June 28, 2012

Yoga with Dina from 6 to 6:45 this Sunday, July 1st and Equanimity at Alameda Sangha from 7-9 pm

Hello Everyone,

Dina will be teaching yoga this Sunday from 6 to 645 pm at BVUMC and we will meet for Alameda Sangha as usual afterwards.

This Sunday come and learn about Equanimity or Upekkha, the fourth and last of the Four Brahmaviharas. Considered by some teachers to be an advanced practice because of the ability to accept and be with all that arises and to remain balanced in the midst of it, find out how many of us are already experiencing upekkha in our daily lives through the wisdom of our practice without being completely aware of this happening for us. Learn the far and near enemies and also how upekkha inter-relates to the other three Brahmaviharas when we are able to bring them forth as skillful tools and uncover their being covered over by our reactive tendencies through its cultivation.

Here are some Equanimity phrases you can reflect upon and use as yours in Equanimity sitting meditation practice:

You are owner of your karma. Your happiness and unhappiness depend on your actions, not so much on my wishes for you.
Whether I understand it or not, things are unfolding according to a lawful nature.
All Beings meet their joys and sorrows according to a lawful nature.
Things are just as they are.
May I accept things just as they are.
May I be undisturbed by the comings and goings of events.
I will care for you but cannot keep you from suffering.
No matter how I might wish things to be otherwise, things are as they are.
All things arise and pass away.

Order of practice for Equanimity are:

Neutral person
Dear Friend
Difficult person
All Beings

with metta and gratitude, Pauletta

June 21, 2012

This Sunday 7-8:30: Attention Control??

Hello, everyone,

I can't remember exactly what I meant months ago when I picked this title for this Sunday's talk, but maybe together we can figure it out.  Sometimes the most productive way to learn about practice is to reflect on just what does happen during our normal meditation practice.

So if you meditate before the meeting on Sunday, you might take a minute at the start to:
  • remind yourself that you are about to devote this time to being mindful and present
  • form the intention to set aside concerns of your daily life, and
  • choose to be open to whatever does enter your awareness during the meditation session
At the end:
  • reflect on what happened
  • notice if you tend to judge what happened and how that feels, and
  • remember that you're just trying to strengthen your mindfulness through this exercise in recollection
If you feel like taking notes, it would be great to bring them on Sunday.  I'll make a few remarks, and then together we'll compare observations about where our attention goes and how it's used during practice.  It could be surprising.  And fun.

See you there,

June 14, 2012

Sunday June 17, 7-8:30 pm Divine Investigation

Dear Friends,

It was great to see so many friendly faces last week, after being away for a couple months.  This Sunday I want to offer another dharma talk along similar lines to last week's, which was about the relationship between wisdom and practice.  This week I've set myself the task of investigating how that relationship works. 

I hope you'll be able to join us and bring friends.  Many of you have been doing that, contributing new faces and energy to our growing sangha.  Many thanks.

With best wishes,

June 7, 2012

Sunday June 10, 7-8:30pm, Wisdom & Practice

Dear Friends,

Many stories about people becoming enlightened involve epiphanies – moments when the person fully gets it.   That seemed in keeping with the fact that Buddhism is called a "wisdom tradition."   But when I started going to the Zen Center, I was surprised at the emphasis on daily practice, reinforced by retreats.  Vipassana also stresses the importance of time spent in formal meditation.

Which is most important, wisdom or practice?  Or rather, what is the relationship between cultivating wisdom and practicing meditation?

I hope you will join us this Sunday from 7-8:30 pm to practice together and explore the ways the Eightfold Path can work together in our experience.

I'm glad to be back after a couple months away, and looking forward to seeing you all and your friends on Sunday.

Best wishes,

June 4, 2012

Mudita Practices on and off the Cushion for the Week of June 4, 2012

Hello Everyone,

May this find you all well.

So keeping it short and simple, allow yourselves to fully experience joy at any given moment as it arises through the course of your day and week. Stop short and feel the joy in the body, the opening in your heart center and really breathe deeply into it. Enjoy its presence in your awareness and your body, heart and mind.

Adopt a gratitude practice. Simply keeping a daily journal and/or eliciting a friend (gratitude buddy) to email one line of whatever you are grateful for each day. And like in the above paragraph, feel into that gratitude, experiencing the appreciation in your body, heart and mind.

With daily sitting, you can bring up the image of someone you are rooting for and care deeply about. Bringing to mind an event or situation with this person that has brought happiness and/or success. Feeling into the radiance of joy for this person and saying two phrases, "May your happiness continue" and "May your happiness grow." Keeping the attention on the image and the feeling of mudita towards this person. Using the breath sensations to come back if the mind gets lost.

May you have a week of joy and fruitful practice,

with gratitude, Pauletta