October 27, 2010

This Sunday: The Role of Compassion in Practice

Happy Halloween!  If you can get away from the goblins for a couple hours this Sunday, come join us to meditate, and talk about The Role of Compassion in Practice. 

How important is it?  Well, have you ever run your car when it was out of oil?  Things can overheat pretty quickly, even seize up and just stop working.  Without compassion, much of what meditation is all about simply isn't possible.  And it can cause the very kind of suffering we're trying to end.

From another angle, it's easy to see that with compassion, our practice is much easier and far more fulfilling.  So come to Sangha this Sunday and bring an open heart.  And leftover candy, if you want to.

Looking forward to seeing you again,
Rebecca


October 21, 2010

This Sunday: Opening our Awareness

Hi friends,

It's been a while since I've led the group, so I'm really looking forward to seeing you all.  This week, I'll be exploring the idea of 'awareness' and how it is that we use it; mainly I mean in how we direct it, shape it, confine it, but also open it.  All of these can have different functions and can be appropriate at a given time of practice, so this week I'll try to explore the idea of opening our awareness in meditation practice.  And, as can be imagined, this practice can have profound impacts on our 'everyday' awareness.

Well, I hope many of you will be there this Sunday evening.  And, by the way, I'm leading a half day-long on Sunday morning from 9:30-1:30 at the East Bay Healing Collective near the Berkeley/Oakland border.  If anyone is interested in the info for that, respond to this email and I'll get back to you before Sunday.

Many blessings as your week winds down.
Anthony


October 18, 2010

Practices for working with the second arrow this week

Hello Everyone,

Hope you all had a peaceful night's sleep last night. Here are 2 good practices to try to do this week:

The first is something I offered last week which was:
1) to observe when you notice you are experiencing dukkha in your daily life (or even when you are sitting if a bad memory comes up for ex). Then ask yourself the question, where is the craving, grasping or aversion? Watch what your mind does around this few minute mindful activity.
2) If you forgot and popped off in reactivity sometime this week or realize that you are obsessing over some problem for which you don't have a solution yet, explore during reflection, how you may be shooting yourself with the second arrow and if there is a way to lighten up around it, or let it go.

Have a fruitful week of practice,
Metta, Pauletta

October 13, 2010

This Sunday: The Difference between True and Ordinary Happiness

Hello Everyone,

We will be talking about the difference between true and ordinary happiness. Ordinary happiness is the kind that doesn't last.....when we mistakenly think that pleasure (whether from an experience, time with someone, acquiring something, etc.) = happiness.

True happiness is that of the Buddha's and it's when we are no longer governed by having to change a particular experience or situation, manipulating and controlling people, circumstances and events in order to have a certain outcome. When we can let go of the tendency to grasp, crave or resist (aversion), and rest in equanimity and peace with what is in the true nature of reality, then we can be truly happy.

There will be some overlap in the content of this offering between the workshop on Saturday and our meeting Sunday night, the difference being that for us, what I will offer on Sunday will be more expanded with a few more stories to illustrate the differences.

Hope to see you all there and looking forward to our check-in with the suggested practices for the week,

Much metta, Pauletta

October 11, 2010

Suggested Practices for the week: Cultivating Mindfulness and Wisdom

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to the newcomers last night. Here are the practices I suggested you try for the week:
1) Every hour of your waking moment, choose one minute to just be mindful. Close your eyes if you can and bring your attention to your breath for that one minute several times during the day. By the end of the week, observe any changes.

2) When caught up in dukkha (suffering; dissatisfactoriness), stop and take a deep breath and ask yourself, where is the grasping, craving and/or aversion? That will be the source of the dukkha.

3) Take some time to reflect back on something unskillful and/or unwholesome that you feel some regret about. Investigate and see how it caused suffering for yourself and possibly others and what you can do to try to do this differently in the future.

4) When faced with a dilemma to resolve, develop wise discernment by asking the three questions: a. What's skillful? b. What's unskillful? and c. What can I do that will lead to long term happiness?

Just pick one of the above to really spend time focusing and practicing with. I look forward to your check-ins this coming Sunday the 17th when the topic will be " The difference between ordinary and true happiness."

Happy practicing!
Pauletta 

--
Alameda Sangha
Every Sunday, 7pm
@ Buena Vista United Methodist Church
2311 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda
Visit our Website: https://sites.google.com/site/alamedasangha/


October 6, 2010

This Sunday: Mindfulness and Cultivating Wisdom

Hello Everyone,

Hope you are all well this week and easing into our beautiful Fall weather.

On Sunday, we will be revisiting what is this "knowing" that lets us know we are being mindful and what does mindfulness really mean? We will explore how to cultivate it as a tool for our practice of inquiry and investigation to lead us closer to more moments of awakening and liberation.

Mindfulness as a tool moves hand in hand with cultivating wisdom. I will revisit what we learned about developing wisdom as a parami (perfection of the heart and mind). And we can see where this can lead us in our practice.

Looking forward to seeing you all and hearing about your intention to reflect on watching what your mind and body does around a daily life episode this week,

Much metta and appreciation for your practice,
Pauletta

--
Alameda Sangha
Every Sunday, 7pm
@ Buena Vista United Methodist Church
2311 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda
Visit our Website: https://sites.google.com/site/alamedasangha/


October 4, 2010

Reflection/exercise for the week of Mind Training

Hello Everyone,

Glad and hoping all who came last night profited well from our fruitful discussion and investigation into the Mind.

Just a reminder for the week of what I started out the talk with: To set the intention (before a meeting at work, an encounter with friend or foe, some pleasurable experience that you are looking forward to having) to watch your body sensations and what your mind does and/or says around the episode. This is the off the cushion practice.

In your sitting practice, try to see if there were moments of dukkha in your day (everyday this week if you can) in which you could have eased it by not buying into what your mind was telling you around that particular moment of dukkha. What was the mind heaping on top of the actual dukkha that you were experiencing (whether it was a moment of irritation at someone or something that happened, ) that was just extra baggage that it would have been possible to extricate or choose not to engage in to lessen the actual dukkha that was happening?

May you all have fruitful practice this week,
Pauletta

--
Alameda Sangha
Every Sunday, 7pm
@ Buena Vista United Methodist Church
2311 Buena Vista Ave., Alameda
Visit our Website: https://sites.google.com/site/alamedasangha/


With Gratitude for Sunday Night Sangha


Hi Pauletta,

I'm sending this to Tarrin and David, as those are the only other email addresses I have. Could you please forward this to Bob, Mary, Colleen and Natalie?

I just wanted to thank everyone for being a part of an evening that was very inspirational and uplifting to me. First, I want to thank Pauletta for her wonderful talk tonight. Maybe I was just ready to hear it, but I heard many things that will be very helpful to me and that I can continue to use as valuable tools in my future steps toward the proverbial enlightenment that we all seek.

I also appreciate that we have a space open to us every week where we can come together and explore the path toward less suffering, more loving kindness and greater compassion at all of our individual paces (gee, maybe you should also forward to Rebecca and Anthony). What wonderful people you all are to be so willing to share your vulnerability, fears and questions with all of us. And let's not forget joy. And calm. And forgiveness. And compassion.

On the way home, Tarrin and I spoke about how the session had been for each of us. I personally had one of the most productive, inspirational, enervating and uplifting "sits" I have ever had. I opened my eyes to hear Pauletta speak about things that addressed some of the personal challenges that I suddenly felt empowered to face and grow through. I'm still feeling the glow. And, although there had been talk amongst us of the gloomy outlook and massive uncertainties in today's world, Tarrin had a wonderful thing to say about her hopes for having children despite those uncertainties. She said that at one time she had been very scared about what the world was coming to and how unfair it would be to bring a child into this mess. A friend pointed out to her that if SHE didn't have any children, it would leave the birth of the next generation to people who might not be as thoughtful or responsible about raising those children as Tarrin would be. Who better to have and raise the next generation than people like Tarrin - and, from my perspective tonight, all of you who are so willing to turn inward and examine those things that are not always easy to explore. From Mary, worrying about her grown son, to Natalie, loving her friend's 2-year-old, it just made me happy to think of all of you raising the bar in my world. I choose to play with you, and you, and you, and you, and, well, just all of you.

Thanks for an evening well spent! Much metta and (as Anthony signs off) may you be loved! Larel.