A conversation about meditation in different Buddhist traditions, especially the Theravada, where western mindfulness has its roots, and the quite different Tibetan vajrayana tradition.
These are some of the topics we speak about:
The power of having a lot of silent time in nature with your own heart and mind, how this connects you to yourself and how being with your own pain, opens your heart
She wrote her undergraduate thesis on meditation and ADHD
Why meditation has become so mainstream at this point in time, that it might also be because of all the scientific research shoving the benefits. This and all the challenges of our time, climate change, pandemics, anxiety, depression, insomnia.
We speak about what it means when we take the spirituality out of mindfulness, also with respect to cultural appropriation.
How Buddhism has always moved around into different cultures at different times, and it is interesting how it is adapting in our secularised cultures
What are the benefits of having a spiritual dimension to your meditation practice
The importance of becoming clear about our motivations for practising.
Buddha taught freedom from suffering - that is a radical promise!
How often unexpected things happen when you start meditating, and your practice and motivations might change
How going too deep too fast can be risky and even damaging
We speak about the differences between early Buddhism, the Theravada tradition and the Tibetan, vajrayana buddhist tradition.
The wildness of vajrayana buddhism
How the Theravada buddhism adapts better to a secular society.
How vajrayana buddhism is quite shamanic, mystical and magical, and actually takes some kind of devotion.
There is something in the human soul that longs for mysticism and devotion.
The sacredness of the world is missing today, and that might be at the root of our problems.
All indigenous traditions have this notion of the divine and the mystical
We speak about westerners teaching Tibetan, vajrayana buddhism
We speak about the progression from early buddhism to Mahayana and then vajrayana in Tibet
Devons thoughts about how we in the west have to be very respectful of the traditional and deeply culturally rooted practises of Tibetan buddhism, and how she is hesitant about our western way of appropriating these old practices, without perhaps always being ready for them.
I ask Devon if it is not a pulling back from life and society when she goes on these long retreats.
We speak about the danger of just wanting to escape from the world, when we go on long retreats
Retreat practice is such fertile ground for growing compassion, wisdom and equanimity, and when you come out of retreat you have so much energy and resourcefulness to engage with the communities, and how one also often develops much more creative responses to our challenges.
Does Devon think that deep meditative practice influence and contributes positively to the collective consciousness?
How intimacy with the world also means not turning away from the difficulty, for example climate change.
How retreat practice grows this feeling of deep belonging to nature, and how this intimacy fosters a different view, where we don't want to plunder natures resources.
Most things that are worth doing are difficult, and how sitting for long periods of time with your mind is messy and difficult, but its worth while to grow our hearts and minds.