May 31, 2012

This Sunday, June 3: Mudita or Sympathetic Joy, the Third Brahmavihara at Alameda Sangha 7-9 pm

Hello Everyone,

May this find you well.

Come and explore what is purported to be the most difficult of the Brahmaviharas to develop: Mudita, or Sympathetic Joy. Mudita is about the ability to experience happiness for the good fortune of others, including those we have difficulty with. Learn about the constricting mind states that impede our ability to easily develop this "sublime state".

The road is filled with obstacles that the Buddha teaches we can work through and the rewards are increased happiness both for ourselves and others with an opened heart and mind that inclines more and more towards joy. Mudita balances the pain we are instructed to turn towards and aids us in not getting overwhelmed by it.

Tonight, Baruch and I are teaching the 5 Aggregates in our workshop on the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness. All are welcome even if you missed last week and cannot come to all  5 sessions. Each session is a complete teaching in itself. Please see postcard attached.

This Saturday from 12 - 6 pm at Island Yoga, come and give yourself the gift of deepening your practice with Anthony and I. We will be leading an afternoon of silent sitting and walking with guided meditation. Please see postcard attached.

Hope to see you at all events in this sati (mindfulness) filled next few days of practice!

with metta, Pauletta

May 28, 2012

Karuna Practices for the Week

Hello everyone,

We had a record high attendance of 30 people last night! Thank you all for coming on a holiday weekend! May this find you all enjoying the sunny day at long last after a few past days of fog.

Keeping in mind last night's offering of the near and far enemies of Compassion which are pity, that creates a sense of separateness between oneself and the other as opposed to interconnection, and cruelty from which arises anger, aversion and/or potentially a wish to extract vengeance for a perceived wrongdoing, remembering that we can use the grounding of upekkha or equanimity to help us in our responses to originate from kindness and care.

In daily life, attempting to have the perspective towards arisen situations of "dukkha and the end of dukkha" to dispel any rigidity and judgements, will go a long way towards reaching equanimity as part of the total operating system of karuna or compassion.

In sitting, bringing up the image of oneself or another who is having difficulty right now in life and saying the phrases,

May you/I be free of suffering and pain. May you/I have peace.

It is important to attempt to establish a heartfelt connection between the phrases (please do try to customize them) and the person that the kindness is being directed towards.

May you all have a fruitful practice,

Pauletta ps see you all next Sunday for Mudita or Sympathetic Joy.

May 25, 2012

This Sunday, May 27, 2012 at Alameda Sangha: The Second Brahmavihara - Karuna (Compassion) 7-9 pm

Hello Everyone,

May this find you well.

Come and learn to cultivate karuna (compassion) the second heavenly home of the heart's awakening. Karuna is the capacity to turn towards pain in the world in ourselves and others without getting overwhelmed or debilitated by it. It enables us to be able to just simply be present in the face of the pain afflicting all beings including ourselves or to respond to the situation with kindness.

Learn how karuna when cultivated, inter-relates and works in concert with upekkha, (equanimity) and metta(lovingkindness) the two other Brahmaviharas. We will explore the full Pali sense of the word karuna, learn about its near and far enemies and most importantly learn to cultivate it on and off the cushion. A deep sense of vulnerability may arise through the practice that we do with this particular Brahmavihara. Rewards promise to be transformative in our lives.

Looking forward to offering this teaching to you all,

with metta and gratitude for your practice, Pauletta

May 21, 2012

Metta Practice and things to remember about its cultivation for the week

Hello Everyone,

Thanks for your enthusiasm for the teaching of metta and understanding of my cracking voice last night with this virus I've acquired.

Attached are the metta handout I passed last night in case any of you would like to send them to any friends, etc. Also, forgot to remind you all last night of the 5 week workshop that Baruch and I are beginning to teach this Thursday, May 24th from 630 to 830pm on the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness. This Thursday night we will begin with The Five Hindrances.

Just wanted to touch base and remind what you can think about in generating or maintaining a metta practice this week. Remembering the near enemy and the far enemy of metta - the near enemy is what masquerades itself as metta but is definitely not what it's all about. The near enemy is sentimental love. This is the love we have for another that has conditions. Ex. I will love you forever if you stay......... I will love you only if you do ......for me.......etc etc.  It's important to remember the "indiscriminate" aspect of metta in one of its two root meanings - that of "gentle" as in the gentle rain metaphor.

The far enemy of metta is its complete opposite - which is hatred. Remembering that there is a fine line between love and hate as the old song goes.

So this week, come up with your own personal and unique phrases that have meaning for yourself and spend some time in sitting meditation directing metta to yourself. Note how that feels and goes and bring it to the check-in next Sunday. One other time to practice metta that I forgot to mention last night in the talk is whenever one is standing in line somewhere during the day. Metta can be directed at everyone around, and most especially including the postman or cashier who is stressed because the line is long and they happen to be short staffed. And first and foremost, remember to take some breaths before and after directing metta, and just anytime during the course of the day to reground and balance once again.

May you have a fruitful week of practice, with metta, Pauletta

May 14, 2012

This Sunday May 20th: The First Brahmavihara: Metta (Lovingkindness) at Alameda Sangha 7-9 pm

Hello Everyone,

May this find you all well. I am sending out the weekly email early this week because I'd like to ask you all to listen to my talk, Introduction to the Brahmaviharas given on March 27th 2012. You will find it by googling Alameda Sangha and choosing Audio Dharma Talks. It is the perfect intro to this upcoming Sunday's talk which will be on metta.

Come join and explore with me, the definitions, manifestions and functions of metta, how to practice it and the benefits of daily metta practice on and off the cushion. Those of you who have been doing it awhile know what I'm talking about. I will be bringing handouts on the benefits of metta, the metta sutta and phrases we can practice on the cushion, directing the wishes of well-being towards ourselves first and foremost, a neutral person (an acquaintance), someone we care about, i.e. teacher, mentor or dear friend), a difficult person and all living beings.

May you have a loving and peaceful rest of your week,


May 12, 2012

URGENT Artist Talk Cancelled Today at Joyce Gordon Gallery

Hello Everyone,

I am so sorry but my artist talk was cancelled today by Joyce Gordon because she has rented out her space for another event. I learned about this at noon today. Please accept my sincere apologies for this late notice and mishap for which I had absolutely no control over.

Thanks for your understanding in this matter,

May 11, 2012

Sunday - May 13, 2012: Seeing the changing self

Hi everyone,
I hope to see many of you this Sunday. The topic will be the last in the series of four on identity and self. I will wrap up what we have been talking about during the last three weeks, and then talk (and discuss, hopefully) about what we are doing when we are watching our "selves" in life and formal meditation. Specifically, what qualities are developed by clear awareness of our identity and ever-changing self?

If you have any remaining questions about the subjects I have been covering in this four-week series, please bring them with you on Sunday.

Enjoy the end of your week,

May 3, 2012

Sunday, May 6: Meeting at Island Yoga for this week only

Hi everyone,

As we've been announcing for a while now, this Sunday's meditation group will be held at Island Yoga. Please see below for details.

I also encourage anyone who is interested and able to drop by the church during the day on Sunday for the annual bazaar that the church hosts. It should be fun and there will be lots of good food. Alameda Sangha will also be having a table so that people can find out more info about what we are doing. Thank you very much to the volunteers who will be there at the table. We appreciate it greatly!

As for the topic for Sunday, I will continue with the theme of self/identity that I've been discussing the past couple of weeks. This week's topic may seem a little out of place with the theme, but I believe it is very important. The topic will be "Thinking and Knowledge", and what I am referring to here is the aspect of our 'selves' which thinks, learns, deliberates, etc. How does this mental aspect of our experience fit into the Buddhist teachings on self and identity? It can be a confusing aspect of our practice, but, of course, it plays a crucial role.

Hopefully, many of you will be able to make it this Sunday evening.

Just a note, Island Yoga has a limited number of chairs (maybe 10) for sitting. So, if you use a cushion at home, feel free to bring that with you so that we can make sure there are enough chairs for everyone to sit comfortably. The yoga studio does have many blankets and things to provide extra padding for those who are able to sit on the floor.

See you soon... with peace,

May 6 Meeting Moved to Island Yoga, 911 Central Ave. 

Click here for directions. 

Our hosts, the Buena Vista United Methodist Church, will have their annual fund raiser on May 6. An afternoon of music, companionship is offered, along with box dinners for $10. Because the cleaning up after then event may not be complete we will be meeting that evening, at our regular time of 7pm at Island Yoga, at 911 Central Ave.