Category Archives: Retreats

Meditation: Spacious, Loving Awareness (from retreat) (30:03 min.) ~ with video



~ an Open Awareness Meditation ~

When our awareness is awake and open, we naturally respond to this changing life with warmth, tenderness and love.

This practice helps us discover the spaciousness of awareness by realizing the space and aliveness that is in the body, and then sensing the continuous space that holds all life. We then sense how this continuous space is filled with the light of awareness and pervaded by love. Includes a short talk that contexts the meditation. (from the Spring 2018 IMCW 7-day Silent Retreat)

Closing quote is from The Radiance Sutras, Lorin Roche, PhD.

There is a place in the heart where everything meets.
Go there if you want to find me.
Mind, senses, soul, eternity, all are there.
Are you there?

Enter the bowl of vastness that is the heart.
Give yourself to it with total abandon.

Quiet ecstasy is there –

and a steady, regal sense of resting in a perfect spot.

Once you know the way
the nature of attention will call you
to return, again and again,
and be saturated with knowing,
“I belong here, I am at home here.”

More Open Awareness Meditations here.

Photo credits: Donna Russo


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Guided Heart Meditation: Loving Kindness – Befriending our Lives (27:22 min.)



This heart meditation guides us in how to cultivate a deep quality of friendliness in relating to our inner life and each other. The gift of this practice is a direct sense of belonging – knowing that we can never be alone (retreat meditation).

“My soul tells me, 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.”

~ Mark Nepo, The Exquisite Risk

Enjoy the meditation with a short talk that introduces Loving Kindness practice here: Short Talk and Guided Heart Meditation – Loving Kindness – Befriending our Lives


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Short Talk & Guided Heart Meditation: Releasing Blame (retreat) (41:39 min.)



Our self-protective habits of resentment and blame block intimacy and connection with ourself and others. This short talk and meditation are an invitation to deepen our understanding of the suffering of blame, and to release the armoring to loving freely. Includes a meditation using “RAIN on Blame.” (recorded at the IMCW 2019 New Year’s 5-day Silent Retreat)

Closing quote is from The Radiance Sutras, Lorin Roche, PhD.

There is a place in the heart where everything meets.
Go there if you want to find me.
Mind, senses, soul, eternity, all are there.
Are you there?

Enter the bowl of vastness that is the heart.
Give yourself to it with total abandon.

Quiet ecstasy is there -
 and a steady, regal sense of resting in a perfect spot.

Once you know the way
the nature of attention will call you
to return, again and again,
and be saturated with knowing,
“I belong here, I am at home here.”


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The Power of Awake Awareness (retreat talk)



We all encounter “demons” of fear, anger, hurt, craving and shame. This talk explores our key ways of resisting difficult emotions, and how “when the resistance is gone, the demons are gone.” We look at the power of mindfulness and compassion to undo resistance, and open us to the loving presence that can handle whatever energies arise. This special talk was given at the 2019 IMCW 5-Day New Year’s Silent Retreat.

photo: Jonathan Foust

photo: Jon McRay


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Introductory Meditation Instructions – Guided Practice from Retreat (39:02 min.)



This guided session includes an overview of the primary components in meditation practices, and then guidance in awakening the senses, collecting the attention, and opening mindfully to changing experience (from the 2019 IMCW New Year’s 5-Day Silent Retreat).


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Short Talk and Guided Heart Meditation – Releasing Blame (retreat)(37:50 min.)



This meditation explores the meaning of forgiveness and its role in healing and transformation. We then are guided in a forgiveness practice that helps us release the armoring of blame, and inhabit an inclusive and open heart (given at the Fall 2019 IMCW 7-Day Silent Retreat).


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Short Talk and Guided Heart Meditation – Loving Kindness – Befriending our Lives (39:29 min.)



This meditation introduces the domain of “heart practices” and then guides us in how to cultivate a deep quality of friendliness in relating to our inner life and each other. The gift of this practice is a direct sense of belonging – knowing that we can never be alone (given at the Fall 2019 IMCW 7-Day Silent Retreat).

Photo: Jon McRay


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Trusting Who We Are (retreat talk)



When we are suffering, we are believing something untrue – usually a limiting story about who we are. This talk explores the roots of our self-doubts, and the teachings and practices that remind us of our basic goodness – the loving awareness that is our source (given at the Fall 2019 IMCW 7-Day Silent Retreat – 2019-11-06).

Carlos Castaneda – the Don Juan books – puts this way. He says, “You talk to yourself too much. You’re not unique in that every one of us does. We maintain our world with our inner dialogue. A man or woman of knowledge is aware that the world will change completely as soon as they stop talking to themselves.”

Sri Nisargadatta says, “Love tells me I’m everything. Wisdom tells me I’m nothing. Between the two my life flows.”

I really invite you to experiment and find the way of remembering love that warms your heart because it’ll help you trust your heart and we deep down really want to trust the goodness of our hearts.

May we trust who we are. ~ Tara

Photo: Jon McRay


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Meditation: Calling on Loving Presence (18:18 min)



Often, when we’re really struggling, the only way to find compassion for ourselves is by reaching out to a larger source of love. We might for instance take refuge by calling on the Buddha, Divine Mother, God, Jesus, Great Spirit, Shiva, or Allah – reaching towards a loving awareness that is great enough to offer comfort and safety to our wounded self.

When we feel held by a caring presence, by something larger than our small frightened self, we begin to find space in our heart for the difficult currents of our life, and for the lives of others. The suffering that might have seemed “too much” can now awaken us to the sweetness of compassion. [Note: recorded during an IMCW 7-day silent retreat]


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Judgment, Acceptance and Freedom (Retreat Talk)



The boundary to what we accept is the boundary to our freedom. This talk explores the often unconscious ways we create separation by judging ourselves and others, and the key pathways of meditation practice that release the habit of blame and free our hearts.

Really honoring this life. Cherishing this life. Sensing who you are if there’s nothing wrong – truly nothing wrong.

Closing by sensing your prayer for yourself right now. What do you most wish? Letting go of any ideas or thoughts. Taking these last few moments to sense the heart-space that’s here. You might allow yourself to sense the shared heart space, that collective… who we are together… waking up together.

(This talk was given on Sunday evening, November 3, at the 2019 IMCW Fall Retreat in Reisterstown, MD.)


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