Category Archives: Retreats

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



~ 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.


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Short Talk & Meditation: Forgiving and Freeing Our Hearts (36:53 min)



Forgiveness for others becomes possible when we’ve held our own being with great compassion. This short talk and guided meditation brings forth our most awake and tender presence as we ask for forgiveness, offer care to the woundedness within us, and then extend forgiveness to another who has hurt us. (from the Spring 2018 IMCW 7-day Silent Retreat)

Join Tara in a 10-day online course on forgiveness available through Insight Timer: Free Yourself From Blame & Resentment.


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Disarming Our Hearts: Letting Go of Blame (retreat talk)



Anger, judgment and blame create separation—from our inner life and our world. Only by releasing chronic blame can we free our hearts to truly give and receive love. This talk looks at the difference between healthy anger and the trance of blame, and through a set of reflections, teachings and stories, guides us in healing and freeing our hearts.

(from the Spring 2018 IMCW 7-Day Silent Retreat – previously unpublished)


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