Becoming More Curious and Less Critical

Meditation practice isn’t about transformation. It’s about learning how to get to know our lives more intimately and compassionately.

I’m Frank Ostaseski, and I’m very glad to be with you today and to be part of Mindful30. These days, I speak of mindfulness as a practice of intimacy. We can’t know ourselves or each other, or life and death, from a distance. This is personal, up-close work. 

A lot of times we use language like enlightenment or liberation or awakening. These terms feel far off and distant to me like we’re trying to achieve something supernatural or transformative in our lives. I think meditation practice is about learning to become intimate—intimate with ourselves, with every aspect of life. Then we can bring the healing power of loving awareness to what scares us, what’s sad for us, what feels raw for us. I prefer the word intimacy because it expresses a wish to come closer—to know that we already belong, that we’re not separate. 

To me, intimacy expresses what liberation actually feels like: relaxed, easeful, ordinary, in a way. Liberation isn’t found someplace else. It’s found right here. That’s why one teaching says the path is right beneath your feet. When we look into the mind’s conditioning, in a close and personal way, we begin to understand the ways that…

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About the author

Frank Ostaseski

Frank Ostaseski is a meditation teacher who cofounded the Zen Hospice Project. In 2004, he went on to create the Metta Institute to provide innovative educational programs and professional training to foster compassionate, mindfulness-based care.

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