December 31, 2014

A Simpler Life this Sunday, January 4, 2015 at Alameda Sangha

Dear Ones,

"This is what should be done by one who is skilled in goodness and who knows the path of peace: Let them be....Contented and easily satisfied, unburdened with duties, and frugal in their ways." Metta Sutta Sn 143-4

Instead of making New Year's resolutions that are difficult to maintain or impossible to keep, why not aspire to a simpler life?

Let's explore together how letting go of those things which we thought were bringing us happiness but are actually causing dukkha (dissatisfaction, unreliability and unpleasantness) can bring us greater calm, peace and spaciousness to incline our minds towards compassion, kindness and respect towards ourselves and others. We will be looking closely at what Buddha has had to say about nekkhama which has the unfortunate translation into English of renunciation. Renown monastic teacher and scholar, Ajahn Amaro talks about the more accurate sense of the Pali word nekkhama as being that of "ease with simplicity". We will look at the reflections and practices that offer greater ease in letting go as an inspirational way to begin the New Year.

Don't forget to print out or download on your devices, and bring to sangha, the chanting on Reflections on Sharing the Blessings.

1) Save the date for upcoming daylong, "Deepening One's Practice" with Richard Shankman and I on Saturday, January 31, 2015 at the church from 930-5. Details on the home page announcements of our website. See link below. Come and offer yourselves the New Year's gift of coming into stillness and a day of practice to nourish and nurture yourselves to benefit yourselves and others

2) We have had a request from Pastor Michael Yoshii of the church to please be sure to restore all furniture, mikes, etc in the sanctuary to how it all was when we first came in to the space every Sunday evening. During the announcements, after the stretch break, Beth and I will volunteer our ideas on how you can all help us accomplish this.

Happy New Year as we enter our 5th year of existence as Alameda Sangha!​
with metta and gratitude for your practice,

December 25, 2014

Yoga @Sangha this Sunday 6pm

I'll be teaching a yoga class before the sit this Sunday, Dec. 29th starting at 6pm-6:45pm. Bring a mat and clothes you can move in--please no jeans or belts.

Hope to see you then. All levels welcome!

Happy Holidays,
Dina Hondrogen
Yoga Instructor

Perception Deception this Sunday at Alameda Sangha 7-9 pm December 28, 2014

Dear Ones,

Come and hear about how the Buddha showed his monks how Perception can get us in trouble, with ourselves and with others in our lives. Whatever we are receiving from the world that we interact with everyday and from moment to moment with our 6 senses is never as it seems. The practice is to try to notice with mindfulness when we are making assumptions, creating stories and meeting each moment with a fresh start. If you may have put your foot in your mouth with a family member or two due to perception deception and habituation, this talk's for you!

Hope to see you this Sunday to meet some stillness in the midst of holiday chaos!

with metta,

December 22, 2014

Holiday gift from Barbara Williams

Dear Friends,
Barbara wanted you all to have this as her holiday gift to the sangha.
Joy I have discovered is a quality within.
It's a matter of perceiving as we go through thick and thin
It is what we ought to feel as we find out who we are,
And learn to share the me in us with others near and far.
It is a dynamic process of fully living life,
Of accepting our ambivalence as a constructive kind of strife.
It is knowing that we are endowed with a Creative Power
To function as a person every day and every hour.
It's awareness to appreciate and freedom to make a choice.
It is giving right to everyone the Thou in them to voice.
Joy is not a destination but a feeling that we know.
It is a state of Being and a way in which we go.
Barbara J. Williams
Written in 1969 at a major branching point of my life.
Influenced by Martin Buber - I and Thou, Will Schutz-Joy,
Everett Shostrum-Man The Manipulator

December 19, 2014

This Sunday: Merry Stressmas: The Grinch, Scrooge and other holiday visitors

Dear Friends,

The holidays are well known for the stresses they bring. No matter how much I intend to plan ahead and get it all done, it never seems to work out that way. I find I fall into the gap between expectations and reality, and old patterns of harsh self-judgment come flooding back.

This Sunday we'll explore how to recognize the stressors, remember some basic mindfulness practices, and pause long enough to open to the possibility of equanimity, joy, and peace on earth. Can the Grinch, Scrooge, and other holiday visitors be held in an awakened and kind heart/mind, whether we encounter them in others or inside ourselves?

Come for an evening of practice and discussion as we bring warm lights into the dark corners of the holidays, and as we celebrate our lives together on this path of awakening, at the winter solstice.

with great warmth,
Deb Kerr

December 11, 2014

Sun 7-8:30pm Reviewing Our Lives

Dear Friends,

The year drawing to a close reminds us of things still incomplete. It's a good time to pause and reflect on our lives, to celebrate our goodness, savor our joys and recognize and let go of our dissatisfactions.

Regrets, resentments, and misunderstandings can all be held in a spacious and loving heart, and healed. Looking over our pasts can fill us with gratitude for the miracle of our lives, which have brought us to this shining moment of embodied awareness.

This Sunday, 7-8:30 pm, we'll look at how to use the heart's power and joy to bring peace to the arc of our lives, from our deep pasts to our obscure futures. I hope you can join us for this adventure of a lifetime.

With boundless metta,

December 4, 2014

Sun 7-8:30 The Heart's Power and Joy

"If your every day practice is to open to all your emotions, to all the people you meet, to all the situations you encounter, without closing down, trusting that you can do that - then that will take you as far as you can go. And then you'll understand all the teachings that anyone has ever taught."
~ Pema Chodron

Dear Friends,

Our hearts have the power to take in suffering, heal it, and broadcast joy. What we call the "difficult states of mind" are those we intuitively wish to end, or avoid. Buddha's teaching is counter-intuitive. He said we should turn toward these forms of suffering and embrace them with compassion and good will. Then the heart will blossom with love and joy for the benefit of all.

This Sunday, 7-8:30 pm we'll look at how this alchemy works in our real lives. Bring your stories about opening to fear, grief, anger, dislike, regret or other difficult states of mind. We need to hear -- often -- about how this works, in order to have the trust and courage to make this our own every day practice.

Looking forward to seeing you there,