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Audio Teaching Talks:
Library 2008


The talks below are freely available. All files are in .mp3 format - you can play them on your computer, iPod, or other .mp3 player. To download, right-click (or Control-click on the Mac) and select "Save As" or "Save Target As."

All talks below occurred Wednesday nights at River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Bethesda, MD at 7:30pm.

Date Title Length
12/17/2008 Meditation 13:11
  The Undefended Heart - Solstice 2008
Our dedication to not pushing anyone--or any part of ourselves--out of our hearts, serves the healing of our world. This talk includes a short guided meditation on opening to our human vulnerability and forgiving another person.
1:08:31
12/10/2008 Meditation 23:15
  Relaxed Attentiveness
While the heart of meditation is resting in open awareness, our conditioning to be distracted and reactive can keep us on the wheel of suffering. We awaken from trace by developing skillful ways of paying attention that create the environment for natural presence. This natural awareness, while sometimes hidden, is always here: It is our true home.
51:22
12/03/2008 No Meditation Class  
11/26/2008 Meditation 27:52
  Thanksgiving 2008 - Living the Life Fully: Gratitude and Generosity
While generosity and gratitude are natural capacities, our conditioning to want life different can often keep us from living from a free and open heart. This talk explores three gateways to awakening and expressing love in our daily life.
51:30
11/19/2008 Meditation 26:15
  The Three Characteristics: Part 3 - No Self
At the center of the Buddhist teachings is the understanding that the passing phenomena of this world--sounds, sensations, thoughts, bodies and minds--have no self at the center, no self as owner, and are not happening to a self. In other words, our familiar sense of self is an illusion. When there is full presence, a presence not filtered by thoughts, this illusion dissolves, freeing us to realize our true nature. This talk exploring the teachings of no-self, or emptiness, includes several reflections and practices that guide us in awakening to this essential and liberating truth.
49:37
11/12//2008 Meditation (due to technical difficulties, the meditation was not recorded)  
  The Three Characteristics: Part 2 - Impermanence
The Buddha taught that when our understanding of impermanence is direct and non-conceptual, it is liberating. By directly opening to the radical impermanence of all experience, including the truth of our own mortality, we discover the natural capacity to let go. With this "mind that clings to no thing" awakens wisdom, authentic spontaneity and a natural cherishing of life.
46:26
11/05/2008 Meditation 27:17
  The Three Characteristics: Part 1 - Unsatisfactoriness
The Buddha described three basic and interrelated insights into nature of reality that are revealed through a clear and deep attention. Called "the three characteristics," these insights include dukkha (unsatisfactoriness), annicha (impermanence) and annata (selflessness or emptiness). In the first of this three week series of talks, we explore the meaning of dukkha, how we directly recognize the varied expressions of dukkha and it's gift when met with full presence.
53:08
10/15/2008 Meditation 29:25
  Equanimity in the Face of Conflict
This talk, given on the eve of a presidential debate, explores how we can awaken from the conditioning that turns us against ourselves and others. The guided meditation offers an opportunity to choose a place of conflict and reactivity with others, and discover what is possible when we turn towards our deepest wisdom and compassion.
37:58
10/08/2008 No class  
10/01/2008 Meditation 22:45
  Inviting Mara to Tea
One of the great archetypal themes in the Buddha's life is facing Mara, the shadow side of greed, hatred and delusion. Rather than being seduced, fighting or running away, the Buddha simply recognized Mara's presence and invited him to tea. This talk and guided meditation explores the theme of a radical and engaged presence, and how it directly translates into a sacred path of healing and freedom.
49:35
09/24/2008 Meditation 24:43
  Soul Retrieval
When we become stressed and reactive, we lose contact with our natural spontaneity, wisdom and openheartedness. This talk investigates the ways we become caught in the stress-trance and the key elements in awakening: pausing and remindfulness. Using the gateway of the senses, we explore both the pathway of presence and the gifts of reconnecting with soul, spirit, essence.
47:45
09/17/2008 Meditation 24:43
  A Committed Presence
Our conditioning is to feel separate, creating an "other" out there, and often being at war with ourselves. By cultivating a committed presence we awaken beyond this conditioning. This talk includes stories and reflections that identify limiting beliefs and reveal our intrinsic oneness and love.
42:24
09/03/2008 Meditation (due to technical difficulties, the meditation was not recorded)  
  Turning Towards What you Love
There is a saying: The road to hell is paved with bad intentions. From the Buddha we learn the path to freedom arises from wise intentions. Yet because we habitually grasp after what will immediately relieve or comfort or please us, we often do not listen to our deepest intentions. We forget that in this brief life, what matters most is loving presence. This evening of talk and guided meditations invites participants to examine intentions in their relationships, and to reflect on living from a more awake connection with our heart.
50:08
08/27/2008 Meditation 27:48
  Listening To Our Life
Listening in a full and open way allows us to come home to our natural state--awake, vast awareness. In an immediate way, a listening attention dissolves the tangles of fear and craving that obscure our wholeness. This class includes both a talk and guided meditations on deep listening to our inner experience and with others.
54:02
08/20/2008 Meditation 23:55
  Behind the Mask
We each develop and become identified with masks that express a false or narrowed sense of self. Whether it's the helper mask or addict mask, the controller mask or loser mask, the beliefs and emotions creating the mask prevent us from realizing our natural wholeness and beauty. This talk explores how, in the face of inevitable change and loss, we can remember the presence and love that is peering through the mask.
52:44
08/13/2008 Meditation 26:57
  Let Everything Happen to You
The ways we try to control our life imprisons us in a contracted, fearful sense of self. Yet when we contemplate letting go of control, there is a sense that we will be endangered, that we will fail, that something will go wrong. This talk explores how, if we have the courage to "let everything happen" we discover a presence that is healing and freeing. As we learn to live from this allowing presence, our actions become naturally wholesome and wise.
50:05
07/09/2008 Meditation 24:55
  Three Attitudes that Awaken and Free Our Spirit
Our predicament is intuiting our true nature--love, awareness--and yet regularly contracting into the self-identity conditioned by wants and fears. This talk explores three essential and liberating ways of relating to our human conditioning: forgiving that it arises, interest in what is true, and regarding experience with friendliness and kindness.
48:36
07/02/2008 Meditation 27:18
  Conscious Activity
Based on one of the great legends from the court of King Arthur, this talk examines the freedom that is possible when we can see past the veil of illusion and realize the true nature that shines through all beings.
52:36
06/25/2008 Meditation 24:48
  The Blessings of Soul Recognition
One understanding of suffering is that as individuals and a culture we are uprooted, that we have disconnected from our natural world, our inner life and a sense of belonging with each other. Some flags are speediness and over consumption, anxiety and depression. This talk explores how we have become uprooted and the three gateways of rediscovering our natural wholeness, spontaneity and inner freedom.
56:11
06/18/2008 Meditation 27:22
  Planting Yourself in the Universe
One understanding of suffering is that as individuals and a culture we are uprooted, that we have disconnected from our natural world, our inner life and a sense of belonging with each other. Some flags are speediness and over consumption, anxiety and depression. This talk explores how we have become uprooted and the three gateways of rediscovering our natural wholeness, spontaneity and inner freedom.
46:45
06/11/2008 Meditation 25:03
  Question/Answer: Working with the Difficult Weather
In this talk Tara responds to questions from participants on how to bring a healing attention to anger, sleepiness, great loss and the wounds of our world. She grounds the teachings in the two wings of clear recognition (of what is happening) and an allowing presence, one that is full with compassion.
54:50
05/28/2008 Meditation 25:30
  My Religion is Kindness
The expression of inner freedom is a kind heart. This talk explores how we armor our hearts, and the pathways of awakening our natural capacity for loving unconditionally. The session includes an experiential inquiry that helps reveal the ways we create separation, and the possiblity of healing and freeing our heart.
48:02
05/21/2008 Meditation 25:26
  Vesak - Path of Awakening
In the Buddhist tradition, the spring celebration of Vesak honors the Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death. The archetypal theme that plays through these three events, and the core teaching of the Buddha, is that we each have the capacity to realize profound inner freedom, happiness and peace. We are no different than the Buddha, and our path is to realize the luminosity of our spirit.
53:53
05/14/2008 Meditation 27:49
  Golfing with Monkeys
The Buddha taught that in any moment that we have an argument with life, we suffer. This talk explores the ways we are conditioned to think life should be different, and how the natural arising of unpleasant experience becomes locked into suffering. An experiential reflection guides us in how to respond, rather than react, to life's challenges...inhabiting a wise heart.
43:10
04/30/2008 Meditation 25:55
  Realizing Our Natural Joy - Part 2
In the buddhist teachings, joy is a natural expression of our awakened heart. In these two talks we will explore how we block off joy, and ways that we can cultivate and embody this intrinsic facet of our being.
45:06
04/23/2008 Meditation 24:55
  Realizing Our Natural Joy - Part 1
In the buddhist teachings, joy is a natural expression of our awakened heart. In these two talks we will explore how we block off joy, and ways that we can cultivate and embody this intrinsic facet of our being.
49:36
04/16/2008 Meditation 23:35
  Meeting Fear with a Wise Heart - Part 2
These talks investigate how fear, nature's protector, proliferates and becomes a trance of fear and the cause of deep suffering. We look at the "body of fear"- the thoughts, physicality, emotions and behaviors that express and fuel the trance of fear. Through stories and guided reflections we explore the ways that buddhist meditation can free us from the grip of unhealthy fear.
52:44
04/09/2008 Meditation 23:35
  Meeting Fear with a Wise Heart - Part 1
These talks investigate how fear, nature's protector, proliferates and becomes a trance of fear and the cause of deep suffering. We look at the "body of fear"- the thoughts, physicality, emotions and behaviors that express and fuel the trance of fear. Through stories and guided reflections we explore the ways that buddhist meditation can free us from the grip of unhealthy fear.
46:17
04/02/2008 Meditation 27:32
  A Wise Understanding of Desire
We lose huge swaths of our life when caught in wanting experience to be more and different. Yet if we bring a mindful presence to the thoughts and feelings of wanting, we discover a portal into full aliveness and freedom. This talk explores how to recognize and investigate wanting mind; how by tracing longing back to it's very source we discover that what we long for is already here.
46:19
03/26/2008 Meditation 27:08
  The Two Wolves
Empathy and aggression are both part of our evolutionary survival equipment. We awaken spiritually as we bring awareness to the vulnerability that drives aggression, and discover that we can directly cultivate our capacity to experience loving connection.
45:45
03/19/2008 Meditation 27:55
  Our Heart's Aspiration
This talk weaves two teachings that are key to awakening. "The most important thing is remembering the most important thing" helps us be guided by the compass of our heart in living our lives. And discovering that "what we long for is already here" lets us trust that the love or peace we seek is found in the fullness of presence.
46:18
0312/2008 Meditation 26:41
  Befriending the Deities
The fruit of practice is releasing our identification with core beliefs and fear-based emotions, and realizing and inhabiting our Natural awareness. This is described as the N in RAIN - an acronym that can guide us in awakening loving presence.
48:45
03/05/2008 Meditation 26:50
  The Art of Practice - R.A.I.N.
This second class in the Art of Practice reviews the basic components of meditation training and illustrates through several stories, the use of the acronym RAIN in awakening loving presence. The session includes a period of question/answer.
53:21
02/27/2008 Meditation 26:00
  The Art of Practice - Mindfulness
In the Art of Practice, we explore key techniques in preparing the grounds for true meditation. These include relaxation, identifying a home base, awakening the senses and re-mindfulness. These "skillful means" allow us to arrive Here, and to rest in a natural mindfulness, awake and open awareness.
47:19
02/20/2008 Meditation 23:52
  Listening Presence
A full and listening presence is the gateway to genuine intimacy with our self and others. This talk explores the challenges to deep listening and the teachings and practices that guide us in developing this healing and liberating capacity.
45:42
02/06/2008 Meditation 24:55
  Gateways to Happiness
While we all want to be happy, our habitual ways of pursuing happiness leave us dissatisfied. What prevents us from being happy? What is true happiness? How do we relax and open to the blessings of our life that are always and already here? Though these reflections we explore together our potential to live from a profound place of inner freedom, peace and happiness.
48:08
01/30/2008 Meditation 17:33
  The Power of Inquiry
Inquiry, or mindful investigation, is a direct way to deepen our attention and reveal the nature of reality. This talk explores the attitude, types of questions and practice of non-conceptual presence that awakens our deepest wisdom.
48:19
01/09/2008 Meditation 28:00
  Touching Enlightenment with the Body
We realize and inhabit the fullness of what we are through the gateway of our senses. This reflection includes how we dissociate from our bodies (hearts, each other, earth) and the pathways of belonging. The evening is dedicated to John O'Donahue, a teacher of the divine longing that carries us to belonging.
44:55
01/02/2008 Meditation 23:25
  The Three Refuges
This talk reflects on the three gateways to liberating presence-- Buddha nature (our awakened heartmind); Dharma (the living moment, truth, nature of things) and Sangha (spiritual community.) The evening includes a ritual of "taking refuge" that invites our dedication to each domain of awakening and freedom.
58:27