Take what you find useful…
This is not a comprehensive list of meditation and mindfulness resources. But it’s a start—a beginning derived from my own personal experience. Tuning into your own personal experience is a valid—in fact necessary—data point as you seek to understand yourself, the world around you, and how the two relate. I invite you to explore and consume whatever you may find useful.
If I had to list the preeminent influence in my personal journey, it would be Lama Marut. I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am today without his teachings—and I really like who and where I am. His book “A Spiritual Renegade’s Guide to the Good Life” came at a pivotal point in my life and was exactly what I needed—forcing me to dig deep and discover honestly what I needed in order to move through some serious trauma and find hope and contentment in life. This is the book I give to friends who are suffering. It also teaches the basics of Buddhism (and the commonalities of all the major spiritual traditions) and delivers practical guidance in a thoughtful, often humorous read. If there's one book you're willing to read on cultivating an inner life, finding true happiness, or how to live a good life, I can't recommend it enough. Also check out his many podcasts on his site.
Cultivating Emotional Balance
Cultivating Emotional Balance (CEB) is a secular training developed at the request of H.H. the Dalai Lama after one of his annual Mind-Life conferences with leading behavioral scientists and Buddhist monks. This curriculum was developed in response to the year 2000 gathering on the subject of destructive emotions. CEB is conceived as a 42-hour training to help people understand their own personal experiences with and responses to difficult emotions. With methods based in scientific research and contemplative traditions, and outcomes confirmed by clinical study, it helps you cultivate skills for managing and constructively dealing with emotions in everyday life.
The CEB training is secular; you do not need to believe in or practice within any particular spiritual tradition, or ascribe to any spiritual tradition at all, to take in and benefit from its teachings. Upon completion of my training certification in 2019, I will offer CEB training and workshops to a variety of audiences. In the meantime, additional readings and related information can be found on the CEB Resources page.
Atlas of Emotions
A product of the work of CEB, this website is an interactive tool that allows you to map the timeline of all the major emotion families. Think of this as a visual and immersive way to understand what CEB aims to teach. Conceived of at the request of H.H. the Dalai Lama, The Atlas represents what researchers have learned from the psychological study of emotions. It’s a pretty amazing site.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet
Though he describes himself as just a simple monk, H.H. the Dalai Lama is the (now retired) political leader-in-exile of the Tibetan people, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and spiritual leader of Buddhists worldwide. His website includes a wealth of information on the life and teachings of H.H. Dalai Lama, including news, webcasts, and videos. Another very digestible way to consume his content is through H.H.the Dalai Lama’s Facebook page, featuring regular posts of pithy teachings, pictures, video snippets, and live webcasts of large gatherings and teachings. By accounts of those who have met him, he is also likely the happiest person on the planet.
Susan Cain and Quiet Revolution
Susan’s book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking” is not just a fascinating book on introversion and the biases in our culture toward extroversion. She brings to light what is a necessary precondition for the inner examination and mindfulness necessary to achieve emotional balance and mental focus. Susan is helping lead a movement that is finally beginning to value introspection, compassionate listening, and quiet, thoughtful leadership in all industry settings, in education, and within the family and home. Quiet served as a powerful coming-out book of sorts for me as someone who values solitude and deeper connections yet sometimes feels drowned out in this world. Susan’s Facebook page is filled with thoughtful and insightful content across a broad yet connected swath.
Greater Good Science Center
Out of the University of California, Bekeley, this fantastic organization “studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being, and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society.” They host events and publish a wealth of resources (articles, videos, podcasts, online courses) at their website, where you can also subscribe to an array of focused newsletters. More about their mission: “The GGSC is unique in its commitment to both science and practice: Not only do we sponsor groundbreaking scientific research into social and emotional well‐being, we help people apply this research to their personal and professional lives.”