible to imagine. Unsettling images are found everywhere; tucked among a stream of wedding and birth announcements, travel photographs, and restaurant reviews that unwind on social media; or the quick glimpse at a news outlet, bombarding us with horrific scenes, videos of people running from explosive discharges or flooding rivers, underscored by frantic announcements, dire bulletins, and wild speculation, packaged into the two minute news clip. Watching helplessly from a distance, we’re left […]
In the latest podcast from Dharma Punx NYC, Josh Korda, Buddhist teacher and lifelong activist, shares practical approaches for staying sane while politically engaged. In the 2,500 year old tradition I teach entirely by dana: scraping by entirely on the generous donations of those who listen and get something from the teaching. Please check out dharmapunxnyc.com for info about our classes & retreats, or donate at dharmapunxnyc.com.
It is both human nature and culturally instilled behavior to seek lasting security, happiness and transcendent meaning amidst the roller coaster ride of fleeting conditions: sexy pleasures followed by gastric discomforts, financial gains followed by losses, approval one day, criticism the next; our 15 minutes of fame giving way to insignificance. Just as the youth of today may respond with blank expressions when The Clash is mentioned (this has already happened), so too will Miley Cyrus’ ascendance prove ephemeral. In hunting down and latching onto what feels good, we inevitably experience the disappointment that arises when day gives way to […]
The following is my adaptation* of the Buddha’s Vitakkasanthana Sutta, roughly “How to Remove Unwanted and Obsessive Thoughts.” There are many wonderful translations available via numerous resources (see my note at bottom), so I urge those interested in learning more about this practice to review other versions. I’ve focused on creating a version that is friendly to those who haven’t studied the pali canon for the years… well, decades actually… that’s required to get a clear handle on the valuable wisdom wrapped in the now 2,500 year old form. I’ve tried to keep the language crisp and clear, while removing […]
From earliest infancy and continuing throughout life, humans seek secure relationships with others that will provide enough security to allow us to explore the world around us without feeling alone and vulnerable. Supported by others, we don’t fall back on fight-flight-or-freeze programming, nor allow basic survival concerns, such as finding the next meal, to dominate all our actions. Instead we can develop additional relationships with others, and accumulate skills to support us for whatever challenging circumstances arise in the future. In addition to providing security, belonging to a community provides us with a sense of purpose greater than survival alone: […]
There are times in life when it becomes difficult to swallow our anger, frustration or disappointment that have resulted from loss and abandonment. Opening to feelings we’ve attempted to suppress will become necessary, which is by no means easy. Disagreeable feelings are sensed as physical discomfort, along with a secondary layer of obsessive, repetitive memories or fears. The urge will be strong to seek external distractions, such as social networking, shopping, food, TV, etc. Another avoidance tendency is repeating unhealthy experiences or patterns from earlier life in adult relationships, attempting to “rewrite” the drama: neglected children seek narcissistic or uncaring […]
One of the most uncomfortable experiences in contemporary life seems to be waiting: we’ll do practically anything to avoid it. From the small screens of our smart phones and internet browsers we expect immediate connection to what’s going on with our work, friends, blogs, social media pages, internet dating messages and on; a people hooked by the promise of being-in-the-loop, always available, tuned in, tied up. No wonder there’s a coffee shop selling 20 ounce acetlycholine blast offs on every corner: Who has time to slow down? We’re constantly fine-tuning and upgrading life towards ever greater efficiency, whereas downtime means […]