Category Archives: Videos

Equanimity: A Heart That is Ready for Anything (Duck Meditation)



Equanimity is the quality of presence that is open, balanced and non-reactive. As this talk explores, when equanimity is lacking, we become easily lost in trance, identified as a defended and controlling egoic self. When present, the solidity and constriction of egoic self dissolves, and our heart is free to respond to life with love, compassion, forgiveness and joy. Note: this talk is a favorite from the 2014 archives and includes the “Duck Meditation” and bricklayer stories.

Tara will continue with part 2 of the Forgiveness series next week.

Now we are ready to look at something pretty special.
It is a duck riding the ocean a hundred feet beyond the surf.
No, it isn’t a gull.
A gull always has a raucous touch about him.
This is some sort of duck, and he cuddles in the swells.
He isn’t cold, and he is thinking things over.
There is a big heaving in the Atlantic,
And he is part of it.
He looks a bit like a mandarin, or the Lord Buddha meditating under the Bo tree.
But he has hardly enough above the eyes to be a philosopher.
He has poise, however, which is what philosophers must have.
He can rest while the Atlantic heaves, because he rests in the Atlantic.
Probably he doesn’t know how large the ocean is.
And neither do you.
But he realizes it.
And what does he do, I ask you. He sits down in it.
He reposes in the immediate as if it were infinity—which it is.
That is religion, and the duck has it.
He has made himself a part of the boundless, by easing himself into it just where it
touches him.

“The Little Duck,” by Donald C. Babcock
~ published in The New Yorker on October 4, 1947


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Beyond the Controlling Self – Part 2



It’s natural that we do what we can to ward off danger and further ourselves. While our control strategies – such as aggression, judging, planning, seeking approval, pretending – have a developmental role, they are not a recipe for happiness, intimacy and freedom. An essential part of our evolution is to recognize when we are over-managing our lives, and learn to let go of the controls. These talks explore how we can release the grip of the over-controller, and the profound awakening of our hearts and minds that is possible in the shift from doing to being.

The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that its center is really everywhere, it is within each of us. ~ Black Elk

Listen in to: Part 1: Beyond the Controlling Self


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Beyond the Controlling Self – Part 1



It’s natural that we do what we can to ward off danger and further ourselves. While our control strategies – such as aggression, judging, planning, seeking approval, pretending – have a developmental role, they are not a recipe for happiness, intimacy and freedom. An essential part of our evolution is to recognize when we are over-managing our lives, and learn to let go of the controls. These talks explore how we can release the grip of the over-controller, and the profound awakening of our hearts and minds that is possible in the shift from doing to being.

WHEN I AM AMONG TREES by Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks, and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.

I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”

The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,”
they say, “and you, too, have come
into the world to do this, to go easy,
to be filled with light, and to shine.”

Listen in to Part 2: Beyond the Controlling Self


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The Four Remembrances



When we attune to the reality of impermanence and death, we remember what most matters to us. But in daily life we can lose precious swaths of time in a reactive trance, on our way somewhere else, and lost in problem solving, judgment and worry. This talk reflects on four remembrances or practices – Pausing, Yes to life, Turning toward love, and Resting in awareness – that help us awaken from trance and live true to the loving presence that is our essence.

May death be an advisor.
May the wisdom of impermanence help us to remember to live
this moment, this day, from loving presence.
May we all awaken these hearts and minds.
May all beings everywhere be free.
Namaste


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Embodied Presence: Portal to the Sacred – Part 2



This two part series explores how we regularly leave our body and skim life’s surface in a mental trance, and the ways we can train our attention to come home again. We look at working with physical and emotional pain, and the gifts of love, wisdom, creativity and aliveness that arise as we learn to fully inhabit these living forms and all our senses with awareness.

Includes a meditation to guide us in working with pain.

Life is a garden, not a road. We enter and exit through the same gate wandering, where we go matters less than what we notice ~ Bokonon

The Church says: the body is a sin.
Science says: the body is a machine.
Advertising says: The body is a business.
The Body says: I am a fiesta.”

Eduardo Galeano, Walking Words

Listen to Embodied Presence: Portal to the Sacred – Part 1 here.


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Embodied Presence: Portal to the Sacred – Part 1



This two part series explores how we regularly leave our body and skim life’s surface in a mental trance, and the ways we can train our attention to come home again. We look at working with physical and emotional pain, and the gifts of love, wisdom, creativity and aliveness that arise as we learn to fully inhabit these living forms and all our senses with awareness.

Be The Energy

Trust the energy that courses
through you. Trust – then take
surrender even deeper.
Be the energy.

Don’t push anything away.
Follow each sensation back to
its source and focus your awareness
there.

Be the ecstasy…

Be unafraid of consummate wonder.
Emerge so new, so vulnerable,
that you don’t know
who you are.

Be the energy,
and paradoxically,
be at peace.
Dare to be your own illumination,

And blaze a trail across
the clear night sky…..

Danna Faulds

Listen to Embodied Presence: Portal to the Sacred – Part 2 here.


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Meditation: Resting in a Sea of Presence (20:49 min.)



This mindful body scan leads us into a practice of relaxing back into awareness, and recognizing the changing waves of sensations, sounds and feelings in the foreground. As we let go into the sea of presence, we discover am increasing sense of wholeness and peace. The meditation ends with a brief lovingkindness prayer.


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The Sacred Art of Listening



Just as presence is the heart of meditation, so deep listening is at the center of all conscious, loving relationships. This talk explores how our wants and fears block listening, ways we can deepen our capacity for listening, and the healing that unfolds when we truly feel heard by another (a special talk from the archives).

What happens when you’re really listening?


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Spiritual Reparenting



[CC] ~ When we are not sufficiently nurtured in childhood, we are inclined toward anxiety, depression, addiction and other forms of suffering. In a deep way, we do not feel at home with others. We are disconnected from our own body, heart and spirit.

This talk explores how meditation offers “spiritual reparenting” as we learn to bring interest, understanding and love to our own inner vulnerability. This process of healing extends to our relationships with others and our larger society – by reaching out to widening circles with interest and care, we bring increasing harmony and peace to our world (a favorite from the archives).

“That question: Where does it hurt? We need to address it to everyone, if we really want to understand each other.” Ruby Sales

Enjoy a blog edited from the talk: Where Does It Hurt? Healing the Wounds of Severed Belonging

Read the transcript: Spiritual Reparenting.


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Living with Courageous Presence



[CC] ~ The essence of courage is to willingly feel our vulnerability; this is what allows us to respond to life with an undefended, wise heart. This talk explores the ways we resist opening to vulnerability, and three key steps in cultivating a courageous presence.

Ask, “What does it mean to be courageous at this moment?”

Everything is beautiful and I am so sad.
This is how the heart makes a duet of
wonder and grief. The light spraying
through the lace of the fern is as delicate
as the fibers of memory forming their web
around the knot in my throat. The breeze
makes the birds move from branch to branch
as this ache makes me look for those I’ve lost
in the next room, in the next song, in the laugh
of the next stranger. In the very center, under
it all, what we have that no one can take
away and all that we’ve lost face each other.
It is there that I’m adrift, feeling punctured
by a holiness that exists inside everything.
I am so sad and everything is beautiful.

Mark Nepo, “Adrift”


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