Category Archives: Retreats

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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Vipassana or Insight Meditation and Instruction: from Day 4 on Retreat (29:20 min.)



Vipassana, also known as insight meditation, is training in bringing a clear mindful attention to our moment to moment experience. We begin by relaxing through the body and then resting attention with the breath – or some other sensory anchor – and allowing the mind to settle. Then we open to whatever is predominant or calling our attention – sensations, emotions, sounds – meeting each arising experience with a clear, kind attention. The gift of this process is discovering balance in the midst of the changing flow, and gaining deep insight into the nature of reality.

NOTE: this is an instruction and meditation given in the morning of Day 4 at the IMCW Spring 2019 7-day silent retreat.

… You might sense the whole earth body, our extended body and the energy and life flowing through the earth and through you. Filling your whole body with the awareness and aliveness that’s really here.

Letting everything happen, not stopping anything, this whole field of sensation. Letting life live through you, including the coming and going of sound. Resting in the awareness that’s listening to and feeling this whole moment. …

~ Tara

 


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Conscious Prayer – Finding Refuge in Loving Awareness (retreat talk)



Prayer is a communing with our enlarged being. This talk examines less conscious forms of prayer, and how we can evolve the power of our prayers by opening into the depth of our longing, and reaching toward our true belonging (from the 2016 IMCW Spring Retreat).

How I yearn to belong to something, to be contained in an all-embracing mind that sees me as a single thing.
And I yearn to be held in the great hands of your heart.
Oh let them take me now.
Into your hands I place these fragments, my life, and you my God spend them however you want.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

A Prayer:
Refuse to fall down
If you cannot refuse to fall down,
refuse to stay down.
If you cannot refuse to stay down,
lift your heart toward heaven,
and like a hungry beggar,
ask that it be filled.
You may be pushed down.
You may be kept from rising.
But no one can keep you from lifting your heart
toward heaven
only you.
~ Clarissa Pinkola Estés


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Meditation: Being the Ocean and Opening to the Waves (retreat) (26:55 min.)



We can’t truly open to the waves of life unless we recognize our Oceanness, the formless awareness that is our source. This meditation begins with awakening the senses and then invites us to discover the spacious presence in the background of all experience.

NOTE: This meditation was given on the 4th morning of the 2018 IMCW New Year’s Retreat. It’s a bit longer and especially enjoyed when the mind is a bit quieter.

You might reflect on these words from the Tibetan tradition:

Utterly awake, senses wide open.
Utterly open, non-fixating awareness.

Find more retreat talks and meditations from Tara here.


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From Judgment to Self-Compassion (retreat talk)



When we’ve turned on ourselves with blame and aversion, it’s very difficult to arouse self-compassion. This talk looks at the role of nurturing in freeing our hearts, and offers practice in three key steps that enable us to embrace ourselves with a healing presence.

“There’s some wisdom in us that knows that we need to love ourselves and each other into healing…”

This talk was given at the 2018 IMCW New Year’s Retreat.


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Vipassana or Insight Meditation and Instruction: A Path of Practice from Retreat (31:15 min.)



Vipassana, also known as insight meditation, is training in bringing a clear mindful attention to our moment to moment experience. We begin by relaxing through the body and then resting attention with the breath – or some other sensory anchor – and allowing the mind to settle. Then we open to whatever is predominant or calling our attention – sensations, emotions, sounds – meeting each arising experience with a clear, kind attention. The gift of this process is discovering balance in the midst of the changing flow, and gaining deep insight into the nature of reality.

NOTE: Tara was traveling this week, so we offer this special short talk and meditation from the Fall 2018 IMCW Fall Silent Retreat – published for the first time.


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Worrier Pose – Finding Freedom from the Body of Fear (retreat talk)



While fear is a natural part of our make up, many of us suffering when the “on” button gets jammed. This talk looks at how our fears generate habitual patterns of physical tension, anxious thinking, emotions and behaviors; and how this constellation prevents us from inhabiting our full wisdom and love. We then explore two interrelated pathways of healing—unconditional presence, and resourcing, or cultivating access to safety and belonging (from the 2018 IMCW Fall Retreat).

How
did the rose
ever open its heart
and give to this world all of its beauty?
It felt the encouragement of light against its being,
otherwise we all remain too
frightened.

Hafiz
– Version by Daniel Ladinsky
From Love Poems from God


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Retreat Short Talk & Meditation: Loving Kindness – Awakening and Expressing Our Heart (36:50 min.)



This short talk and guided meditation remind us that we each have the capacity to awaken our hearts. We explore together the lovingkindness (metta) meditation, and emphasize holding our own being and dear ones with a tender, open and loving presence (from the IMCW 2018 Fall Retreat).

Free download of Tara’s 10 min meditation:
“Mindful Breathing: Finding Calm and Ease”
when you join her email list.

The One Who is at Play Everywhere said:

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 welcoming vastness of 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.”

-Lorin Roche, The Radiance Sutras


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Three Domains of Formless Presence – Landlocked in Fur (retreat talk)



While we have evolved to experience a defining sense of separate self, our potential is to awaken to the formless dimension – the pure awareness is our shared source. This talk explores how we can undo the identification with thoughts, emotions and feelings that keeps us landlocked and unable to trust and live from our naturally loving and radiant essence. (a favorite from the archives – given at the 2014 IMCW New Year’s Retreat in Reisterstown, MD)

Poem at start of talk: “Landlocked in Fur” ~ by Tukaram

I was meditating with my cat the other day
and all of a sudden she shouted,
“What happened?!”

I knew exactly what she meant, but encouraged
her to say more – feeling that if she got it all out on the table
she would sleep better that night.

So I responded, “Tell me more, dear,”
and she soulfully meowed:

“Well, I was mingled with the sky. I was comets
whizzing here and there. I was suns in heat, hell-I was
galaxies. But now look-I am
landlocked in fur.”

To this I said, ”I know exactly what
you mean.”

What to say about conversation between
mystics?

“Love Poems From God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West” (Ladinksy, 2002)


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Meditation: The Silence That’s Listening (morning on retreat) (27:15 min.)



Listening to sounds is a powerful way to quiet the thinking mind and connect with the natural openness of awareness. In this guided meditation, we begin by opening to sound and then listening to and feeling the whole changing flow of life – allowing whatever is here to be just as it is. In the foreground, we notice the dance of sensations, thoughts, emotions…rising up and falling away. And in the background, a wakeful, receptive presence – the silence that is listening. When we let go of all doing and relax back into this alert stillness, we sense our true nature…our home.

In words from the Tibetan tradition: “Utterly awake, senses wide open. Utterly open, non-fixating, allowing awareness.”

(Morning meditation from the 2018 Spring IMCW 7-Day Silent Retreat)


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