Talks: Reflections on the Path

Part 1: Entering the Wilderness

Part 1: Entering the Wilderness

On all spiritual paths, we journey into the inner wilderness to discover the nature of nature – the truth of who we are. The entry is through bringing a kind and full presence to the life of our bodies. These two talks explore the conditioning that leads us to dissociation, and the blessings of full aliveness, open heartedness and wisdom that arise when we come home to embodied presence.

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Part 1: Entering the Wilderness

Peace Work

The hope for inner and world peace lies in our evolutionary capacity to shift from Fight-Flight-Freeze reactivity to responding to aggravation with Attend-Befriend. This talk explores the three elements on this path of awakening that support us in this transformation:...

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Part 1: Entering the Wilderness

From Egoic to Unconditioned Loving

When we are caught in the sense of separation and unmet needs, our love is marbled with fear and attachment. This talk describes the chain of conditioning that perpetuates the constrictions of egoic love and explores several courageous activities–sharing our vulnerability, expressing love, extending and receiving love– that awaken us to the vastness and freedom of pure loving awareness.

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Part 1: Entering the Wilderness

Part 2: Relating to the Fearsome Deities

Whenever Mara–the shadow side–appeared during the Buddha’s life, his response was simple and liberating: “I see you Mara,” and,”Please, come…let’s have tea.” In that spirit, this talk explores three approaches to relating to fear with a mindful and compassionate presence.

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Part 1: Entering the Wilderness

Part 1: Relating to Fearsome Deities

Our relationship to fear shapes our life experience. If we are unconscious, and reflexively try to manage fear, our identity takes the shape of the body of fear. If instead we learn to attend and befriend fear, we discover the freedom of our awakened heart.

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Part 1: Entering the Wilderness

The Gift of Silence

(Tara was away this week – this is a favorite from 2007)
Through all spiritual traditions, there is a valuing of silence and stillness. When the mind has quieted, it becomes possible to see into the truth of what we are. Yet quieting can turn into a battle with the process of the thinking mind. This talk explores practices that allow us to settle in a natural way, the presence which is silence itself, and the wisdom and love that flows freely when we live from that silence.

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True Belonging

We all have a longing to belong. When pursued at the egoic level–often through our good-personhood projects–there may be temporary satisfaction but our sense of separation is ultimately reinforced. In contrast, bringing mindfulness and compassion to whatever is arising dissolves the sense of separation and reveals the basic goodness of our own loving presence.

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Part 1: Entering the Wilderness

From Story to Presence

A fundamental skill cultivated through meditation is awakening from our stories and arriving back in the aliveness of the moment. If we investigate, we find that a large portion of our stories create physical and emotional stress, separate us from others, and obscure the truth of who we are. In this talk you are invited to identify several of your “top ten hits”, explore how these stories live in your body, and reconnect with living presence.

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Part 1: Entering the Wilderness

Three Gestures of Love

If we inquire “what is between me and presence” we usually find we’ve been caught inside a limiting story of self, contracted by wants and fears. This talk explores a simple yet powerful way of arousing loving presence and dissolving the narrow identification that keeps us from inhabiting our awakened heartmind.

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Skeleton Woman: Embracing This Living and Dying World

Skeleton Woman: Embracing This Living and Dying World

Based on a wonderful myth told by Clarissa Estes, this talk looks at the way we run from "lady death" and the blessings of opening our arms and heart. If we can embrace the whole of our nature with unconditional presence - including the inevitability of change and loss--we...

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Part 1: Entering the Wilderness

Part 2: Hope and the Spiritual Path

In this talk we further define the nature of mature or spiritual hope as part of a trinity that includes trust and love, and explore what blocks its unfolding. We then review how different people have “hit bottom” and found their way to the energy, receptivity and openness of hope.

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Part 1: Entering the Wilderness

Part 1: Hope and the Spiritual Path

This talk looks at the difference between egoic hopes and fears, and the quality of hopefulness (“holy hope”) that is an essential dimension in spiritual experience. We reflect on the three components of hope that serves awakening: Aspiration, Trust and Dedication of energy.

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Part 1: Entering the Wilderness

Practicing Meditation: “Getting Out of Your Own Way”

The depth and vitality of a meditation practice depends on our sincerity, and an attitude of curiosity and friendliness. With this as the grounds, our practice will cultivate the clear seeing and openheartedness that expresses our deepest nature. This talk covers basic ingredients in a meditation practice, and includes a half hour of questions and responses.

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Part 1: Entering the Wilderness

Being to Being – Loving Beyond the Trance

We have strong conditioning to relate to each other from a sense of separateness–persona to persona. This talk looks at what traps us in egoic relating and how several simple yet powerful reflections can open us to pure, unconditioned loving.

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Part 1: Entering the Wilderness

Releasing the Barriers to Unconditional Loving

We long for love and habitually armor our hearts. This talk explores the aggression and clinging that protect our wound of feeling unlovable, and the ways that mindfulness can dissolve our defenses and reveal our inner refuge of pure loving presence.

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