Greetings from Jonathan Foust: Cultivating a Generous Heart, Fresh Photos… and More

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Last fall a pair of eagles decided to make their home nearby on an island on the Potomac River.

I got to watch them build their nest, tend their eggs and just the other day, got a first look at their offspring, a healthy, curious and lively eaglet.

We’ve got babies everywhere these days.

Despite the struggles in our culture right now, it’s helpful to remember that not only does life go on, but there is a freshness and openess that comes when we embrace the here and now.
 
 

Should You Sit or Should You Move?

 
“I can’t sit still when I meditate!,” Sarah complained. “It’s like you described it… my mind is like a caffeinated chipmunk! How can I meditate when my mind is on fire like this?”

There’s a classic line that says, “Enlightenment is an accident. Meditation makes you accident-prone.”

You can’t make ‘enlightenment’ happen. But you can create the most optimal environment possible.

If you’ve got a lot of tension and stress in your life, you may find some active, mindful movement is the best way to prepare your mind for meditation and the subtle art of ‘non-judging awareness.’

Movement helps you release the deep-seated tensions in your body. When you contact the places inside where you feel tightness, congestion, stagnation and enervation you can notice them and breathe, relax, watch and allow. Chances are you may feel some of those sensations start to shift, change, diffuse or soften.

Have you noticed your meditation feels deeper after you exercise or do some yoga? Your body has probably dumped some serious tension and has allowed you to feel more calm and centered.

When I’m keyed up, anxious or stressed and have, say, half an hour to practice, I may take ten or fifteen minutes to move mindfully. Then when I sit, I feel more present, less at war with my mind.

And more ‘accident-prone.’

If you live in the DC area and would like to explore how to balance movement, meditation and relaxation in your life, you might like to check out a daylong retreat I’m offering on May 13th.

It’s called “A Meditative Journey: Mindful Movement, Meditation and Deep Relaxation”


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Cultivating a Generous Heart

 
I learned something about generosity the other day.

My friend Tony and I went out for dinner at the Waterfront in Washington, DC. I had just given a talk to a gathering of business professionals interested in meditation.

We found a Chinese restaurant where I felt sure I could find something vegan.

While we had a great time hanging out, my plate of vegetarian Pad Thai was not only meager, but tasted like something you’d dump into a bowl dry and then add hot water. I counted three pieces of vegetable and roughly four crushed peanuts.

Tony’s dish was a little bigger than my fist and looked unremarkable on all counts.

No drinks. No side-dishes. No dessert. $60.00.

$30.00 for a dish that cost about $2.98?

First I was incensed. Then I was resentful.

When pen in hand, perusing this outrageous bill, I paused, pondering the tip.

Wait a minute. The serving staff did a fine job. They’d taken our order on time, didn’t mess it up, checked back a few times to ensure we were OK.

Was I going to punish these people for these rip-off prices?

Years ago, inspired by some cool people in my life, I decided I wanted to be a generous person. A well-wisher of all.

One place I could practice that was in tipping. I always erred on the side of generosity and noticed not only no ill effect, but three things:

1. Pleasure at the anticipation of being generous.

2. Pleasure at being generous.

3. Pleasure on the reflection of being generous.

I ended up giving a big tip and in retrospect, I’m grateful the servers didn’t have to bear the brunt of my anger.
Does that mean I’d go back to that restaurant? No. That I’d tell others to go? No. That I might write up an honest review? Yes.

Being generous does not mean condoning bad behavior. It doesn’t mean not standing up to bullies and injustice.
It does mean you ‘look for the good,’ as my friend James Baraz says.

The practice of generosity means that you move from a self-centered person to new possibilities.
I recently gave a talk called “How to Cultivate a Generous Heart,” the first of ten talks on the “Ten Perfections.”
You can catch it here on iTunes, here on the web and here on youtube.

Other recent talks this month:

Making It Happen vs. Letting It Happen

The Power of Humility

How to Be with Sickness and Pain
 
 
 

Fresh Photos From This Month

 
Last fall, two eagles started ferrying in nest supplies.
 

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They worked hard and fast putting together their new home. The nest is now the size of a small car.
 

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The first sighting of our new neighbor.
 

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The bluebells were stunning this year. Acres and acres.
 

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Big morning sky over the Stockbridge Bowl in Western MA.
 

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The Great Blues have staked out their turf.
 

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Fresh chlorophyll in the morning light.
 

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A Meditative Journey: Mindful Movement, Meditation and Deep Relaxation

Here’s a little introduction to the “Meditative Journey” retreat I’m leading this month.


 
 
 

Latest from the Blog

How to Cultivate a More Generous Heart

The Eaglet Has Landed

Settling In for the Night

Breath, The Mystery and Science

Making It Happen vs Letting It Happen

The Power of Humility

 
 
 

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please signup here.

 
 
 
iTunes podcast here, online listening here, stitcher here, and Jonathan’s YouTube channel here.

A complete course on accessing the “still, small voice within” to find answers to persistent problems.

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  • Bamboo flute improvisations by Jonathan Foust.

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  • This series of 15–20 minute guided meditations explore cultivating a profound balance of ‘chitta and prana,’ or awareness and energy.

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  • Use these guided meditations regularly to rejuvenate your body, mind, and spirit.

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  • In this original audiobook, you’ll explore how to release physical and emotional restrictions in order to experience a more profound relationship of your body, mind, and spirit.

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