Topics | Meditation | The Sun Magazine #4


Browse Topics


The Sun Interview

A Joyful Noise

Krishna Das On Chanting The Names Of God

Real gurus don’t intend to teach; they teach just by being. The word guru means “one who dispels the darkness,” which is different from giving light. Giving light means giving someone something that they don’t already have. Gurus remove the layers of darkness and show you what’s already there. They peel away the self-hatred, the guilt, the shame, the fear. A guru is someone who has truly conquered all of that and lives only to help people. There’s no edge, no harshness, only complete love and acceptance — and a kind of cosmic chuckle because you don’t fully understand; not laughing at you, but saying, “Come on! Get with it!”

By Alexis Adams March 2011
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Not Another Word

When I signed up for a “silent vipassanâ yoga and meditation retreat” at the Esalen Institute, I didn’t even know what the word vipassanâ meant, but I wasn’t worried about it. I planned to use the week as a personal sabbatical. I’d get up at sunrise and bathe in the hot tubs overlooking the Pacific, then drift into the morning sessions for a bit of yoga or meditation, and spend afternoons writing in the loft of the big blue art barn.

By Gillian Kendall July 2010

Enlightenment Is A Bitch

At first it isn’t so bad — a taste of ecstasy, / the world covered in honey. Even snails / scrawl the names of buddhas with their silvery trails.

By Dane Cervine March 2010
Sy Safransky's Notebook

March 2010

Soon I’ll celebrate another birthday. It’s too bad the earth doesn’t have a real birthday. It might remind us that the planet had a beginning and — as it circles a medium-sized star whose days are numbered, too — is moving inexorably toward its end.

By Sy Safransky March 2010
The Sun Interview

The Science Of Happiness

Barbara Fredrickson On Cultivating Positive Emotions

In general the epidemiological data show that only 20 percent of Americans are flourishing. The rest are either languishing or just getting by. Maybe they remember a time in their lives when things were coming together easily; there wasn’t a lot of self-concern, self-scrutiny, or self-loathing because they were focused outward and contributing to the world. But now they’re just doing the minimum necessary to get by. This “just getting by” mode is not depression or mental illness. It’s merely people living lives of quiet despair. Upwards of 60 percent of the adult population feel like they’re going through the motions. It makes me want to share the news about this work and get people back to those times when they were flourishing.

By Angela Winter May 2009
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Where Water Comes From

I felt a jolt. Since my father had left, no one had said the word sadness. I had heard the words stingy and schmuck, but sadness seemed obscene, even more taboo than the topic of sex. Sadness was like my period, something that came regularly, to be borne in silence.

By Kathryn Kefauver Goldberg November 2008
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Pilgrimage To Nowhere

If spiritual seekers coming to Thailand were treated like their sex-tourist brethren, a contingent of saffron-robed monks would accost you at the Bangkok airport, getting up in your face with a laminated menu of spiritual offerings and shouting, “Intensive Vipassana meditation! Twenty-one-day monastery stay! All-you-can-eat vegetarian meals! Hurt your knees! No sex! Donations only!”

By Andrew Boyd May 2008


There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

Douglas Adams

December 2007
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Wash Your Bowls

There’s an old Zen story that I like very much: A monk comes to the monastery of the storied Master Zhaozho. Diligent and serious, the monk asks for instruction, hoping for some esoteric teaching, some deep Buddhist wisdom, or, at the very least, a colorful response that will spur him on in his practice. Instead the master asks him, “Have you had your breakfast yet?” The monk says that he has. “Then wash your bowls,” the master replies. This is the only instruction he is willing to offer.

By Norman Fischer June 2005
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Looking Like Osama And Other Confessions

Some lucky people look like Brad Pitt or Sarah Jessica Parker. It is my fate to resemble Osama bin Laden.

By Sparrow March 2005