Funny: The hilariously-creative alternative that was offered instead, with affection and sincerity I must add, by a friend wanted to honor the practice of generosity.
So, henceforth, let it be known that scratch-offs and books of stamps will gleefully be accepted as donations…psst, along with gift cards, sushi, and craft beer! Love my peeps for so many reasons, not the least of which is our sense of humor, subversiveness, and sacred irreverence.
I seriously roared with buddha-belly laughter and am still tickled by it!
The 2016 Fall session of the 3 Jewels Yoga Sangha will open on Sunday, October 9 with a deep focus on my oft-referenced endearment (and zen-trendy hashtag), The Suchness of Sangha. In the Buddhist vernacular “suchness” is the translation of the Pali world Tathātā and seeks to describe the essence of our perceived reality — and all the conditions that make our experience of reality possible — in the moment. It points to impermanence and interdependence. Reminding us that all the elements (people, places, objects, etc.) and our perceptions and responses to said elements in any given moment create a quality of “thusness” or “thatness” which cannot be replicated. Because these very things at this very point in time uniquely converge to form a fleeting experience. It is the vibe, the stuff, all matter seen and unseen, that is gathered and drawn together and felt so deeply. It becomes a knowing, a rooted cellular memory…a dream, an inspiration, the aspiration we seek to nourish.
So we’ll sit in these queries, turn them over, and test them in our daily living:
What is sangha?
How is it formed, nurtured and sustained?
What do we seek in our connection(s) within spiritual community?
What do we contribute?
How are we transformed?
And any number of questions that will emerge from our collective effort to learn and practice cultivating mindfulness together as good spiritual friends.
October 9, 16, 23
10/16 ~ Monthly Mindfulness Immersion
A half-day retreat including our regular #wholyhappyhour practice, food + fellowship, and an Orientation to FoundationalPractices — walking meditation, sitting meditation, and the criteria for skillful communication.
November 6, 13, 20
11/13 ~ Special Workshop | Inviting Mindfulness: The Heart at Rest
Following our regular #wholyhappyhour practice, this restorative workshop will introduce an embodied meditation in mindfulness to awaken self-compassion and skillful understanding of the relationship between body, breath, mind and environment.
December 4, 11, 18
12/18 ~ Monthly Mindfulness Immersion*
A half-day retreat including our regular #wholyhappyhour practice, food + fellowship, and an Orientation to FoundationalPractices — walking meditation, sitting meditation, and the criteria skillful communication. [*updated on 12/4/2016: new date posted.]
As sangha opened the 2016 Winter Immersion series last week with the 5 Spiritual Faculties, I pointed back (as I often do) to the Four Foundations of Mindfulness to anchor us in the spacious awareness of body, breath, emotions, and mental formations as we develop and strengthen Concentration and Diligence/Effort.
Here are a few resources on the Buddhist discourses on the Mindfulness of Breathing (Ānāpānasati Sutta) and the Foundations of Mindfulness (Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta). This list was originally compiled for a previous post on the wisdom of the exhale.
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.
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.