Author Archives: Chris Towery

March 3-9

“The point is to wake up, not to earn a PhD in waking up.”
-Jed McKenna

This Week’s Discussion Topic
What do you think “earn a PhD in waking up” means in tonight’s quote? And what’s wrong with earning a PhD in waking up?

Feb. 24-March 2

“It’s not actually scary that you do not know what’s going to happen tomorrow, and it’s not scary that you do not know how something is going to work out—because that’s simply the way life always is. That stuff is not frightening until you imagine what might happen. The projection is the monster.” -Adyashanti

This Week’s Discussion Topic
Based on tonight’s quote, what would you have to do in order to make your “not knowing” a scary experience? (assume the rote answer “imagine” is not available in this instance)

Feb. 10-16

“The ego illusion is not so much in what we label as the ego, as in our identification with it. In the same way, we could say that a mirage of water in the desert exists when it’s observed; or we could say that it does not. It only becomes a problem when it is not recognized for what it truly is and one expects to find water there.”

-Leo Hartong

This Week’s Discussion Topic
Looking at tonight’s quote, what’s the difference between “awareness of ego” and “identification with ego”?

Dec. 30-Jan. 5

“Whatever technique one is using, remember that the spirit of practice is more important than the technique. Finding a way to enjoy just sitting is the key. Sitting meditation is a refuge, not a test.” -Narayan Liebenson Grady

This Week’s Discussion Topic
Have you ever used any unique techniques or tools to enhance and/or inspire your sitting meditation? How did they work? Even if you don’t have any unique methods, describe the basic process you use to stay focused while sitting (e.g. breath counting, meditation app, body scan, mantra, koan, etc.).

Oct. 14-20

“Loss is a fact of life. Impermanence is everywhere. We’re all going to suffer losses, but how we deal with those losses is what makes all the difference. It’s not what happens to us that determines our character, our karma, and our destiny, but how we relate to what happens is what matters.”

-Lama Surya Das


This Week’s Discussion Topic

Describe some of the ways we all react to loss. Based on your personal experience, what happens when your reaction is to resist loss?

Sept. 23-29

“How sad it is that most of us only begin to appreciate our life when we are at the point of dying.”

-Sogyal Rinpoche

 

This Week’s Discussion Topic
It’s well-documented that many people facing terminal illness report feeling more happiness and peace with their lives. What do you think the reason for this might be?

July 15-21

“Allow yourself to let go of the idea that who you are now isn’t already enough, and realize this deep acceptance is the path to true freedom.”

-Mark Van Buren

This Week’s Discussion Topic
One-by-one (for those willing to participate), each attendee should briefly describe their greatest fear. The key is to be as honest as possible, but if it’s something secret or embarrassing, feel free to be vague by not mentioning any specific names, places, things, etc. I’ll start: As someone with no kids, my greatest fear is that my wife will die well before I do, and I’ll be alone as an old man, with no children or family around to care for me.

July 8-14

“There is a misconception that Buddhism is a religion, and that you worship Buddha. Buddhism is a practice, like yoga. You can be a Christian and practice Buddhism. I met a Catholic priest who lives in a Buddhist monastery in France. He told me that Buddhism makes him a better Christian. I love that.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh

This Week’s Discussion Topic
Discuss how Buddhism can be viewed and practiced both as a religion and in a secular form.

July 1-7

“When we consider that everything we experience results from a complex interplay of causes and conditions, we find that there is no single thing to desire or resent, and it becomes more difficult for the afflictions of attachment or anger to arise.”

-H.H. the Dalai Lama

This Week’s Discussion Topic
Point out an example from you own life that shows the interplay of cause and effect, and discuss how these factors led to your experience of reality in that particular instance. Bonus points for causes and conditions that resulted in a much different “effect” than you’d typically expect.

June 24-30

“The law of karma is one of the fundamental natural laws through which we create vastly different realities. It is as though we are all artists, but instead of canvas and paint, or marble or music, as our medium, our very bodies, minds, and life experience are the materials of our creative expression.”

-Joseph Goldstein

This Week’s Discussion Topic
Discuss your personal view (not a definition you read somewhere) of how karma works and offer evidence of karma’s unfolding in your own life based on your own experience.