#WholyHappyHour [12/6]: Taking Refuge in the Island of the Self

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 6th| 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.3jewels.beislands

We do not abandon ourselves to seek outside refuges. We trust in this deeply-felt experience and return time and again, through the ebb and flow of change in external factors (relationships, finances, work, the thousand fleeting conditions we face daily), to our true home. We trust our capacity to be the source of refuge, to be an island unto ourselves. Here we calmly abide with understanding and ease.

Notes + Related Readings:


 

ON THE HORIZON:

Dec 9th | 7  – 9 PM ~ Leading Dharma Talk on Healing the Past at Lansing Area Mindfulness Community – Van Hanh Temple, 3015 S. Washington Ave.

Dec 20th | 11 AM – 12:30 PM ~ #WholyHappyHour: Taking Refuge in the Island of The Self [Practice I]. 3 Jewels Yoga Sangha at Heartdance Studio.

Jan 10th | 11 AM – 12:30 PM ~ #WholyHappyHour: TBD. 3 Jewels Yoga Sangha at Heartdance Studio.

#WholyHappyHour [11/22]: Continuing The Practice of Self-Compassion

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.

Nov 22nd | 11 AM – 12:30 PM at Heartdance Studio.

Self-Compassion provides the fuel for sustaining our own well-being so that we can be solid, whole, and free when called to serve others. At our practice earlier this month, we looked deeply into the factors of self-compassion and set the intention to gift ourselves with daily doses of kindness in creative and sustainable ways.

What does self-compassion look like in real time? How do we conjure this energy beyond the meditation cushion and the sacred circle of sangha where the conditions for shamatha–stopping, abiding in silence and stillness–seem more attainable and the arising sense of gratitude, calm, and well-being feel more palpable?

It begins with a commitment to develop an intimate relationship with ourselves. To practice taking ourselves as the object of love! If only for 15 minutes, block out time for self-tending throughout each day.

  • Create a personal peace treaty.* Write a note of vows, activities, mantras, or affirmative statements that remind you to be gentle and generous with yourself. 
  • Spend time in solitude enjoying activities that feel nourishing and restore or boost yourself sense of peace and well-being.
  • Whenever you hit a rough patch and feel overwhelmed, frustrated or sad, give yourself the freedom to acknowledge those thoughts and feelings. Shine the light on them. Breathe into them, creating space for them to disperse and dissipate. Release judgment. Do not succumb to the temptation of panic or despair, as dharma teacher Jack Lawlor recently encouraged at our annual Day of Mindfulness)! Take refuge in the wisdom of the breath–the flowing change and steadiness in tempo with life itself–to hold you moment to moment. Nowhere to go, nothing to do, nothing to attain, no one to be. No struggling, striving, fixing. Simply abiding where you are. See what changes when you take care of your suffering with tenderness.
  • Relax in the company of good spiritual friends who model healthy self-tending practices and can offer wise counsel and support.

As we practice looking and listening deeply to examine our aspirations, fears, gifts, wounds, misperceptions, and values, we create the conditions for developing clear and skillful understanding. Buddhist practice celebrates curiosity and openness by inviting us to repeatedly and gently ask: “What is this?” and “Are you sure?” By studying ourselves in this waywe can penetrate the causes of our suffering and identify our suchness–all the wondrous, mysterious, and quirky elements that make up our nature.

From this diligent effort grows respect, which holds at its very root the wise instruction to look back at! So we give ourselves the time and space to see ourselves completely: our history, our habits, our humanness. We keep turning back, again and again, to look inward at how we relate to ourselves and engage the world around us. We discern the skillful means to make compassionate actions and transform unskillful thoughts we hold about ourselves and unskillful behaviors that reinforce our suffering.

Notes + Related Readings:

  • In Creating True Peace, Thich Nhat Hanh suggests this exercise for couples in moments of conflict and lists skillful actions for both “one who is angry” and “the one who has made the other angry” such “refrain from saying or doing anything that might cause further damage or escalate the anger” and “respect the other person’s feelings, not ridicule him or her, and allow him or her enough time to calm down.”
  • Awakening The Voice of Self-Love [3 Jewels Yoga].
  • Teachings on Love by Thich Nhat Hanh.

 

ON THE HORIZON:

Dec 6th | 11 AM – 12:30 PM ~ #WholyHappyHour: Taking Refuge in the Island of The Self [Practice I]3 Jewels Yoga Sangha at Heartdance Studio.

Dec 9th | 7  – 9 PM ~ Leading Dharma Talk on Healing the Past at Lansing Area Mindfulness Community – Van Hanh Temple, 3015 S. Washington Ave.

Dec 20th | 11 AM – 12:30 PM ~ #WholyHappyHour: Taking Refuge in the Island of The Self [Practice I]. 3 Jewels Yoga Sangha at Heartdance Studio.

Jan 10th | 11 AM – 12:30 PM ~ #WholyHappyHour: TBD. 3 Jewels Yoga Sangha at Heartdance Studio.

#WholyHappyHour [Sunday, 10/25]: “Holding Space” + Cultivating Skillful Communication

This Sunday at Heartdance Studio, we’ll continue our month-long discussion of “The Suchness of Sangha: Holding Space for Ourselves + One Another” by looking deeply into the practices of Loving Speech + Deep Listening as the grounds for building skillful understanding, trust, authenticity, compassion and accountability.

ON THE HORIZON:

Nov 1st | 11 AM – 1:00 PM ~ Inviting Mindfulness: Reconciling with the Body at Just B Yoga.

Nov 8th | 11 AM – 12:30 PM ~ #WholyHappyHour: 3 Jewels Yoga Sangha at Heartdance Studio.

Nov 15th | 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM ~ Conscious + Fit: Building Body Awareness at Heartdance Studio.

Nov 22nd | 11 AM – 12:30 PM ~ #WholyHappyHour: 3 Jewels Yoga Sangha at Heartdance Studio.

 

Special Event [Nov 1st]: Inviting Mindfulness: Reconciling With The Body

invitingmindfulness.reconcilingbody

20/person through October 20
25/person after October 20

REGISTER NOW: Just B Yoga Workshops


So long as we are in conflict with the body,
we cannot have peace of mind.
~ Georg Feuerstein

Reconciling with the Body is a practice of learning to acknowledge, witness, accept and embrace our body as it is in this moment.

We learn to inhabit our body with the full awareness of its nature to change — to age, to become ill or injured, and to experience limitations.

We learn to take care of the difficult feelings that arise in the face of these changes and to tend to ourselves with great tenderness.

We look deeply into our self-perceptions and, with diligent effort, patience and kindness, begin to release beliefs that are harmful or no longer true.

From this place of skillful understanding, we can explore our capacity to nourish ourselves with meaningful movements that restore or inspire new ways of seeing, thinking about, and caring for our bodies.

#WholyHappyHour [Sunday, 10/11]: “The Suchness of Sangha: Holding Space for Ourselves + One Another”

After a wonderful season of Walking The Labyrinth, I am excited to delve into the deep inquiry and rich discussions that follow our sitting practice.

This Sunday at Heartdance Studio, we’ll explore “The Suchness of Sangha: Holding Space for Ourselves + One Another” and share our curiosities, concerns and insights about cultivating community through spiritual practice. #GoodSpiritualFriends

We will also have in attendance a researcher from The Religious Soundmap Project at MSU who will record the practice as part of a collaborative effort “to demonstrate the diversity of religious beliefs and practices” in our region.

MORE THIS WEEK:

Oct 7th | 7 – 9 PM ~ I’ll lead the dharma discussion at Lansing Area Mindfulness Community on the Second Mindfulness Training – TRUE HAPPINESS.

ON THE HORIZON:

Oct 25th | 11 AM – 12:30 PM ~ #WholyHappyHour: 3 Jewels Yoga Sangha at Heartdance Studio.

Nov 1st | 11 AM – 1:00 PM ~ Inviting Mindfulness: Reconciling with the Body at Just B Yoga.

embodied practice [7/5]: walking in freedom

This Sunday, we will walk in freedom and dedicate the merit of our practice meditateoncamus.3jyto those who relentlessly pursue, speak out, and fight for the RIGHTS of all to LIVE + LOVE FREELY. #‎LoveWins‬

Join us at Moores Park Labyrinth | 11 am – 12 pm.

earth day celebration: touching the earth

The practice of Touching the Earth is to return to the Earth, to our roots, to our ancestors, and to recognize that we are not alone but connected to a whole stream of spiritual and blood ancestors. We are their continuation and with them, will continue into the future generations. We touch the earth to let go of the idea that we are separate and to remind us that we are the Earth and part of Life.

~ excerpt from the Plum Village blog.
Read more about practice of Touching The Earth.

On “The Muddied Meaning of Mindfulness” | NYT.com

“Maybe the word “mindfulness” is like the Prius emblem, a badge of enlightened and self-satisfied consumerism, and of success and achievement…No one word, however shiny, however intriguingly Eastern, however bolstered by science, can ever fix the human condition. And that’s what commercial mindfulness may have lost from the most rigorous Buddhist tenets it replaced: the implication that suffering cannot be escaped but must be faced. Of that shift in meaning — in the Westernization of sati — we should be especially mindful.” ~VIRGINIA HEFFERNAN

Here I am this morning, preparing to share the practices with a group at our local law school, when this New York Times article pops up in my newsfeed!

When introducing mindfulness to the uninitiated, I am always clear about distinguishing its Buddhist origins–as an energy, a skill, a virtue among many others (like compassion, empathetic joy, trust, equanimity and loving-kindness) that we cultivate within our larger spiritual discipline–from its application as a secular/clinical “technique.”

For practitioners, it is not a trendy tool for self-improvement and is more than just a style of meditation. It is a vital foundation for living. How we think, speak, behave, and engage the world is filtered through the gates of mindfulness. It is one of the 5 Spiritual Faculties (or Powers) that we nourish alongside of trust, diligent effort, concentration and wisdom.

One does not have to become a Buddhist to authentically cultivate mindfulness. Yet many are concerned that as it becomes “sanitized” and popularized, it can also be mis-used and cause harm when not framed within the context of offering a deeper understanding of the teachings (i.e. The Foundations of Mindfulness/Satipatthana Sutta) and community-centered practice of Buddhism.

May all who integrate mindfulness benefit from it and may the fruits of their efforts benefit others.

Read the full article here:
The Muddied Meaning of Mindfulness

movement as meditation: learning to walk in peace (when sitting is not an option)

walking is always, always a good choice.
we were built to walk.
every location of every muscle and every shape of every bone
offers perfection in walking…
our bodies want to walk.
and with the body as in life,
we will find that what attracts us is in our own best interest.

~joy colangelo

It’s walk where you are 3been almost 15 years since I discovered that walking meditation was actually a thing! It happened quite spontaneously through the normal course of my day, trooping around New York City.

One moment I was mapping out errands and very likely puzzling out the “issue-of-the-day” related to grad school, work or relationships; and the next: I could only hear the sound of my breath and the rhythm of my boots on the pavement.

Everything else dropped away. The cacophony of the bustling neighborhood became a low humming in the background — alerting me of my surroundings but no longer as intrusive or overwhelming as it could be.

In the midst of the relentless “madness,” I felt surprisingly centered, clear and relaxed!

But it would still be years before I even stumbled across mention of walking (along with standing, lying down, and, of course the most commonly-known posture, sitting) as a form of meditation. “Ahhhh,” I thought. “So that’s what was happening?!”

Many moons later, I was introduced to the formal practice of walking meditation when I began studying the dharma with my root sangha. Those 20 minutes that we devoted to silently circumambulating the temple helped us transition from the hustle of the day into the quiet refuge of practice. Physically, it also helped to ease tension and to pbig sky mind.constellation2repare us to sit steadily in meditation for 20 minutes.

Beyond the temple walls, I’ve enjoyed walking meditation in yoga studios, at a labyrinth, on a park trail….and lately: around the rug in my living room!

So walk where you are to invite mindfulness and cultivate peace.