my sundays are extra sweet because of the sacred time i spend in the full embrace of sangha.
the nourishment i receive from “listening to each other listen” sustains me at the cellular level. today, we contemplated the practice of Beginning Anew to honor the lunar new year as well as the seasonal mid-winter shift which heralds the return of the sun. we basked in that energizing and healing light and began to see ourselves clearly — our tender places and tight knots (samyojana) to which we offered loving and patient awareness and the spaciousness of breath so that those gnarly fetters may loosen, unfold, and be transformed. we watered flowers by celebrating our commitment to showing up, paying attention, telling the truth, learning to abide in the process rather than being attached to outcome, and trusting our capacity to begin anew again and again.
“self-love is the foundation for your capacity to love the other person.”
this day is all the more precious for my family because we celebrated my husband’s birthday with gifts from heart and hand: a card, my first attempt at scratch-made brownies (so yummy i had to get them out of the house and share them with the rest of our family), a trip to the local sledding hill (where, by the way, we both played as children), and an amazing dinner (i won’t taunt you, as i did my sisters, with that mouth-watering plate!) that i whipped up.
as thây’s quote above reminds us, tending to our well-being is crucial. when we practice cultivating love and kindness for ourselves, it fortifies us to be present and available for our beloveds…not just on “valentine’s day” or special occasions but each and every day.
On Sunday, February 14, 3 Jewels Yoga Sanghawill enjoy the mindfulness practice of Beginning Anew in celebration of the lunar new year.
Join us in cultivating authenticity and accountability as we shine the light (to see, understand, and transform unskillfulness) and water flowers (to honor our gifts, talents, and contributions) on our spiritual aspirations.
11:00 am – 12:30 pm. Heartdance Studio, 1806 E. Michigan Avenue, in Lansing.
To “blow the dust” from each other’s eyes as we walk the path of love and understanding is indeed the suchness of sangha!
Join in the practice of seeing clearly and listening deeply to foster compassion, wholeness, and safety through these important and often difficult explorations into matters of inclusion, freedom, belonging, and healing.
February 14th ~ Beginning Anew : A Mindfulness Practice in Celebration of the Buddhist Lunar New Year
“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”
THE DHARMA FOR REAL
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.
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.
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.
In the wake of the Charleston massacre, I led a dharma discussion for my sangha, Lansing Area Mindfulness Community, on being good spiritual friends and reflected on ways we can take care of ourselves and one another in the face of racism, bias, and injustice. I shared passages from Zenju Earthlyn Manuel’s book, The Way of Tenderness, which I had been studying since its release last winter, and invited all to deeply penetrate the body as nature:
“Seeing body as nature is to directly see form
as nature, as of the earth. It is to see the pure form of life without the distortions… Rage springs up when certain embodied forms of life–blackness, queerness, and so on
–are not recognized and honored as part of nature.”
Once again, Zenju offers healing wisdom through an embodied practice of breathing. I hope you will share this far and wide with others who are seeking to reconcile with and find refuge within the body…as nature, as home:
“May the great light of this Earth surround me, May I be released from past harm and imposed hatred. May I come to recognize my existence in the true nature of life. May I come back to this breath, to this body,
as the sacred place in which I remain awake and connected to the fragrance and taste of liberation.”