Talks: Reflections on the Path

Part 1: Basic Trust

Part 1: Basic Trust

One of the expressions of an awakened heart-mind is a basic trust in reality. These talks explore the severed belonging that gives rise to mistrust, and two primary pathways to realizing and trusting the indivisible field of loving awareness that is our source.

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Evening of Inquiry

Evening of Inquiry

In this class, Tara offered a guided meditation, some brief words on connecting with the felt sense of our experience, and opened the class to questions.

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Nourishing a Liberating Intention

Nourishing a Liberating Intention

The Buddha taught that this entire world arises out of the tip of intention. Intentions can arise from an egoic wants and fears, and they can arise from the wisdom of our heart that is calling us home. This talk explores the qualities that signify a liberating intention and...

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Blessings of Soul Recognition

Blessings of Soul Recognition

We live under an enchantment that has us see ourselves and each other as separate egoic entities. This talk draws on an Arthurian legend and explores the pathways of presence that enable us to see past the mask – our own, others – and recognize the spirit that shines through these temporary incarnations.

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Awakening through Conscious Relationships

Awakening through Conscious Relationships

Communicating our vulnerability and learning to listen – seeking to understand another’s experience – are the keys to discovering the truth of our connectedness. This talk explores the challenges and gifts of dedicating ourselves to becoming more real, present and open in our relationships.

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Nourishing a Liberating Intention

Freedom and Happiness in Daily Life

How you live today is how you live your life. This talk explores different meditative practices and teachings that help us reconnect with and nurture presence in the midst of the array of daily stressors.

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Nourishing a Liberating Intention

Awakening from Virtual Reality

This talk looks at the power our virtual reality of thoughts can hold over our lives. We then explore how bringing mindful awareness to thinking enables us to heal historical wounding and discover who we are beyond the self-story in our mind. We don’t have to believe our thoughts; they are “real but not true!”

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Nourishing a Liberating Intention

Humility

In Buddhism and most faiths, humility – feeling that we all share common ground, feeling neither superior or inferior to others – is both a prerequisite to awakening and an expression of mature spirituality. This talk explores how our conditioning and culture reinforce a swing from ego-inflation (self-importance, feeling special, better than others) to ego-deflation (feeling unworthy). We then look at how a wise and kind attention opens us to who we are beyond these confining egoic states, and enables us to live with humility and grace.

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Evening of Inquiry

Question and Response

Tara explores a range of questions that include working with unworthiness, recognizing aspiration, stepping out of the story and understanding the selfless quality of experience.

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Nourishing a Liberating Intention

Heart Training on the Bodhisatva Path

Bodhisattva means “Awakened Being.” This path of awakening has three key domains for practice: remembering intention; training our attention; and compassionate activity. This talk reviews these domains and includes guided reflections that can help bring spirituality alive in daily life.

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Am I Dreaming? (retreat talk)

Am I Dreaming? (retreat talk)

As we cultivate mindfulness we become increasingly aware of how we move through huge swaths of our life in trance. This talk reflects on three key domains of trance, and undoing the habitual reactivity that keeps us from the loving, open awareness that is our essence.

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Nourishing a Liberating Intention

Part 2: From Fight-Flight-Freeze to Attend-Befriend

How do we reconcile conflict when caught in reactivity sourced in trauma or deep wounding? This talk looks at the need for a larger field of belonging – a trusted other person or safe group – to engender the presence and compassion that enables us to relax and reconnect with our own wholeness and with others.

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Awakening Through Conflict

Awakening Through Conflict

As long as we are identified as separate selves, we will inevitably experience conflict with others. If we learn to release blame and deepen attention to our embodied experience, conflict can become a portal for more loving, alive relationships and awakening into the fullness of our being.

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RAIN – Cultivating a Mindful Awareness

RAIN – Cultivating a Mindful Awareness

The acronym RAIN is a powerful tool for interrupting habitual patterns of emotional reactivity and discovering the freedom of an awake, compassionate presence. This talk explores the components of RAIN, how it works, what makes it transformational and typical challenges people...

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Loving and Losing

Loving and Losing

The way that we relate to impermanence and loss shapes our capacity to live and love fully. This talk, drawing on Mary Oliver’s poem “In Blackwater Woods,” explores three elements in our response to this fleeting, precious life that are integral to our healing and freedom.

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Stress and Our Evolving Consciousness

Stress and Our Evolving Consciousness

The universal experience of stress (in Buddhism, called dukkha) is a message that we are not realizing, trusting and living from our true nature. Our habitual reactions to stress - grasping, aversion, resistance - deepen emotional pain and lock us in a limiting sense of...

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Nourishing a Liberating Intention

Planting Ourselves in the Universe

When we are lost in the trance of thinking, we disconnect from the aliveness, awareness and love that is our source. Mindfulness, a key capacity of our evolving consciousness, awakens us from an identification with thinking and enables us to inhabit a wider realm of Being. This talk explores the confines of conceptual mind and the simple yet powerful practices that cultivate mindful awareness.

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Return of the Prodigal Son

Return of the Prodigal Son

Drawing on Henri Nouwen’s book that interprets this famous parable, this talk looks at the ways we cut off from loving awareness, and the process of homecoming. Our inquiry, reflections and a guided meditation focus on an essential and often overlooked element of transformation: our capacity to trust in love, to let love in. Link to Rembrandt’s “Prodigal Son” painting which is referred to in the talk.

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Nourishing a Liberating Intention

Part 5: Equanimity: A Heart That is Ready for Anything

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.

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Nourishing a Liberating Intention

Part 4: Opening to Joy

Our innate capacity for joy is blocked by our habitual ways of paying attention. This talk explores three key pathways of presence that connect us with our full openness and aliveness.

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