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Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters

Metaphors for Mindfulness Archives

I Forgot to Take a Selfie!

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

I was at Moss Glen Falls recently. These stunning little falls are on Route 100 in Warren, Vermont. I stopped and took photographs and video footage of them. When I was leaving and getting ready to get back onto my […]

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Letting Go of Hopeful Remnants

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

A friend of mine who is 70-years-old and very fit, talented, and successful has male pattern baldness–the hair line recedes until there is only a ring of hair left around the bottom of the head. One of my professors in […]

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The Colors and Seasons of Introversion and Extroversion

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

“Minion Yellow is a custom colour designed to represent the sweet and subversive characters. An extroverted hue, it projects playfulness and warmth and is suggestive of intellectual curiosity and enlightenment.” So says Pantone, makers of Minion Yellow. Interesting copy. Can […]

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The Train’s Eye View of the Landscape

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

I am sitting on a train riding from Essex Junction, Vermont to Hartford Connecticut where I will be teaching my workshop at the Copper Beech Institute. I haven’t been on an Amtrak train since I was in graduate school over […]

Translating the Experience of the Moment

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Whether we know it or not, we are all amateur translators. Instead of translating a poem from one language to another we put into words what previously existed without words: we translate experience into language. Mostly, we are unaware of […]

Getting Out of Our Own Way: Finding Liberation in the Moment

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

If you are like me, you spend more time than you would like caught up in imagined stories that don’t feel good and keep you stuck. How can you get out of your own way and stop beating yourself up […]

Happy Nirvana Day

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day; today is Nirvana Day or Parinirvana Day. It is the day that celebrates the Buddha’s death or his release into the final state of nirvana. A few years ago, in a post about Nirvana Day, I […]

Finding Our Place in the World

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

There is no such thing as “nature” if we are part of all things. To seek nature sets us apart from the natural world. In the Tao, there is no separation. Any separation we feel is conventional and not based […]

Find Your GPS for Success

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

GPS has become part of our lives. We find it in our cars, our phones, and even in watches (I got one as a gift over the holidays). In any moment, we can know where we are and also communicate […]

Getting Past the Tyranny of Should: A Timely Message for the Holiday Season

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

There are many things we “should” be doing around the holidays. We should be happy, merry, and jolly. We should be with family. We should be the consummate hosts. In the course of the day, we might impose expectations, rules, […]

Finding the Fall Line: The Technique of Practice

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

As I was meditating this morning, I came up with a new practice metaphor. There were times when I was clearly in the flow of my body, very attuned the myriad body sensations and there were other moments where I […]

Prime Time, All the Time

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

An add for television streaming service Hulu states, “Every minute of every day should be considered prime time.” This clever quip has a double meaning. On the one hand, it reflects the tyrannical notion that every experience that we have […]

Selling Water by the River: The Deceptive Simplicity of Learning Mindfulness

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

The proliferation of all things mindfulness is mind boggling (does that make one more or less mindful, I wonder?). Research, teachers, books, blogs, and applications continue to grow. It may be safe to say, mindfulness has become a fad. There […]

Mud Season: The Way Beyond is (Still) Through

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Below is a repost of a post on mud season from last year. It’s that time of year again, except that it has come much later this year, several weeks later, almost a month. Mud season has arrived early in […]

Transitions Into Spring

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

The weather is such a great metaphor. Spring is reluctant to arrive. On a Monday it was 80 degrees and then on Wednesday it snowed several inches. The nights have continued to be below freezing and the greening landscape is […]

Transitions, Attachments, and Hope

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

It’s been a long winter here in Northern Vermont and elsewhere around the country. The mountain is still frozen and buried in snow. In the valley, the long buried grass, brown and tired, is emerging from under the receding glacier, […]

Sit Still

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

If you listen carefully to my meditation instructions, you might detect a contradiction. On the one hand, I de-emphasize the posture because I don’t want people to get deterred by the physical difficulties of sitting. On the other hand, I […]

Should is a Red Flag That a Lie is Being Told

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

I heard the words in the title to this post uttered by Anne Lamott as she was interviewed for OnPoint. She has a new book: Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope, and Repair. She begins, “One rarely knows where to […]

Climb a Mountain, Get a View; Climb a Cushion Get Another View

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

I recently hiked a small mountain with my dogs. It took some time and effort to navigate the trail. A perfect 60 degree fall day. A beutiful view at the top was our reward (or at least my reward, I […]

I, Me, and Mine Doggie Style

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Watching my dogs swim out for a thrown stick made me think of one the Buddha’s classic teachings: I, me, and mine. They swim competitively out. There appears to be some motivation to get there first. But regardless of who […]

Personality With and Without a Person

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

My dogs have personalities. Each distinct. They show emotions: joy, frustration, excitement, anger, fear, anxiety, affection, and although I haven’t seen it with these guys yet, sadness. All emotions we have. What this shows us is that there can be […]

Turtles Can’t Ride (or can they?) Wonderful New Children’s Book by Jaimal Yogis

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Jamial Yogis, author of Saltwater Buddha (SWB) and The Fear Project, has written his first children’s book, Turtles Don’t Surf (a sort of SWB for little ones) and the school he’s trying to build with the proceeds. The book is available […]

Grief is the Admission Price to the Present Moment

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

I am back from teaching Mindfulness A-Z: Liberating Regret, Stuckness, and Perfectionism at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. One insight that arose during the week was that “grief is the admission price to the present moment.” We are often […]

Independence Day Harley Style

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Life is a precious thing. It’s delicate, fragile, and tenuous. It can be taken from us in any moment. James Gandolfini’s sudden death was recent reminder of the precariousness of life. Alive one day; dead the next. We’ve constructed the […]

Mindfulness A–Z: Liberating Regret, Stuckness, and Perfectionism

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

From Sunday August 4 to Friday August 9, I will be presenting this special workshop at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. If you are not familiar, Kripalu is a wonderful place. Nestled in the Berkshire Mountains, it is […]

We Are All Defective, New?

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

I uttered these words recently: “We are all defective, new?” I offered them as a tonic, a soothing balm, a normalizing unguent. If we are all defective in some way, there is no reason to feel shame for your own […]

Participate in Your Own Rescue

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

One of my students shared a story. A friend of hers was on a whitewater rafting trip in Colorado. During the trip, one of the people in the raft fell out into the river. He floundered around passively while the […]

Mud Season: Lessons on Impermanence

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

It’s Mud Season, a time of transition, change, and promise. The ground is thawing, the grass is considering growing, and the geese have returned to the North Country. The trails are wet and muddy from the thaw and the rains. […]

Manhunt

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

I was running my morning vigil with the dogs on the back trails of a public park near my home. When I stepped outside the house, I could hear the helicopter droning above in the foggy sky. As we headed […]

One Thing I Have in Common with the Buddha: Love of Metaphors: “I, Me, Mine: Untangling the Dharma of “Self” Through Metaphors and Mindfulness at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies (BCBS)

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

It’s that time of year again. I will be teaching my annual workshop at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies entitled: “I, Me, and Mine: Untangling the Dharma of “Self” through Metaphors and Mindfulness. I invite you to join me […]

Dress Well or Go Home

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

A recent piece in the New York Times “The New Mantra: Replacing ‘Om’ With ‘Glam’” caught the attention of Tricylcle blogger, Emma Varvaloucas. She screamed “noooooooooooooooo.” In my book, Wild Chickens and Petty Tyrants: 108 Metaphors for Mindfulness, I quoted Thoreau who said, […]

Turn Off the Faucet–Even if Just for a Moment

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

When are mind is going in high gear, mindfulness can seem like a futile option. No matter how many times we return attention to breathing, it is yanked back to whatever concerns we are preoccupied with. It’s as if the […]

Rilke Knew a Thing or Two About Mindfulness

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

I am reading the lovely volume of excerpts from Rilke’s voluminous letters, Letters on Life, edited and translated by Ulrich Baer. Rilke wrote thousands of letters during his lifetime and seven thousand were reviewed for this volume. Rilke was a […]

Mindfulness for Common Problems: Seven Things to Know About Anxiety

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

The first in this series focused on stress. Anxiety and stress are closely related. Anxiety is central to our threat detection system and stress helps us to mount responses to potential threats. Like stress, anxiety gets a bad rap. Our […]

Dharma Day: Today and Every Day

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

3 July marks “Dharma Day” a commemoration of the day when the Buddha initiated his teaching career–a tenure that lasted for over forty years. According to legend, he hesitated at first to teach what he had experienced under the Bodhi […]

Obstacles to Practice: The Five Hindrances–Sloth and Torpor

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

I don’t feel like writing a post. I didn’t feel like exercising either. I don’t feel like sitting, too. Fortunately, I am hosting a group sit later this afternoon, so this will help me to overcome my sloth and torpor. […]

Obstacles to Practice: The Five Hindrances–Sensual Desire

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

This is the final set of reflections on obstacles to practice focusing on the Buddha’s five hindrances (well not his hindrances, but the five that he set out as obstacles to meditation). The Five are a laundry list of things […]

Obstacles to Practice: Agendas, Expectations, and Striving

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Today I continue the series on obstacles to practice with a focus on affective factors that may keep us off the cushion. The other day, I talked about difficult experiences that may arise during practice–in a sense what comes to us unbidden. […]

Personality: Got Some? Tiger Woods versus Graeme McDowell

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Tiger Woods has the lead going into the final Sunday round of a golf tournement for the first time in what seems to be forever. I am always struck with how awkward Tiger’s post-round interviews are. This was the case […]

Dirt Road: Decay and Renewal

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

It’s early mud season. My dirt road is in a state of flux.The deep ice started to melt this week under the warmth of 80 degree sunshine. Parts of the road became wet, soft, and then rutted. The grating crew […]

From Winter to Summer in 3.5 Seconds

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

A few years ago, we had the St. Patrick’s day snowstorm that left over two feet of snow. This March, we are experiencing record breaking warm temperatures. A local golf course opened last weekend, a full nineteen days earlier than […]

Coming to Ground: Science and Buddha Suggest Humility

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

I spent this past weekend at the Barre Center for Buddhist studies leading a workshop on metaphors and the Buddha’s teachings. We shared poems, conversation, and meditation practice. We contemplated the ubiquity of metaphors, their power to inspire and influence, […]

The Spaces In Between

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Novelist and philosopher Umberto Eco said (as quoted on The Writer’s Almanac by Garrison Keillor) noted that atoms are mostly space. He pointed out one of my favorite and fascinating facts. If you could somehow remove all the space in atoms, […]

Renunciation: The Key to Liberation in 2012 and Any Other Year

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

In our culture of must have, right now, or else I’m gonna freak out, renunciation is a dirty word. Renunciation means giving up something and to give up something means that I have less; and if I have less then […]

Dealing with Anguish from the Bronze Age to the Information Age

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Anguish is a pervasive feature of human life. It seems like this has been so for a long time has continued despite all the advancements of 21st century. Siddhartha Gautama, the soon to be Buddha, observed this to be so […]

Shambhala Book Shelf: The Power of an Open Question by Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

As I’ve mentioned before, I love the look and feel of books. I have yet to buy my first ebook, although that can’t be too far in my future. I am reading the Power of an Open Question: The Buddha’s […]

H is for Hell

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Every religion has some version of hell. It’s where you might go in the afterlife if you don’t do as you should in this life. As such, it is a means for enforcing morality. The Buddha talked about hell, too. […]

Fall in the North Country: Transitions, Color, and Bliss

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

The leaves are changing color, a little later than usual in the North Country of Vermont. Fall is here and winter inexorably behind. Cool nights attest to this transition, as the living world of flora gets ready to go to […]

Hurricane Irene: Not Just a Metaphor

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Hurricane Irene is very real and causing death and damage on the East Coast. It’s raining here in Vermont, the winds are picking up. We are not sure what to expect as this storm wends its way north. There has […]

We Are Constructed Through Metaphor: Article in the New Online Publication “Full Moon Insight Journal”

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

My article, We Are Constructed Through Metaphor just appeared in the the new online Journal, full moon Insight Journal, from the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies where I am a faculty member. The article explores the role of language, metaphor, […]

How To Train A Wild Elephant

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Do we really need yet another book on mindfulness? In this case, yes. Jan Chozen Bays, M.D., author of Mindful Eating, has written How To Train a Wild Elephant & Other Adventures in Mindfulness (Shambhala 2011) a collection of mindfulness […]

Waking Up is a Revolutionary Act: A Manifesto for Mindful Living, Part Four: Be Impeccable

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

The point of life is that there is no point. We are biological beings equipped with impulses, intelligences, and insights that interplay with recent human creations such as language, culture, religions, and the arts. With memory, relics, and writing, we […]

Metaphor Monday: Catch and Release: A Variation on a Classic Metaphor

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

The Buddha urged us not to get hooked by greed, desire, aversion, and so forth. Don’t be taken in and away by the temptations of transient things (or confusing them to be anything but transient). The fisher’s hook provides an […]

“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Gil Scott Heron died yesterday, the poet and musician most known for his composition, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” The context was different in 1970 when he made this recording; he was speaking to a social revolution, for civil […]

Metaphor Monday: What’s in Your Tree

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

This metaphor comes from, Lorie, a member of our little meditation community in Burlington, Vermont. The insight came to her while on meditation retreat at IMS (The Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts). We can understand the mind as a […]

Metaphor Monday: Cultivating Fierce Attention

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Whoever said mindfulness was supposed to be all gentleness, nicety, and soft? Attention is a psychological faculty. It’s neither nice nor cruel. It’s job is to apprehend what is going on in the world around and inside us in any […]

Satya Sai Baba, “Miracle Man of Bangalore” Dead at 85: Reflections on Bliss

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Satya Sai Baba, perhaps India’s most popular guru died the other day at 85 years of age. Read more from the Washington Post >> I first became acquainted with the orange-clad and afro-sporting guru from hearing Ram Dass speak of […]

Metaphor Monday: Spring is a Metaphor for Transitions

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Yesterday, in my CT Watchdog post, I pondered how spring is a time of transition and we can often experience stress in our transitions in life and throughout our day. Today I’d like to explore the metaphorical opportunities of spring. […]

One Metaphor Every 10 to 25 Words: The Poetry of Everyday Life by David Brooks

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

New York Times columnist David Brooks, recently opined on the ubiquity of metaphors mentioning the work of Lakoff and Johnson as well as what sounds like an intriguing book entitled “I is An Other” by James Geary (soon to be […]

Make the Impossible Possible: The Heart Opening Work of Bill Strickland

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

I had the privilege, the honor, and the experience of hearing Bill Strickland talk. If you don’t know about Bill, finding out about him just might change your life. He’s on a mission to save our country from the cancer […]

The Good Thing About Mindfulness is that it’s Always Now!

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Hello Everyone! I’ve missed you and suspect you’ve missed me too. A few things have conspired to keep me from writing Mindfulness Matters, including the migration from Moveable Type to WordPress. Beliefnet is still working out the kinks and everything […]

Book Review: The Book of Mu: Essential Writings on Zen’s Most Important Koan edited by James Ishmael Ford & Melissa Moyzen Blacker

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Mu is Zen’s most famous and challenging koan.  The Book of Mu (Wisdom Publications) is a collection of essays, contemporary and classic on this ancient mind puzzle and a wonderful introduction to the practice of Zen. I have had little […]

Working with Pain and Anger–Mindfully

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Pain, especially chronic pain, is difficult to cope with Mindfulness can help us to change our relationship to painful sensations. I have two guided meditations for coping with pain. The first is mindfulness-based and guides you to become interested in […]

Metaphor Monday: Untying Your Knots

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

I’ve had these bells for many years; sufficient ringing to wear the leather string that holds them together. When the string first wore out I just tied a knot to hold them together. This worked, or so it seemed. I […]

Metaphor Monday :: The Question is the Answer

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

The poet Rainer Maria Rilke, in his Letters to a Young Poet, says: “You are so young, so much before all beginning, and I would like to beg you, dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with […]

Metaphors, Meaning & Change: Finding Our Way to Mindfulness

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

One week from today I will be presenting a workshop at the Barre Center For Buddhist Studies (BCBS). I invite you to join me (25-27 February 2011). Click here to register.  This is an opportunity to spend a weekend at […]

Nirvana Day

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Today, 15 February, marks the Buddhist holiday of “Nirvana Day.” It celebrates the Buddha’s death at the age of 80 and his transition into paranirvana — the ultimate nirvana.  The idea of paranirvana is predicated on the idea of rebirth. […]

Stress Reduction Sunday :: Finding Grace in Unexpected Places

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

It’s Stress Reduction Sunday. Read my weekly post in the Connecticut Watchdog. Here is my CT Watchdog posts from last week: Finding Gracefulness in Unexpected Places Grace is not the first word that comes to mind contemplating a turkey. I’m not sure […]

“I can see clearly now the stories are gone … “

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

I was recently riding my snowboard on a snowy day. My goggles were probably 14 years old, from my first season of riding. They are old, scratched and don’t fit particularly well, so they squish my nose making it hard […]

Wisdom Wednesday :: It’s 8:16 AM, Do You Know Where Your Attention Is?

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

In any given moment our attention can be in any one of ten places. Nine of them of can be visualized on a grid, like a tic-tac-toe board. There are three locations attention can be — future, past, and present […]

Metaphor Monday :: The Rigged Balance Beam

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

There’s an old Zen saying, “Fall down seven times, get up eight times.” In Wild Chickens and Petty Tyrants I shared the image of a young children learning to walk. Just at that point where they are getting it, they […]

Expect the Unexpected; Embrace the Changing

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

How’s the weather by you? It’s snowing here again in my home of Northern Vermont. This is not too unusual. It also snowed in Irving Texas, sight of the Super Bowl tomorrow. That is unusual. Last week much of the […]

TED Tuesday :: Classic Videos :: Victor Frankl

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Watch some vintage footage of Victor Frankl, author of the classic Man’s Search for Meaning. A book that has inspired generations of healers and other courageous individuals by his example  to persist in the face of humanity’s worst. He even […]

Metaphor Monday :: Whirlpool Self

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

The other day I discussed metaphors for the self, how the idea of a self-contained individual is misleading (see the entry called “The Self is not and Island: Finding Our Place in the Natural World.” Carl Safina offered the metaphor […]

Stress Reduction Sunday :: Hot Buddha Sweats; Cold Buddha Shivers: Enjoying the Conditions of Now

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

It’s Stress Reduction Sunday. Read my weekly post in the Connecticut Watchdog. Here is my CT Watchdog posts from last week: Hot Buddha Sweats; Cold Buddha Shivers: Enjoying the Conditions of Now It’s cold outside. Here in Northern Vermont the temperatures […]

The Self is not an Island: Finding Our Place in the Natural World

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

I was captivated listening to the NPR program, On Point with Tom Ashbrook, yesterday. His guest was Carl Safina, ecologist and author of The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World. You can read excerpts and […]

Barre Center for Buddhist Studies

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

From 25-27 February 2011, I will be giving a weekend workshop at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. I am honored to be among the teaching faculty of this august and important organization, dedicated to making the dharma available. In […]

Metaphors for Mindfulness: Top 5 Metaphors for Mindfulness: Interview with Arnie Kozak Ph.D.

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

I was very happy to be interviewed by Elisha Goldstein, co-author of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook on his blog Mindfulness and Psychotherapy. When it comes to trying to understand almost anything, I have found metaphors to be extremely useful. In […]

Metaphors for Mindfulness on the Mindfulness and Psychotherapy Blog

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

I was very happy to be interviewed by Elisha Goldstein, co-author of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook on his blog Mindfulness and Psychotherapy. When it comes to trying to understand almost anything, I have found metaphors to be extremely useful. […]

Barre Center for Buddhist Studies

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

From 25-27 February 2011, I will be giving a weekend workshop at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies. I am honored to be among the teaching faculty of this august and important organization, dedicated to making the dharma available. In […]

Metaphor Monday :: Can Words Kill?

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat from Arizona, was shot in the head a point blank range this past Saturday injuring 14 other people, with six dead. The suspect is 22-year-old Jared Loughner who apparently planned out this killing ahead of time.  […]

Metaphor Monday :: Take the Dog for a Walk :: How to Avoid Getting Caught in Limiting Mindsets

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

I heard a joke on Old Jews Telling Jokes that is a funny testimony to the power of mindlessness.  It goes something like this: A man is stranded on an island with only a dog and a pig. After a […]

Happy New Instant; Happy New Year

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Happy New Year! One of the greatest cliches in the vernacular and an important one at that. One of my friends* shared the alternate term, “Happy New Instant” and I really dig that.  On the one hand, the transition to […]

From the Archive :: Best of 2010 :: Buddha Versus Buddhism

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Buddhism is a relatively new term, coined in the 19th century by Western “Orientalists” studying the cultures and traditions. Mu Soeng points out that, “Buddhism is not a unitary phenomenon.” It might be more accurate to say there are many […]

From the Archive :: Best of 2010 :: Being Comfortable Being Out of Balance, Performance Art by Janine Antoni

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

This is one of my favorite metaphors. It’s an axiom to live by: “being comfortable being out of balance.” So no matter what is happening we can be comfortable. This is equanimity in action. Here is my post from 16 […]

Wisdom Wednesday :: Welcome Winter Solstice

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Last night marked the winter solstice — the longest night of the year. Today the days grow longer, even as we reach into the deep belly of winter here in Northern Vermont and elsewhere. The solstice marks the end of […]

Metaphor Monday: Full Circle

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

It’s the end of the calendar year and we’ve traveled “full circle” from the beginning to the end of this year. As if by magic, on January 1 we’ll be starting anew (even though we are really just continuing, one […]

Teachers and Talks: Ram Dass

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Ram Dass, aka, Richard Alpert, a nice Jewish boy from Brookline Massacusetts becomes the voice of a generation. There are few who have done more to introduce the East to the West. Author of the million copy selling, Be Here Now […]

Metaphor Monday :: Proust, Thoreau, Pascal, James, and Sherlock Holmes on Mindfulness

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Proust said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes” I enjoyed watching the recent movie version of “Sherlock Holmes” starring Robert Downy Jr. and Jude Law as Dr. Watson. Homes is […]

Mixing Minds: The Power of Relationship in Psychoanalysis and Buddhism

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

I had the pleasure of interviewing fellow wisdom author, Pilar Jennings on the release of her recent book, Mixing Minds: The Power of Relationship in Psychoanalysis and Buddhism. PilarJennings was exposed to Buddhist meditation early in life. Her mother took […]

Bodhi Day :: December 8 A Day for Awakening

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Today is 8 December and Bodhi is being observed around the world. It marks the day of Siddhartha Guatama’s enlightenment sitting under the pipal tree in what is now Bodhgaya India. This event occurred somewhere between 527 BCE and 444 […]

Metaphor Monday :: The Buzzing Fly

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Metaphor 66 in Wild Chickens and Petty Tyrants: 108 Metaphors for Mindfulness is, “The Buzzing Fly.” The fly is a metaphor for all things bothersome, especially thoughts that keep buzzing around seeking attention; moving out of what appears to be […]

The Dharma According to Me(taphor)

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

The Buddha taught the dharma through metaphor. It’s right there in the first Noble Truth and, indeed, The Four Noble Truths themselves are presented in the form of a medical metaphor with the Buddha as physician. With the First Noble […]

Metaphor Monday :: Squid Eye

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

The Squid Eye metaphor comes from business consultant and coach Susan Scott in her book Fierce Leadership: A Bold Alternative to the Worst “Best” Practices of Business Today. It refers to the ability of squid hunters to detect their prey […]

First Snow

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Here in the Champlain Valley we got the first dusting of snow. The mountains are open for snowboarding and winter is announcing its arrival with stalwart force. It’s been slow to arrive and much of our “stick season” has seemed […]

Metaphor Monday :: Guardian of Solitude

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

My friend and fellow author, Laurel Saville, just wrote an interesting piece on solitude for Single Minded Women entitled Stay, Fetch, Lick: Love Me, Love My Dog. Literally.  Her musings on gender-based perceptions of solitude got me thinking about one of […]

Buddha Versus Buddhism

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Buddhism is a relatively new term, coined in the 19th century by Western “Orientalists” studying the cultures and traditions. Mu Soeng points out that, “Buddhism is not a unitary phenomenon.” It might be more accurate to say there are many […]

Metaphor Monday :: Drinking Saltwater

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Pema Chödrön said, “Since impermanence defies our attempts to hold onto anything, outer pleasures can never bring lasting joy. Even when we manage to get short-term gratification, it doesn’t heal our longing for happiness; it only enhances our shenpa (getting hooked). As […]

Metaphor Monday :: Take Off Your Shoes

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

In the poem “Fire in the Earth,” David Whyte tells us of Moses receiving the command to “take off his shoes” as he approached the burning bush. This act of humility brought him closer to the earth, to the ground, […]

Metaphors for Mindfulness: The Interview

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Q: “Your book, Wild Chickens and Petty Tyrants, is about mindfulness and you studied with the Dalai Lama. You’re also a practicing psychologist. Can you tell us how your Buddhist background comes into play in your work as a psychologist?” […]

Wisdom Wednesday :: Don’t Be an Asshole

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

I’m reading the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Business Week Bestseller, and provocatively titled, The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t by Robert Sutton reveals some harrowing statistics of bullying and abuse in the […]

Metaphor Monday :: Playing a Violin with Three Strings?

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Urban legend has it that Israeli violinist Itzhak Perlman once played through a violin concerto after having broken one of his strings. Perlman was afflicted by polio as a child so walking is difficult for him. The story goes that he made […]

Metaphor Monday :: Running Stitch

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

According to Wikipedia, “the running stitch or straight stitch is the basic stitch in hand-sewing and embroidery, on which all other forms of sewing are based. The stitch is worked by passing the needle in and out of the fabric.”  Sounds like the breath, no? Our breath […]

The Architecture of Bliss: Devoting a Day to Mindfulness

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

I led a mini-mindfulness meditation retreat at the new Exquisite Mind Studio. The Studio was drenched with sun the entire day. We spent the day doing sitting and walking meditation in alternating fashion with two hours of practice in the […]

Metaphor Monday :: Kill Hope

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

According the Random House Dictionary, hope is the feeling that what is desired is also possible; or that events may turn out for the best. These seem to be very different senses of the word. The first suggest confidence; the […]

Metaphor Monday :: Plow Your Own Field

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

A recent Tricycle Daily Dharma (click here to receive these daily emails with brief excerpts of writing from Tricycle Magazine) the great Thai teacher Ajahn Chah gave the metaphor of plowing your own field.  When people genuinely meet the dharma, […]

Metaphor Monday :: Stop, Drop, & Roll

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

We all learned “Stop, Drop, and Roll” in fire safety. This mnemonic helps to avert panic and the proliferation of the fire. In fact, when done correctly you can put the fire out limiting its destructive impact.  In the Buddha’s […]

We Are Poetry

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

The psychotherapist Connelly turned to William Carlos Williams to elucidate the “poetry” of living. Williams said, “The underlying meaning of all [our patients] want to tell us an have always failed to communicate is the poem, the poem which their […]

Metaphor Monday :: Marooned by Self-Pity

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

David Balfour, the main character in Robert Louis Stevenon’s Kidnapped gives us a metaphor for the delicacy and power of attention and how self-pity can maroon us, cutting us off from the very things that can save us; the very […]

Metaphor Monday :: Welcome to the Starfish Revolution

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

In the compelling book, The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations, Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom present the case for decentralization as an agent of profit and social good.  Many entities are decentralized, including our brains. […]

Wisdom Wednesday: Waiting for a Train and the Beauty of Persistence

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Over Labor Day Weekend, I found myself waiting for a train at Newark Airport. I arrived about 15 minutes late for the train I wanted to catch, the 9:30. I grumbled to myself with a complaint about having to wait. […]

Metaphor Monday: Change the Gravitational Constant of the Universe

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

This metaphor comes from the Star Trek Next Generation (STNG) episode, “Deja Q.” In this episode Q arrives freshly kicked out of the “Q Continuum” stripped of his omnipotent powers. He’s now merely human. He’s reluctantly trying to help the […]

Metaphor Monday: Mushroom Circle Sangha

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

On a recent Thursday our meditation group gathered in the Exquisite Mind Studio for one of our weekly meditation practices. We sit in a rectangular “circle” around the perimeter of the room. The energy was particularly strong that day. One […]

Wisdom Wednesday: Mindfulness and the Metaphors We Live By

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

It’s Wisdom Wednesday! In a previous entry, I discussed how the Buddha loved to teach with metaphors. Each Monday I present a new metaphor for your enjoyment, education, and inspiration. For previous metaphors see the entries on Teach a Horse […]

Metaphor Monday: Teach a Horse to Sing

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

In The Stuff of Thought, Harvard psychologist and author extraordinaire, Steven Pinker relates the story of teaching a horse to sing.  According to an old story, a man sentenced to be hanged fro offending the sultan, offered a deal to […]

Guest Blog on Shambhala SunSpace

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

I have just authored a guest blog on Shambhala SunSpace, the blog of the Shambhala Sun. Thanks to Rod Meade Sperry and my publicist at Wisdom Publications, Joe Evans, for inviting me to post. The guest blog is entitled: Mindfulness […]

Metaphor Monday: Being Comfortable Being Out of Balance, Performance Art by Janine Antoni

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Performance artist Janine Antoni provides a compelling image for mindfulness in life through acceptance of what is so. Mindfulness does not just magically make everything OK but it shows us, when we can stop resisting. She discovered this lesson while […]

How Did the Buddha Use Metaphor?

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

The Buddha used metaphors as upaya, which translate to skillful means. One Buddhist scholar said, “The Buddha’s skill in teaching the Dharma, demonstrated in his ability to adapt his message to the context in which it was delivered. Parables, metaphors, […]

Everybody Needs a Tap Code: The Healing Grace of Social Connection

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

There are two things we can safely say about human beings. The first is that we are social creatures. The second is that we are highly resilient, able to withstand the most horrific of circumstances and resume life once the […]

What is Mindfulness Anyway?

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Q: Talk a little bit about mindfulness. What is it? What are it’s benefits? How can it be cultivated? A:  A New Yorker cartoon shows a beleaguered looking man clutching the arms of a stuffed chair being addressed by his wife. […]

Mindfulness Matters: The First Month

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Dear Readers, It’s been nearly a month since I started writing Mindfulness Matters: Tools for Living Now, and I thought I would take a moment to say thanks to those of you who have discovered the blog and have been […]

Metaphors for Mindfulness: Why do you think metaphor is such a powerful tool for clarifying and encouraging mindfulness?

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Robert Frost warned, “Unless you are at home in the metaphor, unless you have had your proper poetical education in the metaphor, you are not safe anywhere.” And it’s not just poetic metaphors; metaphors are everywhere in our language in […]

Dukkha: The Buddha’s Metaphor for All That Ails You

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Dukkha is a Pali term central to the Buddha’s teaching. It’s difficult to translate. “Suffering” captures some but not all of its aspects. Dissatisfaction captures another portion of is variance. Even if were to speak Pali as the Buddha did, the […]

Dharma Punx: Going “Against the Stream” by Noah Levine

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

In his latest book, Against the Stream: A Buddhist Manual for Spiritual Revolutionaries, Noah Levine, author of Dharma Punx, tells us just how radical the Buddha’s teachings are in a refreshing new way. He starts, “Against the Stream is more than just […]

Hot Buddha Sweats; Cold Buddha Shivers

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

It’s been record-breaking temperatures in New York and elsewhere on the East Coast this week. Oppressive heat and humidity. Record demands on electricity as everyone seeks to cool off. It’s a real challenge in acceptance and one not easily met. […]

Welcome to Mindfulness Matters: Tools for Living Now with Dr. Arnie Kozak

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

I am very happy to be here writing my blog on Mindfulness Matters: Tools for Living Now with Dr. Arnie Kozak. This blog will cover a range of mindfulness-related topics. It will present and comment on mindfulness, meditation, and Buddhist […]

Mud Season: The Way Beyond is Through

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Mud season has arrived early in mid-march. Warm days and sunshine are melting the snowpack and the ground is thawing, partially in places and yielding to soft pools of mud in many spots. A sign at the nature preserve near […]

Previous Posts

Everything Essential Buddhism Book
I was recently on the Mark Johnson Show on WDEV in Vermont. We spoke about the Buddha and Buddhism themes that are covered in my new book, The Everything Essential Buddhism Book. It's always a pleasure to talk with mark and a touch of sadness to ...

posted 10:05:58am Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Don't Own Your Mind
Our brains are little factories. Their chief product is, of course, thoughts. They also manufacture images, memories, and emotions. Best of all, they fabricate stories. Our brains can do this unbidden, without any direction from us. Given the ...

posted 6:36:24pm Aug. 25, 2015 | read full post »

Relationships 2.0 Interview August 11
Tune in Tuesday August 11 at 6 PM (3 PM PST) for my radio conversation with Dr. Michelle Skeen, host of Relationships 2.0. We'll be discussing relationship challenges for introverts and guidance from my book, The Awakened Introvert. If you ...

posted 9:00:13pm Aug. 10, 2015 | read full post »

Coming Soon: Mindfulness A to Z
2015 has been a busy year for me publishing books. In May, The Awakened Introvert came out (New Harbinger). In July, The Everything Essential Buddhism Book came out (Adams Media). Soon, Mindfulness A to Z: 108 Insights for Awakening Now (Wisdom ...

posted 12:46:02pm Aug. 04, 2015 | read full post »

Life Interrupted
I've been thinking a lot about interruptions lately. When I meditate in the mornings, I prefer to do it at a time when I won't be interrupted by others. Yet, even in the most protected environment, interruptions are inevitable. My mind will ...

posted 4:50:31pm Jul. 28, 2015 | read full post »

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