The Boston Buddha Blog


The Center At Westwoods Labyrindth

Take a minute to reflect on all the emotional energy and effort you put into everything that you do in your life – your work, family, friendships, community, travel, health, etc.
Our lives are very busy and clearly over-scheduled – sometimes we forget how restorative and renewing it can be to take any time away from our daily routine to recharge the batteries and connect deeply with ourselves and others in nature.  When was the last time you took a full day for yourself and disconnected from your smartphone, your laptop, your Saturday routine and just recharged?

Why would you want to do that?

Well, I have five great reasons to join us on our day long mini-retreat, Saturday, July 26th – from 9 to 5 at The Center At Westwoods.

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What a great vibe in class last night!  As I was practicing, I was thinking that there’s another great way to cultivate the path of bodhicitta – the practice of Tonglen.HEARTFULNESS

The Buddhist term bodhicitta in Sanskrit means the awakened heart and mind. “Citta” is translated as consciousness of heart and mind; “bodhi” means awaken.

Sometimes we can mistake our meditation practice as a tool to fix our self.  What we’re really doing in is learning to accept what is – and fully FEEL – what is true.

For me, the path of botticitta is the willingness to be open to what’s difficult – a willingness to touch all those raw nerves that makes us fully alive.  That takes a lot of heart.

My wife’s family come from a long line of Buddhist monks. I’m often reminded by our Aunt June, that in most Asian cultures the word for mind and heart is the same. So, I invite you to think of mindfulness and hart-fulness together, as one. I know it helps me add in that feeling of true compassion for my self and gives me more freedom to be with what is.

So, we can use Tonglen as “the middle way” – to be with – the act of compassion. It’s kind of like we are learning to put down our armor. If we give up our resistance – if we feel the pain, the fear, the love – our defenses and story will start to fall down. We really see that the only way to open… is to listen.

With Tonglen, we’re learning to say, “Ok, there’s the pain. Can I let go of my resistance and just let myself feel fully what’s true here?”.

We learn to breathe in with Tonglen and just open ourselves to be touched by the pain. Then, we learn to breathe out and sense that wide open space that can hold it all. So there’s breathing in and being touched by the pain, breathing out and letting go into that love, that heart-fulness, that wide openness.

In my friend Kevan Gale‘s guided Tonglen meditation below, we sense our own pain, our own suffering and then other’s – and we breathe with that but then we open it and widen our circle, so that we’re breathing for all of those beings that have that same experience of suffering as we do.

It takes courage and heart to let go of this resistance and be willing to sit with what’s here. It takes compassion to get under our storyline, our drama and notice what it feels like in your body – because as I said last night – that wounded feeling, that shakiness, those feelings that we tend to push away can feel “pretty crappy” the first few thousand times we choose to feel them.

I hope this helps!


10 Minute Guided Meditation with Kevan Gale of Stil Studio (this session was recorded live during class)

Bos GlobeCC

Patriots Day 2008

Running The Boston Marathon? Come and gain a mental training advantage on us!  Take Move & Meditate at Stil Studio for FREE on Monday 4/14 OR Thursday evening 4/17!

It has been an exhausting year and a very cold training season.  As a runner myself, I can really relate to the strong emotions the runners will feel this year as they make their way to the starting line.  I understand the lifestyle, the passion for the sport, and the anxiety (which many will deny having) – from tapering struggles, to obsessive race day weather watching, to wondering if one will actually sleep the night before – these distractions can derail all the hard work a runner has put in this winter.  I do understand a little something about The Boston Marathon, having completed three myself (2001, 2008, 2011) – I know how hard it is to sit and do nothing that week before… waiting, while all your friends and family are in town wanting to see you and tour this great city.

I’ve also seen enough media coverage this year to know that there must be a balance on how much a runner takes in – so you don’t expend all your emotional energy well before the race begins.


That’s why this week Stil Studio and The Boston Buddha will be dedicating our MOVE & MEDITATE class to anyone running The Boston Marathon – FREE.  Stop by on Monday night 6:30 to 7:30 PM or Thursday evening from 7:00 to 8:00 PM.  We will settle in with some light stretching to help calm your nerves and overcome any doubts you may have.

The theme and meditation for next week will be on letting go of difficult emotions.

MOVE & MEDITATE is a weekly class at Stil Studio (Legacy Place in Dedham) that combines the balance of a gentle flow with a healthy amount of relaxation and meditation, to help students recharge and melt away stress from every part of their body.
On Mondays (Betty Riaz & Andy Kelley) and Thursdays (Jen Howell & Andy Kelley) the class consists of a 30-minute simple slow flow Vinyasa series in a dimly lit room followed by a 25-minute guided meditation, based on themes ranging from willpower to releasing anger.

This class can fill up quick so register in advance here:
or call the studio 781.407.9642



bodhiNegative experiences are an essential part of life.  As the Buddha said, ” Life is suffering”.  It’s the First Nobel Truth.  This week in our Move & Meditate class we will learn different techniques to help us learn from our suffering and cultivate the positive in our life.

The first way to deal with a negative experience is to BE with it.  The first question I asked myself when I notice that I’m stressed or suffering is, ” What need is not being met right now?”.  So often we are motivated to escape that negative experience as soon as we are in it, that we can’t find the root of the problem.  If we can embrace and be with the negative experience, that helps us look for strategies to address that need that is not being met.   So, we want to be with the experience, feel the experience, observe the experience.

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