July 28, 2011

The end of the mindful bear attack story

Dear Friends:

Here is the last -- and key -- paragraph to the story, which was omitted in my previous email.
Megan Peters, spokeswoman for Alaska's Department of Public Safety, said … "The biggest thing to look at is …they all made it out of the field alive, which really speaks to the kids themselves and their character - their ability to stay in the situation and the reality they were facing and deal with it."
Be well,

July 27, 2011

This Sunday: Remembering to Remember

Dear Friends,

Last Sunday we talked about letting go, and how faith in our ability to handle whatever arises can facilitate our letting go of mind states that harm us more than help.  A common misunderstanding of letting go is that it will leave us passive, while the opposite is true.  It actually leaves us better able to cope with events because our minds are not muddled with tormenting thoughts and emotions.

Below is an article from Tuesday's Chronicle with a dramatic example of this profound kind of presence.  Oddly, it's probably easier to be mindful during a bear attack, though, than in a conflict on the job or at home.  How can we summon the kind of presence that enabled these kids to survive such a crisis?

This Sunday we'll talk about "remembering to remember" during our ordinary lives.  Practice can enable us to return to mindfulness in those moments when pitfalls are camouflaged by tedium.  You all probably have stories of remembering to be present during the routine of a day.  How did that happen, and how did your regular practice contribute to that moment of awakening?

Bring your stories, bring your friends, and together we'll learn more about living a mindful life.
Best wishes,

This (edited) article was on page C - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle on Tues., July 26, 2011:
Victor Martin Jr. survived an attack by a grizzly bear in Alaska over the weekend.A Richmond teenager was headed home Monday evening after his first camping trip ended when a bear believed to be a grizzly attacked him and other teenagers in a remote part of Alaska over the weekend.
The attack occurred about 8:30 p.m. Saturday as Victor Martin, 18, and six other teens made their way through thick bushes in the Talkeetna Mountains.  The group, on the 24th day of a 30-day wilderness education course, was crossing an unnamed creek when it came across the brown-colored bear with a cub. The purpose of the month long expedition is to teach students to recognize, avoid and manage risks. Martin had received a scholarship.
Two teens at the front of the group received the brunt of the attack.  The animal then turned its attention on Martin, who was third in line. …  Martin kicked the bear until he was able to break free and ran up a hill. Martin [then] returned to his group as soon as he could to help the injured.  A helicopter crew reached the group at 2:45 a.m. Sunday after the teens activated their emergency location beacon. In all, six teens were injured, but none as seriously as Berg and Gottsegen. They remained hospitalized in Alaska in serious and good conditions respectively.  Martin was treated and released.
 His family said Monday they were relieved that he survived but not surprised that he went back to the group to help the others.  "He's the type who will help out, that's for sure," said Tonnette Martin, Martin's grandmother and guardian....

July 22, 2011

This Sunday: Letting Go

Dear Friends,

A common piece of advice for emotions, thoughts or situations that make us unhappy is, "Just let it go!"  We can even tell this to ourselves, and it's usually no more helpful than having someone else say it.

How do we let go?  And even if we do pry loose the cold, hard fingers of our minds a bit, is it possible to let go even more?  What does it mean to let go completely?  Is it possible to imagine what life would be like if we did let go… completely?

This Sunday, 7-8:30 pm, we'll explore the relationship between letting go and the kind of faith that helps us do so.  Bring your fears, grudges, expectations and obsessions – oh, and your friends.

Best wishes,

July 14, 2011

This Sunday: Buddhist Ethics

Hi everyone,
This week we'll continue our discussion of Buddhist Ethics.  Last week, I wanted to change the language some and suggest looking at it as 'behavior', and 'what is appropriate to do?' as we make our way through this world.

On Sunday, I would encourage you to bring in some examples from your life so that we can discuss issues as they actually play out in our lives.  Some questions that you could reflect on: 

-  How has meditation/mindfulness practice changed the way I act in the world?  

-  Are there ways that I live that I'm worried will be affected/altered/lost due to my practice of meditation, or my interest in Buddhist teachings?  

-  Are there any parts of my daily life that occupy 'too much' of my mind when I sit down to practice formal meditation, and if so, what does that mean?  

-  Are there habits and behaviors that I'm trying to change by practicing meditation?'

I hope that we'll see many of you this Sunday.  May you all have a good end of your week,
Take care,

July 9, 2011

This Sunday: Buddhist Ethics

Hi all,
Sorry for the late email this week.  We will be meeting as usual tomorrow evening and the topic will be Buddhist Ethics.  That sounds complicated, potentially; but really what I would like to talk about Sunday evening are the Buddhist teachings on human behavior in the world.  Often, we associate Buddhism with meditation and forget about all of the other subjects that are given just as much (if not more!) attention.  So, how do we treat people; how do we treat the world; and what are some of the factors involved in our decisions of what to do and not to do?

I hope to see many of you tomorrow night, and I hope you're enjoying the weekend,

July 4, 2011

9th Paramis: Metta or Lovingkindness Practice for the Week

Hello Everyone,
Hope you are all having a safe and fun 4th of July. Remembering to think about having a little gratitude today towards our beautiful space, the Buena Vista United Methodist Church and all the forces that made it possible for us to continue meeting here. Last night was our first year anniversary in this extraordinary space.

My husband suggested we do a float for the Fourth of July for next year! I think it would be fun to do!

So the talk for last night should be on the website link soon.

Remembering to keep in sight, the power of intention behind the practice of metta to generate care and well-being towards ourselves and others, as well as planting the seeds for more love and connection in our lives with others will help us persevere in the practice which is a powerful antidote against both fear and aversion.

May you have a fruitful week of practice and safe holiday,

much metta to you all,