January 26, 2012

Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012 - Bittersweet Views

Hi everyone,

This week we'll be meeting at 7pm on Sunday, and the topic will be 'Bittersweet views'. Last week I mis-remembered the topic that was coming up for this week; sorry about that. That topic on the lay-monastic distinction in Buddhism will actually be in March.

As for the topic of bittersweet views... we will look at how we create and hold views of our reality (perspectives, opinions, biases, etc.) and how this shapes our experience. Also, we will talk about how it can sometimes feel so good (sweet) to feel clear on a subject and to firm up our perspective. But, at the same time, this can end up being a challenge (bitter) in our practice and in our life. Please feel free to bring your questions and thoughts about this subject. Some things to think about: What are your 'views' of reality? Of your self? How fixed are they? How flexible are you in relation to other views and perspectives? Is it possible to hold 'no view' as you move through the world? Think practical, too.... I don't mean this to be overly theoretical.

Alright, hope to see many of you this week. And, remember  Yoga will be taught by Dina this Sunday 6-6:45pm before the sit. So please come with a yoga mat, barefeet and an empty stomach if you would like to participate. For more info about Dina's experience see www.dinahondrogen.com.

With peace,

January 19, 2012

Sunday, January 22, 2012: The Eight Worldly Winds

Hi everyone,

This Sunday we will explore the teaching of 'the eight worldly winds'.  These are pleasure/pain, praise/blame, gain/loss, fame/disgrace.  These are forces of the world that often can have a powerful impact on how we live our lives and how we make decisions.  How we do relate to these?  Which ones are most important in our lives?  How do they affect us in different areas of our lives (e.g. family, work, play, spirituality, etc.)?  Are there times when we are unaffected by them?

I hope to see many of you this weekend, and bring your questions if you want to.. and your curiosity.
May you stay dry and warm,

January 12, 2012

New Yoga Class being offered to the sangha the last Sundays of every Month

Happy New Year! Yoga class starts on the last Sunday of this month at 6pm preceding the meditation at 7pm. Please bring a yoga sticky mat, barefeet, and clothes you can move in. Please eat lightly or ideally not at all an hour before class. We will be practicing for 45 minutes until 6:45pm. This class is given freely and is appropriate for all levels. My intention is to assist and support your meditation.

I will teach the last Sunday of every month so mark your calendars.
For those curious about my teaching background my bio follows:

Also, don't forget to sign up for the Satipatthana Sutta workshop starting on January 28th. Tell your friends!

with metta, Pauletta

ps those of you who sent me metta when I got a second virus this week - a yucky gastritis, IT WORKED! Thanks so much, I'm feeling better now, Pauletta

Living with Ease this Sun; Also: 6 Week Intro Course begins Jan 15

Dear Friends,

Following last week's discussion about how we lose serenity, this Sunday, 7-8:30pm, we'll explore the meaning and possibility of living with ease.  Imagine what it would be like if everything you did felt easy.  What would be required for that to happen?  Come this Sunday, bring a friend, and help us figure it out.

I also want to let you know that I will be supporting a 6-week Introduction to Meditation course via internet beginning January 15.  You are welcome to join my other students in following this course, which is offered on a dana basis.  Each week there will be a dharma talk presenting a basic aspect of Insight Meditation, and you may elect to discuss the material and your practice with me by email or by 20-minute phone or Skype sessions.  While I'm always available for single practice support sessions, I've taught this course for about 5 years now, and I've found that it provides both an excellent foundation and a great refresher in the fundamentals of this practice.  If you are interested, please reply to this email.

Best wishes,

January 5, 2012

This Sunday, Serenity Lost/Regained

Dear Friends,

Many of us came to meditation practice seeking serenity and stayed because we found it.  Yet losing it is an almost daily occurrence.  In fact, as we sit in meditation, serenity can come and go almost continually.

Rather than feel this loss of serenity as a kind of spiritual defeat, we can approach the experience like investigators doing fieldwork in the wonderland of our own minds and hearts.  What takes us away from our precious moments of tranquility?  What do we learn about our mental patterns from seeing this?

Come this Sunday with your questions and observations and we'll explore together the causes and conditions of serenity and the forces that cause its loss.

Looking forward to seeing you again this Sunday,

PS -- Bring your friends and remember this meeting will be an hour and a half.

January 2, 2012

Audio Talks: Gratitude

Pauletta Chanco on Gratitude

Gratitude Practice for the Year!!!

Hello Everyone,
It was so inspiring to see so many of you last night. May more beings be happy and find harmony in their lives as a result of our practices for ourselves and for others.

So to encapsulate last night's talk on Gratitude practice:

Remembering that it  can help us become more peaceful, sleep better, be less annoyed in our lives, and skillfully let us see another more positive perspective to the dukkha that arises in our everyday lives -

1) We can get a gratitude buddy and email each other daily or several times a week, what we are grateful for.
2) Keep a weekly gratitude journal where we write 5 one liner sentences about what we are grateful for.
**Important: Breathe each time we think of what we are grateful for and spend some time focusing on the heart center and feeling what this gratitude feels like to our heart, body and mind.
3) Write a letter to someone and read it out to them saying what we appreciate about them. (300 words)
4) Have a ritual in which we can spend some moments expressing gratitude with ourselves and/or loved ones.

Best to do a little but consistently each week and in 2 months, we can check in with each other on how the practice is going and if any changes have been noticed.

Hoping that you all will have some pleasure with this practice and remembering not to do it if at any time it doesn't feel good to do , i.e. if you are going through a bad patch in your lives, but hopefully over time of practice during neutral times in our life, this will reinforce and support us during the bad times. Only time will tell!

with much metta and gratitude for your practices,


ps don't forget that starting this month, on every last Sunday of the month, sangha member Dina Hondrogen will be leading yoga classes at 6-645 pm at the Alameda Sangha. Bring your own mat!