Sunday, September 25, 2005

my Sangha*

As I've written about before, I've been exploring Buddhism a bit lately. Well, last night I discoved a mindfulness group in Louisville that meets on Sundays a good 45 minute drive from my house (that is, I found their website, Isn't the internet a great thing?). It's a bit far to drive, but I'm thankful that at least there is one within driving distance. I went today and it was really great. I think I'll go back next Sunday.

I could just go on meditating in the mornings on my own, but it's really great to meet with like-minded people. My social urge has even caused me to consider going back to my folk's church, but I have a few problems with that. For one thing, I would feel really uncomfortable talking about my experiences with meditation in Sunday School . . .

Anyhow, it's been a wonderful Sunday for me. Looks like I've finally found my sangha :)

*A loose translation of the word would be "community". Often it means something deeper than that, but I'll stick with that translation for now.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Religious have no Monopoly on Charity

Today I was reading the letters to the editor in the Courier Journal, and felt a strong compulsion to reply to one of them which was entitled "Where's the ACLU?". The author only specifically mentions the ACLU as apparently doing nothing to help Katrina victims, in contrast to all the help given by various religious organizations (that the ACLU supposedly opposes). I don't know specifically what the ACLU has done in this situation, but I take issue with the idea that only the religious are interested in relief efforts. Here is the letter that I wrote and sent in:

In the Monday edition of the paper, A. J. Edwards mentioned a few religious
organizations that have been helping with the Katrina relief efforts. This is a
good thing! But the point of his letter was that Secular and Atheist
organizations (represented by the ACLU in Edward’s letter) are not interested in
helping. What do godless atheists have to do with charity work anyway?

The Universist Movement: Hands on Humanity ( is
organizing help for Katrina victims in the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center.
See their website for more information.

American Atheists ( has a list of
secular organizations contributing to relief efforts. They also have ad space on
their main page for their members who are in the affected areas and wish to
help, such as an atheist business owner in Houston who is offering work to
people displaced by Katrina.

The Council for Secular Humanism and the Center
for Inquiry ( is
working to collect donations for AmeriCares (

I expect that there are many secularists out there, including myself, who have
contributed to the relief efforts without trumpeting the fact that we are not
religious and our motives have nothing to do with any gods. The religious do not
have a monopoly on charity.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

checking in

Been a while since I've posted, mainly since I've been busy reading and writing for school and otherwise too lazy to write in the blog. But here is what has gone one since I last wrote. I'm in a break between classes so I have to make it quick.

I have managed to work a 15-20 minute meditation time into my mornings. Right about 7 am I invite my virtual bell to ring ( and sit and breathe, basically. Sometimes I do a guided meditation, observe my thoughts or feelings without being caught up in them. I've already seen improvements in my general attitude about life. I love it, and miss it if my schedule gets messed up and I don't get my sitting time (as I call it).

Have to get to class now.

EDIT: In case anyone is interested, I've been using the book Beginning Mindfulness by Andrew Weiss for instruction and the guided meditations. It's a great guide to meditation and mindfulness practice for people like me who have regular job and family responsibilities. Highly recommended. It's also non-sectarian and doesn't assume any particular religious beliefs, which helps.