It’s humbling how seductive the narrative is: “practice is going nowhere,” “my bad habits will never shift,” etc.  Meditation doesn’t follow the linear trajectory that we’re all accustomed to.

So, in life, sometimes we speak kindly, and sometimes we yell at someone.  Sometimes we forgive, and sometimes we resent.  Sometimes we watch ourselves engaged in old, unskillful behaviors, and sometimes we don’t even notice them happening.  And then at some point, regardless of how much we’ve bemoaned the pace of things or berated ourselves along the way, the fruits of our labor appear.  Things are just suddenly (or gradually) different.

We can all afford to be kind with ourselves and trust this process to unfold at its own pace.

Pointers At The Moon

Many people find it constructive to use multiple techniques in their practice. This can be skillful, for one, because a practitioner will tend to hold a given technique in a certain light, emphasizing some features, and deemphasizing others. To use the analogy of "pointers at the moon," each technique serves as a pointer, askew in a slightly different direction.

By keeping track of how practice makes us feel, we can have some sense of which technique would provide the best course correction. As time passes, and experience with a given technique grows, the pointer that it provides will become more refined.

To help this process along, a few example questions: in practice, can the experience of compassion become part of the way of looking? How about the feeling of equanimity? What would it feel like to apply less effort? And in the heart practices, how high can the concentration be?

At the deepest level, all techniques are pointing at the same thing.

The Suffering Of The World

“You can hold yourself back from the suffering of the world.  This is something that you are free to do and is in accord with your nature.  But perhaps precisely this holding back is the only suffering you might be able to avoid.” –Franz Kafka

Thought Replacement


In practice, we spend a lot of time retraining the mind to generate less afflictive emotions when it needs to balance out. In this process we deliberately swap thoughts of self-doubt, criticism, blame, etc. for thoughts of kindness, encouragement, forgiveness…

It’s becoming more and more clear that over time, it’s not just the individual thoughts that get replaced. We’re replacing an entire view. An entire embodiment. Teaching the nervous system to balance itself more skillfully is teaching the self to manifest in a different way.


“All sensible people begin in life with two fundamental presuppositions.  You are not going to improve the world, and you are not going to improve yourself.  You are just what you are.  And once you have accepted that situation, you have an enormous amount of energy available to do things that can be done. And everybody else, looking at you from an external point of view, will say “my god, how much so-and-so has improved!”   –Alan Watts