Gripped by anxiety
like a
live wire
can’t let go of.


This is my charnel ground

Now when a man is truly wise,
His constant task will surely be,
This recollection about death,
Blessed with such mighty potency.¹

from the Visudimagga

“[W]hen one is actually dying it is a bit late to begin thinking seriously about death. We should familiarize ourselves with the thought long before we hope it will happen! And besides, even for the young and strong, it can still come with unexpected suddenness. Mors certa — hora incerta, ‘Death is certain — the hour is uncertain.’ To bear this in mind is for the Buddhist an important aspect of Right Understanding. And therefore the Buddhist practice of Meditation on Death — not very popular in the West — should be encouraged.”²


Remembering the body

The four foundations of mindfulness (or frames of reference) play a central role in Buddhist meditation, particularly in the Burmese vipassanā tradition. They are roughly translated as follows:

  1. Kayanupassana: contemplation of the body
  2. Vedananupassana: contemplation of feeling
  3. Cittanupassana: contemplation of consciousness/mind
  4. Dhammanupassana: contemplation of mental objects/qualities


Anxious to live life meaningfully, mindfully

Anxiety comes in many forms. According to the National Institute of Mental Health as many as 40 million Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder (source, and more info here). When there is a real surge of anxiety, the afflicted person can end up virtually non-functional. The mental activity tends to go in a dangerous spiraling motion (thoughts of dread, regret, meaninglessness, etc.), the body may respond violently (trembling, vomiting), and a panic attack can set off totally paranoid behaviors (e.g., unable to leave the house). This is mind and this is serious stuff.


Mindfulness tools for dealing with emotional and physical pain

Like many women and quite a few meditators (including a young S.N. Goenka), I suffer from migraines. These severe headaches are not all that well understood in the medical community and are often extremely difficult to treat through either allopathic or homeopathic means. Fortunately, through the practice, I have found that mindfulness meditation offers some insight into the causes at the same time as it provides significant relief.


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