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The Birth and Death of Monks

by Sean Wilson Fargo Thirty years old on the other side of the world, I was hot on the trail for something profoundly meaningful in my life. It was so close I could taste it. Running on the precipice of constant burnout, I was deep in the habit of constantly seeking, doing, and pleasing. I never wanted to miss anything …

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Dying with Dad, Part 7

by Jessica Graham One of the perks of meditation is that it instills compassion in the practitioner. True compassion comes from a place free of expectation, need, or neuroses. It isn’t personal in the sense that I once thought. Compassion comes from a very expanded perspective; it’s not limited to Me and the story of what it means to be …

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Dying with Dad, Part 6

By Jessica Graham In this series, I have been exploring my relationship with my dad and the experience of caring for him in his final months. It’s been an amazing process of revisiting that time and sharing the stories with others. I’ve received moving emails and phone calls from people who are going though a similar time in their lives. …

Dying with Dad, Part 5

By Jessica Graham Last month my dad would have been 55 years old. With his birthday coming up I thought it was high time I got back to my Dying with Dad series. It’s been challenging to write about my dad’s death and relationship with him. It such a personal thing to throw out into the online world, even though …

Dying with Dad, Part 4

by Jessica Graham In self-help books, recovery programs, and spiritual communities there is a lot of talk about “letting go.” We are all urged to let go. But what does letting go really mean? The experience of being with my father’s dying forced me to cope with this question, and my meditation practice helped me enormously. Letting go means being …

Dying with Dad, Part 3

By Jessica Graham It was my dad’s birthday recently. He would have been 54 years old. Most people think that he died pretty young, but it’s amazing he lived that long, given his lifestyle. I could have easily died much earlier too. My Dad and I were very similar. I remember my aunt calling me when I was about 15, …

Dying with Dad, Part 2

by Jessica Graham My teacher Shinzen teaches that mindfulness meditation has three parts: concentration, sensory clarity, and equanimity, which all together lead to a reduction in suffering. But sometimes people have “freak-outs.” A freak-out is a state in which you lose the ability to concentrate and maintain sensory clarity. As a result, your equanimity falls apart, and you have a …

Dying With Dad

by Jessica Graham Part One My meditation practice has helped me with all kinds of things. I don’t lose my keys as often. I don’t have meaningless sex with strangers. I don’t wake up with bits of teeth in my mouth from grinding them. My sisters enjoy my company. I usually don’t eat foods that make me feel sick, even …