May Retreat 05.04.23
What You Are Looking For Is Already Here
The tendency for many people walking the Buddha's Noble Eightfold Path is to think that they are going to get something or become someone. Furthermore, this something or someone will come in the future and will give the person what they are looking for.
A much more helpful approach, and one that jibes with how things actually are, is to see that what one is looking for is already here. There's nothing to get—only letting go of that which obscures the realization of what is already here. While there is practice and work to be done, it is in the service of creating the conditions that are supportive of realizing this. The instructions, small groups, and Dharma talk will all address how to cultivate this important view of practice.
Winter Retreat 02.04.23
Cultivating The Correct Attitude For Meditation
When we begin meditation practice, we bring all of our cultural conditioning with us and apply it to the practice, mostly unconsciously. In particular, we bring an attitude that we’re going to get something out of the meditation. We feel that if we work hard, something good will happen.
It’s important to become conscious of such attitudes and then begin to transform them into an approach that is more receptive, non-striving and content with the present moment as it is. As we are able to cultivate this more wholesome approach, our practice begins to feel lighter, more sustainable, and will more likely support the transformation of heart and mind we desire.
Late Spring Retreat 06.4.22
The Triple Gem
Besides practicing with the precepts for ethical behavior, the foundation of the Buddha’s path to awakening is taking refuge in the Triple Gem: the Buddha, the Dharma (teachings of the Buddha) and the Sangha (the community that practices together).
In this retreat we explored the following topics: What is meant by Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha? Why would one take refuge in them? What are we taking refuge from? And how can taking refuge in the Triple Gem support our Dharma practice and our lives?
*Talk begins at 2min30s.
Spring Retreat 04.2.22
Understanding and Practicing with Emotions
Emotions are a very natural and universal part of our shared human experience. They can range from peaceful to rageful, and from minor to overwhelming. In and of themselves they are not problematic, yet when we are not mindful of their presence, they can, and often do, have a major impact on our lives.
We will spend our day exploring and practicing how to be with emotions, both pleasant and unpleasant, in a skillful way—including how to ground and stabilize ourselves when they become overwhelming. The retreat will include sitting and standing/walking meditation, daily life practice, small group discussion, and teachings on the subject.
Winter Retreat 02.4.22
The Marriage of Mindfulness and Loving Kindness
The Mindfulness and Loving Kindness practices are almost exclusively taught separately. In this day-long retreat we explored the ways Mindfulness and Loving Kindness are inextricably connected and how they both play an important role in the arising and cultivation of the other.
Late Fall Retreat 12.4.21
We are always receiving something from life – a sound, a thought, a sight, etc. These things impress on us in a particular way. For example, a scent could register as pleasant (a rose), as unpleasant (garbage), or as neutral (a room or space within your home). These impressions happen spontaneously and come along with the smell itself.
It is important to become mindful of these sense impressions because when we are not, we fall into habitual ways of reacting to them. Without mindfulness, we tend to cling onto what is pleasant, push away what is unpleasant, and not notice what is neutral. It's not a good recipe for peace and contentment in the heart and mind.
Image credit: Thom Holmes