In the face of violence, hatred and loss, how do we handle the reactivity we feel? Our own anger, hatred and fear? These two talks offer guidance and practice in letting our own vulnerability be a portal to responding—to ourselves, each other and our world– with courageous, wise hearts.
Our thoughts keep us removed from this living world. This guided practice invites us to open and relax with the moment to moment experience of our senses. It includes a poem by Ingrid Goff-Maidoff, “Wherever you are, Find a Trail.”
Only in silence and presence do we realign with what matters to our hearts. This simple practice of arriving in an embodied awareness supports us in touching the grounds of true transformation and healing. It closes with a powerful poem by Gunilla Norris, “Sharing Silence.”
“Within each of us there is a silenceGunilla Norris
—a silence as vast as a universe.
We are afraid of it…and we long for it.
When we experience that silence, we remember
who we are: creatures of the stars, created
from the cooling of this planet, created
from dust and gas, created
from the elements, created
from time and space…created
In our present culture,
silence is something like an endangered species…
an endangered fundamental.
The experience of silence is now so rare
that we must cultivate it and treasure it.
This is especially true for shared silence.
Sharing silence is, in fact, a political act.
When we can stand aside from the usual and
perceive the fundamental, change begins to happen.
Our lives align with deeper values
and the lives of others are touched and influenced.
Silence brings us back to basics, to our senses,
to our selves. It locates us. Without that return
we can go so far away from our true natures
that we end up, quite literally, beside ourselves.
We live blindly and act thoughtlessly.
We endanger the delicate balance which sustains
our lives, our communities, and our planet.
Each of us can make a difference.
Politicians and visionaries will not return us
to the sacredness of life.
That will be done by ordinary men and women
who together or alone can say,
“Remember to breathe, remember to feel,
remember to care,
let us do this for our children and ourselves
and our children’s children.
Let us practice for life’s sake.”
Photo credits: Donna JS Russo Dogfish Art
In the face of violence, hatred and loss, how do we handle the reactivity we feel? Our own anger, hatred and fear? These two talks offer guidance and practice in letting our own vulnerability be a portal to responding – to ourselves, each other and our world – with courageous, wise hearts.
One translation of mindfulness, in Chinese, is “present heart.” In this guided meditation we begin by awakening through the body and the senses, and then open the attention to the changing flow of experience. The intention is to meet whatever arises with a wakeful and kind presence.
We all seek refuge, a sense of safety or homecoming amidst the uncertainties of life. Our way of finding refuge can either imprison or free us. This talk explores the false refuges that entrap us in feeling separate and endangered, and the refuges of Awareness (Buddha,) Truth (Dharma) and Love (Sangha) that reveal our true nature. This evening gathering includes a ceremony with candles, reflection and music.
One of the great sufferings is turning on ourselves with judgment and/or self-aversion. This practice brings the acronym RAIN to this pain. It helps us cultivate a healing self-compassion, and the realization of who we are beyond any limiting story of self.
Living in a fear-based society fuels the trance of separation and unworthiness. This talk explores how we can bring an engaged compassionate presence to the suffering of this trance—in our inner work, and more broadly, in healing our culture (from the 2020 IMCW 7-day Silent New Year Retreat).
I must have been incredibly simple or drunk or insane to sneak in to my own house and steal money, to climb over the fence and take my own vegetables. But no more. I’ve gotten free of that ignorant fist that was pinching and twisting my secret self.
The universe and the light of the stars come through me. I am the crescent moon put up over the gate to the festival.Rumi
This practice guides us to a receptive, kind presence by starting with listening, and moving through a body scan. We then rest in an open awareness, responding to whatever arises with a gentle attention.
One of the great gifts we can offer is being a mirror of goodness, reminding one another that we can trust our essential awareness, light and love. Because our conditioning is to fixate on flaws, “good othering” takes intention and practice. This talk explores how we can develop the habit of seeing goodness, and importantly, learn to communicate our appreciation and love to others.
It is a sobering thought that the finest actAnthony de Mello
of love you can perform is not an act of
service but an act of contemplation,
When you serve people you help, support,
comfort, alleviate pain.
When you see them in their inner beauty
and goodness you transform and create.
My soul tells meMark Nepo, The Exquisite Risk
we were all broken from the same nameless heart
and every living thing wakes with a piece of that original heart
aching its way into blossom.
This is why we know each other below our strangeness.
Why when we fall, we lift each other
or when in pain, we hold each other.
Why when sudden with joy, we dance together.
Life is the many pieces of that great heart loving itself back together.