Mindfulness Matters

Arnie_Kozak_1Greetings everyone! It’s been a busy 2015 and I’d like to share with you some of the highlights and give you links to the some of the contents I produced over this year. There is lot’s more to come in 2016 and I appreciate everyone’s support. I was busy writing for blogs, was interviewed for some articles in the media, and my books The Awakened Introvert and Mindfulness A to Z got some good press with reviews, excerpts, and radio interviews.

I’ve posted less to Mindfulness Matters this year and I hope to see you more here next year in 2016. Let me know what’s on your mind and what you’d like me to write about. I am currently working on two academic book projects. One will be a mindfulness textbook for college and graduate school courses in mindfulness and the other will be an academic monograph focusing on mindfulness in the context of the Buddha’s psychological teachings. These should be coming out in 2017, so stay tuned!


Guest Blog Posts


Quiet Revolution

I am honored to be part of a talented stable of writers at the new website for an introverted culture: Quiet Revolution. Founded by Susan Cain, bestselling author the life-changing book, Quiet, Quiet Revolution is a great resource for living life in a more deliberate, quiet, and meaningful way.

Mindfulness of Breathing: A Primer

Solitude is Going Extinct: The Stress of Modern Parenting


Bodhi Day: Celebrating the Seven Factors of Awakening

10 Essential Lessons of Buddhism

Mindfulness A to Z

New Harbinger

Happiness from an Introverted Perspective: Let’s Be Quiet and Mindful

Social Work Helper

Mindfulness Practice and Self-Care for Introverted Social Workers

7 Things Every Clinician Should Know About Introverts

Copper Beech Institute

Mindlessness, Mindfulness, and Living with Uncertainty



A Introvert’s Guide to Surviving the Holiday on Everup

Are Extroverts Happier on Live Happy

Relationships 2.0 radio interview

Mark Johnson Show on Buddhism

Mark Johnson Show on Introverts

Cyrus Webb on Mindfulness A to Z

Chit Chat Radio on Mindfulness A to Z (second half of show)


Accolades, Reviews, and Excerpts



5 Tips for Introverts for Replenishing Your Energy

Mindfulness A to Z on Publishers Weekly

Mindfulness A to Z on Spirituality Today

Awakened Introvert on Breath Waves


Mindfulness A to Z on Lion’s Roar

Awakened Introvert on Oprah


10 Books to Read before the End of 2015

Books to Give for the Holidays

Conversations 25 Most Inspirational Books of 2015


bodhi dayIn honor of Bodhi Day, I wrote a reflection on the Seven Factors of Awakening, which are based on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. You can read about these on the main Beliefnet site. I hope this contemplation on awakening helps to move you ever so slightly towards living a more awakened life.

December 8th marks Bodhi Day, a Buddhist holiday observed worldwide. It commemorates Siddartha Guatama’s accomplishment and transformation into the “Buddha.” This accomplishment is described as “enlightenment” or “awakening” and sometimes the terms are used interchangeably. As I discussed in a previous post to my column, Mindfulness Matters, about Bodhi Day 2010, these terms represent different metaphors and understandings of what happened under that fig tree approximately 2500 years ago.


IMG_1983If you’ve read my posts about Thanksgiving before, you know my basic premise is that we should be thankful everyday, not just this day. In fact, we could be thankful in every moment we are alive. Each moment that we are not, we are missing an opportunity to open ourselves to the grace of being alive.

Much has been happening in the world lately. Many people in many places are losing their lives in acts of violence. The attacks in Paris have captured the developed world’s attention and motivated a huge outpouring of support, solidarity, and outrage.

Still, more events like these could occur and each day that they do not is an occasion to be grateful. Each moment that some mishap does not visit us is a victory against the vicissitudes of randomness, genes, and the laws of physics, not to mention the intentions of malicious others.

It can also be helpful to recognize the privilege we enjoy to be having a feast today. While indulging in turkey and traditional trimmings, it can be helpful to recognize how fortunate we are to have enough food to eat. Many people around the world go hungry on a daily basis.

How to best account for our privilege is an open question that I don’t pretend to have an answer to. One thing that I do know is that there is really no way to let ourselves off the hook. A bit of volunteer work or donating money won’t cut it. We cannot save the world nor can we do our part or not do our part. The wound of the world persists.

Our primary task is to keep our own house in order: to act with mindfulness in the world, to treat ourselves, others, and the environment of which we are a living component with compassion, kindness, and appreciation.

What we do beyond this is a matter of individual commitment, conscience, and the context of your life in this moment. We can never do enough yet everything we do contributes something.

Take a mindful breath today before taking a bite of that turkey. Be mindful of the turkey’s life that was taken for you to eat it. Be mindful of the opportunity to gather with friends and family. Be mindful of the peace you are enjoying. Be mindful of the absence of calamity (I am assuming that if you are reading this post that you are enjoying peace and the absence of calamity).

This is what I’ll be doing today and I wish everyone an abundant, heartfelt, and harmony today and everyday.



Photo Credit: Bill McChesney

Photo Credit: Bill McChesney

Earlier this season, just about the time when kids went back to school, I started noticing something. Roxy, a dog in my neighborhood would bark plaintively for almost an hour after the school bus picked up her young people to take them to school.

It just so happened this was my meditation hour and so I spent the time listening to her bark. It was a wonderful lesson on resistance to the reality of the present moment.

There were different levels of this resistance that presented themselves to my mind as I sat. The first was just plain aversion–I didn’t want that noise to be happening and “interfering” with my meditation. Of course, it wasn’t really interfering and I’ll address that later.

The next level was compassion. I felt bad for the puppy and felt her pang of longing as she pined for the kids who heretofore in the summer months had been her constant companion. I wanted to fix the situation but there wasn’t much I could do. She actually lives far away but the sound gets carried through the valley.

Each bark was an invitation to open or resist. I would often find myself coming back from a scree of resistance, catching myself pushing against it, not wanting it to be there, and then re-settling back into the landscape of now that, of course, included the barking sounds.

One overlay of thoughts was a preconceived notion of what meditation should look like. I not only didn’t want the barking to be there, I also wanted a peaceful, restful, calming meditation. Such desire misses the point of practice.

The purpose of practice is to open to things as they are in this moment, in this context. No matter what is happening without or within us we can have a beneficial meditation session.

After a few mornings of working with resistance, it was easier to be with the barking and the resistance mostly faded. After a few weeks, Roxy herself, perhaps, also stopped resisting and she no longer barked at the appointed hour.

We both adapted in our own way!

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