monthly sit-together [8/14]: the stickiness of attachment

Relaxing our grip. Cultivating steadiness in the face of challenge and change. A timeless and always relevant topic was proposed for this Sunday’s monthly contemplation and discussion: Non-Attachment!

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3 Jewels Yoga Sangha will explore the sticky dimensions of attachment — including in our exploration the relationship of Non-Attachment to Equanimity (steadiness or evenness of mind); the subtle differences we might experience between Non-Attachment and Detachment; and, what the 4 Noble Truths remind us, that suffering arises from clinging or craving.

The Second Mindfulness Training | Non-Attachment to Views

Aware of the suffering created by attachment to views and wrong perceptions, we are determined to avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. We are committed to learning and practicing non-attachment from views and being open to other’s insights and experiences in order to benefit from the collective wisdom. Insight is revealed through the practice of compassionate listening, deep looking, and letting go of notions rather than through the accumulation of intellectual knowledge. We are aware that the knowledge we presently possess is not changeless, absolute truth. Truth is found in life, and we will observe life within and around us in every moment, ready to learn throughout our lives.

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RESOURCES:

On Equanimity

On The Four Noble Truths

On The Four Parameters of Clinging + Co-Dependent Arising of Clinging/Craving

On Non-Attachment

On The Mindfulness Trainings (Plum Village)

Spring Series: Body As Nature

we inherited nature the moment we were born.
the moment we came into existence,
we entered the landscape of nature.
in fact, we are nature.
nature is form.
body is form.
body is nature.
nature is body.

~Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

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Inspired by our Winter Immersion reading of The Way of Tenderness in which Zenju Earthlyn Manuel offers a rich contemplation on the body as nature, 3 Jewels Yoga Sangha will look deeply into practices that support understanding, healing, and renewing our relationship with the Body.

Join us for this 3-week series:
APRIL 3, APRIL 10, APRIL 17
11 – 12:30 PM
Heartdance Studio  | 1806 E. Michigan Avenue in #LoveLansing


RECOMMENDED STUDY RESOURCES

Check back for updates to this list!

On The Five Remembrances

I am of the nature to grow old; there is no way to escape growing old.
I am of the nature to have ill health; there is no way to escape ill health.
I am of the nature to die; there is no way to escape death.
All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change; there is no way to escape being separated from them.
My actions are my only true belongings; I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.
My actions are the ground upon which I stand.

 

On Impermanence

 

On Nourishment

 

On The Realities of The Body

on the evolution faith

“The offering of one’s heart happens in stages, with shadings of hesitation and bursts of freedom. Faith evolves from the first intoxicating blush of bright faith to a faith that is verified through our doubting, questioning, and sincere effort to see the truth for ourselves.

Bright faith steeps us in a sense of possibility; verified faith confirms our ability to make that possibility real. Then, as we come to deeply know the underlying truths of who we are and what are lives are about, abiding faith, or unwavering faith as it is traditionally called, arises.

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Abiding faith does not depend on borrowed concepts. Rather, it is the magnetic force of a bone-deep, lived understanding, one that draws us to realize our ideals, walk our talk, and act in accord with what we know to be true.”

~Sharon Salzberg, “Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience”

Winter Immersion [1/24]: Faith + Discernment

“For faith to be alive and to deepen we need to use our power to inquire, to wonder, to explore our experience to see what is true for ourselves. This requires us to approach life with an inquisitive, eager, self-confident capacity to probe and question. It requires us to examine where we place our faith, and why, to see if it makes us more aware and loving people.

To develop VERIFIED FAITH* we need to open to the messiness, the discordance, the ambivalence, and, above all, the vital life-force of questioning.

If we don’t, our faith can wither. If we don’t, our faith will always remain in the hands of someone else, as something we borrow or abjure, but not as something we can claim fully as our own.”

~ Sharon Salzberg, “Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience”
[*emphasis mine]

THE DHARMA FOR REAL

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sarasvati + durga (a card i received from a friend last fall)

It’s been a tough season for so many of us navigating illness, loss, uncertainty, and atrocious acts of injustice that get closer and closer to home. Anger, fear and doubt easily arise. It presses on the soul and depletes our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual resources.

So grateful to many, many loved ones who bolster me with laughter, inspiration, and perspective. Offering special appreciation to a dear friend + interspiritual minister, Holly Makimaa, for immediately suggesting and sharing her copy of Salzberg’s book on faith when I spoke with her about sangha’s study and practice of the 5 Spiritual Faculties.

FAITH (Pali: “Saddha” with TRUST or CONFIDENCE offered as surrogates for those who are less comfortable with the deeply religious connotations of faith) can feel the heaviest and most complicated — as frustrating and elusive as any attempt to meditate when the mind feels restless and foggy!

Last Sunday, we contemplated CONCENTRATION + DILIGENCE with a fresh understanding that the root meaning of the latter is “love, take delight in.”

Calling on the energy of delight how might we “brighten” and “verify” faith (a trajectory that Salzberg delineates in her book) and sharpen discernment through our practice of mindfulness?

Join us this Sunday, 11 – 12:30 PM, at Heartdance Studio for 3 Jewels Yoga Sangha’s final dharma discussion on the 5 Spiritual Faculties as we explore the relationship between DISCERNMENT + FAITH.

NEXT PRACTICE: February 14th ~ “Beginning Anew” to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
RSVP on Facebook ~ 3 Jewels Yoga Sangha | Winter Immersion

for clear-seeing: On The 4 Nutriments + “8 Reasons Why I Don’t Want to Hear About Your Diet” | Everyday Feminism

“Regardless of my health status, I deserve respect at this size, which includes the right to make my own decisions about my body…

I’ve learned that the consequences of that weight cycling include greater risks for eating disorders, health problems, depression, lower self-esteem, and weight gain. So, when you keep talking about your diet, I’m just no longer interested.” ~ Judith Matz

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SHINING THE LIGHT

I had a similar conversation a few days ago upon observing the pattern of an individual in my circle who is trapped in this very same cycle of dieting despair and weight loss triumphs. And on any given occasion, we will be subjected to the litany of foods they are abstaining from and the fitness program du jour they are “trialing” through in an effort to get their high school body back. I empathize with the struggle and am saddened and exhausted by the virulent self-loathing that fuels some folks’ mission to “improve” their health. So I was AUMing + AMENing when a dear friend, who is a registered dietitian, posted this article from Everyday Feminism.

In 8 Reasons Why I Don’t Want to Hear About Your Diet, Judith Matz , LCSW, breaks down the top frustrations of clients who are tired (like me) of being subjected to the mindless and harmful chatter about food, weight, and dieting that holds no regard for the deeply private struggles of others. More important, Matz offers ways to reframe these triggering conversations and to cultivate compassion and understanding for the multitude of experiences we have with our bodies.

The Buddhist Perspective

The 5th Mindfulness Training – Nourishment + Healing – reminds us to be aware of the suffering that arises from our unskillful consumption of the 4 Nutriments*: not just of Food but of Sense Impressions, Volitional Thought/Intentions, and Consciousness.

So how does it serve us to participate in conversations about the body that breed contempt, anxiety, frustration, and shame?!

What are skillful ways to discuss health and wellness?

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*Note: In the Pali canon, the four nutriments are outlined in the Puttamansa Sutta, which I must warn, is a gruesome tale.

updated 7 april 2016

Perspectives on the 5 Spiritual Faculties

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The Five Spiritual Faculties are a vital part of my personal practice — invoked as a mantra, they are an aspirational reminder to ground and center myself in these noble attributes. When we water the seeds of Faith/Trust, Discernment/Wisdom, Mindfulness, Concentration, Diligence/Effort, these skills blossom into indelible powers that strengthen our capacity to transform our unskillfulness and protect ourselves against unskillfulness of others.

READINGS

Indriya-vibhanga Sutta: Analysis of the Mental Faculties by Thanissaro Bhikku

The Way of Wisdom: The 5 Spiritual Faculties by Edward Conze

The Five Faculties by Gil Fronsdal

Spiritual Faculties by Ayya Khema

The 5 Spiritual Faculties via Wisdom Through Mindfulness

*The photo above is my rendering of an image found on the Wisdom Through Mindfulness website.

#WholyHappyHour: Winter Immersion Series

In 2016, we’ll extend our studies, expand our rich conversations, and immerse ourselves in engaged and embodied spiritual practices with three gatherings each month until Spring.

Schedule:

January 10th, 17th, 24th ~ 5 Spiritual Faculties: Trust, Discernment, Mindfulness, Concentration, Diligence

February 14th ~ Beginning Anew (Buddhist New Year Practice)

February 21st + 28th ~ Mindfulness, Inclusion + Wholeness
**Recommended Group Reading: Zenju Earthlyn Manuel’s “The Way of Tenderness”**

March 6th, 13th, 20th ~ Race, Sexuality, Gender + Spirituality
**Group Reading Continued: Zenju Earthlyn Manuel’s “The Way of Tenderness”**

#WholyHappyHour [12/20]: Continuing the Practice of Becoming Our Own Refuge

Throughout this new season, our study and practice will be devoted to learning to hold space for ourselves and others in order to build trust, safety, skillful understanding and compassion in our spiritual community and in all relationships.

Dec 20th | 11 AM – 12:30 PM
at Heartdance Studio, 1806 E. Michigan Avenue

Taking Refuge in the Island of the Self is a mindfulness practice of self-study that awakens clear comprehension and nurtures self-compassion. We take refuge in breath, relying on the visceral texture and sound of it coursing through body. The breath is here: a tangible, sensate experience. It feeds and cleanses every cell and fiber. It anchors and calms the brain. Resting in the breath, we come home. We remember the self in its wholeness — its nature to change in body, thoughts, emotions, sensations, perceptions. We touch the heart and mind of love [read more].

Make no mistake, becoming an island unto oneself is not about disconnecting from others. I visualize myself as being anchored in the center of a vast sea, with waves rippling away from me and returning to me, each concentric ring is a sacred circle of love, safety, and support:

The space I hold for myself –> The space being held for me in which I am enveloped by the full embrace of good spiritual friends (my sangha as well as my circle of family and friends) –> The space in which I hold others.

When I tend to myself with the energy of mindfulness and compassion, I remain solid, fresh, fueled and aflame” and continuously expand my capacity to “love from my center” (Romans 12:9-13, MSG). And, just as the Metta Bhavana meditation instructs, those ebbing tidewaters are then able to carry off the compassion, understanding, and loving-kindness I have generated to others. Soon the ripples rush back to flood me with energies that renew and sustain me. In moments of distress, I send out my suffering — in all its heavy, hot, sticky textures — with the practice of Tonglen.  That which no longer serves me is released and dispersed, its potency diminished. I become awash with relief — cool, clear and light. I take refuge in the island of the self so that my heart does not shut down, withhold from, and harden against the world. But stays open and free to experience the interstitial wave of connection to all around me. I am an island with welcoming shores.

Notes + Related Readings:


 

ON THE HORIZON:

Dec 16th | 2:30  – 4:30 PM ~ Presenting “Criteria for Skillful Communication” at the Facilitators Guild.

Jan 10th | 11 AM – 12:30 PM ~ #WholyHappyHour: 5 Spiritual Faculties [Part 1]3 Jewels Yoga Sangha at Heartdance Studio.

Jan 17th | 1:00  – 3:00 PM ~ Conscious + Fit: Building Body Awareness at Heartdance Studio.

Jan 24th | 11 AM – 12:30 PM ~ #WholyHappyHour: 5 Spiritual Faculties [Part 2]3 Jewels Yoga Sangha at Heartdance Studio.

toward wholeness: On Tending to ‘The Terror Within’

“Most of us are unaware of the extent of the fear that we carry. Fear builds upon itself, or more precisely, fear creates more fear. As a result, our accumulated fear becomes a deep-seated terror that is challenging to uproot. If we view fear as terror—as a pervasive human condition rather than one bound to singular events, and incidents—we are more likely to feel the urgency of attending to it. We constantly speak of terrorism in the world, but we don’t necessarily acknowledge the terror that has invaded our inner worlds. Instead, we present ourselves as brave or courageous…

How can we continue to release terror?

Surely, it doesn’t work to try to unload the entire mass of fear inside at once.

We can release terror moment by moment, bit by bit.

In meditation we learn to cultivate and stretch the moments of being unencumbered, those places of non-suffering. We can experience the state of non-suffering with each breath, moment by moment, breathing in and breathing out.

In meditation we feel the fear without having to do anything about it in the moment. We simply breathe. There is no past or future. We are not harming or being harmed. The terror within is being attended to in a gentle way. There may be tears or trembling. We are alive.”

~ Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

Read Zenju’s full article on Tricycle: The Terror Within