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  1. REMINDER — 4/25/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of events coming up this weekend. First, Ted Jones will be at IMC Newburyport on Saturday, April 29, for “The Next Step: A Level II Retreat for Advanced Beginners” from 9:30am to 12:30pm:

    “Come and experience a morning of guided and silent meditation designed for students who have completed an Introductory Class at IMCN or a similar offering at another center. This retreat will introduce participants to the experience of more extended periods of silent mediation with longer periods than in most beginner retreats but shorter than the usual format for experienced students. There will be three 30 minute periods of sitting meditation, two 20 minute periods of walking meditation, and ample time for questions and discussion.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Then on Sunday, April 30, Winnie Nazarko will be at CIMC for the day-long (9am to 5pm) retreat “Establishing Presence”:

    “There are many ways in which modern life supports distraction. Barraged by media and tied to digital devices, we are often spaced out and stressed out. Sati, or the quality of mindfulness, can restore connection to our own direct, present tense experience. It is a tremendous relief to rest in the simplicity of presence. As we attend to the immediate sensations of the body, to hearing, to seeing, to smelling and tasting, we can re-ground. Letting go of complexification, we re-balance, and refresh the mind.

    “This day-long retreat invites participants to disconnect from smart phones and other distractions and tune into real-time sensory experience. Instruction will be offered on working with body awareness, both in sitting meditation and in walking practice. There will be time for questions related to the practices offered.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    For those of you who may have missed it, hour two of this morning’s WBUR “On Point” broadcast examined “The Meaning of the New Mindfulness” (47 min.). Joining host Tom Ashbrook for the discussion were meditation coach Lynne Goldberg, New York Times business reporter David Gelles, and Harvard neuroscientist Sara Lazar: http://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2017/04/24/modern-meditation

    This week I would like to highlight “You Can’t Get Rid of Your Anger — And That’s OK,” a 2016 Lion’s Roar piece by Josh Korda: https://www.lionsroar.com/you-cant-get-rid-of-your-anger-and-thats-ok/

    (I can’t remember if I shared it when it was first published, but regardless I like it well enough to give it another shout-out.)

    I also want to recommend a 2010 piece by Matthieu Ricard responding to the question “Why Should I Meditate?”: https://www.lionsroar.com/why-meditate-september-2010/

    I think that’s about it for this week. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  2. REMINDER — 4/18/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Sue is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Chas DiCapua will visit IMC Newburyport this Saturday, April 22, for a day-long (9am to 5pm, with morning-only option) retreat on “Connecting to Life Non-Conceptually”:

    “We live in a world of concepts. Book, car, me, you, etc. Concepts are important in helping us to navigate the world of objects is a way where there isn’t chaos. Can you imagine if I asked you to pass the butter and you got up and brought back the snow shovel?! Concepts free us from the chaos of not having an agreed upon reference for existence, but, if not seen through, end up keeping our connection with life on a superficial level. Life is dynamic and changing. Concepts are static.

    “In this retreat, we will explore and practice connecting to our moment to moment experience on a non-conceptual level. This leads to a greater intimacy with life and the ability to experience it in a much more fundamental, and truthful way, which is the aim of our Vipassana practice; seeing things as they truly are.”

    To register for this retreat (and to find out more about the Spring residential retreat beginning May 16), please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also coming up on Saturday, CIMC will begin its five-day non-residential on “The Five Recollections” with Narayan Liebenson:

    “The Buddha encouraged people of all ages to undertake the frequent contemplation of ‘The Five Recollections’ – aging, sickness, death, loss and karma – as a key practice leading to joy and liberation. In this five-day retreat we will bring our attention to this seeming paradox. We will explore how cultivating an intimate understanding of these great matters of life and death can help us face, and master, our fears. Over time, with mindfulness and an open heart, we can come to see these conditions of impermanence from a perspective of gratitude. Turning towards the inevitability of change and loss – rather than denying them or turning away – helps us to more fully appreciate the beauty and preciousness of a life inspired and guided by Dharma practice.

    “The format of this five-day retreat invites each of us to intentionally combine formal meditation and daily life as dharma practice. We start with a weekend emphasizing the practices of sitting and walking meditation. For the subsequent three days we will meet in the evenings only. Participants will be given a meditation exercise to practice with during the day, an exercise directly concerned with daily life. Coming together again at the end of the day we will sit, walk and share our experiences of working with the exercises. Individual interviews may be offered.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators, and for people of all ages. Participants must attend both Saturday and Sunday, and are strongly encouraged to attend all five days. For those unable to attend any of the weekdays, we offer weekend-only registration.”

    Looking a bit further down the road, from 10am to 4pm on Saturday, July 8, Sharon Salzberg will be offering a benefit workshop on behalf of CIMC, discussing her forthcoming book “Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection.”

    For additional details and registration information for all CIMC events, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    In other news, Lawrence-based DharmaCrafts will hold a one-day warehouse sale on Saturday, May 6. If you are in need of a meditation cushion or other practice paraphernalia, it might be worth dropping by to see what they have to offer: http://www.dharmacrafts.com/01_ws/sample-sale?kc=GEAP17&_bta_tid=42757599521401955878427127219166685287969990994426029855966700771389364067163099390438131069794630393243445&_bta_c=9lomqe68eqxi8ar9s94u7ketnuy5i

    In closing this week I leave you with a short teaching on “Somatic Meditation” from Tibetan teacher Reginald Ray: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/somatic-meditation/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  3. REMINDER — 4/11/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be the facilitator this week.

    Cambridge Insight and IMC Newburyport are both quiet this coming weekend, but each has some great events planned for the coming weeks.

    From Saturday, April 22, through Wednesday, April 26, CIMC will offer a special 5-day non-residential retreat with Narayan Liebenson on “The Five Recollections”:

    “The Buddha encouraged people of all ages to undertake the frequent contemplation of ‘The Five Recollections’ – aging, sickness, death, loss and karma – as a key practice leading to joy and liberation. In this five-day retreat we will bring our attention to this seeming paradox. We will explore how cultivating an intimate understanding of these great matters of life and death can help us face, and master, our fears. Over time, with mindfulness and an open heart, we can come to see these conditions of impermanence from a perspective of gratitude. Turning towards the inevitability of change and loss – rather than denying them or turning away – helps us to more fully appreciate the beauty and preciousness of a life inspired and guided by Dharma practice.

    “The format of this five-day retreat invites each of us to intentionally combine formal meditation and daily life as dharma practice. We start with a weekend emphasizing the practices of sitting and walking meditation. For the subsequent three days we will meet in the evenings only. Participants will be given a meditation exercise to practice with during the day, an exercise directly concerned with daily life. Coming together again at the end of the day we will sit, walk and share our experiences of working with the exercises.Individual interviews may be offered.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators, and for people of all ages. Participants must attend both Saturday and Sunday, and are strongly encouraged to attend all five days. For those unable to attend any of the weekdays, we offer weekend-only registration.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Chas DiCapua will be in Newburyport on April 22 for a day-long retreat on “Connecting to Life Non-Conceptually.” Then, on April 29, Ted Jones will offer a day-long retreat for “advanced beginners.” IMCN will also host their Spring Insight Meditation retreat from May 15-21 with Sayadaw U Inndaka, May Mint Oo, and Chris Crotty. For more details on these events, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    I want to start off this week with a brief update from Grace Bullock at Mindful.org on “The Mouse Meditation Project” at the University of Oregon. (Yes, apparently it’s a thing.): http://www.mindful.org/can-mice-meditate/

    I also wanted to pass along a wonderful post by Dave Mochel that came my way via LinkedIn on mindfulness and “the connection between awareness and choice”: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-practice-mindfulness-connection-between-awareness-dave-mochel

    I also really appreciated Tricycle blogger Brent R. Oliver’s recent contribution, “Why Meditation Encourages Me to Keep Practicing”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/meditation-encourages-keep-practicing/

    And, in closing, I offer you some parting words of wisdom from Jack Kornfield, excerpted for Shambhala Sun from his book, “The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness and Peace”: https://www.lionsroar.com/a-mind-like-sky/

    That is all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  4. REMINDER — 4/4/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of events coming up this Saturday morning, April 8.

    In Cambridge, Larry Rosenberg will offer “Clearly Knowing,” a half-day (9am to 1pm) retreat:

    “Since the time of the Buddha, intensive retreat practice has been considered crucial for the maturing of insight. The simplicity and support of the retreat environment encourage a continuity of awareness. Retreats can help develop qualities such as confidence, perseverance, mindfulness, concentration and the unfolding of wisdom and compassion.

    “We will spend our morning together sitting and walking, experiencing the profound value of utter silence and simplicity in the company of other practitioners. There will be few interruptions to pull us away from the opportunity to settle into, and deepen, our practice. The retreat will conclude with the opportunity for questions and discussion of our experience.”

    To register, please visit https://cambridgeinsight.org

    Meanwhile, Jim Austin will be in Newburyport for a half-day (9:30am to 1pm) “Mindfulness Yoga and Insight Meditation” workshop:

    “How can a yoga asana practice be used to support our mindfulness meditation practice? Can we bring the qualities of mindfulness and openness developed in sitting meditation practice onto the yoga mat thereby creating continuity between our practice on the mat and our practice on the cushion? We’ll explore these questions and others during this half-day workshop. The workshop will include short periods of sitting meditation, yoga, and discussion. This workshop is suitable for all levels of experience and beginners are welcome.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Wisdom Publications is about to release “Under the Bodhi Tree: Buddha’s Original Vision of Dependent Co-Arising,” a new collection of teachings by the late Thai meditation master and scholar, Buddhadasa Bhikkhu; the folks at Lion’s Roar recently printed an excerpt from the book — “The Choice Is Yours” — in their latest issue: https://www.lionsroar.com/the-choice-is-yours/

    (For more information on Ajahn Buddhadasa’s book, visit http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/under-bodhi-tree)

    Shifting gears slightly, I want to recommend Jessica Boddy’s recent contribution to the NPR “Shots” blog, in which she discusses recent research on mice that explains the physiology of how breathing calms the mind: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/03/30/522033368/a-tiny-spot-in-mouse-brains-may-explain-how-breathing-calms-the-mind

    And, in closing, I leave you with two shorter teachings.

    In the first, Zen teacher Karen Maezen Miller takes a look at the important role of sadness in our lives: https://www.lionsroar.com/karen-mazen-millers-the-laundry-line-be-sad/

    And in the second, Sharon Salzberg offers “Three Ways To Practice Forgiveness”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/three-ways-practice-forgiveness/

    That is all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  5. REMINDER — 3/28/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    There are several events coming up this week, starting with Ajahn Sucitto’s visit to Cambridge on Wednesday evening, March 29, for CIMC’s weekly dharma talk. The talk — “Mindfulness and the Relational Field” — begins at 7:30pm.

    Then on Saturday, April 1, Alexis Santos will offer a day-long (9am to 5pm) retreat on “Knowing the Mind: Cultivating A Compassionate Awareness”:

    “The Buddha described the mind as the forerunner of all things. When we speak or act with an agitated mind, suffering naturally follows. Conversely, with a well-cultivated mind, actions and speech become harmonious, bringing happiness to oneself and the world.

    “In this day-long retreat, we will explore how to know the quality of mind that is meditating as well as the meditating mind itself. For example, are you meditating with a desire to have only pleasant experiences? Is there aversion or resistance in the mind? We’ll explore how to cultivate a compassionate awareness that can be with anything that is arising, including the range of pleasant and unpleasant experiences that are an unavoidable part of life.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators. Please feel invited to join us for a day of practice in community. There will be periods of sitting and walking, guided meditation as well as reflections to support your practice. There will also be plenty of time for questions and comments.”

    For more information on either CIMC event, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also on Saturday, April 1, Matthew Daniell will offer a “Zen-Inspired Insight Meditation Retreat” from 9am to 5pm:

    “This all day retreat will embrace a spirit of simplicity, freshness, and intimacy. We will use forms (sitting facing the wall or window, shorter sits and group walks, an emphasis on posture, and whole bodied, wholehearted attention) common in certain styles of Zen Buddhist practice, which Matthew trained formally in for years in Japan. This simplicity and directness of this approach supports daily life practice in a natural and seamless way. This retreat is not designed for complete beginners, all others are welcome to attend.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    There are also still a few spaces left for “Gladdening the Heart,” Doreen Schweizer’s day-long (9:30am to 5pm) retreat with our friends at Souhegan Insight Meditation in Peterborough, NH:

    “We know that light will again return to our corner of Northern New England, as well as to our hearts. Please join us for this daylong retreat. It will offer participants a quiet refuge, a time for softening the busy mind and for gently healing ‘the heart withered by pain.’

    “By practicing in sustained silence, and with the aid of gentle instruction, we develop the tools to glimpse the nature of our own minds. As our minds begin to calm and concentration improves, we lay the foundation for deep insight.

    “This day will include meditation instruction, alternating periods guided sitting and walking meditation, and time for question and group reflection. This retreat is appropriate for beginning and experienced meditators.”

    To register, please go to http://nhmeditation.org/events/

    The folks at Tricycle close out Meditation Month 2017 with a final video teaching (21 min.) from Ruth King — “Practicing Kindness (Without Exception)”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/meditation-month-2017-practicing-kindness-without-exceptions/

    This week I also want to feature a couple of pieces from a pair of lesser-known teachers.

    First up is “Boredom Is Fascinating!” — an adaptation of a talk given by Josh Korda at Dharmapunx NYC a while back: https://www.lionsroar.com/this-is-how-you-work-with-boredom/

    The next piece — “Working With the Eightfold Path — is the culmination of a series written by Stephanie Noble: https://stephanienoble.com/2017/03/04/working-with-the-eightfold-path/amp/

    And I leave you with a short piece from Arnie Kozak entitled “Find Your Fascination”: https://www.lionsroar.com/find-your-fascination/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  6. REMINDER — 3/21/17 meditation group

    Greetings and happy spring! The Tuesday evening meditation group will be back in action tomorrow evening, meeting in the Chapel at First Parish from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. Judi is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Dharma teacher Oren J. Sofer will be around CIMC for a couple of events this week, first offering the Wednesday evening dharma talk “Five Ways to Transform Your Meditation Practice” from 7:30pm to 8:45pm on March 22. Then on Saturday, March 25, he will offer a day-long (10am to 4pm) workshop on “Wise Speech”:

    “Training ourselves to speak in a wise and non-harmful way is one of the factors of the Noble Eightfold Path. In this workshop, we will explore how to bring more mindfulness and care to our communication: our listening, our speaking, and even our thinking. The tools shared will be a combination of the core guidelines for Wise Speech offered by the Buddhist tradition, as well as the contemporary discipline of Nonviolent Communication. These practices form a powerful foundation for cultivating insight, awareness, self-understanding, and empathy. Through strengthening our capacity to stay present and to be more skillful in difficult situations, the pain and misunderstandings that come out of unwise and habitual speech can begin to ease.”

    For more information on either of the CIMC events, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also on Saturday, Jessica Morey will be at IMC Newburyport for the day-long (10am to 4:30pm) workshop “Befriending the Body”:

    “In this workshop, we will practice relaxing into our bodies as a refuge, anchor and ally in the practice of mindfulness. We will also cultivate loving kindness (metta) as a felt, somatic experience, both towards and through the body. Practicing mindfulness and metta grounded in the body helps us cultivate a level of steadiness and integrate the calm clarity and ease found in formal practice. Beginner and experienced students are welcome to attend this workshop which will include periods of guided meditation, movement, presented material and discussion.”

    To register for this workshop, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    For anyone interested in venturing a bit further afield this weekend, our friends at Valley Insight are offering “Developing Right Concentration: A Day of Meditation with Shaila Catherine” from 9am to 4:00pm on Sunday, March 26, in Lebanon, NH:

    “This day-long program will encourage the deepening of concentration through a relaxed and skilled development of mindfulness with breathing practices, cultivated through sitting and walking meditation, applicable to daily life. The teachings will explore the role of concentration on the liberating path, and introduce the deep and blissful absorption states called jhana. Shaila will guide meditations, and share insights and techniques gleaned from her extensive experience with jhana practice. This program will illuminate the powerful role that right concentration plays in the path of awakening. Both new and experienced meditators are welcome.”

    For more: http://valleyinsight.org/retreats/

    Also, there are still a few spots available for Souhegan Insight Meditation’s “Gladdening the Heart” event with Doreen Schweizer taking place from 9:30am to 5pm on Sunday, April 2, in Peterborough, NH:

    “We know that light will again return to our corner of Northern New England, as well as to our hearts. Please join us for this daylong retreat. It will offer participants a quiet refuge, a time for softening the busy mind and for gently healing ‘the heart withered by pain.’ By practicing in sustained silence, and with the aid of gentle instruction, we develop the tools to glimpse the nature of our own minds. As our minds begin to calm and concentration improves, we lay the foundation for deep insight. This day will include meditation instruction, alternating periods guided sitting and walking meditation, and time for question and group reflection. This retreat is appropriate for beginning and experienced meditators.”

    To register, please visit http://nhmeditation.org/events/

    I want to begin this week’s e-mail with the latest installment in Tricycle’s Meditation Month video series, featuring Ruth King. This week Ruth offers a teaching and guided meditation on the topic of “Nothing is Personal, Permanent, or Perfect” (21 min.): https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/meditation-month-2017-nothing-personal-permanent-perfect/

    With spring renewal fresh in the air, it seems an odd time to think about death, yet two articles on “The Supreme Meditation” managed to cross my path over the past week.

    The first is an adaptation from Larry Rosenberg’s 2000 book, “Living in the Light of Death: On the Art of Being Truly Alive”: https://www.lionsroar.com/the-supreme-meditation/

    The second is a short interview with Analayo Bhikkhu that was published in the latest issue of BCBS’s Insight Journal: https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/death-contemplation/

    And to wind things up for this week, I leave you with “11 Benefits of Loving-Friendliness Meditation” — an excerpt from “Loving-Kindness in Plain English,” the brand-new book from Bhante Henepola Gunaratana: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/11-benefits-loving-friendliness-meditation/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  7. CANCELLED — 3/14/17 meditation group

    Greetings! Due to the forecast for inclement weather throughout the day tomorrow, the Tuesday evening meditation is cancelled this week. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of some “found” retreat time and/or to catch up on some of the links I’ve sent out over the past few weeks. We’ll reconvene as usual next Tuesday, March 21.

    IMC Newburyport has a special free event coming up this Friday evening, March 17. Mindy Zlotnick will be offering a slide presentation on “The History and Story of Buddhist Nuns” from 7pm to 9pm:

    “We will learn about the history of Bhikkhunis (fully ordained Buddhist nuns) from the time of the Buddha until present day. Women were an integral part of the Buddha’s vision of the four-fold sangha. Because of political and cultural decisions, a strong female monastic presence disappeared for almost 1000 years. The revival of the bhikkhuni sangha began about 30 years ago and has now spread throughout the world. The evening will start with a 30 minute silent meditation, followed by the presentation with time for questions and answers, along with sharing a cup of tea with some sweet snacks. All dana that is collected will be donated to support the Worldwide Organization of the Alliance for Bhikkhunis.”

    To RSVP, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Looking a bit further ahead, be sure to register now if you are interested in attending “Gladdening the Heart,” Souhegan Insight Meditation’s day-long retreat with Doreen Schweizer on Sunday, April 2:

    “We know that light will again return to our corner of Northern New England, as well as to our hearts. Please join us for this daylong retreat. It will offer participants a quiet refuge, a time for softening the busy mind and for gently healing ‘the heart withered by pain.’ By practicing in sustained silence, and with the aid of gentle instruction, we develop the tools to glimpse the nature of our own minds. As our minds begin to calm and concentration improves, we lay the foundation for deep insight. This day will include meditation instruction, alternating periods guided sitting and walking meditation, and time for question and group reflection. This retreat is appropriate for beginning and experienced meditators.”

    For more information, please visit http://nhmeditation.org/events/

    Tricycle’s meditation month continues with “Intimacy with Impulses,” the latest video teaching from Ruth King (15 min.): https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/meditation-month-2017-intimacy-impulses/

    One article I would like to highlight this week is “How Your Mind Works,” Gaylon Ferguson’s excellent feature article from the March 2017 issue of Lion’s Roar: https://www.lionsroar.com/how-your-mind-works/

    A shorter — if equally thought-provoking — piece is “The Fifth Precept in the Age of Facebook and Trump,” Jay Michaelson’s recent contribution to the Tricycle Blog: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/fifth-precept-age-facebook-trump/

    Shifting gears slightly, some of you may have already heard last month’s NPR interview with Haenim Sunim, a Korean Buddhist monk who seems to have developed a bit of a following on Twitter with his 140-character missives on faith and mindfulness (7 min.): http://www.npr.org/2017/02/12/514731706/things-you-see-when-you-slow-down

    Keeping with the technology theme for a moment, Lion’s Roar’s Sam Littlefair reviews 11 Buddhist iPhone apps, including Insight Timer, 10% Happier, and Buddhify: https://www.lionsroar.com/buddhist-iphone-apps/

    Notably absent from Littlefair’s roundup are Andy Puddicombe’s Headspace (https://www.headspace.com), my personal go-to app, Samsara (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/samsara-timer/id592333521?mt=8), and Timeless Meditation, a brand-new entrant to the field (https://www.timeless-meditation.us).

    And to bring things to a close this week, I leave you with Charles Suhor’s “Connectedness Meditation” which he describes as “a meditation for extending lovingkindness”: https://www.lionsroar.com/a-meditation-for-extending-loving-kindness/

    That is all for this week; I hope that everyone is able to stay warm and safe through tomorrow’s snowstorm, and I look forward to seeing you on the 21st.

    Metta,
    Tim


  8. REMINDER — 3/7/15 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a few events coming up this week at CIMC and IMCN.

    First, on Wednesday evening, March 8, Thanissaro Bhikkhu will be in Cambridge to give CIMC’s weekly dharma talk. Than Geoff’s theme will be the “Ten Perfections.” The dharma talk will take place from 7:30pm to 8:45pm, and is preceded by sitting meditation from 6:30pm to 7:15pm. For those who are interested, Than Geoff has penned a short study guide on the Ten Perfections that is freely available on his website: (http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writings/TenPerfections_131122.pdf)

    Then, on Saturday and Sunday, March 11-12, Narayan Liebenson will offer a non-residential weekend retreat on “The Four Beautiful Qualities of the Heart”:

    “In this weekend retreat we will turn our attention to the “Four Beautiful Qualities of Heart” known as the Brahmaviharas, or Divine Abodes. These essential qualities are: loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity. Each of us has the inherent capacity to strengthen these qualities in our own hearts and minds. Through practice they may become our dwelling places where we feel “at home”, not merely places we visit on occasion.

    “There are specific instructions and practices for cultivating each of the four Brahmaviharas. Over the course of the weekend there will be instruction and practice with each one. We will investigate:

    Loving-Kindness on Saturday morning;
    Compassion on Saturday afternoon;
    Joy on Sunday morning;
    and Equanimity on Sunday afternoon.
    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators. Our time together will include guided meditation periods, talks and time for discussion and questions. Participants are strongly encouraged to attend both days, however, Saturday-only and Sunday-only registrations are also available.”

    For information on all CIMC events, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also taking place this Saturday, Ted Jones will be at IMC Newburyport to offer “Awakening to the Present Moment” a morning (10am to 12:30pm) retreat for beginning and newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Tricycle concluded it’s February “Teachings for Uncertain Times” video series with Kaira Jewel Lingo offering a teaching on “Facing Our Ancestors”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/teachings-uncertain-times-facing-ancestors/

    Tricycle subsequently kicked off March as “Meditation Month” with Ruth King offering guided meditation and teaching on “Cultivating Calm”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/meditation-month-2017-cultivating-calm/

    Meanwhile, the folks at Lion’s Roar sat down to talk with Lama Rod Owens before the third annual Buddhism and Race Conference that took place at Harvard University this past weekend: https://www.lionsroar.com/lama-rod-owens-on-the-third-buddhism-and-race-conference-at-harvard/

    And, as some of you may have seen already, “Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver recently interviewed His Holiness the Dalai Lama (18 min.): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLY45o6rHm0

    In closing this week, I offer “Kitten Meditation,” a very short teaching from Ajahn Brahm excerpted from his 2016 book “Kindfulness”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/kitten-meditation/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  9. REMINDER — 2/28/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela will be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC has a members-only event scheduled for this Saturday, March 4, and IMCN is on break until next week. Looking ahead, Thanissaro Bhikkhu (aka “Than Geoff) will be at CIMC for their Wednesday evening dharma talk on March 8, and Narayan Liebenson will be offering a non-residential weekend retreat on “The Four Beautiful Qualities of the Heart” on March 11 and 12. Also on March 11, Ted Jones will be at IMCN for a morning retreat for beginning and newer students. For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org and http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Tricycle continues it’s month-long “Teachings for Uncertain Times” video series, and this week’s offerings are from the Theavada nun Ven. Pannavati Bhikkhuni, Tibetan teacher Lama Rod Owens, and Won priest Rev. Dosung Yoo.

    In “Being a Knower of the World,” Ven. Pannavati explains that “to find out what the world means to us, we need to look within.”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/teachings-uncertain-times-pannavati/

    In “Recognizing Our Intersectionality,” Lama Rod speaks “about the power that comes from honoring our different identities.”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/teachings-for-uncertain-times-rod/

    And in “Ignorance Is The Cause of Suffering,” Rev. Yoo looks at the mistaken self as the cause of suffering: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/teachings-uncertain-times-dosung/

    The final installment of this series, featuring Zen teacher Kaira Jewel Lingo, will be out later this week and I will post a link in next Monday’s e-mail.

    March is “Meditation Month” for the folks at Tricycle, who will feature a free series of weekly dharma talks from Insight Meditation teacher Ruth King. For more information, please visit https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/meditation-month-2017-ungripping-heart-mind/

    Shifting gears slightly, I want to thank Brenda for bringing my attention to a very interesting half-hour video from the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in which the noted scholar-monk Ven. Analayo Bhikkhu speaks about “Respecting the Different Buddhist Traditions”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-blp_r2rKOk

    And, finally, Ven. Analayo was also featured in the February BCBS Insight Journal discussing NIbanna as he has come to understand it from his years of scriptural study and personal practice: https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/the-nibbana-interview/

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow night.

    Metta,
    Tim


  10. REMINDER — 2/21/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie will be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN are both in action this Saturday, February 25:

    Matthew Daniell will be in Newburyport for “Wakeful Rest” a day-long retreat (9am to 5pm, with morning-only option):

    “Often we associate wakefulness with a vigilant tight kind of attention, and rest with a kind of dreamy relaxation. In this retreat we will work with a special body-breath-open awareness approach to practice that supports a quality of present moment awareness that is simultaneously spacious and grounded, wakeful, and restful. When we learn to touch and abide in this balanced way of being, whether it be in formal practice, or in daily life, we live from a place of freshness, openness and ease.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile in Cambridge, Narayan Liebenson will be at CIMC to offer a day-long (10am to 4pm) workshop on “The Wisdom of Anger”:

    “The experience of anger can be a signal, awakening one to the fact that something is wrong. As such, it can include a temporary feeling of power and strength. If prolonged longer than needed, however, it is one of the most destructive forces in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Anger is a habit of mind that can be transmuted into discernment and clarity. Understanding the energy of anger — and its roots of pain, fear and hurt — requires great compassion.

    “During this workshop, we will explore how to work with both calming and wisdom practices to free the heart from anger. In learning about and encouraging a wise attitude, patience, acceptance, and investigation, we become able to respond with care and interest instead of reacting only out of conditioning. We develop our capacity to observe anger without either pushing it away or entangling ourselves within it.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also, don’t forget about Souhegan Insight’s upcoming retreat with Doreen Schweizer has been re-scheduled for Sunday, April 2: http://nhmeditation.org/events/

    I would like to lead off this week by sharing the two latest installments from Tricycle’s video series “Teachings for Uncertain Times.”

    First up is a short (10 min.) talk by Viveka Chen, a teacher in the Triratana tradition, on “Waking Up to Activism”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/viveka/

    Next is a longer talk (20 min.) from Insight Meditation teacher Ruth King on “Racism Is A Heart Disease”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/ruth-king-uncertain-times/

    (I highly recommend listening Ruth King’s talk in particular.)

    Some of the same themes explored by King also pop up in this recent Lion’s Roar blog post from Jeremy Mohler, “How Meditation Helps Us to Be One With – and Effect – Change”: https://www.lionsroar.com/how-meditation-helps-us-to-be-one-with-and-affect-change/

    And in closing I’ll leave you with a short conversation between LR’s Rod Meade Sperry and Vinny Ferraro, along with a brief meditation offering from Vinny: https://www.lionsroar.com/right-now-its-like-this/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  11. REMINDER — 2/14/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group is scheduled to meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    On Saturday, February 18, IMCN is offering a special morning program (10am to 11:30am) for children ages 3 to 9; please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org for further details.

    Also on Saturday, from 9am to 1pm, Larry Rosenberg will be at CIMC for “Clearly Knowing,” a half-day retreat:

    “We will spend our morning together sitting and walking, experiencing the profound value of utter silence and simplicity in the company of other practitioners. There will be few interruptions to pull us away from the opportunity to settle into and deepen our practice. The retreat will conclude with the opportunity for questions and discussion of our experience.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also, Souhegan Insight’s retreat with Doreen Schweizer, originally scheduled for this past weekend, has been postponed until Sunday, April 2. Space is available if you are interested in attending: http://nhmeditation.org/events/

    I’ll lead off this week with the three latest installments from Tricycle’s “Teachings for Uncertain Times” video series.

    First, Myokei Caine-Barrett, bishop of the Nichiren Shu Buddhist order, explains how a complex practice can be a foundation for healing: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/myokei/

    Next, Zen teacher Mushim Patricia Ikeda-Nash reminds us that now is the time to “dig in” to our practice in “What Have We Been Practicing For?”: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/mushim/

    And finally, Dawa Tarchin Phillips, a teacher in the Tibetan tradition, offers eight teachings to appreciate our inherent value: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/dawa/

    Continuing with the theme, Insight teacher Pamela Ayo Yetunde shared her thoughts on “Buddhism in the Age of #BlackLivesMatter” in Lion’s Roar last May: https://www.lionsroar.com/buddhism-age-blacklivesmatter/

    More recently, BCBS visiting teacher Lynette Monteiro was interviewed about “Diversity Assumptions, Implicit Values, and Seeking Refuge” for the January issue of Insight Journal: https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/diversity-assumptions-implicit-values-and-seeking-refuge/

    And in closing this week, in recognition of Valentine’s Day, I leave you with with a few words on the “Greatest Love of All” from Shambhala teacher Lodro Rinzler: https://www.lionsroar.com/greatest-love-of-all/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  12. REMINDER — 2/7/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Souhegan Insight Meditation’s day-long retreat with Doreen Schweizer scheduled for this Sunday, February 12, is already full, but our friends at IMCN and CIMC both have events coming up this weekend.

    Doug Phillips will be in Newburyport this Saturday, February 11, for “Breath Awareness for Your Whole Life,” a morning workshop from 9:30am to 1:00pm:

    “Breath awareness is a powerful mindfulness tool leading to calm, clear seeing, and insight. One way of working with breath awareness, as instructed by the Buddha in the Anapanasati Sutta, teaches us to be sensitive to the breath in the whole body. In this workshop we will practice expanding our sense of the breath in the body and we will explore how to use this practice as the foundation for the unfolding of Anapanasati, naturally leading to a more open, inclusive, awareness which embraces all of our life with more freshness, clarity and ease. Suggested reading for this workshop: Breath by Breath and Three Steps to Awakening by Larry Rosenberg.”

    To register or for more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile Narayan Liebenson will be at CIMC both Saturday and Sunday for a an Experienced Practitioners’ Weekend Retreat, beginning at 9:00am on the 11th and ending at 5:00pm on the 12th. There is also the option to attend for either Saturday or Sunday alone (Saturday, 9:00am to 8:00pm; Sunday, 9:00am to 5:00pm):

    “In addition to periods of group sitting practice, this retreat will include open periods of individual practice in sitting, walking, standing, and lying down. This format is intended to foster self-reliance, and it offers the invitation to be aware and fluid in all four postures. On Saturday evening there will be a sharing circle; a meditative question will be asked and investigated.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    As we are fully into the month of February, I want to pass along links to the three most recent installments of Tricycle’s “Teachings for Uncertain Times” video series.

    First up is “The Power and Importance of Community,” a teaching by Tuere Sala, co-guiding teacher at the Seattle Insight Meditation Society:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/teachings-uncertain-times-power-importance-community/

    Next, Larry Ward, a teacher in Thich Nhat Hanh’s lineage, brings us “America’s Racial Karma”:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/larry-ward/

    And last but not least, Mona Chopra offers “A Black Lives Matter Lovingkindness Meditation”:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/mona/

    Stay tuned for more great videos through the rest of the month….

    I want to wrap things up this week with a flashback to Tania Ketenjian’s two-part interview with author Pico Iyer, which first appeared on the radio program “Sight Unseen” back in 2009:

    Part one (30 min.): http://www.radiotania.org/mp3/SightUnseen040909.mp3

    Part two (30 min.): http://www.radiotania.org/mp3/SightUnseen041609.mp3

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  13. REMINDER — 1/31/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group is scheduled to meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator. The forecast is for inclement weather (i.e., snow) Tuesday evening into Wednesday; I will monitor conditions throughout the day and will send out a cancellation notice by 5pm if things look bad.

    With February fast upon us, so is Sharon Salzberg’s 7th annual 28-day online meditation challenge. For more details, please visit https://www.sharonsalzberg.com/meditation-challenge-2017-registration

    Coming up this weekend, CIMC will host a day-long (10am to 4:30pm) Beginners’ Insight Meditation workshop with Madeline Klyne:

    “This Beginners’ Workshop will include formal meditation instruction, guided sitting and walking practice, and group discussion as we explore the basics of Insight Meditation (Vipassana). During our time together, participants will learn how to meditate along with others who are in the beginning stages of practice. There will be ample opportunity to ask questions.

    “This day-long program is appropriate for people who have little or no meditation experience of any kind, for those who are relatively new to Insight Meditation, and for anyone who would like to revisit the basics of meditation and deepen their practice. All are welcome.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    IMCN has no scheduled activities this weekend, but next Saturday, February 11, Jim Austin will be in Newburyport for the half-day (9:30am to 1pm) workshop, “Breath Awareness for Your Whole Life.” To find out more, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also, just a reminder that Souhegan Insight Meditation is offering a day-long (9:30am to 5pm) retreat with Doreen Schweizer on Sunday, February 12. Please visit http://nhmeditation.org/events/ for more details.

    Tricycle magazine is marking Black History Month with “Teachings for Uncertain Times” — a series of video dharma talks presented by Buddhist teachers of color. The series gets started this week with a short (15 min.) talk by Vimalasara (Valerie) Mason-John — a teacher in the Triratna tradition — on the barriers that people of color face when entering the Buddhist path:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/vimalasara/

    Finally this week, I want to share a short article from Lion’s Roar on using the Alexander Technique to help improve posture — and comfort! — during sitting meditation:

    https://www.lionsroar.com/use-alexander-technique-to-meditate-more-comfortably/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening, weather permitting.

    Metta,
    Tim


  14. REMINDER — 1/24/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN each has an event coming up this Saturday, January 28.

    Matthew Daniell will be in Newburyport for a day-long (9am to 5pm, with a morning-only option) retreat on “Loving Kindness and Insight Meditation: An Openhearted Approach to Wise Living”:

    “This silent retreat will be divided into two parts, in the morning we cultivate a heart of kindness and care by practicing wishing well for ourselves and others in formal Loving Kindness (or metta) practice. From this open hearted generative place we will move to practicing Insight meditation using breath awareness and the body as a basis for cultivating clear present moment awareness in the afternoon. Together these practices combine to a warm-hearted and connected approach to living more deeply, kindly, and wisely in the present moment, whether it be in the silence and community support of retreat, or in the midst of our busy daily lives.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, Doug Phillips will be in Cambridge for “Keep It Simple (and Stick to the Present Moment!),” also a day-long retreat from 9am to 5pm:

    “There are many useful pointers that can re-orient us to our practice and our life, cutting through seeming complexity and confusion:

    “Who am I?”
    “What is this?”
    “Drop deluded thinking!”
    “What is there if there is no thinking?”

    “The title of this retreat was coined by the Thai meditation master Ajahn Chah. It invites just such a simple, direct and practical way for each of us to stop, look and listen to our life. We will spend the day together cultivating the gift of a simplified way of living and being, and we will explore how to actualize this gift in the midst of the realities of our often hectic and complicated daily lives.

    “This program is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators. Our day will be spent in silence and will include the opportunity for individual interviews and an end-of-retreat discussion.”

    To register and/or to find out more, please visit http://cambridgeinsight.org

    Looking ahead to next month, Delia reports that registration is filling quickly for “Gladdening the Heart,” the February 12 day-long retreat with Doreen Schweizer. To find out more, please visit http://nhmeditation.org/events/

    Also coming up in February is Sharon Salzberg’s 7th annual “Commit to Sit” 28-day meditation challenge:

    “Now in its seventh year, this free 28-day challenge is powerful exploration of the tools of meditation led by expert teacher, Sharon Salzberg. Whether you are brand new to meditation, or a longtime practitioner, Sharon offers down-to-earth expertise based on 40 years of practical experience studying and teaching. This month-long program follows Sharon’s New York Times bestselling book, ‘Real Happiness’ and covering a wide variety of meditation techniques throughout the course of the month. Since 2011, tens of thousands have participated in this challenge from around the globe, fostering an inspiring community dedicated to finding deeper happiness and peace of mind.

    To find out more visit http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/meditation-challenge-2017-registration

    Finally this week, I want to leave you with “A Meditator’s 7-Point Practice Plan for 2017,” a short reflection from Ethan Nichtern: http://www.lionsroar.com/a-meditators-7-point-practice-plan-for-2017/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to sitting with everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  15. REMINDER — 1/17/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie will be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of events coming up this weekend:

    First, from 5pm to 7pm on Friday, January 20 — inauguration night — the Cambridge Health Alliance’s Center for Mindfulness and Compassion will offer “Fostering Communities of Light,” a benefit event “to gather in practice, discussion and community to reflect on fostering light within ourselves and our communities.”

    The evening will include:

    – Opportunities to share, connect and dialogue among like-minded individuals passionate about strengthening communities through mindfulness and compassion.

    – Keynote speakers, Chris Germer PhD and Metta McGarvey EdD, will lead reflection and guided mindfulness practice.

    – Learn about efforts to bring mindfulness to children, families, and schools from Christopher Willard, PsyD and the work of our CMC Community Fellows
    For more information, please visit https://cmcannual.my-trs.com

    Next, from 10am to 12:30pm on Saturday, January 21, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport for “The Mindful Moment: A Retreat for Beginning and Newer Students”:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    Please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org to register or for more information.

    Then on Sunday, January 22, Andrew Olendzki will be at Cambridge Insight for a day-long (10am to 4pm) workshop on “Self and Non-Self”:

    “There are few ideas in the Buddhist tradition as simultaneously challenging and rewarding as the teaching on self and non-self. It is challenging because it is so counter-intuitive — everyone knows we are, of course, a self, and it seems odd to question such an obvious fact. It is rewarding because when properly understood, the uniquely Buddhist insight into the non-self approach to lived experience is profoundly liberating.

    “This day-long workshop offers an in-depth investigation of the matter, including: the psychological model of the six sense bases and five aggregates; the interdependent origination and cessation of the self; the bases for constructing a sense of self; the classical Buddhist critique of the major forms of self; metaphors and similes for understanding self and non-self; practices and guided meditations for cultivating the insight of non-self.

    “Appropriate for both new and experienced meditators, this course will be primarily lecture with some periods of discussion and meditation.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also, Andy’s 8-week online course, Going Forth, kicks off this evening (January 16), and registration is still open:

    https://learn.tricycle.org/courses/going-forth/?utm_source=CTA1612NS

    Looking ahead to next Monday, January 23, author and newsman Dan Harris will be speaking at Newton South High School from 7pm to 9pm:

    “Up Your Meditation Game: Take on the Secret Fears that Stop You From Meditating or Mess Up Your Practice”

    “Join ABC news anchor Dan Harris and Jeff Warren (the MacGyver of meditation teachers) for an evening of discussion and practice. Bring your meditation questions…what’s holding you back? They’ll help you up your game!

    “Dan Harris is perhaps the most unlikely meditation evangelist, ever. After a panic attack on Good Morning America, he wrote the New York Times bestselling memoir 10% Happier about what led him to embrace a practice he’d long considered ridiculous. He then started the 10% Happier: Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics app with a handful of bona fide meditation teachers, including Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzberg.

    “Now here’s what’s troubling Dan: The perception of meditation is shifting from weird and ‘culty’ to trendy and beneficial. But despite this evolution, most people aren’t actually meditating. So Dan recruited Jeff Warren, founder of the Consciousness Explorers Club in Toronto, to head cross-country (in a 10% Happier rock star bus) to figure out what’s standing in the way of a regular practice for all sorts of Americans–and help them knock down these challenges. This road trip will serve as the catalyst for a new 10% Happier book (January 2018) and a series of courses on the 10% Happier app.

    “Can’t find the time to meditate? Worried you are doing it wrong? Concerned that meditation will make you lose your edge? Whether you are aiming to getting started, having trouble staying consistent, or just want to up your game, let Dan and Jeff take a shot at ‘MacGyvering’ your mind.”

    To register, please visit https://registration.xenegrade.com/nce/coursedisplay.cfm?schID=9495&CFID=6158085&CFTOKEN=c07cb9fff24b4b98-5BCE858C-155D-1D81-0DC6123ACFFED2A3&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=Meet%20Dan%20in%20Newton%2C%20MA_1&utm_medium=email&utm_term=register%20now

    Looking a bit further ahead, don’t forget that Souhegan Insight Meditation will be hosting “Gladdening the Heart: A Day of Meditation” with Doreen Schweizer on Sunday, February 12: http://nhmeditation.org/events/

    In recognition of today’s Martin Luther King Jr., holiday and the upcoming Presidential inauguration later this week, I want to close this week’s e-mail with two articles:

    The first is “The King We Need: Martin Luther King Jr., Moral Philosopher” a reprise of Charles Johnon’s 2005 article for Shambhala Sun: http://www.lionsroar.com/the-king-we-need-charles-r-johnson-on-the-legacy-of-dr-martin-luther-king-jr/

    “Let’s Stand Up Together” is a brand-new essay from Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, due to be published the forthcoming (Spring 2017) issue of Buddhadharma: http://www.lionsroar.com/lets-stand-up-together/

    That is all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  16. REMINDER — 1/10/17 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. We had a last-minute switch, and Gabriela has very kindly offered to facilitate the practice this week.

    CIMC and IMCN are finally back in full swing after the winter hiatus. CIMC’s weekend offering (“Lessons from Hospice” workshop with Nancy Barcelo and Kourkoulakos) is already full, but Chris Crotty will be up at IMCN on the morning (9:30am to 1pm) of Saturday, January 14, for “The Noble Truth of Freedom: Insight That Alleviates Suffering”:

    “Through insight meditation we calm the mind and investigate the root cause of suffering. Genuine freedom we learn, is not a complicated path, despite the confusion we may experience in our life. The depth of the Buddha’s liberation teachings are in their simplicity: radical transformation is found in our capacity to be with experience as it is; we don’t need to change anything. This half-day retreat will explore the highest ideal of Buddhist teachings – freedom from suffering – through mindfulness meditation and an emphasis on ease and self-acceptance.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Stay tuned for more great events at both centers later this month, including “Self and Non-Self” a day-long workshop at CIMC with Andrew Olendzki on Sunday, January 22 (http://www.cambridgeinsight.org).

    Also, looking just a bit further ahead, on February 12 our old friend Doreen Schweizer will be collaborating with Delia K. and the folks at Souhegan Insight Meditation for “Gladdening the Heart” a day-long retreat in Peterborough, NH. For more information on this event, please visit http://nhmeditation.org/events/

    The major news in the religious studies world of late is the death of Huston Smith, the esteemed author and scholar of world religions. Barry Boyce visited Smith back in 2009 for a profile in Shambhala Sun (http://www.lionsroar.com/huston-smith-fifty-years-on-the-razors-edge/), and last week Dana Sawyer penned an obituary for Smith at Tricycle.org (https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/religious-scholar-huston-smith-died-97/).

    And last but not least, I wanted to mention “Buddhist Wisdom of the Thai Forest Tradition: The Roots of Western Insight Meditation” — a new website that has complied a vast and growing array of information about this particular “flavor” of Buddhism. It’s definitely worth setting aside some time to explore: http://thaiforestwisdom.org.

    That is all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  17. REMINDER — 1/3/17 meditation group

    Greetings and happy 2017! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I’ll be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN are both on hiatus for another week or so, but the new year is a great time to consider treating yourself to a longer retreat. Space is still available for a number of offerings at IMS and BCBS:

    http://www.dharma.org/meditation-retreats/retreat-center/retreat-center-schedule

    https://www.bcbsdharma.org/courses/

    If you do go on retreat this year, Oren Sofer and friends have just launched Next Step Dharma, a new 6-week online program to offer ongoing support for anyone seeking to integrate the fruits of retreat into daily life:

    http://www.nextstepdharma.org/#home

    Wisdom Publications is also continuing their own endeavors in online education with “Buddhism: One Teacher, Many Traditions,” a 10-week course (January 9 – March 13) led by Ven. Thubten Chodron. The course will “strengthen your knowledge and practice of Buddhism by understanding its varied traditions—how they came to be, what makes them different from each other, and what they have in common.” To enroll, please visit http://learn.wisdompubs.org/academy/courses/buddhism-one-teacher/

    As noted a few weeks ago, Andy Olendzki’s new book, “Untangling Self,” was published by Wisdom this past month (http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/untangling-self). Arnie Kozak just wrote a comprehensive review of “Untangling Self” over at Beliefnet.com (http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/mindfulnessmatters/2017/01/10-billon-moments-mindfulness.html), and our dear friend Delia Kostner recently offered her own thoughts about the book in the latest issue of Cushion and Couch:

    http://conta.cc/2irNnPc

    While you’re checking out Cushion and Couch, be sure to also catch Brett Dixon’s exclusive interview with Andy as well as the round-table retrospective for the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy’s 20th anniversary, featuring Paul Fulton, Chris Germer, Trudy Goodman, Stephanie Morgan, Ron Siegel, and Charles Styron.

    That’s all for this week. I wish everyone a happy, healthy, and safe new year and I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  18. REMINDER — 12/27/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow evening from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela will facilitate our final practice of the year.

    CIMC and IMCN are both on hiatus until after January 1; in the meantime “Journey to the West” is into its final week of production at the Central Square Theater: https://www.centralsquaretheater.org/shows/journey-to-the-west/

    Stay tuned for all sorts of great events to kick off the new year.

    As we wind down 2016, and look ahead to 2017, I want to highlight “Resolved: No More Resolutions,” an op-ed piece by columnist Renee Loth that appeared in today’s Boston Globe: http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2016/12/26/resolved-more-resolutions/uDHQkMk0cOxno1R1dA7PJO/story.html?s_campaign=bdc:globewell:opinion

    The folks at Tricycle chose to end 2016 with a selection of their favorite pieces from the last 12 months (https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/tricycles-top-16-2016/); Christina Feldman’s “Doing, Being, and the Great In-Between” struck me as an especially good reflection to hold in mind as we head into the coming year: https://tricycle.org/magazine/meaning-between-doing-and-being/

    That is all for this week and this year. I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening, and wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and safe 2017.

    Metta,
    Tim


  19. REMINDER — 12/20/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Sue will facilitate the practice this week (sitting in for Brenda, who covered for Sue last week).

    Both CIMC and IMCN are now closed for weekend events until after the new year. For those who may find themselves with some extra time over the next few weeks, performances of Journey to the West continue in Cambridge through the end of the month: https://www.centralsquaretheater.org/shows/journey-to-the-west/

    For those who may be interested in learning while hunkered down at home, there are a few online options to mention:

    Andy Olendzki will be launching a new 17-week online course next week via the Integrated Dharma Institute:

    “Developing the Mind, focuses on samādhi, or the practices of meditation. When the mind can get free of its habitual restlessness and settle down upon a chosen object of attention, with some stability and clarity, one can one begin to see what the Buddha is pointing to in his teachings. Beginning with some basic ways of looking at mental training and clarifying the difference between directed and undirected meditation, the course takes a very close look at the classical instructions for meditation found in the Establishment of Mindfulness Discourse, including its important refrain, and at all four foundations of mindfulness individually. The higher concentration practices of absorption or jhāna are examined carefully, and each of the four ‘sublime abidings’ or brahma-vihāras are also investigated thoroughly. It goes on to address the issues of skillful effort and working with mental states, and concludes with a close look at the Mettā Sutta, the well-loved discourse on how to cultivate loving kindness and the many benefits of doing so.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.integrateddharmainstitute.org/course/developing-the-mind/

    Next month, Andy will launch “Going Forth” an 8-week online program offered in collaboration with Tricycle Online Courses:

    “In ancient India, it was customary for a person to disengage from years spent as a householder and “wander forth” into a life of homelessness to focus on inner development. The Buddha adapted this model, encouraging his disciples to “go forth” and dedicate themselves to the noble project of enlightenment.

    “In Going Forth, we interpret this commitment to wandering forth symbolically rather than literally. For people entering or inhabiting their mature years, wandering forth offers a new vision of retirement. In this view, advancing age is not a time of decline and diminishing fulfillment, but has the potential to be the most meaningful time of one’s life, offering an opportunity to focus on inner development. This course is also valuable for those facing other important transitions and for young people who—like the Buddha himself—are inspired to look beyond the conventional and investigate deeper existential waters.

    “This eight-week program focuses on a selection of passages from early Buddhist texts that define and clarify a different, noble way of being in the world. These passages are newly translated in gender-universal language and presented weekly in an accessible format with the English and Pali side by side. The passages are explained, investigated, and made relevant for contemporary seekers; no prior knowledge of Pali is required.”

    For more information on Going Forth, please visit https://learn.tricycle.org/courses/going-forth

    Andy also just published his new book, Untangling Self, via Wisdom Publications (http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/untangling-self); stay tuned next week for Delia Kostner’s review of the book, plus Brett Dixon’s exclusive interview with Andy for Cushion and Couch.

    Harvard University has also just launched the free 4-week online course “Buddhism Through Its Scriptures” as part of the World Religions Through Their Scriptures XSeries Program:

    “Whether you are new to the study of Buddhism or have been studying it or practicing it for years, this course will provide you with the opportunity to become acquainted with a variety of Buddhist teachings while guiding you to think about them, and yourself, in new ways.

    “Through a combination of carefully selected readings, both scriptural and informational, as well as exposure to various forms of Buddhist practice such as art, devotional acts, and literary works, you will learn how to interpret, reflect upon, and apply the teachings of the Buddha to your own life and deepen your understanding of Buddhism.

    “No previous knowledge of Buddhism or religious study required.”

    For more information, please visit https://www.edx.org/course/buddhism-through-its-scriptures-harvardx-hds3221-3x#!

    Paul Ratner offers a bit more insight on the Harvard course over at Big Think: http://bigthink.com/paul-ratner/want-to-learn-more-about-buddhism-take-this-free-online-course-from-harvard-university

    In closing this week, I leave you with a reprise of Sylvia Boorstein’s 2012 Shambhala Sun piece on suffering, insight, and Buddhist practice: http://www.lionsroar.com/i-want-to-be-insightful-july-2012/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  20. REMINDER — 12/13/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow evening from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Sue is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN both have events coming up this Saturday, December 17.

    Chas DiCapua will be in Cambridge for the day-long (9am to 5pm) retreat “A Gradual Awakening: Small Moments, Many Times”:

    “In our practice, it can be so easy to have much of our attention focused on the hindrances and the purification aspects of the path. What is equally important is to be mindful of times when the mind is relatively free of wanting, of not wanting, and of the self-making that both gives rise to, and is strengthened by, that. As we get tastes of the experience of a relatively free heart and mind, we see two important things about it: That it is available here and now, and that it does not consist of anything. Rather, it is what remains when the defilements are not present.

    “In this day-long retreat, we will practice noticing the very ordinary moments of freedom, while paying attention to when we move into striving and begin trying to make these moments of freedom happen.

    “This retreat may be more beneficial for those that have had some meditation practice and retreat experience.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Meanwhile, Matthew Daniell will be in West Newbury for the morning (9:30am to 12:30pm) workshop “Loving Kindness for the Holidays”:

    “The Dalai Lama said that ‘love is a not a luxury, but a necessity,’ yet in our hearts we often do not feel love for ourselves or others and we bear the painful consequences. In this workshop, we will explore time tested Buddhist practices which tap the power of intention through offering phrases of loving kindness (metta) to ourselves and others. When cultivated, loving kindness practice helps us to heal our own hearts by loving ourselves more deeply. It can also help us touch those in our lives and the world with a deeper sense of love and connection. Touching love for ourselves and others can be especially helpful during the holiday season with all of its inherent stresses. All are welcome.”

    The workshop will be followed by a holiday potluck lunch. For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also, a reminder that “Journey to the West” is being performed at the Central Square Theater in Cambridge through the end of the month: https://www.centralsquaretheater.org/shows/journey-to-the-west/

    This week I would like to share two articles from Lion’s Roar. The first is an article on vipassana meditation excerpted from Bhante Henepola Gunaratana’s classic book, Mindfulness in Plain English: http://www.lionsroar.com/why-meditate/

    The second article is an older article by Karen Kissel Wegela on how to include “difficult people” in our meditation practice and in our lives: http://www.lionsroar.com/trading-places/

    And in closing, I leave you with some recent words from Jack Kornfield on “Practicing the Dharma in Uncertain Times”: http://www.lionsroar.com/now-is-the-time-to-stand-up-practicing-the-dharma-in-uncertain-times-part-2/

    That is all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  21. REMINDER — 12/6/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Things are quiet at CIMC this week, but IMCN will host “Cultivating A Kind Attention” — a weekend residential retreat with Chas DiCapua that begins at 5pm on Friday, December 9, and ends at 11:30am on Sunday, December 11. Again, this is a great opportunity for anyone who is considering their first overnight retreat:

    “One of the most common struggles for people in formal practice is trying too hard. This is based on the mistaken view that we are trying to get somewhere and/or have certain experiences. Instead of bringing a goal oriented approach to our practice, we can learn to cultivate an attention that is kind and receptive. We can learn to meet life on its own terms and allow ourselves to be touched by an increasing variety and depth of life. In this retreat we will practice sitting and walking meditation in a way that includes kindness and receptivity. With this approach, we take the struggle out of practice and cultivate an ability to be with things just as they are.”

    There are also options to attend as a “commuter” or to only attend for the day on Saturday.

    For more information on all of IMCN’s offerings, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    For those who may be interested in something more dramatic, “Journey to the West” is a new production opening Thursday, December 8, at the Central Square Theater in Cambridge:

    “In the beloved comic Chinese novel a monk travels from China to India in search of spiritual enlightenment and Buddhist scriptures. Mary Zimmerman’s (Candide, Metamorphosis) adaptation delivers whimsy, delight, and a combination of comedy, adventure, and satire mixed with a mystical dreamscape filled with lyrical beauty…. Journey to the West promises to be a comic adventure for all ages celebrating the vitality of human perseverance.”

    For more information on performances (December 8 through December 31), please visit https://www.centralsquaretheater.org/shows/journey-to-the-west/

    For more information on the 16th century Chinese novel on which the play is based, please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journey_to_the_West

    This week I want to pass along (somewhat belatedly) a link to a site called Meditation Oasis. This is a site that Sue recommends for guided meditations (with music), and there looks to be a wide variety to suit a range of preferences: http://www.meditationoasis.com/podcast/

    And I’ll follow a slightly Zennish tangent to wrap things up this week, sharing Norman Fisher’s Lion’s Roar piece from earlier this year, “Making Friends on the Buddhist Path”: http://www.lionsroar.com/friends-buddhist-path/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  22. REMINDER — 11/29/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN are both back in action following the Thanksgiving holiday, with events taking place at each location on Saturday, December 3.

    Larry Rosenberg will be in Cambridge for a half-day (9am to 1pm) retreat, “Clearly Knowing”:

    “Since the time of the Buddha, intensive retreat practice has been considered crucial for the maturing of insight. The simplicity and support of the retreat environment encourage a continuity of awareness. Retreats can help develop qualities such as confidence, perseverance, mindfulness, concentration and the unfolding of wisdom and compassion.

    “We will spend our morning together sitting and walking, experiencing the profound value of utter silence and simplicity in the company of other practitioners. There will be few interruptions to pull us away from the opportunity to settle into and deepen our practice. The retreat will conclude with the opportunity for questions and discussion of our experience.”

    For additional details and registration information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Meanwhile, up in West Newbury, Matthew Daniell will offer “Awakening to the Present Moment: A Retreat for Beginning and Newer Students” from 10:00am to 12:30pm:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    Also, looking ahead to the following weekend, December 9-11, Chas DiCapua will be at IMCN for “Cultivating A Kind Attention,” a weekend residential retreat beginning at 5pm Friday and ending at 11:30am on Sunday. This is a great opportunity for anyone who is considering their first overnight retreat:

    “One of the most common struggles for people in formal practice is trying too hard. This is based on the mistaken view that we are trying to get somewhere and/or have certain experiences. Instead of bringing a goal oriented approach to our practice, we can learn to cultivate an attention that is kind and receptive. We can learn to meet life on its own terms and allow ourselves to be touched by an increasing variety and depth of life. In this retreat we will practice sitting and walking meditation in a way that includes kindness and receptivity. With this approach, we take the struggle out of practice and cultivate an ability to be with things just as they are.”

    There are also options to attend as a “commuter” or to only attend for the day on Saturday.

    For more information on IMCN’s offerings, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    I’ll wrap up this week’s e-mail with “Making the Buddha’s Pefections Our Own,” a short excerpt from Jean Smith’s book, Life Is Spiritual Practice: Achieving Happiness with the 10 Perfections:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/making-the-buddhas-perfections-our-own/

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  23. REMINDER — 11/22/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie is this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN are both closed for the Thanksgiving holiday this week, but will be back in action with weekend events scheduled at each center on December 3.

    As we look ahead to a time of year in which gatherings with friends and family are more frequent, I want to lead this week with “How to Have a Mindful Conversation,” a new Mindful.org piece by Mitch Abblett (who also happens to be the Executive Director for the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy):

    http://www.mindful.org/how-to-have-a-mindful-conversation/

    Another offering to share is “Why Are We So Hard On Ourselves?” a newish Tricycle.org piece by IMS/Spirit Rock teacher Mark Coleman:

    https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/why-are-we-so-hard-on-ourselves/

    Meanwhile, Lion’s Roar’s Sam Littlefair recently profiled an interesting new organization called Buddhist Insights, that “brings meditation to the streets and subways of NYC”:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/buddhist-insights-meditating-streets-new-york/

    And last but not least, I’d be remiss if I did not acknowledge the death of singer-songwriter/Zen-Buddhist-monk, Leonard Cohen. Lion’s Roar’s Rod Meade Sperry offers a brief remembrance:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/leonard-cohen-dead-at-82/

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening and wish you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

    With metta and gratitude,
    Tim


  24. REMINDER — 11/15/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a handful of events coming up in the community this weekend.

    On Saturday, November 19, the PINE Psychoanalytic Center will hold its November meeting at the Cambridge Hospital. The morning session (9am to 12 noon) will feature a talk by Dr. Axel Hoffer on “Bringing Meditation into Psychoanalysis: Free Association, Meditation and Bion,” with discussant Dr. Lawrence Brown and moderator Dr. Delia Kostner. The afternoon (1:30pm to 4:30pm) will feature Dr. Kostner presenting “The Contemplative on the Couch: When the Patient has a Meditation Practice,” with Dr. Hoffer serving as moderator and Dr. Paul Brown joining as discussant. For more information, please visit http://www.pineanalysis.org/content/events

    Also on Saturday, Andrew Olendzki will be teaming up with our friends at VIMS for a daylong (9am to 4pm) retreat on “Self and Not Self” at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Hanover, NH:

    “Andy will speaking from the material in his new book, which addresses the topic of Self and Not Self and the relevance of the Buddhist understanding of the question of Self to our daily lives. In addition, he will be sharing his current work on meditation practices in Early Buddhist teachings through directed meditations throughout the day.”

    To register, please visit http://valleyinsight.org/retreats/

    Meanwhile, Jim Austin will be at IMCN for a morning (10am to 1pm) “Mindfulness Yoga and Insight Meditation” workshop:

    “How can a yoga asana practice be used to support our mindfulness meditation practice? Can we bring the qualities of mindfulness and openness developed in sitting meditation practice onto the yoga mat thereby creating continuity between our practice on the mat and our practice on the cushion? We’ll explore these questions and others during this half-day workshop. The workshop will include short periods of sitting meditation, yoga, and discussion. This workshop is suitable for all levels of experience and beginners are welcome.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    And finally, Narayan Liebenson will lead a 2-day “Experienced Practitioners’ Weekend Retreat” on Saturday and Sunday at CIMC:

    “The Experienced Practitioners’’ Weekend Retreat offers an intensive opportunity to practice in the company of other dedicated practitioners. In addition to periods of group sitting practice, this retreat will include open periods of individual practice in sitting, walking, standing, and lying down. This format is intended to foster self-reliance, and it offers the invitation to be aware and fluid in all four postures. On Saturday evening, there will be a sharing circle; a meditative question will be asked and investigated.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    The election last week has brought the political tensions of the past 12 months (if not far longer) to a head. The reaction has been strong and swift, and leaders within the US Buddhist community have been among those to weigh in.

    Of the many responses that have crossed my path in the past week, I thought this pair of short reflections was particularly poignant:

    Susan Piver offers us “Don’t Bite the Hook: Five things to remember post election”:
    http://www.lionsroar.com/susan-piver-election-response/

    While EBMC’s Larry Yang shares his commentary “This Nation Needs Our Awakening Together”:
    http://www.lionsroar.com/commentary-this-nation-needs-our-awakening-together/

    And, finally, Sharon Salzberg offers “the post-election meditation we all need” (15 min.):

    That is all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  25. REMINDER — 11/8/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will be this week’s facilitator as we sit together in anticipation of the election results.

    Looking beyond Election Day 2016, there is still space available for this weekend’s 2-day Mindful Self-Compassion Core Skills Training workshop, offered to benefit the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. The workshop will be led by Christopher Germer and Susan Pollak, and takes place at Lesley University in Cambridge on Friday, November 11, and Saturday, November 12, from 9am to 5pm each day. For more information, please visit the IMP website: http://www.meditationandpsychotherapy.org/events/mindful-self-compassion-core-skills-training-imp-benefit

    Also on Saturday, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport for “An Openhearted Approach to Wise Living,” a loving-kindness and insight meditation retreat from 9am to 5pm with a morning-only option:

    “This silent retreat will be divided into two parts, in the morning we cultivate a heart of kindness and care by practicing wishing well for ourselves and others in formal Loving Kindness (or metta) practice. From this open hearted generative place we will move to practicing Insight meditation using breath awareness and the body as a basis for cultivating clear present moment awareness in the afternoon. Together these practices combine to a warm-hearted and connected approach to living more deeply, kindly, and wisely in the present moment, whether it be in the silence and community support of retreat, or in the midst of our busy daily lives.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    I think it’s perhaps best to keep this week’s e-mail “short and sweet,” so I’ll close simply with “How Not To Freak Out,” Judy Lief’s wonderful piece from this month’s issue of Lion’s Roar:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/how-not-to-freak-out/

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see you all tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  26. REMINDER — 11/1/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will take place from 7:30pm to 9:30pm tomorrow evening in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will be this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up this Wednesday evening, November 2, Lama Rod Owens will be joined with co-authors Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams and Dr. Jasmine Syedullah, at the Harvard University Science Center for a conversation about their new book, Radical Dharma:

    “Offering their own histories and experiences as illustrations of the types of challenges facing dharma practitioners and teachers who are different from those of the past five decades, they ask how teachings that transcend color, class, and caste are hindered by discrimination and the dynamics of power, shame, and ignorance. Their illuminating argument goes beyond a demand for the equality and inclusion of diverse populations to advancing a new dharma that deconstructs rather than amplifies systems of suffering and prepares us to weigh the shortcomings not only of our own minds but also of our communities. They forge a path toward reconciliation and self-liberation that rests on radical honesty, a common ground where we can drop our need for perfection and propriety and speak as souls. In a society where profit rules, people’s value is determined by the color of their skin, and many voices—including queer voices—are silenced, Radical Dharma recasts the concepts of engaged spirituality, social transformation, inclusiveness, and healing.”

    For more information, please visit http://boston.carpediem.cd/events/1254513-radical-dharma-boston-book-release-and-dialogue-at-harvard-university-science-center/

    On Saturday, November 5, Ted Jones will be at IMCN for “The Next Step,” a morning (9:30am to 12:30pm) retreat for “advanced beginners”:

    “Come and experience a morning of guided and silent meditation designed for students who have completed an Introductory Class at IMCN or a similar offering at another center. This retreat will introduce participants to the experience of more extended periods of silent mediation with longer periods than in most beginner retreats but shorter than the usual format for experienced students. There will be three 30 minute periods of sitting meditation, two 20 minute periods of walking meditation, and ample time for questions and discussion.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday morning, George Mumford and Narayan Liebenson will kick off a 5-day non-residential retreat at CIMC, “Working with the Judging Mind”:

    “This retreat will be dedicated to an exploration of the many ways we judge ourselves and others, and the ways that mindfulness, wisdom, and loving-kindness can transform the energy of judging into discernment and compassion.

    “The format of this five-day retreat invites each of us to intentionally combine formal meditation and daily life as dharma practice. We start with a weekend, emphasizing the familiar formal practices of sitting and walking meditation. For the subsequent three weekdays, we will meet in the evenings only. Participants will be given a meditation exercise to practice with during the day, an exercise directly concerned with daily life and our endeavor to work with our judging minds. Coming together again at the end of the day we will sit, walk and share our experiences of working with the exercises. Individual interviews may be offered.

    “Yogis are asked to attend all five days. Partial registration will not be offered for this retreat.”

    For more information, please visit https://cambridgeinsight.org/

    Looking a bit further ahead, on November 11-12, the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy will hold a special benefit event, “Mindful Self-Compassion Core Skills Training” with Christopher Germer and Susan Pollak:

    “MSC combines the skills of mindfulness and self-compassion to enhance our capacity for emotional wellbeing. Mindfulness is the first step—turning with loving awareness toward difficult experience (emotions, sensations, thoughts). Self-compassion comes next—bringing loving awareness to ourselves. Together, mindfulness and self-compassion comprise a state of warm, connected presence during difficult moments in our lives.”

    For more information, please visit http://meditationandpsychotherapy.org/events/mindful-self-compassion-core-skills-training-imp-benefit

    I’ll close things out this with two short essays.

    With only a week to go until the 2016 Presidential campaign finally comes to an end, Jay Michaelson offers three recollections to help “thrive (not just survive) as Election Day approaches.”:

    http://tricycle.org/trikedaily/thrive-not-just-survive-election-day-approaches/

    And I’ll give the last word to Jack Kornfield, who offers “More Love,” an excerpt from his book, Seeking the Heart of Wisdom:

    https://spiritrock.org/the-teachings/article-archive/article-right-understanding

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  27. REMINDER — 10/25/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi will be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of great events coming up this Saturday, October 25:

    Chris Crotty will be at IMC Newburyport for a day-long (9am to 5pm, with morning-only option) insight meditation retreat, “Cultivating Freedom”:

    “The teachings of the Buddha encourage us to practice meditation to achieve the highest goal, freedom. The practical and simple path laid out in the discourse on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness invite us to continuously turn toward our own mind and body with kind attention and curiosity. By opening fully to the present moment we discover greater calm, clarity and wakefulness. In this retreat we will explore the Four Foundations of Mindfulness through alternating periods of sitting and walking meditation, with an opportunity for discussion at the end of the day.”

    For registration information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, from 10am to 4pm, Narayan Liebenson and Stephanie Morgan will be at CIMC for the benefit workshop “Enlivened Practice: Ethics, Meditation and Wisdom”:

    “The practice of liberation extends far beyond formal sitting practice, as invaluable as our formal sitting practice is. The Buddha’s teachings encompass all arenas and aspects of our lives and, as practitioners, we attend to the three “pillars” that are essential to awakening: sila (training in ethics), samadhi (training in effort, steadiness, and mindfulness) and panna (training in wisdom). When one of these pillars is weak, the entire structure is unstable.

    “During this day-long workshop we will focus on how working with the precepts and allowing the precepts to “work on us” both grows and is the embodied expression of mindfulness. We will explore how ethical training supports formal meditation and how formal meditation adds refinement and subtlety to practicing the precepts in the trenches of our day to day lives. Attention to the three pillars of practice is both challenging and enlivening as we work with our growing edges.

    “Narayan and Stephanie will bring the richness of 35 years of friendship and their ongoing co-exploration of the Dharma to this day of conversation and practice. The workshop will include talks, formal sitting, discussion, and guided exercises.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    I want to thank our new friend, Tracey S., for her recommendation of the following dharma talk by Jonathan Foust, husband of Tara Brach and an established teacher in his own right. Tying in to Carrie’s discussion of dana last week, Jonathan offers a deep exploration of “Generosity as a Path to Liberation” (38 min.):

    http://jonathanfoust.libsyn.com/generosity-as-a-path-to-liberation-0

    You can learn more about Jonathan and find additional podcasts at his website:

    http://jonathanfoust.com

    Shifting gears slightly, as some of you may be aware, King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand died earlier this month. In Thailand there is a very close relationship between the monarchy and institutional Buddhism. American-born Thai monk Thanissaro Bhikkhu recently posted a short remembrance of King Bhumibol on Lion’s Roar website:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/on-king-bhumibol-and-the-power-of-goodness/

    And, finally, Anne Cushman offers brief instruction on “How to Establish A Daily Practice of Almost Anything, in Six Steps”:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/how-to-establish-a-daily-practice-of-almost-anything-in-six-steps/

    That’s all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  28. REMINDER — 10/18/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie will be this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up this Saturday, October 22, Narayan Liebenson will host a day-long (9am to 5pm) Metta Practice Retreat at CIMC:

    “The word ‘metta’ is translated as lovingkindness or boundless friendliness. It is a sincere and heartfelt wish for the peace and happiness of ourselves and others. Metta is not a feeling; rather it is an intention that can be practiced and sustained. It is cultivated through a process of inclusivity, gradually expanding to include all sentient beings. Especially in times of uncertainty and pain, metta practice helps us to work with habitual patterns such as anxiety and doubt.

    “The Buddha taught metta as a specific antidote to fear and anger. The fruit of the systematic practice of metta is twofold: steadiness and tranquility which strengthen the mind, and sensitivity and openness which soften the heart. In cultivating metta, we directly experience a fundamental kindness as the very ground of our being. It is an invaluable practice in the midst of the unexpected changes in life.

    “This retreat offers a full day of metta practice and will include guided sittings. It is an opportunity for those who are already familiar with the theory and definition of metta to immerse themselves in a day of extended engagement with the practice itself.”

    For more information, please visit https://cambridgeinsight.org/program/metta-practice-retreat/

    For those of you who are more virtually inclined, the folks at 10% Happier have teamed up with Sharon Salzberg for a new course, “Less Distracted II.” Billed as “a must for anyone dealing with distraction, this course covers a whole bunch of alternatives to using the breath as an object of meditation.” This offering is available to subscribers through the 10% Happier app: http://www.10percenthappier.com

    10% Happier has also made freely available a couple of short, guided “Meditations for Election Stress,” featuring Sharon, along with Jeff Warren and JoAnna Harper. If you find yourself seeking refuge in the waning days of the 2016 Presidential campaign, be sure to check these out: http://www.10percenthappier.com/elections

    Also, don’t forget that Sharon also has partnered with the folks at Tricycle for the 8-week online course “The Boundless Heart,” starting on October 24:

    “In this carefully structured program, Sharon will offer practical methods for bringing these heart-opening qualities, so fundamental to the Buddhist path, into your everyday life—whether you’re idling in traffic, in the checkout line, or appreciating the simple beauty of children at play.

    “The practices taught in this course will help you cultivate these positive mental states and enable you to turn them into lasting habits. Video dharma talks and guided audio meditations will lead you through each teaching. You will also have the opportunity to become part of a wider community of learners and discuss the nuances of these practices with Sharon and fellow practitioners.”

    To register, please visit https://learn.tricycle.org/courses/boundless-heart

    I have a couple of articles to share this week.

    First is “The Work of Diversity: Getting Messy, Getting Uncomfortable,” Lama Rod Owens’ feature interview from the brand-new BCBS Insight Journal:

    https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/the-work-of-diversity-getting-messy-getting-uncomfortable/

    This seems to tie in nicely with the themes addressed by Pannavati Bhikkhuni in the second half of her June interview with the Insight Journal, “Coming Clean on Diversity and Staying In Love with Practice”:

    https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/coming-clean-on-diversity-and-staying-in-love-with-practice/

    And, finally, Thanissaro Bhikkhu offers his thoughts on “What the Buddha Taught Us About Race” (among other things) from his new translation of the Sutta Nipata:

    http://tricycle.org/trikedaily/what-the-buddha-taught-us-about-race/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  29. REMINDER — 10/11/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group meets tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a few events coming up this weekend.

    On Saturday, October 15, at IMC Newburyport, Jim Austin will lead a day-long (10am to 4:30pm) retreat “Breath Awareness for Your Whole Life”:

    “Breath awareness is a powerful mindfulness tool leading to calm, clear seeing, and insight. One way of working with breath awareness, as instructed by the Buddha in the Anapanasati Sutta, teaches us to be sensitive to the breath in the whole body. In this workshop we will practice expanding our sense of the breath in the body and we will explore how to use this practice as the foundation for the unfolding of Anapanasati, naturally leading to a more open, inclusive, awareness which embraces all of our life with more freshness, clarity and ease. Suggested reading for this workshop: Breath by Breath and Three Steps to Awakening by Larry Rosenberg.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, CIMC will host “Clearly Knowing” a half-day (9am to 1pm) retreat with Larry Rosenberg:

    “Since the time of the Buddha, intensive retreat practice has been considered crucial for the maturing of insight. The simplicity and support of the retreat environment encourage a continuity of awareness. Retreats can help develop qualities such as confidence, perseverance, mindfulness, concentration and the unfolding of wisdom and compassion.

    “We will spend our morning together sitting and walking, experiencing the profound value of utter silence and simplicity in the company of other practitioners. There will be few interruptions to pull us away from the opportunity to settle into and deepen our practice. The retreat will conclude with the opportunity for questions and discussion of our experience.

    “Retreatants are encouraged to bring a vegetarian lunch and to join others for a meal and conversation in the dining room after the retreat is over at 1:00 pm.”

    Then, from 2pm to 5:15pm on Sunday the 16th, George Mumford and Narayan Liebenson will offer “Cultivating Connectedness: A Half-Day Retreat for People of Color and Allies”:

    “All are welcome and invited to this afternoon of practice for People of Color and Allies. We are aware of the social realities that engender our separateness, and of our collective humanity that offers opportunities to cultivate connectedness. We will come together through sitting meditation, walking meditation, and reflections on the Dharma. This precious opportunity of practice provides our Sangha a heart opening exploration of our individual and collective suffering and how we cultivate our beloved and treasured community.”

    For more information on either CIMC event, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    I want to lead this week by sharing the Salon.com article that Gabriela brought last week, “Mindfulness’ ‘truthiness’ problem” — Ronald Purser and Andrew Cooper’s 2014 rebuttal to the Sam Harris essay “Killing the Buddha.” Each article is thought-provoking and led to an interesting discussion:

    http://www.salon.com/2014/12/06/mindfulness_truthiness_problem_sam_harris_science_and_the_truth_about_buddhist_tradition/

    For a slightly different take I offer another flashback to 2014, Jason Siff’s “Reflections on Secular Buddhism” from the Secular Buddhist podcast (28 min.):

    http://secularbuddhism.org/2014/07/04/episode-203-jason-siff-reflections-on-secular-buddhism/

    That is all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow.

    Metta,
    Tim


  30. REMINDER — 10/4/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela is this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of events coming up this Saturday, October 8:

    Narayan Liebenson will be at CIMC for a day-long (10am to 4pm) metta workshop:

    “The word ‘metta’ is translated as lovingkindness or boundless friendliness. It is a sincere and heartfelt wish for the peace and happiness of ourselves and others. Metta is not a feeling; rather it is an intention that can be practiced and sustained. It is cultivated through a process of inclusivity, gradually expanding to include all sentient beings. Especially in times of uncertainty and pain, metta practice helps us to work with habitual patterns such as anxiety and doubt.

    “The Buddha taught metta as a specific antidote to fear and anger. The fruit of the systematic practice of metta is twofold: steadiness and tranquility which strengthen the mind, and sensitivity and openness which soften the heart. In cultivating metta, we directly experience a fundamental kindness as the very ground of our being. It is an invaluable practice in the midst of the unexpected changes in life.

    “This workshop is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators and will include specific instructions, guided practice and time for questions.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Meanwhile, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport for a morning (10am to 12:30pm) “Mindful Moment” retreat for beginning and newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    Please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org to register

    Coming up later this month, on October 24, Sharon Salzberg will be launching a new online course in conjunction with the folks at Tricycle: “The Boundless Heart”

    “World-renowned meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg invites you to join her for The Boundless Heart, an eight-week online course exploring the Four Immeasurables—the four qualities of heart that have the power to strengthen, sustain, and support your practice: lovingkindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity. By helping you to develop these qualities, this carefully structured program will equip you with the skill and courage to open your heart fully to yourself and others.”

    Visit https://learn.tricycle.org/courses/boundless-heart for additional details.

    This week’s highlight is the Secular Buddhist podcast’s recent interview with Andrew Olendzki, formerly of the IMS and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and currently founder of the Integrated Dharma Institute. Host Ted Meisner sat down for a fascinating talk with Andy about this new project and his forthcoming book, Untangling Self:

    http://secularbuddhism.org/2016/09/11/episode-257-andrew-olendzki-integrated-dharma-institute/

    Stay tuned for IMP’s own interview with Andy and a review of Untangling Self in the December issue of Cushion & Couch.

    I also recommend Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s essay “Creating a Good Ground for Meditation” on the ways in we can create a conducive environment for meditation practice by our conduct in daily life:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/creating-a-good-ground-for-meditation/

    As we draw ever closer to Election Day 2016, I thought this short essay — “Politics and Practice” — by Ezra Bayda was a helpful reflection:

    http://tricycle.org/trikedaily/politics-and-practice/

    And, last but not least, I thought that Lauren Krauze’s recent essay for Tricycle, “On the Cushion With Abby,” was a good way to finish off this week’s e-mail. I hope you enjoy:

    http://tricycle.org/trikedaily/abby/

    That is all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow!

    Metta,
    Tim


  31. REMINDER — 9/27/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC has a special drop-in event coming up from 6:30pm to 9:00pm this Friday evening, September 30: “Mindful of Race” a community conversation facilitated by Betty Burkes, Eleanor Hancock, and Narayan Liebenson:

    “Does ignorance of racism affect the presence and participation of some members of our sangha? What work needs to be done to understand and alleviate racism within our community? How do we co-create a sangha that is truly inclusive? Is looking at ‘whiteness’ a vital, necessary part of this work? Our commitment to non-harm leads us to investigation.”

    Then on Saturday, October 1, Eleanor Hancock will offer a day-long (10am to 5pm) workshop on “Waking Up to Race”:

    “In this workshop, we will look at our deep conditioning around race and explore how the Dharma supports us as we turn towards the continuing reality of racial suffering. Our practice enables a mindful approach to racial awareness: nonjudgmental investigation; awareness of one’s own thoughts, body, and emotions while doing this work; acceptance of truth, regardless of the complexity or difficulty it contains; and compassion towards ourselves and others for our limitations and our mistakes. In understanding and letting go of the conditioning and ignorance that maintain an unjust society, we begin to experience a greater connection to all people and all of life. Development of racial awareness can be a part of our spiritual practice.

    “The day will include meditative inquiry, instruction, group and individual work and time for questions and discussion. We will investigate our personal experiences, our social conditioning, the history we share with people of color and the modern-day challenges of cultural and institutional racism.”

    For more information on either CIMC event, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also on October 1, Rebecca Bradshaw will be at IMC Newburyport to offer a one-day (9am to 5pm, with morning-only option) retreat on “The Buddha’s Teachings on Judging and Comparing: Better Than, Equal To and Less Than”:

    “In this one day retreat we will have the opportunity to hear the Buddha’s teaching on mana: comparing ourselves with others, a deeply ingrained pattern based in survival conditioning that we all share. We will explore the antidote to mana in a deep and abiding trust and confidence in our own experience.”

    For registration or additional information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Coming back to the theme of race and identity, I wanted to share “Do You Know Your True Face?” — an intriguing piece written for Lion’s Roar by Lama Rod Owens, who recently gave the keynote address at the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy’s “Mindfulness for All” conference:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/do-you-know-your-true-face/

    And finally, switching gears slightly, I wanted to leave you with a very short Tricycle interview with Stephen Batchelor on his new project, “Mara: A Chamber Opera of Good and Evil”:

    http://tricycle.org/trikedaily/mara-the-opera/

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow!

    Metta,
    Tim


  32. REMINDER — 9/20/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie is this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up this weekend, on Saturday, September 24, Jessica Morey will be at IMC Newburyport for a day-long (10am to 4:30pm) workshop on “Befriending the Body”:

    “In this workshop, we will practice relaxing into our bodies as a refuge, anchor and ally in the practice of mindfulness. We will also cultivate loving kindness (metta) as a felt, somatic experience, both towards and through the body. Practicing mindfulness and metta grounded in the body helps us cultivate a level of steadiness and integrate the calm clarity and ease found in formal practice. Beginner and experienced students are welcome to attend this workshop which will include periods of guided meditation, movement, presented material and discussion.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also this weekend, Narayan Helen Liebenson will offer a two-day non-residential retreat at CIMC. (It is also possible to attend for one day only on either Saturday or Sunday.):

    “Since the time of the Buddha, intensive retreat practice has been considered crucial for the maturing of insight. The simplicity and support of the retreat environment encourage a continuity of awareness. Retreats can help develop qualities such as confidence, perseverance, mindfulness, concentration, and the unfolding of wisdom and compassion. This weekend retreat is an opportunity to engage in the formal practices of sitting and walking. Instructions, talks, interviews, and discussion are included.”

    For registration and additional information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    This week I want to highlight the second installment of Ven. Analayo’s two-part Insight Journal interview on vedana/feeling, “Addressing Views and Clinging at the Source”:

    https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/vedana-part-2-addressing-views-and-clinging-at-the-source/

    I also want to recommend “Answering the Call to Awaken,” Spring Washam’s piece from the July issue of Lion’s Roar:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/answering-the-call-to-awaken/

    That is all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  33. REMINDER — 9/13/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela will be this week’s facilitator.

    There are all sorts of events coming up this weekend, beginning with a residential Insight Meditation and Mindful Yoga retreat starting Friday evening, September 16, and ending Sunday, September 18. (There is also the option of attending for just the day on Saturday.)

    “Take refuge in the silence! A weekend retreat is a wonderful opportunity to learn meditation, to energize and deepen our practice and share in the support of others. We will be using Vipassana (Insight) Meditation and optional yoga as a means to opening to the innate wisdom, joy, and peace which lies in each of us. The practice of mindfulness, simple yet powerful, is the heart of meditation and the supreme antidote to distraction. Being mindful allows us to be more alert, calm and spacious. It truly is the gateway to liberation because we experience our bodies, emotions and thoughts with greater clarity and balance. In addition to the usual Vipassana retreat format which includes alternating periods of sitting and walking practices this retreat will emphasize awareness in all postures, including optional periods of mindful yoga on Saturday.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    On Saturday the 17th, Madeline Klyne will offer a day-long (10am to 4:30pm) Beginners’ Insight Meditation Workshop at CIMC:

    “This Beginners’ Workshop will include formal meditation instruction, guided sitting and walking practice, and group discussion as we explore the basics of Insight Meditation (Vipassana). During our time together, participants will learn how to meditate along with others who are in the beginning stages of practice. There will be an ample opportunity to ask questions.

    “This day-long program is appropriate for people who have little or no meditation experience of any kind, for those who are relatively new to Insight Meditation, and for anyone who would like to revisit the basics of meditation and deepen their practice. All are welcome.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also on Saturday, the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy will host the “Mindfulness for All” day-long symposium. The day will focus on the “growing movement to make mindfulness practice available to everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual identity/preference, income, or social class.” To register, please visit http://www.mindfulnessforall2016.com

    Finally, for this weekend, the Jetavana Forest Monastery in Temple, NH, will itself host a pair of events this weekend. On Saturday there will be a “Going Forth” ceremony for a novice and two postulants. On Sunday, will be the annual “Pa Bah” almsgiving ceremony.

    To learn more about each event, please visit http://forestmonastery.org/news/

    I’ll wrap things up this week with a couple of short articles:

    First, Jack Kornfield offers a brief teaching on “RAIN” — a useful variation on standard mindfulness practice:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/how-rain-can-nourish-you/

    And, finally, Barry Boyce offers some brief words on “Your Wild, Wonderful Brain”:

    http://www.mindful.org/your-wild-wonderful-brain/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow night.

    Metta,
    Tim


  34. REMINDER — 9/6/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie will be this week’s facilitator and will give an overview of lovingkindness and compassion practice.

    CIMC remains on break for another week, but IMCN is back up and running after the summer holiday. On Saturday, September 10, Ted Jones will be in Newburyport to offer a day-long (10:00am to 4:30pm) retreat on “Listening with the Body: A Journey Toward the Heart of Helping”:

    “Helping arises for all of us in many ways. It may take the form of listening to a friend who is upset, comforting a child who is afraid, supporting an elderly parent experiencing an inevitable decline, or in any situation that evokes the impulse to reach out to another being. Despite our best intentions, our compassion is sometimes distorted by any number of emotional reactions: sadness, fear, confusion, frustration, even anger. Often these reactions are partially or fully hidden from our awareness, compromising our ability to truly help. In this workshop, we will use meditation to steady the mind and investigate how emotions manifest in the body. This will allow us to gain greater clarity and a more open heart whenever we find ourselves in a helping role.”

    For registration or additional information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, September 10 — for those who are interested in venturing a little further afield — our friends up at Valley Insight are offering “Reflections on the Buddha’s Teachings,” a day-long retreat with Ajahn Jayanto, co-abbot of the Jetavana Forest Monastery. The event will take place from 9:00am to 4:00pm at the St. Barnabas Church Parish Hall in Norwich, VT.

    For more information, please visit http://valleyinsight.org/programs/retreats.html

    Looking a bit further ahead, Jetavana Forest Monastery in Temple, NH, will itself host a pair of events on the weekend of September 17-18. On Saturday there will be a “Going Forth” ceremony for a novice and two postulants. On Sunday, will be the annual “Pa Bah” almsgiving ceremony.

    To learn more about each event, please visit http://forestmonastery.org/news/

    For anyone who is considering a longer retreat, IMS has just opened registration for its 2017 offerings. To view the schedule and register, please visit http://www.dharma.org/meditation-retreats/retreat-center/retreat-center-schedule

    Looking ahead to tomorrow evening’s meditation, I think it’s worth reprising an old article on metta by Thanissaro Bhikkhu: “When Goodwill Is Better Than Love.”: http://www.lionsroar.com/when-goodwill-is-better-than-love-the-meaning-of-metta/

    Than Geoff also more recently offered “7 Things the Buddha Never Said” — a quick look a some of the sayings commonly misattributed to the Buddha: http://www.lionsroar.com/what-the-buddha-never-said/

    And finally this week, the Lion’s Roar staff have put together another short primer on the “5 Recollections” (which, as far as we know, the Buddha really did say): http://www.lionsroar.com/buddhism-by-the-numbers-the-five-recollections/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow!

    Metta,
    Tim


  35. REMINDER — 8/30/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN remain on summer holiday for another week or so, but the month of September is already looking to be pretty busy there and also at the Temple Forest Monastery, Valley Insight Meditation, and elsewhere. I’ll be keeping everyone posted of coming events as best I can.

    I just want to share just a couple of links this week:

    First, ABC News anchorman (and meditation evangelist/author) Dan Harris recently found himself on the other side of the microphone in this podcast (~30 min.) with Wisdom Publications’ Daniel Aitken:

    http://learn.wisdompubs.org/podcast/dan-harris/

    Joseph Goldstein — Dan Harris’s friend, teacher, and collaborator on the 10% Happier app project — was also recently featured at Lion’s Roar in a fascinating conversation with Danny Fisher on “Uncovering the Meaning of Mindfulness”:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/uncovering-the-meaning-of-mindfulness-joseph-goldstein-in-conversation-with-danny-fisher/

    I plan to do some walking meditation practice tomorrow evening, and thought that this very short primer (also from the folks at Lion’s Roar) might be a useful reference:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/mindful-walking-how-to-do-walking-meditation/

    That’s it for this week — short and sweet. I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  36. REMINDER — 8/23/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 8:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    I want to begin by apologizing for the broken web links in the past few weeks’ e-mails. I hope that is now rectified and that all will be fully functioning going forward. Many thanks to Ronna for the heads up!

    Both CIMC and IMCN continue their summer holiday. However, registration for 2016-2017 residential courses at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies begins tomorrow, August 23. I strongly encourage you to take a look at the BCBS website to see what might be of interest:

    https://www.bcbsdharma.org/courses/

    Speaking of BCBS, I want to highlight the feature article from the August issue of Insight Journal, published just last week. In the first part of a series on the foundations of mindfulness, Analayo Bhikkhu offers his expertise on practicing with vedana — mindfulness of feeling (e.g., pleasant, unpleasant, or neither pleasant nor unpleasant sensation). I have always found this to be an especially interesting and useful frame for practice, and it corresponds precisely to what Brenda was talking about last Tuesday evening:

    https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/vedana-part-1-addressing-views-and-clinging-at-the-source/

    Shifting gears slightly, I also want to share a recent piece from Mindful.org on “The Trouble With Mindfulness Apps”:

    http://www.mindful.org/trouble-mindfulness-apps/

    And, finally, I’ll finish up with a very brief overview of the three kinds of dukkha (suffering) as understood in Buddhism, courtesy of the fine folks at Lion’s Roar:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/buddhism-by-the-numbers-the-three-kinds-of-suffering/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow.

    Metta,
    Tim


  37. REMINDER — 8/16/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    IMCN and CIMC are both on summer vacation. Each center has a wide range of activities slated to begin in September, so be sure to check out http://www.imcnewburyport.org and http://www.cambridgeinsight.org for further details.

    Also looking ahead to next month, on Saturday, September 10, Valley Insight Meditation Center will offer a day-long retreat with Ajahn Jayanto at St. Barnabas Church in Norwich, Vermont. Space is limited, but if you are interested, please visit http://valleyinsight.org/programs/retreats.html

    Andrew Olendzki is now offering several of his year-long online courses through the Integrated Dharma Institute. The first program — “Living With Integrity” — will get underway on September 1. Please visit http://www.integrateddharmainstitute.org/integrated-dharma-program/ for additional details.

    If you haven’t done so recently, I recommend checking out Jack Kornfield’s website. He has a great collection of videos and podcasts, and you also have a chance to sign up for his free weekly teaching: https://jackkornfield.com

    I’ll wide up this week with a couple of short articles:

    First is “More Truth, Less Suffering,” a reflection by IMS teacher Anushka Fernandopulle on the broader context of mindfulness practice: http://www.lionsroar.com/more-truth-less-suffering/

    And, finally, “You Are A Control Freak,” an excerpt from Ajahn Brahm’s latest book, Kindfulness: http://tricycle.org/trikedaily/you-are-a-control-freak/

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  38. REMINDER — 8/9/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator. The Chelmsford Community Band will hold its final summer performance on the town common at 7pm, so parking will be limited. Alternate parking is available behind 10 North Road.

    CIMC is on summer hiatus until September 5. IMCN has one final event scheduled for this Saturday, August 13, before they too are on vacation until September 9.

    This Saturday Chas DiCapua will be in Newburyport to offer a day-long (9am to 5pm, with a 9am to 12:30pm morning-only option) retreat “Understanding and Practicing Samadhi”:

    “Samadhi is a Sanskrit term that usually is translated as concentration, although a more helpful and more literal translation would be, to stand next to. In this retreat we will explore, not intellectually, but with our own mindfulness practice, how to skillfully cultivate Samadhi. That is, how to train the heart and mind to be at rest with a sustained attention on a particular meditation object. The keys to developing Samadhi are a non-striving attitude and the development of calm. Both of which we will practice with throughout our day together.”

    To register or to request more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    There are also a number of new online program and course offerings that recently caught my attention.

    Sounds True has teamed up with Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach to offer Mindfulness Daily, a 40-day “guided training to establish a mindfulness meditation practice in less than 15 minutes a day.”

    Each day, participants will receive a 10–15 minute lesson that includes a short talk and a guided practice session. “Every lesson builds upon the previous one, so by the end of your journey, you’ll have all the skills you need for a mindfulness practice that will sustain you for years to come.”

    To find out more, please visit http://www.soundstrue.com/store/mindfulness-daily/

    IMS teachers Kamala Masters and Steve Armstrong have collaborated with Wisdom Publications on an introductory course on Mahasi Sayadaw’s Manual of Insight. The course comprises video lectures and conferences, readings, and weekly guided meditations.

    For more information, please visit http://learn.wisdompubs.org/academy/courses/intro-manual-insight/

    And, last but not least, Sharon Salzberg has joined forces with Reboot to offer the free 10-day online course “Reboot Your Work,” based on Sharon’s book Real Happiness at Work. “Participants will learn mindfulness practices to transform their workplace experience for increased happiness, effectiveness, efficiency and creativity.”

    To sign up, please visit https://www.reboot.io/reboot-your-work/

    Speaking of Sharon, be sure to check out Lindsay Kyte’s wonderful profile from the March 2016 issue of Lion’s Roar: http://www.lionsroar.com/how-sharon-salzberg-found-real-happiness/

    And to wrap things up this week, I’ll leave you with “Breathing Lessons” — an article from the July 2003 issue of Shambhala Sun in which Richard Rosen, Larry Rosenberg, Edward Espe Brown, and Gaylon Ferguson compare breath practices in yoga and three schools of Buddhism —Theravada, Zen, and Tibetan Buddhism: http://www.lionsroar.com/breathing-lessons/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  39. REMINDER — 8/2/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Sue will be this week’s facilitator.

    Please remember that the Chelmsford Community Band will hold their penultimate performance of 2016 on the town common starting at 7pm. Parking in the immediate vicinity of the church will be limited, however alternate parking is available behind 10 North Road.

    I’d like to lead off this week with “The Ultimate Happiness,” Melvin McLeod’s exclusive interview with HH the 14th Dalai Lama for Lion’s Roar:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/the-ultimate-happiness-dalai-lama/

    His Holiness was also the inaugural guest on Dan Harris’s new 10% Happier podcast back in March. In this second installment of the 10% podcast, neuroscientist Richard Davidson sits down with Harris to talk about his work and the “wake-up call” he received from the Dalai Lama (65 min.):

    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/neuroscientist-richie-davidson-dalai-lama-gave-total-wake/story?id=40859233

    I also want to pass along information regarding Spirit Rock’s new program, Compassionate Companions, which will begin in April 2017. (Applications are due by October 14.)

    The program has three areas of focus:

    An emphasis on creating communities of support. Participants will learn how to create and sustain “Caring Circles” or other responses to serve individuals facing the challenges of aging, illness (injury) or dying.
    Individual dharma study of aging, illness and death as vehicles for awakening wisdom and compassion, with teachings and practices in classical Buddhist teachings and related contemporary approaches to support being a compassionate companion to those in need.
    Provision of a basic curriculum that includes elements of dharma study, issues related to contemplative care, and mindful and compassionate service for local groups to deliver to their communities.
    Anyone who is interested can visit the Spirit Rock website for further details: http://www.spiritrock.org/compassionate-companions

    And in closing this week, I’ll leave you with another short piece from Lion’s Roar — “How to Establish a Daily Practice Of Almost Anything, in Six Steps,” by Anne Cushman:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/how-to-establish-a-daily-practice-of-almost-anything-in-six-steps/

    That’s all for now. Carrie and I will be back next week, and wish you all good practice in the meantime.

    Metta,
    Tim


  40. REMINDER — 7/26/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela will stand in for me as this week’s facilitator. Again, please be aware that parking in the immediate vicinity of First Parish will be limited due to the Chelmsford Community Band concert. Alternate parking is available behind 10 North Road.

    There are two events coming up this Saturday, July 30:

    Narayan Helen Liebenson will be at CIMC for a day-long (10am to 4pm) “Wise Speech” workshop:

    “Wise speech is one of the factors of the Noble Eightfold Path. As a path factor, it means the practice of training ourselves to speak to one another in wise and connected ways, avoiding harm through the ways we use words. The Buddha encouraged looking at four arenas of unwise speech: untruthful, divisive, harsh and unnecessary.

    “Wise speech is also a practice of speaking in ways that are trustworthy, harmonious, kind and worth saying. In taking up the practice of learning to speak in wiser ways, our words become gifts instead of weapons. To be aware while speaking is a way of embodying insight, self-understanding, and compassion.

    “Words can connect and heal and they can also alienate and harm. They can produce powerful effects on both the speaker and the listener. Through strengthening our capacity to be present and skillful in difficult situations, the pain and misunderstandings that result from unwise and habitual speech can begin to ease.

    “Appropriate for both beginning and experienced meditators, our day together will include talks, discussion, and sitting meditation.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also on Saturday, Ted Jones will be at IMCN from 10am to 12:30pm for “Awakening to the Present Moment: A Retreat for Beginning and Newer Students”:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also be sure to check out “The Nourishment of Mindfulness,” an article by IMCN guiding teacher Matthew Daniell that recently appeared in the Newburyport Daily News: http://www.imcnewburyport.org/uploads/files/The%20Nourishment%20of%20Mindfulness.pdf

    I have two articles and a video that I’d like to share with you this week.

    First, by popular request, I’d like to share “Compassion, Love, and Healing in Times of War,” a 25-minute video by Lama Rod Owens, a teacher in the Tibetan Kagyu tradition. Carrie kindly brought this video to share with the group last week and it’s certainly worthy of a wider audience:

    http://tricycle.org/dharmatalks/compassion-love-and-healing-in-times-of-war/

    Next is “Sit Down and Shut Up: Pulling Mindfulness Up by Its (Buddhist) Roots,” a recent Max Zahn piece for Religion Dispatches: http://religiondispatches.org/sit-down-and-shut-up-pulling-mindfulness-up-by-its-buddhist-roots/

    And, last but not least, “You Can’t Get Rid of Your Anger — And That’s Okay,” another wonderful Josh Korda piece from the July 2016 issue of Lion’s Roar: http://www.lionsroar.com/you-cant-get-rid-of-your-anger-and-thats-ok/

    Carrie and I are traveling for the next two weeks, but we wish everyone a good practice and look forward to seeing you again on August 9.

    Metta,
    Tim


  41. REMINDER — 7/19/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie is this week’s practice facilitator. Please remember that the Chelmsford Community Band will perform on the town common tomorrow evening starting at 7pm, so parking in the immediate vicinity will be limited. Alternate parking is available behind 10 North Road.

    This Sunday, July 24, Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN to offer a day-long (9am to 5pm, with a morning-only option from 9am to 12:30pm) retreat on “Lovingkindness for Oneself and Insight Meditation, A Unified Approach”:

    “Love and wisdom are said to be the two wings of the bird of our spiritual life, we need both to fly. The Buddha has said that there is no one more worthy of our love than ourselves. In this retreat we will work with repeating phrases of loving kindness for ourselves, and also with breath based insight meditation practices. As the retreat progresses, we will have the opportunity of bringing these two practices together in a simplified form, exploring the power of unifying self-love and wisdom in one unified approach. This retreat is designed for those with prior meditation experience.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, all is quiet at CIMC this weekend. They are, however, seeking a part-time (34 hours/week) Volunteer and Program Coordinator. If you know of someone who might be interested, please check out the full job description: https://cambridgeinsight.org/wp-content/uploads/CIMC-Volunteer-and-Program-Coordinator-Job-Listing-2016.pdf

    I want to highlight a couple of longer pieces this week:

    First is “The Practice of Recollection,” 1994 Shambhala Sun piece by a Theravada monk named Bhikkhu Mangalo: http://www.lionsroar.com/the-practice-of-recollection/

    Next is a fascinating interview with Brian Lesage on “The Convergence of Vedanā, Our Mammalian Physiology, and Awakening” from the May 2016 BCBS Full Moon Insight Journal: https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/the-convergence-of-vedana-our-mammalian-physiology-and-awakening/

    Last but not least is a shorter piece from Tara Brach, “A Guided Reflection on Bringing RAIN to Difficulty”: http://www.lionsroar.com/bringing-rain-to-difficulty-a-guided-reflection-from-tara-brachs-new-book-true-refuge/

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  42. REMINDER — 7/12/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is this week’s facilitator.

    An important reminder: For the next 6 Tuesdays (July 12 – August 16), the Chelmsford Community Band will hold performances on the town common from 7pm to 8pm. Parking at the First Parish lot and along Westford Street will be severely limited. Alternate parking is available behind 10 North Road (law offices of Lampert, Hausler, and Rodman) and at 17 North Road (former Eastern Bank).

    Coming up this weekend, Jim Austin will be at IMCN on Saturday, July 16, for the day-long workshop (10am to 4:30pm, with a morning-only option from 10am to 12:30pm) “Breath Awareness for Your Whole Life”:

    “Breath awareness is a powerful mindfulness tool leading to calm, clear seeing, and insight. One way of working with breath awareness, as instructed by the Buddha in the Anapanasati Sutta, teaches us to be sensitive to the breath in the whole body. In this workshop we will practice expanding our sense of the breath in the body and we will explore how to use this practice as the foundation for the unfolding of Anapanasati, naturally leading to a more open, inclusive, awareness which embraces all of our life with more freshness, clarity and ease. Suggested reading for this workshop: Breath by Breath and Three Steps to Awakening by Larry Rosenberg.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also this weekend, Narayan Helen Liebenson will lead a two-day non-residential Experienced Practitioners’ Weekend Retreat at CIMC:

    “The Experienced Practitioners’ Weekend Retreat offers an intensive opportunity to practice in the company of other dedicated practitioners. In addition to periods of group sitting practice, this retreat will include open periods of individual practice in sitting, walking, standing, and lying down. This format is intended to foster self-reliance, and it offers the invitation to be aware and fluid in all four postures. On Saturday evening, there will be a sharing circle; a meditative question will be asked and investigated.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    10% Happier’s Dan Harris is back at it; he recently sat down for a brief (26 min.) interview with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Dr. Richard Davidson which you can view here:

    http://centerhealthyminds.org/join-the-movement/10-happier-with-dan-harris-with-richard-davidson-and-the-dalai-lama

    Harris has also introduced a new course via his 10% Happier smartphone app: “10% Less Distracted” featuring old friend Sharon Salzberg. You can find out more about the app and the 10% courses at http://www.10percenthappier.com

    I want to turn back the clock a couple of months to feature another great podcast from the folks at Wisdom Publications. Back in May, Insight Meditation teacher Christina Feldman joined host Daniel Aitken for a long and deep discussion on “Meditation as Cultivation” (51 min.); definitely worth as listen:

    http://learn.wisdompubs.org/podcast/christina-feldman/

    I want to close this week by sharing two recent works from Lion’s Roar.

    The first is “Letting Go of What It All Means,” a brand new essay from Josh Korda: http://www.lionsroar.com/josh-korda-on-letting-go-of-what-it-all-means/

    The second is a reprise of Noah Levine’s 2009 “It Takes a Sangha”:
    http://www.lionsroar.com/it-takes-a-sangha/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  43. REMINDER — 7/5/16 meditation group

    Good afternoon and happy In(terde)penance Day! I hope everyone is enjoying a safe and relaxing holiday weekend. The meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    I’d like to start off this week by sharing the wonderful news that Jack Kornfield and Trudy Goodman were married this past weekend in Maui, Hawai’i. Lion’s Roar shares the story: http://www.lionsroar.com/dharma-teachers-trudy-goodman-jack-kornfield-tie-knot/

    Mazel tov, Trudy and Jack!

    Meanwhile, closer to home, CIMC and IMCN are both back in action this week after a holiday hiatus.

    Coming up on Sunday in Cambridge, Narayan Helen Liebenson will be joined by Rodney Smith for a benefit workshop (9am to 3pm) “True North: Aligning Spiritual Practice and Intentions”:

    “Are our spiritual practices aligned with our intentions? Often we engage in spiritual techniques that sidetrack us away from those intentions and end up reinforcing our conditioning. It is helpful to know some of the common points where we may stumble, and a spiritual continuum may help with this process. The Buddha initiated the spiritual continuum when he stated that he taught only suffering and the end of suffering. We start out in conflict and then journey out of that struggle into a more joyful and spacious existence.

    “We will spend the day looking at different continua such as form to the formless, alienation to belonging, denial to openness, etc. as a way to understand the journey we are on and to help realign our practice with our spiritual intentions.

    “Narayan and Rodney have been teaching together for over 20 years. They will bring the richness and joy of their long friendship — and the fruits of their shared engagement with the Dharma — to this workshop. One generally has to travel to retreat centers to find the two of them teaching together, so we hope you’ll take advantage of this rare opportunity…and offer your much appreciated support to CIMC.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also on Sunday, from 10am to 1pm, Matthew Daniell will be in Newburyport to offer “Caring for Self/Caring for Others”:

    “In the “Bamboo Acrobat” teaching, the Buddha is posed a question by two people who are engaged in accomplishing a task together: Is it better to prioritize taking care of oneself or the other? His exploration of this theme points us directly to the essential question we all face in practice: How is one to live, with oneself and the complex of interactive relationships that make up our life. The Buddha advises us to bring mindfulness in relation to our own experience, and kindness, patience, non-violence and compassion in relation to others. Come explore how in doing so we learn to take care of the fullness of our interdependent lives, and become more awake and alive in the utter simplicity of the present moment.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    I spent some time catching up on podcasts this weekend, and want to share a couple that struck me as being especially good:

    First, Stephen Batchelor recently joined Buddhist Geeks’ Vincent Horn for an interesting conversation on “Secularizing Buddhist Ethics” (48 min.): http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2016/06/secularizing-buddhist-ethics/?mc_cid=e5019dcb0c&mc_eid=ea05d523ee

    Meanwhile, Sharon Salzberg was Daniel Aitken’s guest last month on Wisdom Publications’ podcast, talking a bit about her dharma journey and looking about the role of faith and doubt in Buddhist practice (44 min.): http://learn.wisdompubs.org/podcast/sharon-salzberg/

    Josh Korda has been writing some interesting stuff recently for the folks at Lion’s Roar; I especially recommend “Meditation Malice: On Working with Distractions and Resentment” and “Boredom is Fascinating!”:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/meditation-malice-josh-korda-on-working-with-distractions-and-resentment/

    http://www.lionsroar.com/this-is-how-you-work-with-boredom/

    And to wrap things up for this week, I’ll leave you with a short but thought-provoking post from the folks at Treehugger.com:

    “Do Insects Have Consciousness?” http://www.treehugger.com/animals/do-insects-have-consciousness.html

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  44. REMINDER — 6/28/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN are both closed for the July 4th holiday weekend, but they will be back in action next week.

    This evening I’d like share Sandy Boucher’s Lion’s Roar reflection on the process of writing a biography of the late, great Ruth Denison: http://www.lionsroar.com/writing-ruth-denison-story/

    I will also leave you with a link to the trailer for Rebecca Dreyfus’s intriguing new documentary film, On Meditation: http://www.lionsroar.com/rebecca-dreyfus-documents-the-inner-journey-in-on-meditation/

    I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening and wish you all a safe and restful holiday.

    Metta,
    Tim


  45. REMINDER — 6/21/16 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie is this week’s facilitator.

    There are a few events coming up this weekend:

    On Saturday, June 25, Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN for “‘Loving Kindness and Insight Meditation: An Open Hearted Approach to Wise Living,” a day-long retreat (9am to 5pm) with half-day option:

    “This silent retreat will be divided into two parts, in the morning we cultivate a heart of kindness and care by practicing wishing well for ourselves and others in formal Loving Kindness (or metta) practice. From this open hearted generative place we will move to practicing Insight meditation using breath awareness and the body as a basis for cultivating clear present moment awareness in the afternoon. Together these practices combine to a warm-hearted and connected approach to living more deeply, kindly, and wisely in the present moment, whether it be in the silence and community support of retreat, or in the midst of our busy daily lives.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, Chas DiCapua will be at CIMC for a day-long (9am to 5pm) retreat for new retreatants. Then on the afternoon of Sunday, June 26, George Mumford will offer “Good Friends and Suitable Conversation: Half-Day Retreat for People of Color”:

    For more information on either of CIMC offerings, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    I want to interject a quick plug for my new project, Cushion and Couch: The quarterly e-journal of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. The Summer issue was just published today and includes my short review of Bill Morgan’s new book, The Meditator’s Dilemma. If you’re interested, please take a moment to check it out: http://conta.cc/28LTCYe

    Lion’s Roar recently reprised Steve Silberman’s 2010 profile of IMS and Spirit Rock cofounder Jack Kornfield. It’s a longer-than-usual piece, but well worth the time to read:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/jack-kornfield-wise-heart-november-2010/

    And in closing this week I want to share “Equanimity and Action in Response to Orlando,” Max Zhan’s recent piece, also from Lion’s Roar:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/equanimity-and-action-in-response-to-orlando/

    That is all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  46. REMINDER — 6/14/16 meditation group

    Good evening…. Carrie and I are still on the road in Cleveland and can’t guarantee that we’ll be back in the area in time for meditation tomorrow evening. Never fear! The group will still meet from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish; Judi has kindly offered to step in as this week’s facilitator.

    I’ll keep it short and sweet this week:

    Larry Rosenberg’s one-day intensive retreat has sadly been cancelled for this month (originally scheduled for this Saturday). However, for anyone who is able to make in in to Cambridge this Wednesday evening, June 15, Lila Kate Wheeler will give a talk on “Equanimity and Joy” as part of CIMC’s Wednesday Evening Program, starting at 6:30pm. To find out more, please visit https://cambridgeinsight.org

    Then on Sunday morning, June 19, from 10am to 12:30pm, Matthew Daniell will offer a “Waking Up to Your Life” retreat for beginning and newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    For more, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.com

    Also on Sunday, June 19, the Temple Forest Monastery in Temple, NH, will hold a monastic ordination:

    “Ven. Ajahn Pasanno, the abbot of Abhayagiri Monastery in California…. will be kind enough to facilitate a monk (bhikkhu) ordination ceremony, called an upasampadā, at Temple by acting as preceptor (upajjhāya) for our novice, Samanera Sunyo. This will mark an important stepping stone not only for our new bhikkhu candidate Sunyo, but also for the monastery itself, as it will be the first bhikkhu ordination to take place here – for us, a somewhat historic event. Samanera Sunyo is from Westford, MA, and has completed his novice training over the past two years here since arriving at Temple with Ajahn Jayanto in July 2014. Throughout the ceremony Luang Por Pasanno will offer explanatory reflections, as well as a short Dhamma Talk afterwards.”

    Everyone is very welcome to attend. Plan to arrive between 10-10:30 if you wish to be present for the monks’ meal, or just before 1pm for the ordination and dhamma talk. Ajahn Jayanto recommends arriving 30 minutes early in order to park and walk over to the site.

    To find out more, please visit http://forestmonastery.org

    Looking a bit further ahead, if anyone is interested in representing our meditation group at InterSangha next April, please let me know. This is “a wonderful, joyous opportunity for leaders and teachers of Insight Meditation communities to come together, share wisdom and discuss issues relevant to the development of Buddhism in the West.” The 2017 gathering will take place at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, CA. Program details will follow, but Brenda attended InterSangha this past year and can tell you a bit about it.

    In wrapping things up this week I just want to share another Sylvia Boorstein classic, “A GPS of the Mind” from March 2014:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/gps-of-the-mind-march-2014/

    That is all for now. I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  47. REMINDER — 6/7/16 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of events coming up this Saturday, June 11:

    Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport for a morning (9:00am to 12:30pm) retreat, “Learning How To Live: A Quiet Passion”:

    “Matthew Daniell will guide us in exploring how simple present moment awareness practices can help us to live with greater intelligence, compassion, and ease. Come and explore for yourself how becoming aware of the mind body process with an interest in learning can become a quietly joyful and fulfilling passion. All levels are welcome to join.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, Greg Scharf will be at CIMC for the full-day (9:00am to 5:30pm) retreat, “An Independent Abiding”:

    “In the Satipatthana Sutta the Buddha divides the entirety of our experience into four spheres of attention or establishments of mindfulness. He then uses this framework to give detailed instructions for meditation, with the clearly stated goal of liberation of mind and heart. At the end of each section of instructions there is a refrain, or summary of how to practice, which concludes with the words: One abides independently, not clinging to anything in the world.

    “This day-long retreat will look at practical ways to incline the mind to an independent abiding through the direct moment-to-moment practice of non-clinging. The day will be held primarily in silence and consist of periods of sitting and walking meditation with instructions, reflections, an optional period of mindful movement, and time for questions and discussion.

    “This retreat is open to anyone but may be more beneficial for those who have had some meditation practice and retreat experience.”

    For more information, please visit http://cambrigeinsight.org

    On Sunday, June 12, the Temple Forest Monastery will host Ven. Ajahn Dtun, a respected disciple of Ven. Ajahn Chah. Ajahn Dtun will be accompanied by Ajahn Tejapanyo, an English monk who will translate from Thai into English as Ajahn Dtun gives his talk. The talk will begin at 1 p.m., and will replace the regular meditation workshop on that day. Meeting Ajahn Dtun is a special opportunity, and everyone is very welcome to attend.

    The following Sunday, June 19, Ven. Ajahn Pasanno, the abbot of Abhayagiri Monastery in California, will be at the Temple Forest Monastery to facilitate a monk (bhikkhu) ordination ceremony and give a dhamma talk. Stay tuned next week for more details.

    For more information on events at the Temple Forest Monastery, please visit http://forestmonastery.org

    There are a couple of odds and ends to pass along this week….

    I’d like to begin by sharing “The Mindfulness of the Buddha,” a recent Tricycle.com post by Phillip Moffitt in which he wonders how secular mindfulness practices stack up to the the Buddha’s teachings:

    http://tricycle.org/trikedaily/the-mindfulness-of-the-buddha/

    However, just how Buddhists themselves have interpreted “mindfulness” is open to discussion, as Ven. Analayo recently explored in BCBS’s Full Moon Insight Journal: https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/mindfulness-in-different-buddhist-traditions/

    I’ve also been meaning — for quite some time — to highlight a not-so-new book, Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s “The Buddha’s Teachings: An Introduction,” available for free along with Than Geoff’s other works at http://www.dhammatalks.org/ebook_index.html

    Before I sign off for the evening, I wanted to offer a bit of a look ahead. As I mentioned last week, Bill Morgan’s new book “The Meditator’s Dilemma” was published last Tuesday. I had an opportunity to interview Bill last Friday for the upcoming (June 20) issue of Cushion and Couch, the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy’s quarterly e-journal. (It looks like I may be writing a review of the book as well.) I had a great conversation with Bill, and much of his approach and the ground he covers in his book seems to resonate with my own experience and inclination in meditation. For more on the book — as well as some guided meditations — check out Bill and Susan Morgan’s website http://billandsusan.net/home-sweet-home/the-meditators-dilemma/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  48. REMINDER — 5/31/16 meditation group

    Good afternoon; I hope everyone is enjoying a safe and relaxing holiday weekend. The meditation group will meet tomorrow evening from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up this Saturday, June 4, at Cambridge Insight, Doug Phillips will lead a day-long (9am to 5pm) retreat entitled “Meditative Inquiry: Learning to Hold the Edge”:

    “Meditative inquiry has a long and honored history in the Buddha Dharma as an essential component in the discovery of wisdom and deep understanding. This sustained exploration is not about an intellectual learning but about an experiential encounter that goes beyond the thinking mind and directly into who we are most fundamentally. Often this begins with a fundamental question such as, ‘What is this?’ or ‘Who am I?’ which points the awareness back to itself and creates opportunities to discover what is most true, directly and immediately.

    “This retreat will follow a typical schedule of sitting and walking with suggestions on how to begin and sustain this edge of deep looking as well as opportunities for Q&A and discussion.

    “This retreat is open to anyone with at least one year of sitting practice.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also on Saturday, Ven. Achan Da will be at the Center for Mindfulness and Insight Meditation in Wenham. Achan Da practices a particular form of Insight meditation known as “Mahasati” meditation, which involves the mindful repetition of specific body movements. You can check out a short (5 min.) video demonstrating the Mahasati technique here:

    For more information on the retreat, please visit the Center for Mindfulness and Insight Meditation webpage — http://cfmim.nsmindfulness.net/event/ —  or e-mail Michael@MahasatiMeditation.org. (Thanks to Brenda for the tip on this!)

    Looking a bit further ahead, there are all sorts of interesting things coming up soon at CIMC, IMCN, and the Temple Forest Monastery!

    As some of you may already know, I’ve recently taken on a new project as editor of Cushion and Couch, the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy’s quarterly e-journal. One of my tasks this coming week is to sit down with IMP faculty member Bill Morgan to talk about his new book, The Meditator’s Dilemma, which will be on bookstore shelves starting tomorrow, May 31. The book confronts the difficulty of maintaining a regular meditation practice, and provides specific, accessible techniques and exercises that greatly enhance everyday meditation practice. To learn more about The Meditator’s Dilemma, please visit http://www.shambhala.com/books/homepage-new-and-forthcoming/the-meditator-s-dilemma.html

    I also want to highlight the latest episode of the Buddhist Geeks podcast featuring Dr. Emma Seppala of Stanford University speaking with host Vincent Horn about “The Science of Compassion” (35 min.):

    http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2016/05/the-science-of-compassion/?mc_cid=9125cf7646&mc_eid=ea05d523ee

    And to wrap things up for the week, I want to share a classic 2002 Shambhala Sun article on the Four Noble Truths written by the inimitable Sylvia Boorstein:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/pay-attention-for-goodness-sake/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  49. REMINDER — 5/24/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will be this week’s facilitator.

    There is a very special event coming up at IMC Newburyport from 7:00pm to 9:00pm this Wednesday evening, May 25: Burmese meditation master Sayadaw U Indaka, abbot at the Chanmyay Myaing Meditation Center in Yangon, is making his first visit to the United States and will be at IMCN for an evening of meditation, dharma talk, and discussion.

    Sayadaw U Indaka is the author of “Metta: The Practice of Loving-Kindness As the Foundation for Insight Meditation Practice,” which has been translated into English by Ariya B. Baumann (formerly Ven. Ariya Nani) and is available for download at http://compik.fd.cvut.cz/~mrazek/books/metta_indaka_english.pdf

    (Incidentally, you can listen to Ariya’s wonderful (4 min.) Pali version of the metta chant via Dharmaseed: http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/188/talk/4746/)

    IMCN is closed for the Memorial Day weekend, but you can learn more about Sayadaw and the Wednesday evening event at http://www.imcnewburyport.org. (Stay tuned for details on IMCN’s 2-day residential retreat coming up on June 24-26!)

    CIMC is also closed this coming weekend.

    I recently finished reading Gregory Kramer’s 2007 book “Insight Dialogue: The Interpersonal Path to Freedom,” which had been buried in my queue for far too long. For those who are not familiar with Insight Dialogue, it is a particular technique of interactive co-meditation developed by Kramer based on his experience as a monk and meditation teacher. While simply reading about the practice hardly does it justice, I’m sure, Kramer’s book is well worth reading simply for his straightforward presentation of Buddhist meditation basics, which he then extends to a more relational mode of being. (I especially like his distinction between “ordinary” and “extraordinary” practice.) Insight Dialogue retreats are now offered with some regularity — even online — and you can find a list of offerings and additional resources at http://www.metta.org

    Keeping to the theme somewhat, I also recommend Josh Korda’s recent Lion’s Roar post “Awakening Together”: http://www.lionsroar.com/josh-korda-on-awakening-together/

    And last but not least, I leave you with the Dharma Gem of the Week: Wisdom Publication’s latest podcast featuring an interview with Joseph Goldstein. The running time is a whopping 72 minutes, but it’s well worth devoting the time to listen to “Bringing the Dharma from the Masters to the West”: http://learn.wisdompubs.org/podcast/joseph-goldstein/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  50. REMINDER — 5/17/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I am very pleased that Abhaya Kopka — our group’s founding teacher — is able to join us this week.

    There are a couple of events coming up this Saturday, May 21:

    At IMC Newburyport, Jim Austin will lead a morning (9am to 1pm) “Mindfulness Yoga and Insight Meditation” workshop:

    “How can a yoga asana practice be used to support our mindfulness meditation practice? Can we bring the qualities of mindfulness and openness developed in sitting meditation practice onto the yoga mat thereby creating continuity between our practice on the mat and our practice on the cushion? We’ll explore these questions and others during this half-day workshop. The workshop will include short periods of sitting meditation, yoga, and discussion. This workshop is suitable for all levels of experience and beginners are welcome.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile at CIMC, Larry Rosenberg will lead his monthly intensive day-long (9am to 5pm) insight meditation retreat. For additional information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    In other news:

    Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in Redwood Valley, CA — the first American monastery in the Thai Forest lineage of Ajahn Chah — will celebrate its 20th anniversary early next month. Local newspaper The Ukiah Daily Journal recently published a very nice feature on the monastery and its history:

    http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/general-news/20160510/buddhist-monastery-in-redwood-valley-marks-20th-anniversary

    I recently had occasion to visit Harvard University’s Pluralism Project website and was presently surprised to find that it had been substantially updated since my previous visit. It’s definitely worth exploring, especially the very nice section on Buddhism in America:

    http://pluralism.org/religions/buddhism/

    The New York Times recently ran a short story on a new virtual collaboration between psychologist Paul Ekman and His Holiness the Dalai Lama: The Atlas of Emotions. The atlas is a very cool resource and worth checking out, as is the Times piece:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/07/world/dalai-lama-website-atlas-of-emotions.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&referer=http:/m.facebook.com&_r=1

    And finally this week, I’ll leave you with Toni Bernhard’s latest from Psychology Today in which she recommends the practice of mindfully reviewing of your day:

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/turning-straw-gold/201605/change-your-painful-habits-mindful-review-your-day

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  51. REMINDER — 5/10/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish; Gabriela will be this week’s facilitator. Abhaya’s visit has been rescheduled until next Tuesday, May 17; I apologize for any inconvenience.

    A reminder that the New Hampshire Psychological Association mindfulness symposium will take place this Friday and Saturday, May 13 and 14, at the Derryfield Country Club and Restaurant in Manchester. Delia Kostner, Sara Lazar, and Ron Siegel will be the featured speakers. For additional information, please visit the NHPA’s webpage:

    http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07ec9lyal3c1ef9584&llr=p4eghscab

    Coming up this Saturday, May 14, Chas DiCapua will be at IMC Newburyport for a day-long (9am to 5pm, with a morning-only option) retreat on “Meeting Life On Its Own Terms”:

    “So often we make demands on life to be a certain way. How others behave, what the weather is like, even the contents of our own minds become something for us to make demands on. It is precisely this habit of heart and mind that gets in the way of our deep happiness and freedom. What would it be like to simply be with what is without needing it to be different in order to be happy? To do this fully is actually quite rare. Yet, we can cultivate the conditions that are favorable for it to happen. This will be the focus for this retreat. How do we simply be with what is, and what is it that supports that?”

    For registration and additional information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    As many of you know, I had the good fortune to attend Sharon Salzberg’s workshop at CIMC a couple of weekends ago. It was wonderful, of course, but one take-home for me was something Sharon suggested to help support daily practice at home: dharma buddy groups. Apparently this is something that Sharon herself uses: she belongs to a couple of such groups, she said, that check in with each each day by e-mail after they’ve done their daily practice. This seems like a very simple way to support practice and cultivate sangha even at a distance. If you are interested in trying something similar yourself, please let me know, and I will see what I can set up.

    Speaking of Sharon, Lion’s Roar just reprised her 2005 article “Generosity’s Perfection;” you can check it out here:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/generositys-perfection/

    I’ve also just started “10% Nicer” — her app-based course in conjunction with Dan Harris. So far, so good! You can see a short (~7 min.) trailer featuring Dan and Sharon here:

    To wrap things up this week, I want to share a link to a collection of 4 short (1-2 min. each) videos that Ajahn Brahm put together for Buddhadharma magazine a little while ago:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/ajahn-brahm-videos/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  52. on May 3, 2016 at 1:00 am | Reply Tim Little

    REMINDER — 5/3/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be this week’s facilitator.

    Just a reminder that next week, May 10, we look forward to a return visit from our founding teacher, Abhaya Kopka. As always, Abhaya’s occasional visits are a great opportunity for her old students to reconnect and for newer members of the group to meet her for the first time.

    This Friday and Saturday, Harvard Medical School and the Cambridge Health Alliance will host the 10th anniversary conference on meditation and psychotherapy. There is an illustrious panel of speakers, including Jon Kabat-Zinn, Chris Germer, Jan Surrey, Dick Schwartz, Ron Siegel, Susan Pollack, Daniel Goleman, and many others.

    For more information, please visit http://chstaging.challiance-cms.org

    There are a couple of other events coming up this Saturday, May 7:

    On Saturday morning (10am to 12:30pm) in Newburyport, Matthew Daniell will lead “The Mindful Moment” — a retreat for beginning and newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile in Cambridge, Narayan Liebenson will lead a day-long (10am to 4pm) workshop on “From Fear to Calm and Wisdom”:

    “Fear is a primary obstacle on the path of awakening, as well as in our daily lives. Working with fear requires a gentle perseverance and commitment to being awake to what is. This is in contrast to the effort to conquer fear. Rather, the practice is to face our fear and allow for its dissolving.

    “We will work with two meditative approaches during this workshop. These are the methods of calm and investigation, otherwise known as shamata vipassana. Learning to calm ourselves (shamata) in the midst of fear is an essential skill to know. We then use this calm to investigate (vipassana) its true nature. When the mind is calmer, we can look at fear directly and without as much reactivity. This kind of investigation fosters the perspective of learning instead of simply trying to get rid of fear. Gradually, and with sustained interest, we begin to see into the fact that fear is subject to the same laws as any other phenomena; it is transitory and impermanent.

    “By developing our capacity to meet fear with balance and an open heart, we can unbind ourselves from this energy, cultivating wisdom and inner freedom.

    “This workshop is appropriate for both new and experienced meditators and will include talks, discussion, sitting meditation as well as time for questions.”

    For additional information, please visit https://cambridgeinsight.org

    Also, a reminder that coming up on May 13 and 14, the New Hampshire Psychological Association spring conference will take place in Manchester, NH. Featured presenters include Delia Kostner, Sara Lazar, and Ron Siegel.

    For more, please visit http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07ec9lyal3c1ef9584&llr=p4eghscab015.pdf

    As I may have mentioned a few weeks ago, I’ve recently had a chance to sample the latest offerings from 10% Happier, the folks who collaborated with Dan Harris and Joseph Goldstein to bring us the iOS and Android app of the same name. 10% has launched a slew of new courses featuring Dan along with Joseph, Sharon Salzberg, in addition to some relatively new faces.

    I just completed a course on “Effective Communication” with Oren J. Sofer, one of the new “young guns” in the insight meditation community. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the course and quite taken with Oren as a teacher. I had to do a bit of digging, of course, to find some of Oren’s other work and came up with a few links to pass along to you:

    First up is the trailer (~3 min.) for the “Effective Communication” course:

    Next is a great 30 min. interview with Oren from a KPFB Berkeley radio show called “Talk-It-Out Radio”:

    [audio src="http://www.orenjaysofer.com/sites/default/files/talk-it-out-radio-120615-2pm-29min.mp3" /]

    Finally, there’s a 30 min. dharma talk on “Wise Speech” that Oren gave at the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, CA, back in 2014:

    http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/4588.html

    You can check out more of Oren’s dharma talks at http://www.orenjaysofer.com/dharma-talks, http://www.audiodharma.org/teacher/243/, or http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/248/

    For anyone who is interested in checking out the 10% Happier app, please visit http://www.10percenthappier.com

    Lion’s Roar offers an occasional “Meet A Teacher” feature, and the most recent subject is Spirit Rock teacher Larry Yang; definitely worth a quick read:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/meet-a-teacher-larry-yang/

    And in closing this week, I want to leave you with a short (6 min.) conversation between NPR’s Michele Martin and “On Being” host Krista Tippett about Krista’s new book, “Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living”:

    http://www.npr.org/2016/05/01/476380463/-becoming-wise-is-a-meditation-on-meaning

    That is all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  53. REMINDER — 4/26/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is this week’s facilitator.

    This Saturday, April 30, at CIMC Narayan Liebenson will offer a day-long (10am-4pm) “Liberating Insights” workshop:

    “The Buddha taught that all conditioned phenomena share three characteristics: change, fragility, and not-self. To recognize, accept, and explore these three common elements allows us to see into the nature of attachment and letting go. Far from being frightening, they are our three dharma doors into a new way of being.

    “Developing insight into the true nature of conditions is an essential aspect of wisdom. This is a process of realization, not an abstract accumulation of knowledge. When understood experientially, and in all arenas of our lives, we live in alignment with nature. Living in alignment with nature liberates the heart and leads to the end of suffering.

    “During this workshop, we will explore these three liberating insights within all the relationships, situations and activities of our daily lives.Appropriate for both beginning and experienced meditators, our day together will include talks, discussion, and sitting meditation.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Looking ahead to next month, May 6 and 7 will mark the 10th anniversary of Harvard Medical School’s annual meditation and psychotherapy conference. This year’s theme is “The Mind, The Heart, The Person.” Presenters include Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ronald Siegel, Daniel Goleman, and Chris Germer, among others. For more information, please visit http://chstaging.challiance-cms.org/Uploads/Public/Documents/PsychCME/Meditation%202015.pdf

    Also beginning May 7 is a new course in Tricycle’s online Integrated Dharma Program. The latest offering — “Deepening Wisdom” — is presented by Andrew Olendzki. Registration will remain open through May 31. Please refer to http://learn.tricycle.com/product/integrated-dharma-program-deepening-wisdom/?utm_source=Tricycle&utm_campaign=c1223d51a8-IDP_Apr_2016_04_06_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1641abe55e-c1223d51a8-307341161&ct=t for additional details.

    Finally, on May 13 and 14, the New Hampshire Psychological Association will sponsor a symposium on mindfulness. Delia Kostner will presen “Beyond Mindfulness: A Clinician’s Guide to a Multifaceted Concept” on Friday morning, on Friday afternoon Harvard neuropsychologist Dr. Sara Lazar will present on the neuroscience behind meditation, and on Saturday Dr Ron Siegel will present a full day workshop, “Harnessing Mindfulness: Fitting the Practice to the Person.” This is appropriate for clinicians and those interested in the interface of meditation and psychotherapy. For more information, please visit http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07ec9lyal3c1ef9584&llr=p4eghscab

    Not to be overlooked, on Tuesday, May 10, we are very fortunate to welcome back our group’s founding teacher, Abhaya Kopka, for that evening’s meditation. This will be an excellent opportunity for her older students to reconnect and for newer members of the group to meet her for the first time.

    I also want to take this opportunity to pass along an invitation for research subjects on behalf of a graduate student in New Zealand. Buaphrao Raphiphathana is a Psychology PhD candidate at Victoria University of Wellington. She is interested in how meditation relates to psychological dispositions and well-being, and is currently doing a cross-cultural survey-study comparing meditators from Thailand and the United States. If you are interested — and any level of meditation experience is ok — additional details and a link to the survey can be found here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/research-study-subjects-wanted-psychological-everyday-timothy-little

    In closing this week, I want to leave you with “Kindness Changes Everything,” Noah Levine’s short 2010 essay for Shambhala Sun:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/kindness-changes-everything-september-2010/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  54. REMINDER — 4/19/16 meditation group

    Good evening! The meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie will be this week’s facilitator.

    We enjoyed a wonderful day-long comparison retreat on Saturday; many thanks to Brenda, Judi, and Carrie for helping to lead the way and to Andrea, Sue, Mari, Mickey, and Ronna for joining us throughout the day. We’ll look into offering another day-long retreat in the fall (October/November) if enough folks are interested.

    There are a whole bunch of events coming up this weekend.

    First off, Harvard Divinity School is hosting its second Buddhism and Race Conference beginning on Friday evening, April 22, and continuing Saturday, April 23.

    “This year activists, sangha leaders, community members, and students will join together to learn from one another and share justice-oriented teachings and training. We welcome all who wish to connect with other leaders and communities committed to addressing racism from a buddhist perspective.

    “During this conference, activists, sangha leaders, community members, and students will join together to learn from one another and share justice-oriented teachings and training. The speakers will be sharing from their experience working in a variety of Buddhist practice settings and service contexts. The speakers will share the ways practitioners of various backgrounds and training can support community transformation through diverse expressions of contemplative practice, leading to a rich cultural and healing exchange.”

    For more information, please visit https://harvardbuddhistcommunity.wordpress.com

    Conference speaker Jessica Morey will also be at IMCN on Saturday for a day-long (10am to 4:30pm) workshop on “Befriending the Body”:

    “In this workshop, we will practice relaxing into our bodies as a refuge, anchor and ally in the practice of mindfulness. We will also cultivate loving kindness (metta) as a felt, somatic experience, both towards and through the body. Practicing mindfulness and metta grounded in the body helps us cultivate a level of steadiness and integrate the calm clarity and ease found in formal practice. Beginner and experienced students are welcome to attend this workshop which will include periods of guided meditation, movement, presented material and discussions. ”

    For additional information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on the north shore this Saturday, Thai meditation master Achan Da will be at the Center for Mindfulness and Insight Meditation in Wenham for a day-long (9:30am to 3pm) “Mahasati” meditation retreat:

    “Achan Da has been teaching insight meditation for over 30 years. He served as Abbott of the Thatkong monastery near the Laos border in Thailand, and is now Abbott of the Redding Center for Meditation/Wat Sati-Ma in Redding, CT.

    “During the retreat, Achan Da will be joined by Thai Buddhist scholar, Dr. Tavivat Puntarigvivat. Dr. Puntarigvivat holds a Ph.D. in Religion and Society from Temple University, and is Director of the Institute of Research and Development at the World Buddhist University in Bangkok. He is responsible for introducing Mahasati insight meditation to the United States in 1990, and has authored a book and published articles on the practice.

    “People who are unfamiliar with Mahasati insight meditation are asked to attend an introductory workshop that will be offered by Achan Da on Friday evening, April 22, before attending the retreat. The introduction and retreat are suitable for both new and experienced meditators. Both chairs and meditation cushions are available at the Center for people’s comfort. While the meditation practice itself is done in silence, there will be talks by Achan Da, and Dr. Puntarigvivat, and short discussion periods throughout the program. There is no charge to attend, but space is limited and advance registration is required. For more information, visit: http://www.CFMIM.org, or email Michael@MahasatiMeditation.org.”

    Brenda attended a Mahasati meditation retreat a few years ago and I believe found it to be an intriguing alternative to our typical sitting and walking meditation. There is a short (~ 5 min.) YouTube video demonstrating the practice here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ow4ffdfw0BI

    Meanwhile at CIMC, Larry Rosenberg will offer his monthly one-day intensive retreat on Saturday from 9am to 5pm. And on Sunday, Sharon Salzberg will be at Lesley University to offer a day-long metta workshop to benefit CIMC. For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    (I will be attending the Sunday workshop with Sharon in case anyone else is going and is interested in carpooling.)

    Sharon will then be at Newton South High School next Monday evening, April 25, for a talk on “Real Love”:

    “To love one another, we must know one another. But our assumptions, distractions, fears, expectations, and personal sense of unworthiness obscure these kernels of truth. We yearn for connection with others, but our minds get in the way, constantly spinning judgments about how we are fundamentally alienated from one another. We can train ourselves to change–to listen less to our limiting (and often self-condemning) thoughts – and to hear more of what is out there, thus becoming more present and connected.

    “Using core Mindfulness, lovingkindness, and other meditation techniques, Sharon Salzberg will guide participants through the process of shedding layers of habit, whether rooted in fear, self-condemnation or other mental conditioning, to find a truer meaning of love for themselves, their loved ones, and those they don’t know, but with whom they share this planet. This talk is suitable for both new and experienced meditators, and will include guided meditations, and a question and answer session.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/event/newton-community-education-real-love-talk/

    In major news this past week, the influential Burmese meditation master Sayadaw U Pandita died on Saturday at age 94. U Pandita was successor to the legendary Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw and was in turn teacher to Sharon Salzberg and her IMS co-founders, Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein. A few brief remembrances can be found at the following links:

    http://buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=9,12762,0,0,1,0#.VxWdHUtcdj5

    http://www.lionsroar.com/sayadaw-u-pandita-burmese-meditation-master-dead-94/

    http://tricycle.org/trikedaily/sayadaw-u-pandita-has-died/

    In closing I’d like to leave you with a Wisdom Publications’ October 2015 podcast with Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi. It’s a little on the long side (45 min.) but an interesting conversation with one of the most prolific translators of early Buddhist texts. (Brenda spoke about translations last week, and this follows very nicely!)

    http://learn.wisdompubs.org/podcast/bhikkhu-bodhi/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  55. REMINDER — 4/12/16 meditation group

    Good evening! Tomorrow evening’s meditation group will meet from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will be this week’s facilitator; I am hoping that she will share a bit from her weekend workshop at BCBS with Leigh Brasington.

    Both CIMC and IMCN are on hiatus this weekend, but this Saturday, April 16, we will be offering our very own one-day retreat on “Cultivating Compassion in Challenging Times.” Carrie and I will begin the day with an introduction to the practice of compassion meditation; Brenda and Judi will then lead us through an afternoon of self-compassion. Attendance for the full day or just morning or afternoon session is possible. If you have not already RSVP’d and would still like to attend, please send me an e-mail and let me know — there is still plenty of space. For more details, please visit https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2016/02/04/build-your-own-retreat-coming-in-april-2016/

    Also, just a reminder of upcoming local events with Sharon Salzberg on April 24 and 25: http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/events/

    I want to be sure to pass along a request I received this week from a PhD student in New Zealand who seeking participants for a cross-cultural survey-study comparing meditators (of all experience levels) from Thailand and the United States. If you are interested in helping out by taking ~30 minutes to complete an anonymous online survey, please see my linked in page for more details:

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/research-study-subjects-wanted-psychological-everyday-timothy-little

    Looking ahead to this weekend’s retreat I thought Sylvia Boorstein’s 2003 article “No Blame” was worth another look:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/no-blame/

    And to wrap things up this week, I wanted to share “That Driver Could Be Your Mother” (or neighbor or boss or…), a short piece from Lion’s Roar contributor Arunlikhati:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/that-driver-could-be-your-mother/

    That’s all for now. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening and hope that as many of you as possible will also be able to join us on Saturday.

    Metta,
    Tim


  56. REMINDER — 4/5/16 meditation group

    Good evening! The Chelmsford meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Sue is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Our very own day-long retreat “Cultivating Compassion in Challenging Times” is coming up on Saturday, April 16. If you are interested in attending — either for the full day or for just the morning or afternoon session — please RSVP by this Saturday, April 9. Additional details can be found at https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2016/02/04/build-your-own-retreat-coming-in-april-2016/

    Also coming up this Saturday, Doug Phillips will be at CIMC for a one-day (9am-5pm) retreat “Effort-full or Effort-less?”:

    “What is the balance of effort required for your practice? Often considerable and dedicated intentional energy (effort) is required to begin, sustain and deepen our contemplative life on and off the cushion. Some approaches suggest that this effort must be sustained for a lifetime while others point to our naturally awakened state and say that any effort takes us away from spontaneously resting in that non-dual, awakened awareness that is our true nature. On one hand, we need intentional effort to study the ways of the mind and to learn how to live skillfully in our daily life. On the other hand, practice can become an end in itself and a way of maintaining a separate self as a meditator with a practice. This is not the freedom towards which the Buddha points. This retreat will follow a schedule of sitting and walking practice and include directed suggestions to help each person explore what correct effort is for their own individual practice. There will also be opportunities for group Q&A and discussion.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Meanwhile at IMCN, Chris Croty will offer “Love and Wisdom: A Loving Kindness and Insight Meditation Retreat” also from 9am to 5pm:

    “Loving-kindness meditation develops calm, serenity and quiet.  It is said that the mind of loving-kindness is like the cool, pleasant shade of a large tree; mind and body become a peaceful dwelling place. Insight meditation emphasizes the alleviation of pain and suffering through wisdom: moment-to-moment awareness of body and mind develops clear seeing and non-attachment.  In this retreat we will explore loving-kindness as a support for insight, beginning each sitting period with a short loving-kindness practice followed by instructions in insight meditation.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    And, of course, Sharon Salzberg will be in town later this month. On Sunday, April 24, she will be at Lesley University from 10am to 4pm to offer a metta workshop to benefit CIMC. (I will be going to this in case anyone is interested in carpooling.):

    “Join Sharon Salzberg for an afternoon benefit for Cambridge Insight Meditation Center! Metta is the word for friendship or lovingkindness in Pali, the language of the original Buddhist teachings. It is taught as a meditation that cultivates our natural capacity for an open and loving heart, and is traditionally offered along with other meditations that enrich compassion, joy in the happiness of others and equanimity.

    “Especially in times of uncertainty, these practices help us go beyond our constricting habitual patterns, such as fear and denial, and lead to the development of concentration, fearlessness, peace and a greater ability to love. The format for the workshop — suitable for both new and experienced meditators — will include direct instruction and guided meditations, talks about the teachings, and opportunities for questions.”

    To register, please visit http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/event/cambridge-insight-lovingkindness-workshop/

    Then on Monday, April 25, Sharon will be at Newton South High School to give an evening talk (7pm to 9pm) on “Real Love”:

    “To love one another, we must know one another. But our assumptions, distractions, fears, expectations, and personal sense of unworthiness obscure these kernels of truth. We yearn for connection with others, but our minds get in the way, constantly spinning judgments about how we are fundamentally alienated from one another. We can train ourselves to change–to listen less to our limiting (and often self-condemning) thoughts – and to hear more of what is out there, thus becoming more present and connected.

    “Using core Mindfulness, lovingkindness, and other meditation techniques, Sharon Salzberg will guide participants through the process of shedding layers of habit, whether rooted in fear, self-condemnation or other mental conditioning, to find a truer meaning of love for themselves, their loved ones, and those they don’t know, but with whom they share this planet. This talk is suitable for both new and experienced meditators, and will include guided meditations, and a question and answer session.”

    To register, please visit http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/event/newton-community-education-real-love-talk/

    Sharon will also participate in the annual Mindful Life conference in Washington, DC, from April 28 through May 1:

    http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/event/mindful-life-conference/

    This week I’d like to highlight the latest podcast from Somerville’s own Wisdom Publications, featuring Bhikkhu Bodhi speaking about his forthcoming book, the Buddha’s teachings on social and communal harmony. The podcast is about an hour long, but well worth a listen:

    http://learn.wisdompubs.org/podcast/bhikkhu-bodhi-2/

    And I’ll wrap things up this week by sharing Judy Lief’s short article on “DIY Dharma”: 

    http://www.lionsroar.com/diy-dharma-everything-need/

    That’s all for this now. I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening, and don’t forget to RSVP by this Saturday if you plan to attend our day long retreat on April 16.

    Metta,
    Tim


  57. REMINDER — 3/29/16 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela will be this week’s facilitator.

    I hope everyone received the e-mail I sent out on Friday announcing details for our day-long retreat on Saturday, April 16. If you happened to miss the announcement, I also posted the information on our website:

    https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2016/02/04/build-your-own-retreat-coming-in-april-2016/

    If you would like to join us for all or part of the day, please RSVP before April 9.

    Coming up this Saturday, April 2, Ted Jones will be at IMCN to offer a morning (10am to 12:30pm) retreat for beginning and newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    This might be a good warm-up for anyone who is thinking about doing their first day-long retreat with us on the 16th.

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org.

    For anyone who is feeling more ambitious, also on Saturday CIMC will kick off a 5-day non-residential retreat with Narayan Liebenson:

    “The Buddha encouraged the frequent contemplation of aging, sickness, death, loss, and karma – the Five Recollections – as a practice leading to joy and liberation. In this five-day retreat, we will bring our attention to this seeming paradox. We will explore how cultivating an intimate understanding of the great matters of life and death can help us face and master our fears. Over time, with mindfulness and an open heart, we can come to see these conditions of impermanence from a perspective of gratitude. Turning towards the inevitability of loss-rather than denying or turning away-helps us to more fully appreciate the preciousness of a life inspired and guided by Dharma practice.

    “The format of this five-day retreat invites each of us to intentionally combine formal meditation and daily life as dharma practice. We start with a weekend, emphasizing the familiar formal practices of sitting and walking meditation. For the subsequent three days, we will meet in the evenings only. Participants will be given a meditation exercise to practice with during the day, an exercise directly concerned with daily life. Coming together again at the end of the day we will sit, walk, and share our experiences of working with the exercises. Individual interviews will be possible.

    “Yogis are asked to attend all five days. Partial registration will not be offered for this retreat.”

    And of course coming up on April 24 is CIMC’s special benefit workshop featuring Shazon Salzberg.

    For more information on either CIMC event, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    This week I’d like to highlight the interview with Analayo Bhikkhu that is featured in the latest BCBS Full Moon Insight Journal. Ven. Analayo — who will move to BCBS as scholar-in-residence sometime during 2017 — discusses vipassana, the three characteristics (impermanence, not-self, and stress), and the first satipatthana (mindfulness of the body). It does get a bit into the weeds, so to speak, but is well worth taking the time to read over a couple of times:

    https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/vipassana-the-three-characteristics-and-the-first-satipatthana/

    And to wrap things up this week I’ll leave you with a short (17 min.) lesson on “Working and Playing with the Breath” from Thanissaro Bhikkhu:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/working-and-playing-breath

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening. And do RSVP if you are interested in attending our retreat on the 16th.

    Metta,
    Tim


  58. REMINDER — 3/22/16 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday night meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I will be the facilitator this week.

    We are less than a month away from our very own day-long retreat (9am to 5pm) on Saturday, April 16. The theme for the day will be “Cultivating Compassion in Challenging Times.” The morning will be spent exploring compassion for others; the afternoon will be spent practicing self-compassion. More details will follow; RSVP by e-mail if you would like to attend.

    Coming up later in April, Sharon Salzberg will be at Lesley University on Sunday the 24th for a CIMC benefit workshop on “The Power of A Loving Heart.” For registration or additional information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Then from April 28 through May 1, Sharon will participate in the 2016 Mindful Life conference in Washington, DC. Joining Sharon this year are Tara Brach, Dan Siegel, Congressman Tim Ryan, Dan Harris, Mirabai Bush, and many other notable speakers. For more information, visit http://allthingsmindful.org/#home

    Tricycle’s meditation month is into its fourth week. You can check out Spring Washam’s short (11 min.) guided meditation for “working with difficult emotions” here: http://www.tricycle.com/blog/meditation-month-guided-meditation-week-4

    If you’ve been following along (or just thinking about following along) with the folks at Tricycle, you may find some comfort in this short post from contributing blogger Brent R. Oliver:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/meditation-month-day-1-0

    I’ll close things out this week by returning to Sharon, and sharing “Stuck in Traffic” (~2 min.) — the latest installment in her “Street Lovingkindness” video series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWnKxKHf9Zo

    That’s all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  59. REMINDER — 3/15/16 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday night meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie is this week’s facilitator.
    Today marks the beginning of week three of Tricycle.com’s meditation month challenge. Spring Washam’s 10-minute guided meditation on “embodiment and working with the breath” is worth checking out whether or not you’ve already been following along:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/meditation-month-guided-meditation-week-3

    IMC Newburyport will host its first on-site weekend retreat beginning on Friday, March 18, and ending on Sunday, March 20. There is also the option of only attending on Saturday:

    “A weekend retreat is a wonderful opportunity to put aside for a time the business of daily life with its accompanying stress. In the simplicity of silence, and the safety of our shared practice, we will be encouraged to bring a relaxed care and attention into each moment of our lives while on retreat.

    “This is IMCN’s first on-site weekend retreat and we are very excited to be able to offer this opportunity to beginners and experienced meditators alike. All meditation activities and meals will take place at IMCN and the residences are located a few minutes’ drive from the Center.”

    The IMCN website is currently down, but I recommend checking back at http://www.imcnewburyport.org to see if space is still available.

    Meanwhile over at CIMC, on Saturday, March 19, Alexis Santos will offer a one-day retreat on “The Art of Our Meditation Practice”:

    “Meditation is more than a mechanical process, doing the same thing over and over. How can we listen and be responsive to the varied experiences we encounter? Can practice be simple yet intuitive? How do we skillfully meet moments of difficulty and of well-being with interest and free of clinging? In learning how to approach any moment of our experience in formal practice we are cultivating the skills of heart and mind to meet the varied experiences of our life with greater compassion and wisdom.

    “This day-long retreat will have periods of sitting and walking, guided meditation as well as reflections to support your practice. There will also be plenty of time for questions and comments.”

    Then on Sunday, March 20, Reya Stevens will begin a three-part afternoon (3:30pm to 5:30pm) workshop on “Bringing Love and Wisdom to Life-Altering Pain and Illness.” (The workshop continues on April 10 and May 1.)

    “A sick person was one of the “heavenly messengers” that prompted the Buddha’s search for freedom. Yet today, many of us with significant pain or illness find it difficult to apply the Buddha’s teachings to our own experiences, both in daily life and on the cushion (or chair or bed). In this series of three afternoon workshops we will explore dharma inroads for relating to pain and illness with greater wisdom and compassion. Each afternoon will include short meditations, brief dharma talks, small group discussions, and plenty of time for your questions and concerns. Together we will investigate possibilities for peace even in the midst of the suffering inherently associated with serious health problems.

    “This workshop series is open to anyone with chronic pain, chronic or life-threatening illness or disability, and to caregivers and supporters (although care-giving issues will not be the primary focus). Please make a special effort to use unscented products only (including shampoo, lotion, etc.) so that our chemically sensitive friends can attend.”

    Carrie and I had a chance to attend one of Reya’s CIMC workshops a few years ago and we highly recommend her.

    Looking a bit further ahead, Sharon Salzberg will be in town on Sunday, April 24, to offer a CIMC benefit workshop (10am to 4pm) on “The Power of a Loving Heart”:

    “Metta is the word for friendship or lovingkindness in Pali, the language of the original Buddhist teachings. It is taught as a meditation that cultivates our natural capacity for an open and loving heart, and is traditionally offered along with other meditations that enrich compassion, joy in the happiness of others and equanimity.

    “Especially in times of uncertainty, these practices help us go beyond our constricting habitual patterns, such as fear and denial, and lead to the development of concentration, fearlessness, peace and a greater ability to love. The format for the workshop — suitable for both new and experienced meditators — will include direct instruction and guided meditations, talks about the teachings, and opportunities for questions.”

    For more information on any of the CIMC events, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also coming up in April, of course, is our very own day-long retreat here at First Parish on Saturday the 16th. The theme for the day will be “Cultivating Compassion in Challenging Times.” Stay tuned for further details!

    In other news, the UK’s Guardian newspaper just published a short piece on some new research connecting meditation with a slowing of the aging process (via a reduction in the rate at which telomeres typically deteriorate). Interesting stuff, as always:

    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=7,12723,0,0,1,0#.Vuc0t0tcdj7

    There’s also a great new TED talk out on “psychological flexibility” by Dr. Steven Hayes, one of the psychologists who developed Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Without giving too much away, this one is definitely worth 20 minutes of your time:

    And to wrap things up this week I’ll leave you with “A Trick of Light” a short piece by Phoebe Myers on learning to confront fear at a forest monastery in Thailand:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/trick-light

    That’s all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  60. REMINDER — 3/8/16 meditation group

    Good evening! I apologize for the later-than-usual e-mail this week; I just returned from the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy’s monthly Buddhist psychology lecture, with Dr. Megan Searl presenting on mindfulness and executive function. A very interesting evening indeed.

    The meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of events coming up this Saturday, March 12:

    Jim Austin will be at IMC Newburyport for a day-long (10am to 4:30pm) “Breath Awareness for Your Whole Life” workshop:

    “Breath awareness is a powerful mindfulness tool leading to calm, clear seeing, and insight. One way of working with breath awareness, as instructed by the Buddha in the Anapanasati Sutta, teaches us to be sensitive to the breath in the whole body. In this workshop we will practice expanding our sense of the breath in the body and we will explore how to use this practice as the foundation for the unfolding of Anapanasati, naturally leading to a more open, inclusive, awareness which embraces all of our life with more freshness, clarity and ease. Suggested reading for this workshop: Breath by Breath and Three Steps to Awakening by Larry Rosenberg.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile at CIMC, Larry Rosenberg himself will offer his monthly intensive one-day retreat (9am to 5pm). For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Tricycle.com is into Week 2 of Meditation Month 2016. You can check out Spring Washam’s guided meditation for the week here (10 min.):

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/meditation-month-guided-meditation-week-2

    Also on Tricycle.com, Zen teacher Brad Warner offers some Zennish tips on proper posture and establishing a regular sitting practice:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/how-get-cushion-every-day

    I also want to highlight the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies’ online courses getting underway in the next few months:

    “Entering the Path: An Online Foundations Course in Early Buddhist Study and Practice” will begin in June, but the deadline for applications is March 11.

    “Identity, Not-Self, and Awakening” will begin at the end of July, and “Accessing the Manual of Insight” is due to start in September.

    For more information on all of BCBS’s online programming, please visit https://www.bcbsdharma.org/online-learning/

    And finally this week, please do e-mail to let us know if you are planning to attend our very own day-long retreat on Saturday, April 16. Details on this event should be coming in the next couple of weeks.

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  61. REMINDER — 3/1/16 meditation group

    Good evening; happy Leap Day! The meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is this week’s facilitator. Massachusetts residents please don’t forget to vote in tomorrow’s presidential primary, too!

    It’s not too late to sign up for Tricycle.com’s free March Meditation Month online retreat.

    You can check out Week 1’s guided meditation from Spring Washam here: http://www.tricycle.com/blog/meditation-month-guided-meditation-week-1

    … And here, Lauren Krauze’s short piece on finding her meditation seat: http://www.tricycle.com/blog/choosing-meditation-seat

    Meanwhile, back in the non-virtual world, there are a couple of events coming up this Saturday, March 5:

    Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN for a day-long (9am-5pm) retreat on “Embracing Difficulties”:

    “In practice we are taught to calm and steady the mind, open the heart, see clearly and act wisely. Normally, difficulties are seen to be aspects of our lives that get in the way of this process. But do they have to be? In this retreat we will be exploring how to use the tools of practice (both mindfulness and kindness) so that difficulties can be worked with skillfully. With wise attitude we will explore the possibility that we can move beyond coping, putting up with, and tolerating difficulties to embracing them and invite them fully onto our path of wakeful, open hearted living.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, Narayan Liebenson will be at CIMC for a day-long (10am-4pm) workshop on “Trust and Doubt”:

    “The foundation of the spiritual practice is faith, a deep confidence and trust in nature, as well as in our own capacity to realize liberation within our own hearts. We aren’t asked to believe what we haven’t experienced for ourselves, we are only asked to observe and to trust in our own experiences. Beginning with an initial leap of faith, this trust deepens as it is nourished and verified.Self-doubt and a lack of confidence can easily haunt one’s steps on the path and in this life unless it is investigated carefully and understood. If not understood, it has a great power to undermine our lives, cloud our judgement, limit or even paralyze our ability to act, and cause emotional turbulence. We need to learn how to explore doubt with wisdom.What is the place of trust, in our lives and in the practice? What is the place of doubt in our lives and in the practice? During this workshop, these questions will be explored through talks, discussion, and the practices of sitting and walking.”

    More information can be found at http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Looking a bit further ahead, we’d very much appreciate your input on choosing a theme for our very own day long retreat coming up on Saturday, April 16. Please e-mail us to let us know if there are particular topics you’d like us to cover.

    In closing this week I’d like to share Leigh Brasington’s handy chart showing 18 (!) different translations (including the original Pali) of the Metta Sutta, the Buddha’s discourse on lovingkindness. I think it’s both fun and interesting to see the variety of translations of the same source material, and how each one captures a slightly different nuance:

    http://www.leighb.com/mettasuttas.htm

    Is there one that resonates most strongly for you?

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow night — and don’t forget to vote!

    Metta,
    Tim


  62. REMINDER — 2/23/16 meditation group

    Good evening, and happy full moon day! The Tuesday night meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie will facilitate the practice this week.

    This fourth Tuesday of February is very special for Carrie and me, as it marks the 10th anniversary of when we first started to meet with Abhaya for her “Mindfulness Meditation for Caregivers” class in downtown Lowell. It amazes me that the group has persisted — through various permutations — for a full decade now. I’m sure that when Abhaya returns for her visit in early May she will be happy to see that seed she planted has taken root and continues to grow.

    Coming up more immediately, there is still space available for Wednesday evening’s discussion of “The Buddha’s Wife,” by Janet Surrey and Samuel Shem:

    “One of the key questions of the book, ‘The Buddha’s Wife,’ is, What would have happened if the Buddha had stayed and practiced within community, rather than leaving and becoming an ascetic? Come enjoy tea, community, and a discussion focused around the spiritual path of connection and compassion. This discussion is open to people of all genders and spiritual paths.”

    Carrie (c_a_little2003@yahoo.com) will lead the discussion from 7pm to 9pm at Spirit Renewal Center in Chelmsford. If interested, please contact her for additional details.

    This Saturday, February 27, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport to offer “The Mindful Moment” a morning (10am-12:30pm) retreat for beginning and newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    Please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org for more details. Be sure to look into IMCN’s weekend residential retreat coming up March 18-20.

    Also on Saturday, Oren Sofer will be at Cambridge Insight to offer a day-long (10am to 5pm) workshop on “Freedom in the Body”:

    “Along with the gifts of a human body come inevitable experiences of physical discomfort: from daily aches to illness, aging, and chronic pain. In this day-long workshop, we will explore how to find freedom in our human body when there is discomfort, and how practicing wisely with pain strengthens the heart and can be a doorway to release.

    “The workshop is designed for practitioners interested in this topic, for those living with pain – whether occasional or chronic – and for care-givers working with people in pain.

    “Our day will include silent meditation in all four postures – sitting, standing, walking and lying down – as well as guided movement, reflection, dialogue and practical tools for working with pain.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    As the month of February winds down, so does Sharon Salzberg’s annual Commit to Sit 28-day meditation challenge. For those who may have missed out — or simply wish to keep on going — Tricycle.com is happy to bring you Meditation Month 2016:

    “It’s almost March. Maybe your New Year’s resolutions are long gone and you can’t wait to spring ahead. Can you think of a better time to commit to sit for 30 days? And if you join us you won’t be alone. Whether you’re new to meditation or want to get back on track with a daily practice, Tricycle has you covered…. Spring Washam, a meditation teacher at the East Bay Meditation Center, will take you through five guided meditations every Monday in March (and one extra to kick things off on Feb. 29).”

    To sign up, please go to http://www.tricycle.com/blog/meditation-month-2016

    I am also happy to share that BCBS has several online courses getting under way in the next few months:

    “Entering the Path: An Online Foundations Course in Early Buddhist Study and Practice” will begin this summer, as will “Identity, Not-Self and Awakening.” “Accessing the Manual of Insight” will begin in September. For more information, please visit https://www.bcbsdharma.org/online-learning/

    I’ll wrap things up this week by sharing two short articles. The first is Shamash Alidina’s “It’s Not Mindfulness without Kindness” from Mindful.org:

    http://www.mindful.org/its-not-mindfulness-without-kindness/

    The second is a three-step self-compassion meditation offered by Kristin Neff via Lion’s Roar:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/meditation-be-kind-to-yourself/

    That is all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening to welcome in another year of the Tuesday night sangha.

    With metta,
    Tim

    PS — Don’t forget about our very own day-long retreat coming up on Saturday, April 16. Please be sure to e-mail me if there are any themes/topics you’d like to have us cover on that day.


  63. REMINDER — 2/16/16 meditation group

    Good evening! The meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I’ll be facilitating the practice again this week.

    Coming up on Saturday, November 20, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport to offer a day-long (10am-4:30pm, with morning option) retreat on “The Brahmaviharas: Love, Compassion, Joy, and Equanimity”:

    “The Buddha taught four powerful practices to cultivate the Heart: Loving Kindness, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy, and Equanimity. Using the repetition of phrases to oneself we will practice Loving Kindness. The other three (Compassion, Sympathetic Joy, Equanimity) heart practices (Brahma Viharas or Divine Abodes) will be introduced along with their relationship to Loving Kindness. As the workshop progresses through periods of silent and guided meditation, presented material, and discussion, the emphasis will be for each person to experiment with different approaches and find a way to practice that works best for them. Beginners and experienced meditators alike are welcome to attend.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also coming up this weekend, Narayan Liebenson will lead an Experienced Pracitioners’ Weekend Retreat at CIMC (9am-8pm on Saturday; 9am-5pm on Sunday):

    “The Experienced Practitioners’’ Weekend Retreat offers an intensive opportunity to practice in the company of other dedicated practitioners. In addition to periods of group sitting practice, this retreat will include open periods of individual practice in sitting, walking, standing and lying down. This format is intended to foster self-reliance, and it offers the invitation to be aware and fluid in all four postures. On Saturday evening, there will be a sharing circle; a meditative question will be asked and investigated.”

    Please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org for more details.

    Looking a bit further ahead, please contact Carrie (c_a_little2003@yahoo.com) if you’re interested in attending the “Buddha’s Wife” book discussion next Wednesday evening, February 24, at the Spirit Renewal Center in Chelmsford.

    And don’t forget to weigh in by e-mail on what you’d like as the theme for our very own day-long retreat coming up at First Parish on Saturday, April 16.

    The Insight Meditation Society celebrated its 40th anniversary yesterday; you can check out a short (3 min.) video on YouTube:

    Lion’s Roar recently reprised IMS co-founder Sharon Salzberg’s 2010 remembrance of her teacher, Dipa Ma, in “Awakening Confidence in Our Capacity for Loving Kindness: The Blessing of Dipa Ma”:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/awakening-confidence-in-our-capacity-for-loving-kindness-the-blessing-of-dipa-ma/

    Also be sure to check out “Who Knows?” Tricycle’s recent interview with Sharon’s longtime friend, colleague, and IMS co-founder Joseph Goldstein:

    http://www.tricycle.com/interview/who-knows

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow.

    Metta,
    Tim


  64. REMINDER — 2/9/16 meditation group

    Good evening! I hope everyone has successfully weathered today’s storm. I’ll continue to keep an eye on the weather forecast for tomorrow, but as of now it looks like we should still be on track for meditation at our usual time — 7:30pm to 9:30pm — in the Chapel at First Parish. I’ll be this week’s facilitator. (If it looks like we do need to cancel, I will send out a separate e-mail after noon tomorrow.)

    In some exciting news, I am very happy to announce that we will be offering a (long-overdue) day-long meditation retreat on Saturday, April 16. (There will also be the option of attending only for the morning.) Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we will be able to spend some time outside. We have not yet chosen theme for the upcoming retreat, however, so please let us know if there is a particular topic you would like to focus on (e.g., metta/lovingkindness; mindful self-compassion; foundations of mindfulness; the Four Noble Truths; etc.); we will do our best to accommodate the interests of the group. Ideally we’ll have a theme selected in the next week or two.

    Coming up this Saturday, February 13, Larry Rosenberg will be at CIMC to offer his monthly intensive one-day retreat:

    “Since the time of the Buddha, intensive retreat practice has been considered crucial for the maturing of insight. The simplicity and support of the retreat environment encourage a continuity of awareness. Retreats can help develop qualities such as confidence, perseverance, mindfulness, concentration and the unfolding of wisdom and compassion.

    “This is a full day of meditation with few interruptions. We will spend the day sitting and walking together, experiencing the profound value of a day of utter silence and simplicity. There will be no Dharma talks or interviews to pull us away from the opportunity to settle into, and deepen, our practice. The retreat will conclude with an opportunity to discuss the experiences of the day with Q&A.”

    The retreat will run from 9am to 5pm; please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    I also want to remind folks about the book discussion for “The Buddha’s Wife” coming up on Wednesday, February 24, from 7pm to 9pm at Spirit Renewal Center in Chelmsford:

    “One of the key questions of the book, The Buddha’s Wife, is, ‘What would have happened if the Buddha had stayed and practiced within community, rather than leaving and becoming an ascetic?’ Come enjoy tea, community, and a discussion focused around the spiritual path of connection and compassion. This discussion is open to people of all genders and spiritual paths. Reading the book in advance is suggested but not required; one copy of the book is available for loan from Spirit Renewal Center. Discussion facilitated by Carrie Little. Suggested contribution $5.”

    For more information, please e-mail Carrie (c_a_little2003@yahoo.com).

    I want to thank Gabriela again for sharing with us her discovery of author, psychotherapist, and former Buddhist monk Donald Altman — and in particular his book “The Mindfulness Code: Keys for Overcoming Stress, Anxiety, Fear, and Unhappiness.” He seems to do an excellent job of integrating traditional Buddhist teachings with a modern psychology.

    You can check out “The Mindfulness Code” at Amazon (of course) — http://www.amazon.com/dp/1577318935/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=25LCLHVUDSQDS&coliid=I2QPGV3WEYC1NR — and also check out Altman’s own website at http://www.mindfulpractices.com, where he has a number of other resources available.

    And last but not least this week, I want to be sure to highlight Lindsay Kyte’s recent profile of Sharon Salzberg from the March 2016 issue of Lion’s Roar. For those who aren’t familiar with Sharon’s journey, it’s really quite amazing:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/how-sharon-salzberg-found-real-happiness/

    That’s all for now; stay warm and be careful on the roads this evening and tomorrow. And please do e-mail to let us know what theme you’d like for the April retreat. I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  65. REMINDER — 2/2/16 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela is this week’s facilitator.

    Starting off, today is Day One of Sharon Salzberg’s annual 28-day “Commit 2 Sit” meditation challenge. There’s still plenty of time to join: http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/28-day-meditation-challenge-2016/

    Then Wednesday evening, February 3, Noah Levine will give a public talk at Harvard Divinity School. This will take place from 7pm to 8:30pm in the Braun Room of Andover Hall, at 45 Francis Street in Cambridge. I am not sure if this is connected with the 25th anniversary celebration of Harvard’s Pluralism Project taking place earlier that afternoon: http://hds.harvard.edu/news/public-events-calendar#/?i=1

    There are also a couple of events coming up on Saturday, February 6:

    Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN for a day-long (9am to 5pm) “simple silence” retreat:

    “This retreat is modeled after the ‘no toys’ retreats led by one of our founders Larry Rosenberg. There will be no talking, save for minimal introductory instructions and reminders if necessary. We will practice with the silent support of each other throughout the day. Towards the end of our time together there will be the opportunity for discussion: What can we learn as we exploring the power of a simple day spent in meditative silence together?”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, Madeline Klyne will be at CIMC to offer a day-long (10am to 4pm) beginner’s workshop:

    “This workshop is designed for people who have little or no meditation experience, or who are relatively new to Insight Meditation (Vipassana).Our extended time together provides the opportunity to meditate and learn with others who are in the beginning stages of practice. The day will include formal meditation instruction, sitting and walking practice and group discussion as we explore the basics of Insight Meditation. There will be ample opportunity to ask questions. All are welcome.”

    For more information, please refer to http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    A couple of weeks ago I mentioned a number of resources for free dharma books, and this week I want to specifically highlight one that Ajahn David recommended at his last visit to the group: Ajahn Amaro’s “Finding the Missing Peace: A Primer of Buddhist Meditation.”

    My spring semester has just started, so I’ve only be able to get part way into the book so far. In any event Ajahn Amaro’s seems to be a straightforward and accessible resource on the theory and practice of Buddhist meditation as practiced in the Thai tradition — as the book’s title would suggest. Fortunately it is available for free download in multiple formats at the Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery website (https://www.abhayagiri.org/books/finding-the-missing-peace) and the Amaravati monastery website also has an audio version available (http://www.amaravati.org/dhamma-books/finding-the-missing-peace-a-primer-of-buddhist-meditation/); consider this strong encouragement to check it out.

    I want to follow up with a link to another fantastic episode of Krista Tippett’s On Being. Tippett followed her conversation with Stephen Batchelor with an equally fascinating discussion with Benedictine monk Br. David Steindl-Rast. Br. David may be familiar to some of you from a TED talk on gratitude that he gave a few years ago. His On Being conversation is a bit difficult to adequately summarize, so I simply suggest you give it a listen:

    http://www.onbeing.org/program/david-steindl-rast-anatomy-of-gratitude/8361

    I want to close by sharing a couple of short articles.

    The first is “Take Your Mind for a Walk” — a wonderful piece written by Steve Hickman for Mindful.org:

    http://www.mindful.org/take-your-mind-for-a-walk/

    The second piece — “A Guided Meditation for the Anxious Mind” — recently appeared in The New Yorker and is (hopefully!) good for a knowing chuckle or two:

    http://www.newyorker.com/humor/daily-shouts/a-guided-meditation-for-the-anxious-mind

    I think that will be it for this week. Enjoy the spring-like weather while it lasts and hopefully I’ll see you all tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  66. REMINDER — 1/26/16 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday meditation group will meet from 7:30pm to 9:30pm tomorrow in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN both have events taking place this Saturday, January 30.

    Matthew Daniell will be in Newburyport to offer “Waking Up to Your Life” — a morning retreat (10am-12:30pm) for beginning and newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile in Cambridge, Andrew Olendzki will offer a daylong (10am-4pm) workshop on “Rhythms of Consciousness: Inbreath, Outbreath, and the Workings of the Mind”:

    “This day-long program outlines the classical Buddhist understanding of how the mind operates moment by moment to construct the virtual reality we know as our selves and our world. It introduces a new model for understanding the dynamics of experience, and poses a challenging paradox: How do we open to what is happening without interfering, while also engaging with what unfolds to bring about greater health and wellbeing? Suitable for both new and experienced students, much of the day will be a lecture format, with some periods of silent meditation, Q&A and time for discussion.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    You can also check out Andy’s latest essay “Blueprint to Solve Suffering” — “a four-part process for addressing social, economic, political, and environmental change” — over at Tricycle.com:

    http://www.tricycle.com/living-canon/blueprint-solve-suffering

    Looking ahead a little bit, Sharon Salzberg’s annual 28-day “Commit 2 Sit” meditation challenge kicks off on February 1. If you’re feeling up to it, check out http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/28-day-meditation-challenge-2016/ to sign up.

    Carrie also asked me to give a heads up on an event taking place in Chelmsford a bit later in February:

    From 7pm to 9pm on Wednesday, February 24, Carrie will facilitate a discussion on Janet Surrey and Samuel Shem’s new book, “The Buddha’s Wife”:

    “One of the key questions of the book, The Buddha’s Wife, is, ‘What would have happened if the Buddha had stayed and practiced within community, rather than leaving and becoming an ascetic?’ Come enjoy tea, community, and a discussion focused around the spiritual path of connection and compassion. This discussion is open to people of all genders and spiritual paths. Reading the book in advance is suggested but not required; one copy of the book is available for loan from Spirit Renewal Center.

    The book discussion will take place at Spirit Renewal Center, 9 Acton Rd, Suite 23 in Chelmsford. Registration is $5. Please contact Carrie directly for more details at c_a_little2003@yahoo.com

    I also want to thank Sandra F. for reminding me about the online courses being offered by Spirit Rock. Sandra wrote to me last week to say how much she was enjoying an 8-week class on the Ten Perfections being led by Mark Coleman. If anyone is interested in taking another of Spirit Rock’s offerings, Sandra would love a dharma study buddy with whom to share the journey.

    You can peruse upcoming Spirit Rock offerings here: http://www.spiritrock.org/online-events

    This is also a good moment to send out a reminder about Tricycle’s online “Integrated Dharma” courses — http://learn.tricycle.com — as well as the first of hopefully several online offerings from the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies: https://www.bcbsdharma.org/online-learning/

    Winding up this week’s e-mail, I wanted to highlight Stephen Batchelor’s appearance as Krista Tippett’s guest on On Being. Batchelor — author of “Buddhism Without Beliefs” among other notable works — spoke with Krista about “the limits of belief” and his journey as a “secular Buddhist”:

    http://www.onbeing.org/program/stephen-batchelor-the-limits-of-belief-the-massiveness-of-the-questions/8347

    You can also read a short review of Batchelor’s latest book, “After Buddhism: Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age”:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/review-stephen-batchelors-after-buddhism/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  67. REMINDER — 1/19/16 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday night meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator. We’ll have some extra blankets on hand, but do remember to dress warmly!

    I want to thank Ruth C. for giving me the heads up on a meditation workshop series kicking off this Thursday evening, January 21, at Wisdom’s Heart in Gloucester. The teacher is Douglas Veenhof, who comes from a Tibetan practice background, but I think the series should be useful to anyone. You can find out more at http://www.wisdomsheart.org/newevents/2016/1/21/meditation-3-part-learning-sessions and
    http://douglasveenhof.com

    Leigh Brasington will be at CIMC this Saturday, January 23, to offer a day-long workshop (9:30am-5pm) on “Gradual Training on the Buddhist Path”:

    “The “”gradual training”” is the path of practice taught by the Buddha that leads from first setting out on one’’s spiritual journey all the way to final liberation.This day-long course will take an in-depth and comprehensive look at the various texts in Pali Canon that speak to such gradual training; and how this training might resonate with our own journey on the path to liberation. Special attention will be given to the Sāmaññaphala Sutta: The Fruits of the Spiritual Life which discusses in detail the factors enumerating this training.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    (I also recommend checking out Leigh’s interview with BCBS’s Full Moon Insight Journal from last month: https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/jhanas-lucid-dreaming-and-letting-there-be-just-seeing-in-the-seeing/)

    On Sunday, of course, is Valley Insight’s special day-long (9:30am-4:30pm) retreat with Shaila Catherine at the AVA Gallery in Lebanon, NH:

    “This program will explore liberation by teaching attitudes and approaches that support the experience of release, peace, and awakening. The program will include instructions and teachings that nurture mindfulness and loving kindness, and is appropriate for new and experienced meditators.”

    For more information, please visit http://valleyinsight.org/programs/retreats.html

    In my downtime before spring classes begin I was finally able to read Richard Shankman’s new book “The Art and Skill of Buddhist Meditation.”

    https://www.newharbinger.com/art-and-skill-buddhist-meditation

    Shankman’s latest work is suitable for both experienced and novice practitioners, and focuses on the integration of insight and concentration practice. I have added this book to the “Highly Recommended” section of the Recommended Reading page on our website:

    https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/resources/recommended-reading/

    As I was reminded by Ajahn David a couple of weeks ago, there is also a wealth of free dhamma books available online — with many publications available for download as PDF or in electronic format as well as in hard copy:

    http://forestsanghapublications.org/viewBookCollection.php

    https://www.abhayagiri.org/books/

    http://www.amaravati.org/dhamma-books/

    http://www.dhammatalks.org/ebook_index.html

    Of course we do live in a digital age, which is the subject of David Levy’s new book “Mindful Tech: How to Bring Balance to Our Digital Lives.” Tricycle’s Wendy Joan Biddlecombe recently caught up with Levy for a short give-and-take:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/mindful-tech

    And as I sign off this week, I’ll leave you with “On Hope and Hype,” a poignant New Year’s essay by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/hope-and-hype

    That is all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  68. REMINDER — 1/12/16 meditation group

    Good evening! I apologize for the lateness of this week’s e-mail, but we will indeed meet for meditation tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela will be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN are both back in full swing, which each center hosting a day-long retreat this Saturday, January 16.

    Matthew Daniell will be up in Newburyport to offer a day-long (9am to 5pm with a morning-only option) retreat on “The Relaxed Mind”:

    “It is said that without relaxation there is no awakening. To become free we must ‘release the tight fist of grasping’ we carry around with us on many levels. In Insight Meditation relaxation is not only essential it is a special art. It is not just to learn how to relax but to learn to relax with wakefulness so that wisdom can blossom. But how can we do this? Over efforting is not the answer, neither is inattention. In this retreat we will explore approaches that specifically support the conditions where relaxation naturally occurs. When our mindfulness is restful yet alert constricted patterns of body, heart and mind begin to unwind, and we find ourselves relaxing our way into freedom.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnreburyport.org

    Meanwhile, Chas DiCapua will be in Cambridge for a day spent exploring “The Enlightenment Factors: Cultivating and Balancing Energy and Tranquility”:

    “The ability to sit down and allow all things to take their natural course deepens as we learn to let go of doing. While this is true, we still need to have enough energy — and the right kind of energy — to maintain and deepen our practice. When and how do we just let go and allow the moment to be, resting in awareness? When and how do we bring a curious, interested attention close to the object of our meditation? This day-long retreat will explore the answers to these questions with sitting and walking meditation, a Dharma talk, Q&A and time for Dharma discussion.”

    Please see http://www.cambridgeinsight.org for further details.

    I also want to remind folks of Valley Insight’s special day-long retreat on “Liberating Attitudes” with Shaila Catherine coming up on Sunday, January 24:

    http://valleyinsight.org/programs/retreats.html

    And looking ahead to February, be sure to check out Sharon Salzberg’s annual 28-day meditation challenge:

    http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/28-day-meditation-challenge-2016/

    Speaking of Sharon, I just found that she will be one of a several new teachers joining Dan Harris and Joseph Goldstein in the as the 10% Happier app adds some new courses in coming months, as I mentioned a few weeks ago:

    http://us10.campaign-archive2.com/?u=230a994e4f1d62491eaf10843&id=c2fcf8ec31&e=da6055966b

    And speaking of new offerings, Ajahn Brahm has a brand new book out called “Kindfulness”:

    http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/kindfulness

    You can check out an excerpt — “Restlessness, Contentment and, ‘Kindfulness'” — over at Lion’s Roar:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/restlessness-contentment-and-kindfulness/

    And last but not least, The Irish Examiner recently ran a short article on Ian Lawton’s forthcoming documentary on Laurence Carroll (aka U Dhammaloka), the first Western Buddhist monk. A fascinating story, indeed:

    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=12,12610,0,0,1,0#.VpRxfUtcdj5

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  69. REMINDER — 1/5/16 meditation group

    Good evening everyone; happy 2016! The Tuesday evening meditation group will kick off the new year tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. We hope that Ajahn David will be able to join us this week; Sue is on standby as facilitator in the event that Ajahn cannot make it. Given the forecast for “seasonal” temperatures, please be sure to wear some extra layers and perhaps bring a shawl or blanket.

    For those of you who may be closer to Boston, I recently found out that George Mumford will give a talk at 7pm tomorrow evening at the Newton Free Library. As part of the library’s new Mindfulness lecture series, George will speak about “Being Mindful: The Secret to Pure Performance in Work, Love and Play.” To find out more, please refer to http://posters.newtonfreelibrary.net/160105_Program_Mindfulness_G_Mumford_EK.jpg

    CIMC and IMCN are both back from winter break and have a full slate of offerings lined up for January, including some one-day retreats a little later this month. Stay tuned — or visit http://cambridgeinsight.org or http://www.imcnewburyport.org for more details.

    Our friends up at Valley Insight will also be hosting a day-long retreat with Shaila Catherine in Lebanon, NH, at the end of the month. For more information, please visit http://valleyinsight.org/programs/retreats.html

    The new year presents an opportunity to establish and re-establish helpful habits in our lives, and I thought Anne Cushman’s short article “How to Establish a Daily Practice Of Almost Anything, in Six Steps” would be a good way to start things off: http://www.lionsroar.com/how-to-establish-a-daily-practice-of-almost-anything-in-six-steps/

    On a related note, I found Zen teacher Joan Sutherland’s “Gaining Perspective on Habitual Patterns” a helpful take on how to relate to our habits — especially those that we find to be less than helpful: http://www.lionsroar.com/gaining-perspective/

    And finally this week, I recently came across an Allston-based, Harvard Innovation Lab startup called Getaway that offers “tiny” cabin rentals in the woods within 2 hours of Boston. It seems like this could be an excellent resource for anyone contemplating a solo retreat sometime during the coming year. To find out more, visit http://getaway.house

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  70. Reminder — 12/29/15 meditation group

    Good evening! This week’s Tuesday meditation group will bid an early adieu to 2015 with a sit and discussion from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I’ll be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN remain on winter break for another week, but both will be back in action after the New Year.

    In the spirit of hoping for the best for the new year, I’ll ring out the old with Matthieu Ricard’s October interview with Tricycle’s Joan Duncan Oliver — “The Power of Altruism to Change the World” (30 min.):

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/power-altruism-change-world

    This seems to dovetail nicely with Bhikkhu Bodhi’s words on “conscientious compassion”:

    http://www.buddhistglobalrelief.org/newsletterArticles/2015Winter/ConscientiousCompassion.html

    And in closing, I’ll leave you with this weekend’s NPR piece on the meditation seed that has been planted on Capitol Hill (4 min.):

    http://www.npr.org/2015/12/26/461112611/capitol-hill-political-staffers-find-their-zen

    That is all for 2015; I wish everyone a new year filled with safety, health, and peace of mind.

    With metta,
    Tim


  71. REMINDER — 12/22/15 meditation group

    Good evening everyone; happy winter! The meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie is this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN both continue on their winter break, but stay tuned for a full slate of events coming up in the New Year… along with a very special offering from our friends up at Valley Insight.

    The arrival of the shortest day today and the arrival of the new year in just over a week are just a few reminders that this is indeed a season of transition. This time of year can elicit a range of emotions, both bitter and sweet. There have been a few writings I’ve come across recently that speak to this.

    Gina Sharpe offers “The Heart of Generosity” — a short Lion’s Roar post from last week:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/the-heart-of-generosity-gina-sharpe-on-joyful-giving/

    The Tricycle blog recently reprised Noah Levine’s timeless essay “Kindness Changes Everything,” originally published back in 2010:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/kindness-changes-everything-september-2010/

    And the inimitable Sylvia Boorstein shares her thoughts on these darker days in “Winter Blues”:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/winter-blues/

    As we look ahead to longer, brighter days there is news the Dan Harris and Joseph Goldstein will be collaborating on a sequel to the popular “10% Happier” app. Change Collective just posted a teaser trailer which you can check out here:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/w0xentf14ch828m/001_Wandering%20Mind.mp4?dl=0

    And for anyone who is looking for a new job for the new year, IMS has a couple of openings (with application deadlines in early January):

    http://dharma.org/working-here/openings

    That is all for this week. In this season of many traditions, I will close by sharing one that is close to my heart, Susan Cooper’s poem “The Shortest Day”:

    http://www.solsticesingers.org/winter11/shortest.pdf

    I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  72. REMINDER — 12/15/15 meditation group

    Good evening! I apologize for the late e-mail, but the meditation group will indeed meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is this week’s facilitator.

    Things are quiet at CIMC and IMCN this coming weekend as the folks at both programs enter into a short holiday hiatus.

    In the meantime, there are some interesting film projects that are in the works.

    First up is “The Dharma Bum” — a feature length, part animated, documentary film telling the tantalising true story of Irishman Laurence Carroll, who emigrated to Burma around the turn of the 20th century and became likely the first western Buddhist monk. It looks like a fascinating story, and the film is currently in crowd funding stage. To learn more, check out the short project trailer at https://vimeo.com/109041082

    Another interesting looking film with Burmese connections is “My Buddha is Punk” — a new documentary about a 25-year-old punk rocker in Burma, named Kyaw Kyaw, who uses his music to raise awareness of social issues. You can find out more and watch the trailer at Lion’s Roar: http://www.lionsroar.com/watch-the-trailer-for-my-buddha-is-punk/

    Finally this week, in “Buddify Your Android” Tricycle’s John Tresh offers his take on the proliferation of mindfulness smartphone apps: http://www.tricycle.com/blog/buddhify-your-android

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow!

    Metta,
    Tim


  73. REMINDER — 12/8/15 meditation group

    Greetings! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is this week’s facilitator.

    In weekend events, Matthew Daniell will visit CIMC on Saturday, December 12, to offer a day-long workshop (10am-4pm) on “The Four Noble Truths: Taking A Fresh Look”:

    “The Four Noble Truths are the bedrock of the early Buddhist wisdom path. They are simply that there is suffering (or unsatisfactoriness) in life, that it has a cause (unwise clinging), a cure (freedom of the heart), and there is a way to effect the cure (the path of practice). They are considered ‘Truths’ for each one of us insofar as an examination of how they function in our life matches our personal experience. They are considered ‘Noble’ insofar as working with them helps us to change the quality of our inner life and how we relate to the world.

    “In this workshop the silence of meditation, as well as presented material and discussion, will support us in taking a fresh look, again and again, at how this simple schema can be used to bring us more fully into the present moment. As our capacity and interest in being with the fullness of our life from the place of present moment awareness grows, we can learn to work with suffering that arises, not only on retreat, but in our daily lives, with more clarity, compassion, and ease. This workshop is suitable for experienced meditators as well as new students.”

    To register, please visit http://cambridgeinsight.org

    On Sunday, Matthew returns to IMCN for a morning retreat (9am to 12:30pm) on “Compassion and Wisdom for the Holidays”:

    “A famous Indian Sage once said ‘love tells me I am everything, wisdom I am nothing, and between the two my life flows’. Compassion opens and connects us to the fullness of life with all of its inherent pain and suffering. Wisdom provides the cool balm of clear seeing and letting go, non-attachment. We need both. In this workshop we will combine guided compassion meditation for ourselves and others with the clarity of mindfulness meditation, as we explore the all important ability to take care of ourselves and open our hearts to others during the holidays!”

    The retreat will be followed by a community potluck lunch, Dharma Reflection, and Community Sharing to which all are welcome. For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    I’ll lead off this week with a provocative new article from David Loy in which he challenges Buddhists to “awaken to the ecological crisis”:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/can-we-awaken-to-the-ecological-crisis/

    There seems to be some synergy between Loy’s piece and this new one from Josh Korda on Right Livelihood “The Lost Factor in the Buddha’s Path to Happiness”:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/josh-korda/the-lost-factor-in-the-bu_b_8605052.html

    And I’ll close this week with this wonderful essay from Christina Feldman on the cultivation of compassion in “She Who Hears the Cries of the World”:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/she-who-hears-the-cries-of-the-world/

    That’s all for this week. I have one final paper to go for the semester, due a week from today, so I look forward to seeing everyone on the 15th.

    Metta,
    Tim


  74. REMINDER — 12/1/15 meditation group

    Good evening! This week’s Chelmsford meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. We look forward to welcoming back Ajahn David as guest teacher.

    On Saturday, December 5, Ted Jones will be at IMCN to offer a morning (10am to 12:30pm) “Mindful Presence” retreat for beginning and newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. During this retreat we will explore how to calm and steady the mind and see with more clarity into our lives. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn to touch and live in the moment. Although this retreat is designed for beginners, all are welcome.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    For those who are interested in venturing further afield on Saturday, Doreen Schweizer will lead a day-long (8:30am to 4pm) retreat on “Practicing Tranquility in A Busy Season” at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Hanover, NH:

    “The days are darkening, and our anticipation of the busy holiday season can become complicated by stirred-up emotions, expectations, and scheduled events. Join us as we stop for a moment. A full day of shared meditation practice will give us a chance to settle down and get in touch with the quiet just below the surface of our lives. It will give us direct access to the promised peace, joy, and good will of the season. Stillness is accessible to us in simple and intentional ways. It nourishes us.”

    To register, please visit http://valleyinsight.org/programs/retreats.html

    If that wasn’t enough, Larry Rosenberg will offer his monthly day-long (9am to 5pm) retreat at CIMC on Saturday; then on Sunday afternoon from 3pm to 6pm, Larry will be joined by Narayan Liebenson in hosting CIMC’s 30th anniversary “Community Conversation and Celebration.” To learn more about either event, please visit http://cambridgeinsight.org

    For this week’s readings, I’d like to highlight Shaila Catherine’s interview in the November issue of the BCBS Full Moon Insight Journal. Well known for her teaching on jhana practice, this time Shaila turns her attention to “Metta: What It Is and What It Isn’t”:

    https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/metta-what-it-is-what-it-isnt/

    And I’ll close by sharing the link to “What Is True Safety?” a new essay by Thanissaro Bhikkhu:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/what-true-safety

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  75. REMINDER — 11/24/15 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday meditation group at First Parish will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel. Sue is this week’s facilitator.

    Both CIMC and IMCN are on hiatus this holiday weekend, but stay tuned for events coming up in December at each center.

    With Thanksgiving coming up on Thursday, I thought today’s NPR piece on the health benefits of gratitude was particularly timely and interesting:

    http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/11/23/456656055/gratitude-is-good-for-the-soul-and-it-helps-the-heart-too

    I, for one, am grateful to the many teachers who make the timeless teachings of the dharma accessible to a contemporary Western audience. Among those I hold in especially warm regard is Gil Fronsdal, who makes freely available hundreds of hours of dharma talks on the Audiodharma website. This week I think it would be appropriate to Gil’s 2012 talk on “Choosing Gratitude” (29 min.):

    http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/3803.html

    I am also grateful to be retuning to the meditation group this week after far too many weeks away. I’m still not fully out of the woods with schoolwork, but it will be nice to take a moment to catch my breath with the group this week.

    I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening and I wish you all a very happy and safe Thanksgiving.

    Metta,
    Tim


  76. REMINDER — 11/17/15 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will be this week’s facilitator; I look forward to hearing her insights from 6 weeks spent on retreat at IMS.

    Coming up this weekend, CIMC will host a non-residential weekend retreat for experienced practitioners (>3 years of vipassana practice), under the guidance of Narayan Liebenson. The retreat begins Saturday, November 21, at 9am and concludes Sunday at 5pm. For more information, please visit http://cambridgeinsight.org

    Meanwhile at IMCN, on Saturday Chas DiCapua will offer a day-long retreat (9am to 5pm, with a morning-only option) on “Judgement and Discernment”:

    “In Vipassana meditation practice, we pay attention to understand our experience, not to judge it. The Dharma, or the truth of the way things are, is constantly being broadcast with each and every experience. When we judge our experience, it is not possible to see this truth. In this day long retreat, we will explore, in real time, the difference between simply knowing our experience, and having judgment about it. We will also practice cultivating the conditions that support a simple knowing and letting go of conditions that support judging our experience.”

    Then on Sunday, Chris Crotty will offer a morning (9:30am-1pm) “Mindfulness Yoga and Insight Meditation” workshop:

    “How can a yoga asana practice be used to support our mindfulness meditation practice? Can we bring the qualities of mindfulness and openness developed in sitting meditation practice onto the yoga mat thereby creating continuity between our practice on the mat and our practice on the cushion? We’ll explore these questions and others during this half-day workshop. The workshop will include short periods of sitting meditation, yoga, and discussion. This workshop is suitable for all levels of experience and beginners are welcome.”

    For more information on either IMCN offering, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    And finally, also on Saturday, Spirit Rock will offer Jack Kornfield’s “Introduction to Insight Meditation” day-long retreat in a live webcast format (12pm-8pm EST):

    “The day will include systematic instructions, silent sitting and walking meditation, and a dharma talk. It is suitable for both beginning and experienced meditators. When you register for the live webcast, you will be able to download video recordings of the webcast for 90 days afterward to view again.”

    To register, please visit https://www.spiritrock.org/intro-to-insight-lr

    I don’t have too much else to share this week except for the following blurb on a new Kickstarter campaign to fund David Wooster’s book of photographs of animals-in-residence at temples and monasteries in Thailand and Nepal. Interesting project with some nice photos:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/photographer-snaps-cats-and-dogs-of-thai-buddhist-temples/

    That’s about all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  77. REMINDER — 11/10/15 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday evening meditation group will be back in action tomorrow form 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela will be this week’s facilitator.

    At IMCN this Saturday morning (10am-12:30pm), November 14, Matthew Daniell will offer “The Mindful Moment: A Retreat for Beginning and Newer Students.”:

    “Insight meditation is a time tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. During this retreat we will explore how to calm and steady the mind and see with more clarity into our lives. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move fromsuffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn to touch and live in the moment. Although this retreat is designed for beginners, all are welcome.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Unfortunately, Sunday’s CIMC benefit workshop “Enlivened Practice: Ethics, Meditation and Wisdom” featuring Narayan Liebenson and Stephanie Morgan is already at capacity.

    In other exciting news, RIchard Shankman’s new book — “The Art and Skill of Buddhist Meditation” — is now available; I have a copy on order and can wait for a quiet moment to dive into it. Shankman’s method and teaching style have been tremendous influential on my own practice.

    “This book will be of interest to both beginning and experienced meditation practitioners. For new meditators, this is a hands-on book you can easily put into practice. Experienced practitioners will find a complete and useful guide for deepening insight and cultivating the deeper stages of concentration known as jhana.

    “This book discusses the most common experiences that can arise at each stage of the process as meditation unfolds, offering the kind of direction you might normally get only with teachers in individual practice interviews. Specific guidance and a variety of ways to proceed are offered at each step, depending on the meditator’s actual experience.”

    It is, of course, available via Amazon.com:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Skill-Buddhist-Meditation-Concentration/dp/1626252939

    There are a couple of interesting articles to share this week:

    First up is Josh Korda’s recent piece from the Huffington Post on “Early Buddhist Paths that Lead to Liberation”:

    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=6,12522,0,0,1,0#.VkFUOEsSRbh

    Then Tricycle.com blogger Brent R. Oliver checks in with “5 Realities of Becoming a Hardcore Meditator”:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/5-realities-becoming-hardcore-meditator

    Finally, Sharon Salzberg has a new <2min. video — "Standing in Line" — as a part of her Street Lovingkindness series; be sure to check it out:

    That's all for now; I hope to be able to join you all tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  78. REMINDER — 10/27/15 meditation group

    Good evening everyone…. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish; Carrie will be this week’s facilitator.

    IMCN is taking a quick break this coming weekend, however CIMC is hosting a couple of events:

    On Saturday, October 31, Larry Rosenberg will offer his monthly one-day (9am-5pm) intensive retreat; then on Sunday, George Mumford will offer a 1/2-day (2pm-5:15pm) retreat for people of color focusing on the “Four Virtues.” For more information on either event, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Local public radio station WBUR featured two intriguing guests on last week’s Radio Boston program. On Wednesday, Robin Young sat down with Andy Puddicombe to talk about Headspace, his mindfulness app, and the juncture of meditation and technology:

    http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/21/headspace-app-puddicombe (11 min.)

    Then on Thursday, Robin was joined by Jon Kabat-Zinn to talk about the science of mindfulness and mediation:

    http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/22/mindfulness-meditation-jon-kabat-zinn (10 min.)

    I also want to thank Sandra for the heads up on a web-based program called eMindful, which features old friend Matthew Daniell among its teachers:

    https://www.emindful.com/promo/

    Sandra writes: “This website offers live guided practice sessions throughout the day. Matthew leads a 30 minute practice every morning at 8:30 that is wonderful! Check it out if you can.”

    And, of course, I’ll put in another plug for Dan Harris an Joseph Goldstein’s “10% Happier” app: http://www.changecollective.com/10-percent-happier/

    I guess there is no shortage of technological aids these days. What would the Buddha do?

    I am once again in the throes of schoolwork this week, but hope to reappear for the first Tuesday of November. Until then, have a good practice.

    Metta,
    Tim


  79. REMINDER — 10/20/15 meditation group

    Good evening…. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of interesting retreat offerings coming up shortly.

    First, CIMC will offer a 5-day non-residential retreat starting this Saturday, October 24. The retreat, led by Narayan Liebenson, runs all day (9am-7pm) Saturday and Sunday, continuing Monday through Wednesday from 6pm to 9pm each day:

    “This five-day long retreat combines formal meditation and daily life as dharma practice. We start with a weekend composed of the familiar formal practices emphasizing sitting and walking meditation. For the subsequent three weekdays, yogis will be given a meditation exercise to work with during the day, an exercise directly concerned with daily life. Coming together again in the evenings we will sit, walk and share our experiences of working with the exercises. Individual interviews will be possible. Yogis are asked to attend all five days. Partial registration will not be offered for this retreat.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also, just a heads up that Narayan will be joined by Stephanie Morgan on Sunday, November 15 for a CIMC benefit workshop on “Enlivened Practice: Ethics, Meditation and Wisdom.” Stay tuned for more details.

    In the meantime, IMCN will hold its inaugural residential weekend retreat this weekend, October 23 through October 25. There are still a few spaces left:

    “This weekend is advertised as ‘Insight Meditation for Beginners and Ongoing Students’ which leaves it open for all levels of practitioners so that anyone can come and be a part of this very special weekend. We will get the chance to practice together in silence in a beautiful location located only twenty minutes away in Kensington, New Hampshire. There are acres of beautiful foliage with trails that are great for walking.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Many of you who recall Abhaya’s teaching will remember her fondness for the poetry of Mary Oliver. Oliver was also Krista Tippett’s guest on OnBeing earlier this year, and that radio conversation was reprised last week:

    http://www.onbeing.org/program/mary-oliver-listening-to-the-world/7267

    In closing this week I leave you with a wonderful illustration of Kristin Neff’s “Three Steps for Self-Compassion”:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/three-steps-for-self-compassion-illustrated/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  80. REMINDER — 10/13/15 meditation group

    Good evening everyone! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. We hope to have Ajahn David return as guest teacher for this week.

    This week’s highlight event is, of course, Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Friday evening talk on behalf of CIMC, “The Mainstreaming of Mindfulness in America: The Promise and the Perils”:

    “In this talk, Jon Kabat-Zinn will outline the widespread, growing interest in mindfulness in society and its actual cultivation through practice. Jon will investigate the potential perils of mindfulness divorced from its ethical moorings and deep practice. Has mindfulness been reduced to a mere (and misunderstood) concept, rather than understood as a life-long invitation to recognize and embody what is deepest and best in humanity?”

    This event will take place at 7pm on Friday, October 16, at the Arlington Street Church in Boston. To register, please visit https://cambridgeinsight.org/program/an-evening-talk-with-jon-kabat-zinn-othe-mainstreaming-of-mindfulness-in-america-the-promise-and-the-perilso/

    At IMCN on Sunday, October 18, Matthew Daniell will offer a day-long (9am-5pm) retreat on “Embracing Difficulties”:

    “In practice we are taught to calm and steady the mind, open the heart, see clearly and act wisely. Normally difficulties are seen to be aspects of our lives that get in the way of this process. But do they have to be? In this retreat we will be exploring how to use the tools of practice (both mindfulness and kindness) so that difficulties can be worked with skillfully. With wise attitude we will explore the possibility that we can move beyond coping, putting up with, and tolerating difficulties to embracing them and invite them fully onto our path of wakeful, openhearted living.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow.

    Metta,
    Tim


  81. REMINDER — 10/6/15 meditation group

    Good evening everyone! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up at CIMC on Saturday, October 10, Narayan Liebenson will offer a day-long Metta retreat for experienced practitioners:

    “The Buddha taught metta as an antidote to fear and anger. The systematic practice of metta develops concentration and tranquility, strengthening the mind and softening the heart toward oneself and others. Cultivating metta we directly experience our fundamental kindness.This retreat offers the opportunity for a full day of metta practice and will include guided sittings. It is an opportunity for those who are familiar with the theory and definition of metta to engage in a day of extended engagement with the practice itself.This retreat is appropriate for anyone who has any prior experience with metta practice.”

    To register, please visit https://cambridgeinsight.org/program/metta-retreat-for-experienced-practitioners/

    Also on Saturday, Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN to offer a morning workshop (10am-1pm) on the Four Noble Truths:

    “The Four Noble Truths are the bedrock of the early Buddhist wisdom path. They are simply that there is unsatisfactoriness (or suffering) in life, that it has a cause (unwise clinging), a cure (freedom of the heart), and there is a way to affect the cure (the path of practice). Through periods of silence, presented material, and discussion on this workshop, we will take a fresh look at how this simple schema can be used to bring us more fully into the present moment, and provide thefoundation for working with difficult material that arises in our daily lives with more clarity, compassion, and ease.”

    Then on Sunday, October 11, Ted Jones will have a morning “Waking Up to Your Life” retreat for newer students (10am-12:30pm):

    “Insight meditation is a time tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. During this retreat we will explore how to calm and steady the mind and see with more clarity into our lives. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn to touch and live in the moment. Although this retreat is designed for beginners, all are welcome.”

    For more information on the IMCN offerings, please go to http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Looking just a bit further ahead, of course, are CIMC’s benefit events featuring Jon Kabat-Zinn. While his “Day of Mindfulness Practice and Dialog” on Saturday, October 17, is already sold out, this is still availability for his evening lecture on Friday, October 16:

    “In this talk, Jon Kabat-Zinn will outline the widespread and growing movement of interest in mindfulness in society and its actual cultivation through practice, and how these profound cultural changes came about. He will focus particularly on the so-called mindfulness movement’s dharma roots in various traditions and practices, its emergence and gradual flowering within medicine, health care, and psychology over the past four decades (and now into education, the corporate world, criminal justice, professional sports, even the military) and its broad potential impact as a public health initiative in the service of cultivating greater health and well-being, clarity and wisdom, and altruism and kindness both individually, in society, and ultimately, globally. He will also emphasize the ethical roots of mindfulness within both the dharma and medicine, and discuss the potential perils of mindfulness becoming divorced from deep practice and from its ethical moorings, and perhaps reduced to a mere (and misunderstood) concept, rather than understood as a life-long invitation to recognize and embody what is deepest and best in humanity collectively and within ourselves as individuals.This event will take place at the Arlington Street Church, 351 Boylston Street, Boston, MA. All proceeds benefit the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center.”

    Again, for more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Mindful Self-Compassion seems to be in the early fall air with Shambhala Sun and the Psychotherapy Networker each devoting significant coverage to the practice in their current issues.

    In “Be Your Own Best Friend,” Shambhala Sun editor Melvin McLeod writes that “Making friends with ourselves is the essence of the Buddhist path.”

    http://www.lionsroar.com/be-your-own-best-friend/

    Meanwhile Chris Germer and Kristin Neff each contributed an article to the current issue of Psychotherapy Networker:

    “Inside the Heart of Healing: When Moment-to-Moment Awareness Isn’t Enough” (Germer): http://www.psychotherapynetworker.org/magazine/currentissue/item/2715-inside-the-heart-of-healing

    “The 5 Myths of Self-Compassion: What Keeps Us From Being Kinder to Ourselves?” (Neff):
    http://www.psychotherapynetworker.org/magazine/currentissue/item/2716-the-5-myths-of-self-compassion

    Kristy Arbon will be the featured speaker at the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy’s Buddhist Psychology Lecture Series “Exploring Mindful Self-Compassion” Monday, October 12; then she and IMP’s Susan Pollak will offer a 5-day intensive MSC training from October 15-19. Both events will take place at the Arlington Center in Arlington. More information can be found at:

    http://meditationandpsychotherapy.org/buddhist-psychology-lecture-series

    and

    https://heartworks.training/event/5-day-mindful-self-compassion-training-arlington-massachusetts/

    And in closing this week I leave you with “Where Does Compassion Come From?” — another short (< 3min.) video featuring narration by Sharon Salzberg:

    http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/where-does-compassion-come-from/

    That's all for now — schoolwork permitting, I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  82. REMINDER — 9/29/15 meditation group

    Good evening, everyone. The Chelmsford meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish; Carrie will repeat as practice facilitator this week.

    IMCN celebrates its 10th anniversary this Saturday, October 3. The day will start off with a half day retreat led by Larry Rosenberg. The celebration will begin after the retreat. There will be a potluck lunch followed by reflections from our co-founders and community sharing. For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile in Cambridge, also on October 3, Narayan Liebenson will offer a day-long (10am-4pm) metta workshop.

    Then on Sunday, October 4, CIMC’s 30th anniversary celebration continues with an afternoon (2pm-5:30pm) benefit event featuring Kamala Masters’ teaching on the “Two Wings of Dhamma”:

    “Compassion and wisdom are the two wings of the Dhamma, and they are mutually supporting of one another. If not for compassion, we would not be able to open to and experience the wisdom of the Four Noble Truths in a profound way. Experiencing this wisdom opens us to more compassion, which in turn continues to deepen our understanding of the Dhamma. The integration and balancing of compassion and wisdom helps us navigate life in a way that can bring more peace to our lives.”

    To register for either CIMC event, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org — and don’t forget Jon Kabat-Zinn’s evening talk on Friday, October 16.

    Also coming up during the month of October is a free “Mindfulness Summit” offered by Sounds True. The Mindfulness Summit 2015 is “a 31-day online summit where you can learn mindfulness from the comfort of your own home from the world’s most respected teachers. The Mindfulness Summit—a not-for-profit project hosted by Melli O’Brien (of Mrs. Mindfulness)—will take place online between October 1–31, giving you access to a series of high-quality mindfulness trainings, online interviews, practice sessions, and mindfulness tips and lessons. Join Tami Simon, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach, Joseph Goldstein, Arianna Huffington, and more as they share their tips, stories, and some of the best ways to incorporate mindfulness into your life.”

    For more information, please visit http://themindfulnesssummit.com/?ref=ST&utm_medium=email&utm_source=affiliate&utm_campaign=ST&utm_content=maindb

    One of the Mindfulness Summit’s featured teachers, Jack Kornfield, was Vincent Horn’s guest on this past week’s Buddhist Geeks podcast (~50 min.). Jack offers the great breadth and depth of his experience and spiritual wisdom in discussing “The Progress of Insight”: http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2015/09/bg-371-the-progress-of-insight/?mc_cid=d599e8bc9a&mc_eid=ea05d523ee

    In closing this week I want to recommend this month’s BCBS Full Moon Insight Journal which features an interview with Bhikkhu Analayo on “Cultivating the Brahmaviharas”:

    https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/cultivating-the-brahmaviharas/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  83. REMINDER — 9/22/15 meditation group

    Good evening, everyone. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow (also the first night of Yom Kippur in the Jewish tradition) from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish; Carrie will be this week’s facilitator.

    This Saturday, September 26, the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy, Lesley University, and the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute will co-sponsor “The Heart of the Practice: A Day of Personal Exploration at the Confluence of Mindfulness and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy.” The event will take place on the Lesley University campus in Cambridge, and its faculty include Delia Kostner, Chris Germer, Susan Pollak and Ron Siegel. CEUs are available for professionals. More information can be found at http://continuingeducationprogram.org/courses/the-heart-of-the-practice-a-day-of-personal-exploration-at-the-confluence-of-mindfulness-and-psychodynamic-psychotherapy/

    For those of a less psychoanalytic inclination, Narayan Liebenson will lead a 2-day intensive non-residential retreat at CIMC starting at 9am on Saturday and ending at 6pm on Sunday. (Saturday-only option is also available.)To register, please visit https://cambridgeinsight.org/program/intensive-weekend-retreat/

    Also, don’t forget to save the date for CIMC’s next 30th anniversary celebration event October 4: “The Two Wings of the Dhamma” an afternoon with Kamala Masters. More information can be found at https://cambridgeinsight.org/program/the-two-wings-of-the-dhamma/

    Jon Kabat-Zinn will conclude CIMC’s anniversary festivities on the weekend of October 16-17; stay tuned for more details.

    IMCN is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and also has a celebration planned for October….

    I have been negligent in not sooner forwarding a link recommended by our friend Sunder. “The Science of Happiness” is a a 10-week edX course featuring UC Berkeley’s Dacher Keltner; it looks very interesting indeed!

    https://www.edx.org/course/science-happiness-uc-berkeleyx-gg101x-1#!

    All in all a lot going on!

    Before I sign off for this week, I want to leave you with a short (2 min.) new “bubble meditation” from Sharon Salzberg; enjoy!

    I hope to see most everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  84. REMINDER — 9/15/15

    Good evening everyone! I apologize for the lateness of this e-mail. We will indeed meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish; Gabriela will be this week’s facilitator.

    This Saturday, September 19, at CIMC, Madeline Klyne will offer a beginners’ workshop from 10am to 4:30pm:

    “This workshop is designed for people who have little or no meditation experience, or who are relatively new to Insight Meditation (Vipassana). Our extended time together provides the opportunity to meditate and learn with others who are in the beginning stages of practice. The day will include formal meditation instruction, sitting and walking practice and group discussion as we explore the basics of Insight Meditation. There will be ample opportunity to ask questions. All are welcome.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also on Saturday, Chas DiCapua will be at IMCN for a daylong (9am-5pm) retreat on “The Second Foundation of Mindfulness: Feeling Tone”:

    “Being aware of how experience is being felt in terms of it being pleasant, unpleasant or neutral is so important that the Buddha singled it out and gave it prominence in the teachings of what we should be mindful of. What’s great about working with feeling tone is that any ordinary experience can be easily known in terms of pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. We’ll use the forms of sitting and walking to support our mindfulness of feeling tone and the minds habitual way of relating to them with greed, hatred and delusion, allowing us the opportunity to let go ofthese habit patterns and rest in an easy knowing of the feeling tone just as it is.”

    To register please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Looking ahead to September 26, Lesley University, the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, and the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy are cosponsoring a day-long course on “The Heart of the Practice: A Day of Personal Exploration at the Confluence of Mindfulness and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy.” The course features Delia Kostner, Susan Pollak, Chris Germer, Ron Siegel, and others. For more information, please visit http://continuingeducationprogram.org/courses/the-heart-of-the-practice-a-day-of-personal-exploration-at-the-confluence-of-mindfulness-and-psychodynamic-psychotherapy/

    Also on September 26, our friends at Valley Insight in Lebanon, NH, will host a day-long retreat (8:30am to 4pm) with Ajahn Jayanto. Additional details may be found at http://valleyinsight.org/programs/retreats.html

    As some of you already know, I have recently had an opportunity to “test drive” Dan Harris and Joseph Goldstein’s new smartphone app “10% Happier.” I just completed the two week course today and have no hesitation recommending it, especially to anyone looking to establish a meditation practice. I personally found it to be a nice prelude to my regular afternoon meditation.

    Dan had the opportunity to plug the app on Good Morning America this past Sunday, and you can check out the 3-minute clip here:

    http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/app-teach-meditate-33707958

    If anyone is interested in signing up for the course, please let me know; I can arrange to get you a discount on the course fee.

    I think that’s about all for this week, but I will leave you with a short video clip (2 min.) featuring Trudy Goodman on PBS NewsHour’s “Brief But Spectacular Take”: https://www.facebook.com/newshour/videos/vb.6491828674/10153622043768675/?type=2&theater

    I’ll be tied up with schoolwork ahead of class this weekend, so I wish you all a good practice tomorrow and look forward to rejoining you on the 22nd.

    Metta,
    Tim


  85. REMINDER — 9/8/15 meditation group

    Good evening everyone; happy Labor Day! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow evening from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish; I’ll be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN are both back in swing this week.

    IMCN launches into the fall on Friday evening, September 11, with a now sold-out evening featuring Joseph Goldstein. However, Matthew Daniell will be at the center on Saturday, September 12, to offer a morning retreat for beginning and newer students. For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, CIMC hosts its monthly day-long (9am-5pm) intensive retreat with Larry Rosenberg on Saturday, September 12: https://cambridgeinsight.org/program/intensive-one-day-retreat-3/. Also, stay tuned for more 30th anniversary events coming up in the next few months.

    September 12 is apparently also – “Mindfulness Day,” and the folks over at Lion’s Roar have some suggestions for how to celebrate, with help from Bhante G:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/sept-12-is-mindfulness-day-so-whats-mindfulness-an-excerpt-from-mindfulness-in-plain-english/

    I also wanted to offer a bit of an update on my test drive of the “10% Happier” smartphone app I mentioned last week: http://www.changecollective.com/10-percent-happier.

    I am halfway through the two-week course and have been quite pleasantly surprised so far. While the app is paced for new meditators, Joseph’s teaching is nonetheless first rate; I’ve found myself using the 15 minute sessions as a warm up for my regular afternoon sit. I haven’t really taken advantage of the live coach, but it’s good to know the support is there, if needed. In any event, I would wholeheartedly recommend checking it out, whether you’re a first time meditator just getting started or a long term practitioner in search of a tune up. It’s also good if you just need a little bit of help to maintain a regular practice, as your coach will send you an e-mail to remind you when you’ve said you wanted to do your daily 10%. Once you’ve been through the course once, you’ll continue to have access to it. It’s well worth the $20, in my opinion.

    (Carrie and Brenda have been in touch with the Change Collective folks regarding coaching for the “10% Happier” program, but so far neither they nor I have any financial involvement with this project.)

    For those who are thinking they want to take their practice to the next level, IMS has just announced that registration is open for its 2016 retreat center courses. Highlights include:

    The Monastic Retreat, Finding Inner Peace, will be led by Ajahn Punnadhammo and Ayya Medhanandi Bhikkhuni, March 25 – April 1.

    The Metta Retreat, taught by Sharon Salzberg, Mark Coleman and Winnie Nazarko, is moving from wintertime to spring. It will take place May 18-25.

    For experienced students, Bhikkhu Anālayo, Akincano and Shaila Catherine will offer Satipatthāna, April 2-11.

    Then, June 14-21, Sayadaw U Jagara and Nikki Mirghafori will guide retreatants in Examining Reality as a Path to Freedom.

    With its extended length and ongoing guidance, the annual Three-Month Retreat is another chance for experienced meditators to deepen the powers of concentration, wisdom and compassion. This course will run September 10 – December 3, and includes two six-week segments, Part 1 and Part 2.

    For more information, please visit http://www.dharma.org

    In closing, and in honor of the holiday today, I leave you with a reprise of WBUR’s 2014 piece on “8 Ways to Introduce Buddhist Teachings to Your Work Life,” featuring Lodro Rinzler:

    http://radioboston.wbur.org/2015/09/07/buddha-office-redux

    That’s all for now.

    I hope everyone has enjoyed a safe and restful holiday weekend; I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  86. REMINDER — 9/1/15 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I’ll be this week’s facilitator.

    BCBS and IMCN remain on summer break for now, but will have plenty of events in coming weeks. Joseph Goldstein will be at IMCN on September 11, and CIMC continues their 30th anniversary celebration with visits from Jon Kabat-Zinn, Kamala Masters, and others. For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org and http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    I was recently made aware of a new collaboration between Dan Harris and Joseph Goldstein, based on Harris’s book “10% Happier.” Local start-up the Change Collective have produced and iPhone and Android app that — for $20 — guides users through a 2-week meditation course with Joseph. While primarily geared towards new practitioners, I understand that long-time meditators are also using it for a bit of a tune-up. One feature that sets this app apart from some others is that “10%” users are provided with a “live” coach to help them through the course. I’ve downloaded the app but haven’t yet checked it out myself — something I expect to do in the next couple of days. (In the interest of full disclosure, Brenda and I have been in contact with Change Co. regarding coaching for this project.) You can find out more here: http://www.changecollective.com/10-percent-happier

    The current issue of BCBS’s Full Moon Insight Journal features a fascinating essay by scholar-monk Bhikkhu Analayo on “The Dynamics of Theravada Insight Meditation.” In his moderately technical essay, Analayo looks at the three most prominent schools of insight meditation, as practiced in the West, started by Mahasi Sayadaw, S.N. Goenka, and Pa Auk Sayadaw. Interestingly, all three of of these teachers have strong connections to Burma. Conspicuously absent from Analayo’s discussion is any mention of the Thai Forest tradition started in the early 20th Century by Ajahn Mun and Ajahn Sao Kantasilo, and passed along by Ajahn Chah and Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Also missing is any mention of the Theravada tradition practiced in Sri Lanka, although it is similar in many respects to the Burmese schools, I believe. In any event, Analayo’s essay nicely lays out the compatibility of the three Burmese schools:

    https://www.bcbsdharma.org/article/the-dynamics-of-theravada-insight-meditation/

    The Thai Forest tradition is characterized by a more relaxed, daily life approach to meditation than its more austere cousins, which leads me to this week’s dharma talk from Gil Fronsdal, speaking about the “Importance of Relaxation” (20 min):

    http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/5898.html

    Gil also has a longer follow-up talk (30 min.) here: http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/5900.html

    And in closing this week, I leave you with “Sit Like A Mountain” — a short teaching on equanimity from Sharon Salzberg: http://www.lionsroar.com/sit-like-a-mountain-an-image-of-equanimity/#

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow!

    Metta,
    Tim


  87. REMINDER — 8/25/15 meditation group

    Good evening everyone! The Tuesday night meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel; Judi will be this week’s facilitator.

    CIMC and IMCN both remain on summer break this week, but I do want to remind everyone of the special evening with Joseph Goldstein in Newburyport coming up on on September 11. For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    In other news, I was very happy to discover that the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies has a very sharp-looking new website at http://www.bcbsdharma.org. I haven’t had a chance to fully explore just yet, but from a quick glance it looks to provide a wonderful portal to BCBS’s vast resources.

    I wanted to follow up on Brenda’s show-and-tell from last week with a link to Kim Allen’s 2012 dharma talk (12 min.) on the Mangala (“Blessings”) Sutta: http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/3768.html

    For those who want to follow along, you can of course find multiple English translations of the sutta over at Access to Insight: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/khp/khp.5.nara.html

    You can also hear more of Kim’s dharma offerings here: http://www.audiodharma.org/teacher/4/

    Two good articles for reading this week are Sylvia Boorstein’s “Daily Life is Practice” by way of Lion’s Roar — http://www.lionsroar.com/sylvia-boorstein-on-keeping-the-peace-in-your-mind/# — and a short post by Tricycle.com’s Raymond Lam on Bhikkhu Bodhi’s “Conscientious Compassion”: http://www.tricycle.com/blog/conscientious-compassion

    And, last but not least, a poignant — if somewhat tongue-in-cheek — post from Tricycle’s Brent Oliver on “5 Reasons I Haven’t Settled on a Buddhist School”:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/5-reasons-i-havent-settled-buddhist-school

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  88. REMINDER — 8/18/15 meditation group

    Good evening, everyone. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow evening from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will be this week’s facilitator. I especially look forward to hearing what she has to report from her recent trip to California to participate in the Buddhist Insight Network’s 2015 InterSangha meeting.

    I also want to take a moment extend my apologies for last week’s facilitator coverage confusion; we were caught in very unusual circumstances, so I hope no one was horribly put off.

    CIMC and IMCN are both on summer hiatus, but I did want to mention a special event coming up on Friday, September 11: IMS co-founder Joseph Goldstein will be at IMC Newburyport from 7pm to 9pm for a special evening of meditation and a dharma talk on “Awakening to the Present Moment.” For more details, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org. If there is enough interest, we may try to arrange a carpool from First Parish.

    This is also a good time to check out the fall offerings at IMCN and CIMC, as well as retreat opportunities at IMS and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies:

    http://www.cambridgeinsight.org
    http://www.dharma.org
    http://www.bcbsdharma.org

    For anyone who may be considering a self-rereat at some point, I have updated our website to provide a link to Harvard Divinity School’s list of “Retreats and Quiet Places” in our neck of the woods, which should have some useful resources:

    http://hds.harvard.edu/life-at-hds/religious-and-spiritual-life/retreats-and-quiet-places

    Many thanks to Sandra for prompting me to look into this!

    Before I sign off this week, I’ll leave you with a (relatively) brand new dharma talk from Gil Fronsdal on “Thinking” (41 min):

    http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/5903.html

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  89. REMINDER — 8/11/15 meditation group

    Good evening everyone; the Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie will stand in for Christine as this week’s facilitator. The Chelmsford Community Band will hold its final performance of the summer on the town common at 7pm, so parking in the church lot will once again be limited.

    Following up on last week’s discussion, I wanted to pass along a couple of links:

    First up is Terri Gross’s recent NPR interview (35 min.) with journalist Anil Ananthaswamy on his recent book “The Man Who Wasn’t There: Investigations into the New Strange New Science of the Self”:

    http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/07/28/426753409/a-sense-of-self-what-happens-when-your-brain-says-you-dont-exist

    From a more specifically (Theravada) Buddhist perspective, I heartily recommend Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s essay “The Not-Self Strategy” available via Access to Insight:

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/notselfstrategy.pdf

    For further reading, I also recommend Than Geoff’s short book “Selves and Not Self: The Buddhist Teaching on Anatta,” available for free download via Dhammatalks.org: http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writings/selvesnotself_v120302.pdf

    Closing things out this week is a short (1 min. 48 sec.) video from Sharon Salzberg on “Street Loving-kindness”:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/watch-as-sharon-salzberg-teaches-street-loving-kindness/

    That’s all for this week; I have one more paper to finish up to wrap up the summer semester, so I won’t be able to join you all tomorrow evening, but I look forward to seeing everyone next week.

    Metta,
    Tim


  90. REMINDER — 8/4/15 meditation group

    Greetings everyone! My apologies for another late e-mail; the meditation group will meet tomorrow evening from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie will be this week’s facilitator. Again, parking in the church lot may be limited due to the Chelmsford Community Band concert on the town common.

    IMCN is about to take their month-long summer break and wind things down with “A Day of Simple Silence” under the guidance of Matthew Daniell this Saturday, August 8, from 9am to 5pm:

    “This retreat is modeled after the ‘no toys’ retreats led by one of our founders, Larry Rosenberg. During the retreat there will be no talking, save for minimal introductory instructions and reminders from the teacher if necessary. We will practice with the silent support of each other throughout the day. Towards the end of our time together there will be the opportunity for discussion: What can we learn as we exploring the power of a simple day spent in meditative silence together?”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Larry himself will be at CIMC this Saturday to offer his monthly intensive one day “no toys” retreat, also from 9am to 5pm. To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    In the meantime, I just received word that because of some last minute cancellations, BCBS has a couple of available spaces in Leigh Brasington’s upcoming retreat on “Jhanas and Dependent Origination.” The retreat begins this Thursday, August 6, and ends on Thursday, August 16:

    “This retreat combines the two main elements of the Buddha’s model of liberation: cultivating the meditative absorptions (jhānas), which lead to calm clarity, along with insight into the dependent co-origination (paticca-samuppada) of phenomena. We will look at selected texts from the Pali suttas, including the famous Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta, to highlight both meditation practice and the teachings of dependent co-origination. This course is limited to those who have completed at least two one-week or longer silent vipassana retreats.”

    To register, please visit http://www.bcbsdharma.org/courses/?page=Class_Details&id=a0GA000000ZX3bBMAT&utm_source=Leigh+Brasington+Retreat+Last+Minute&utm_campaign=LB+Last+Minute+Retreat&utm_medium=email or call 978-355-2347 ext. 10.

    This is also a good time to remind folks that Friday, August 7, is the application deadline for BCBS’s “Entering the Path” online course. More details can be found at http://www.bcbsdharma.org/courses/entering-the-path-an-online-foundations-course/

    BCBS faculty member Andy Olendzki is also leading Tricycle’s new online program “Integrated Dharma: Living with Integrity,” beginning September 13:

    “Integrated Dharma is a new approach to understanding and embodying the teachings of the Buddha. It is intended to bring contemporary people living in the modern world into very intimate contact with the thoughts and words of the historical Buddha. The approach is respectful of the classical tradition and faithful to the original teachings, but also secular in its orientation and focused more on the practical psychology of Buddhism than upon its religious or metaphysical aspects.Participants are invited to look closely at two ideas presented in the classical texts each week, and to investigate the meaning of these teachings in the context of their own lives and their own practice. The passages are short, carefully selected, and presented in a way that is easily accessible. The primary work of the program is not to cover a lot of material, but to penetrate deeply into the meaning of key teachings and see how they are demonstrated in one’s own experience and relevant to one’s own life.”

    For more information, please visit http://learn.tricycle.com/?utm_source=IMP%20Update%20%2339&utm_campaign=IMP%20Update%20July%202015&utm_medium=email

    And last but not least, I’ll leave you with a link to the Buddhist Geeks’ recent roundtable on “Advances in Meditation Research,” featuring our dear friend David Vago and his colleagues Rael Cahn and Sonia Sequeria. The group joins host Vincent Horn to describe the themes that will be explored at the upcoming conference “Advances in Meditation Research: Genetics, Neuroscience and Clinical Applications,” the current state of meditation research, and how they each relate to the subject as practitioners and researchers.

    http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2015/07/bg-366-advances-meditation-research/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  91. REMINDER — 7/28/15 meditation group

    Good evening! My apologies for the later-than-usual notice, but the meditation group will indeed meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Mike is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Again, the Chelmsford Community Band is due to perform on the town common starting at 7pm, so parking in the church lot will likely be limited. Alternate parking is available at 10 North Road, behind the offices of Lampert, Hausler, and Rodman.

    Coming up this weekend, on Saturday, August 1, Narayan Helen Liebenson will lead a “Wise Speech Workshop” from 10am to 4pm at Cambridge Insight:

    “Training ourselves to speak in a wiser and less harmful way is one of the factors of the Noble Eightfold Path. To be aware while speaking offers the embodiment of insight, self-understanding, and compassion. Through strengthening our capacity to be present and more skillful in difficult situations, the pain and misunderstandings that come out of unwise and habitual speech can begin to ease. Included will be talks, discussion, and sitting meditation.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also on Saturday, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport to offer a morning retreat (10am-12:30pm) for beginning and newer students. For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    I want to highlight a handful of books that have recently been published, or will be in the next few months.

    First, is a new book from Thanissaro Bhikkhu called “The Buddha Smiles: Humor in the Pali Canon.” As with all of Than Geoff’s books, it is freely available for download via http://www.dhammatalks.org/

    Not to be confused, former Buddhsit nun Thanissara’s new book “Time to Stand Up: An Engaged Buddhist Manifesto for Our Earth — The Buddha’s Life and Message through Feminine Eyes” will hit bookstores and websites on August 18:

    http://www.amazon.com/Time-Stand-Up-Buddhist-Manifesto/dp/158394916X/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1438049884&sr=1-3&keywords=thanissara

    Meanwhile, Leigh Brasington’s “Right Concentration: A Practical Guide to the Jhanas” (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1611802695/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=1LT77PH0S1FP3&coliid=I1DJ472A72XE9W) is due for release on October 13, as is Analayo’s “Compassion and Emptiness in Early Buddhist Meditation” (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1909314552/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=1LT77PH0S1FP3&coliid=I3TD09NPHN3FPM).

    And last but certainly not least, Richard Shankman will have his new book — “The Art and Skill of Buddhist Meditation: Mindfulness, Concentration, and Insight” — available on November 1: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1626252939/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=28SY117YYCS9J&coliid=I37FQ93XLWL42P

    The Lion’s Roar website has had some good reads recently, including “Meet A Teacher” with Sylvia Boorstein — http://www.lionsroar.com/meet-sylvia-boorstein/ — and a conversation between teachers Pema Chodron and Jack Kornfield on “the wondrous path of difficulties”: http://www.lionsroar.com/the-wondrous-path-of-difficulties/

    Finally, a fun little piece “Why are your a Buddhist (in under 30 seconds)?”: http://www.lionsroar.com/why-are-you-buddhist/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  92. REMINDER — 7/21/15 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Please bear in mind that the Chelmsford Community Band is due to perform on the town common starting at 7pm, so parking in the church lot will likely be limited. Alternate parking is available at 10 North Road, behind the offices of Lampert, Hausler, and Rodman.

    Narayan Liebenson will be at CIMC this coming weekend (July 25-26) to offer a two-day non-residential retreat for experienced practitioners (>3 years of practice. For more information, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also this Saturday, July 25, at IMC Newburyport Matthew Daniell will offer a daylong (10am-4m) retreat for “newer and ongoing students”:

    “In this retreat we will systematically explore the simple yet powerful practice the Buddha gave of being mindful in various postures (sitting, standing, walking and lying down). Sitting periods will be roughly 35 minutes, making the retreat suitable for newer as well as ongoing students. This combined with the practice of ‘rotating the postures’ can help in a very practical way to provide the foundation for uniting formal practice and daily life. What posture are you in as you read this? Can you pause and wake up right where you are in present moment? After all, there is just life.”

    For additional information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Insight meditation teacher Jack Kornfield celebrated his 70th birthday last week, and Lion’s Roar has compiled a nice collection of his writing over the years:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/a-happy-birthday-to-jack-kornfield-read-his-best-from-lions-roar/

    I want to highlight Mirabai Bush’s appearance as Krista Tippett’s guest for last week’s episode of On Being. Mirabai is a longtime insight meditation teach and colleague of Jack Kornfield and Sharon Salzberg; she is now Senior Fellow at Center for Contemplative Mind in Society (http://www.contemplativemind.org/). In between she helped Chade-Meng Tang launch the famous “Search Inside Yourself” program at Google. Mirabai and Krista’s conversation covers wide ground in a contemplation of life and work: http://www.onbeing.org/program/mirabai-bush-search-inside-yourself-contemplation-in-life-and-work/7731

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  93. REMINDER — 7/14/15 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will be back in full swing tomorrow evening from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I’ll be on hand as this week’s facilitator.

    Just a reminder that the Chelmsford Community Band is scheduled to perform at 7:00pm Tuesday evening on the town common directly across from First Parish. As a result, the church parking lot will likely be more limited than usual. I highly recommend taking advantage of alternate parking in the lot behind 10 North Road, at the offices of Lampert, Hausler, and Rodman.

    This coming Saturday, July 18, Larry Rosenberg will be at CIMC to offer his monthly one-day (9am-5pm) intensive retreat. For registration or additional information, please visit http://cambridgeinsight.org

    Also on Saturday, the Lanesville Community Center in Gloucester will host a public talk and one-day retreat by Thai Forest monks and meditation masters Achaan Da and Achaan Niphen. As I understand, these monks follow the “Mahasati” meditation style — a highly embodied form of practice that may seem somewhat unusual at first glance. For more information, please visit http://mahasatimeditation.org/event/thai-forest-monk-and-meditation-master-achan-da-leads-workshop/?instance_id=3978. (Thanks to Brenda for the heads up on this one!)

    In other very exciting news, I am very happy to spread word of a new program being offered this fall by the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies:

    “Entering the Path is a 12-week online course for meditation practitioners to deepen practice by developing a more in-depth relationship to the early Buddhist teachings. Through a series of video lectures, online small groups, one-on-one teacher interviews, reflections on practice, and selected sutta readings, this course hopes to provide the foundation and framework with which to continue exploring the discourses on your own.”

    Applications are due by August 7; for more information, please visit http://www.bcbsdharma.org/courses/entering-the-path-an-online-foundations-course/

    And I’ll leave you with a link to CBS News’ recent segment on “Meditation, Mindfulness, and Spirituality,” (30 min.) featuring Sharon Salzberg and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. It’s definitely worth checking out:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/meditation-mindfulness-spirituality/?utm_source=Sharon+Salzberg+Email+List&utm_campaign=48df5d00c4-June_Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_63a4a956f3-48df5d00c4-288497785

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  94. CANCELED — 7/7/15 meditation group

    Good evening; I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday weekend. I’m sending this week’s e-mail out a bit earlier than usual, but I wanted to make sure that folks had as much advance notice as possible. The Tuesday evening meditation is cancelled this week; we look forward to seeing everyone again on July 14.

    I do have a few items to share in the meantime, of course:

    First, Narayan Helen Liebenson will be at CIMC on Saturday, July 11, to offer a day-long (10am-4pm) Metta workshop:

    “The Buddha taught Metta as an antidote to fear and anger. The systematic practice of Metta develops concentration and tranquility, strengthening the mind and softening the heart toward oneself and others.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also on Saturday, at noon Eastern time, Deepak Chopra will lead a Global Meditation for Compassion, live-streamed via Sounds True:

    https://chopracentermeditation.com/gm?acode=st&_bta_tid=3.RM0.A1oLBg.A_XK.Y6Fe..vMcO.b..l.ATe6.a.VZBEMA.VZBxdA.W4nufQ&_bta_c=3ilr0z0abvlm6ss4hdg4fqo85vlvr

    (Thanks to Sandra F. for the tip on this!)

    I also wanted to highlight BCBS’s interview with author Stephen Batchelor from the latest Full Moon Insight Journal:

    http://www.bcbsdharma.org/insight-journal/ (archived at http://www.bcbsdharma.org/july-2-2015/ after July 31)

    Stephen’s forthcoming book “After Buddhism: Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age” will be published this October.

    Finally, I want to remind everyone that the Chelmsford Community Band summer concert series is once again upon us. At 7pm on Tuesday evenings from July 7 through August 11, the band will hold performances on the town common across Westford Street from First Parish. This means that parking in the church lot will be even more limited than usual. Anyone coming for meditation from now through the second Tuesday in August is advised to park behind the offices of Lampert, Hausler, and Rodman at 10 North Road. Apologies for the inconvenience!

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone on July 14.

    Meta,
    Tim


  95. REMINDER — 6/30/15 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is this week’s facilitator.

    With many folks traveling for the 4th of July holiday this weekend, please e-mail me by Friday, July 3, if you DO plan to come to meditation next Tuesday, July 7. We may need to do some reshuffling, but it would be good to know if we have a “critical mass” of interest before doing so.

    Both IMCN and CIMC are on hiatus for the holiday, but will be back in full swing next week.

    Starting Sunday, July 5, Michelle Becker and Steven Hickman will be at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY, for a 5-day intensive Mindful Self-Compassion workshop. If you are interested, please visit http://www.eomega.org/workshops/mindful-self-compassion-0#-workshop-description-block to find out more.

    Speaking of mindful self-compassion, Lynette Monteiro has a nice short blog post on some of the current research on the topic:

    https://ottawamindfulnessclinic.wordpress.com/2015/05/01/self-compassion-practices-for-emotional-distress-its-not-just-about-being-kind/

    And speaking of research, Lion’s Roar has a nice excerpt from Dan Goleman’s new book, A Force for Good, on “how to mind your feelings”:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/how-to-mind-your-feelings/#

    In closing, I leave you with a few words on “the four highest emotions” from the late Ayya Khema:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/the-four-highest-emotions/

    That is all for now; I am again waylaid with schoolwork, but I hope to rejoin you all again in July.

    Metta,
    Tim


  96. REMINDER — 6/23/15 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30-9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    “Meditation master to the NBA’s stars” George Mumford was Tom Ashbrook’s featured guest last Wedensday on WBUR’s On Point. You can listen to the full episode (47 min.) to listen to how the former college basketball player and drug addict became “guru” to NBA stars like Michael Jackson. (Harvard neuroscientist Sara Lazar also puts in a brief appearance late in the episode.)

    http://onpoint.wbur.org/2015/06/17/mindfulness-sports-nba-basketball-george-mumford

    George has a new book — “The Mindful Athlete” — out via Parallax Press (http://www.parallax.org/the-mindful-athlete-george-mumford/) and will be at CIMC this Wednesday evening, June 24, at 7:30pm.

    Also coming up at CIMC this week, Larry Rosenberg will offer his monthly intensive one-day retreat (9am-5pm) on Saturday, June 27.

    For more information on either CIMC event, please visit http://cambridgeinsight.org

    Also quickly approaching is Steven Hickman and Michelle Becker’s intensive Mindful Self-Compassion workshop at the Omega Institute from July 5-10:

    http://www.eomega.org/workshops/mindful-self-compassion-0#-workshop-description-block

    I’d like to share a few short articles before wrapping up for this week.

    First is Alex Caring-Lobel’s piece “Talking About Mindfulness” in response to last month’s Mindfulness and Compassion conference at San Francisco State University:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/talking-about-mindfulness

    Next up is Jan Willis’s call to action in support of “today’s Thai Forest tradition”:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/lets-foster-todays-thai-forest-tradition/#

    (This of course makes me think of our friends up at the Temple, NH, forest monastery: http://forestmonastery.org)

    Sumi Loundon-Kim’s 2014 essay “Teachers Are People Too” is a worth a re-visit:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/as-human-as-you-are/

    And I’ll leave off this week with Christina Feldman and “Alone Together: Finding Friends on the Path”:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/alone-together-finding-friends-on-the-path-2/

    That’s all for this week.

    Carrie is traveling and I am in the throes of schoolwork, so we wish you all a good “sit” tomorrow evening and hope to catch up with you next week.

    Metta,
    Tim


  97. REMINDER — 6/16/15 meditation group

    Saturday, June 20, Lila Kate Wheeler will be at Cambridge Insight to offer a day-long (9am-5pm) retreat for new retreatants:

    “This is an opportunity for those who have little or no retreat experience — and are interested in retreats as an invitation to nurture a continuity of mindfulness. The day will be mainly in silence. The schedule includes instructions on how to be on retreat, meditation instructions, shorter sitting and walking meditation sessions, and a mindful lunch break. There will also be time for questions and discussion with the teacher, including how to sustain formal practice in daily life.”

    To register, please visit http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    Also on Saturday, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport to lead a day-long (9am-5pm) retreat entitled “This Too Is Welcome”:

    “Much of our initial emphasis in practice is to learn to let go and return to the breath, body, and senses when difficult emotions, thoughts, and sensations arise. This approach calms the mind and heart and provides a place of needed rest, but it is limited. In this retreat we will learn to use this initial phase of practice wisely but also to open to whatever life presents; to include what one ancient text calls ‘the 10,000 joys and the 10,000 sorrows’. Come and begin to explore for yourself what can happen to the quality of our life, in and out of retreat, when we wisely embrace this one simple attitude ‘This Too is Welcome’.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    And for those of you who may be thinking a bit further ahead, Chris Germer recommends a 5-day intensive Mindful Self-Compassion workshop led by Michelle Beckman and Steven Hillman at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY, from July 5-10:

    http://www.eomega.org/workshops/mindful-self-compassion-0#-workshop-description-block

    This is a good opportunity to segue to “Insecurity, Self-Criticism, and Impermanence” Paul Fulton’s feature article from June’s BCBS Full Moon Insight Journal: http://www.bcbsdharma.org/insight-journal/#IJjump (will be archived at http://www.bcbsdharma.org/ij-june-2-2015/ after July 2). For those who are unfamiliar with Paul, he is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Newton; a co-founder and member of the Board of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy, and is co-editor of the book Mindfulness & Psychotherapy. He received tokudo initiation as a Zen Buddhist in 1972. He is director of IMP’s nine month Certificate Program in Mindfulness & Psychotherapy, has taught at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, and currently serves on the BCBS Board of Directors.

    And to wrap things up this week, I leave you with Pico Iyer’s commencement address (15 min.) — featuring Leonard Cohen, meditation, and happiness — to the University of Southern California Class of 2015:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/pico-iyer-usc-commencement-address-leonard-cohen-meditation-happiness/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  98. REMINDER — 6/9/15 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday night meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30-9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Sue is this week’s practice facilitator.

    This Saturday, June 13, Ted Jones will host a special morning (10am-12:30pm) retreat for beginning and newer students on “Awakening to the Present Moment”:

    “As the business and stresses of life take their toll on us we can feel as if we are not fully alive and awake. Life is happening, but we are not fully present for it and thus we suffer. In this retreat geared toward beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will explore simple meditative attitudes and methods to learn to touch a sense of calm, connectedness, and ease in the immediacy of our lives. The Buddha was described as someone who was ‘awake’; come and explore for yourself how to become more fully awake and alive to the fullness of your life.”

    To register, please visit http://imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, Oren Sofer will be at CIMC to offer a day-long (10am-4pm) workshop on practicing with physical pain:

    “Along with the gifts of a human body come inevitable experiences of physical discomfort: from daily aches to illness and chronic pain. In this daylong workshop we will explore how to work skillfully with body pain, and how practicing wisely with pain strengthens the heart and can be a doorway to release. Our day will include silent meditation in all four postures – sitting, standing, walking and lying down – as well as guided movement, reflection, dialogue and practical tools for working with pain.”

    More information is available at http://www.cambridgeinsight.org

    A bit further ahead on the calendar the Temple, NH, monastery will celebrate its official opening on on June 28. For those who have not already heard”

    “The Jeta Grove Foundation, the non-profit organization created to receive and manage funds for the New England forest monastery monastic community, was able to close on the purchase of the monastery ​property located ​in Temple, NH this spring.

    “Sunday, June 28th marks the official opening day of the new monastery, and ​many from the Valley Insight Meditation Society community plan to join in the celebration. The day will include a meal, chanting, a dhamma talk, and more. Special guests from around the world will be present, including Ajahn Liem, the abbot of Wat Pah Pong in Thailand, who Ajahn Chah chose to succeed him; Ajahn Jundee of Abhayagiri Monastery in California; and Ajahn Viradhammo of Tisarana Buddhist Monastery in Ontario​. Ajahns (which means teacher) from Thailand will lead the opening ceremony in Temple.”

    For more information, please visit http://forestmonastery.org/news/

    This week I want to share a couple of longer media clips.

    First is a YouTube video (33min.) featuring Josh Korda and Koshin Paley Ellison discussing “spiritual bypassing” (there is also a shorter text excerpt of the conversation): http://www.lionsroar.com/dialogues-with-josh-korda-and-koshin-paley-ellison/

    Second is a dharma talk on “Lizard Mind” (41 min.) given by by Ajahn Karunadhammo last month at Abhayagiri monastery: http://www.abhayagiri.org/audio/lizard-mind

    And in closing this week I leave you with the short poem “Gently Is” by Sylvia Bay:

    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=6,12336,0,0,1,0#.VXYxDktcdj5

    Carrie and I are unable to join you this week, but we both wish you an “interesting” practice.

    Metta,
    Tim


  99. REMINDER — 6/2/15 meditation group

    Good evening, and happy Vesak (at least according to the Thai and Laotian calendars). The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. This week we look forward to welcoming back Ajahn David for a special appearance as guest teacher.

    Both IMCN and CIMC are relatively quiet this week, although each has events scheduled for next weekend (June 13-14); stay tuned for further details.

    Vesak — the major Buddhist holiday celebrating the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Buddha — is celebrated on the full moon between early May and early June. (Wikipedia has a table of Vesak observance days, as well as a pretty good overview of the holiday: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vesak)

    In honor of the occasion, I thought I’d share a short “sermon” on Vesak given on the observance day in 1956 by the Thai master Ajahn Lee:

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/lee/visakha.html

    I’d also like to share “Gaining Perspective,” a 2011 article from Zen teacher Joan Sutherland that was recently reposted at Lion’s Roar:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/gaining-perspective/#

    And I’ll leave you with “Keeping Peace of Mind,” a short contribution from Sylvia Boorstein from an article in the current issue of Shambhala Sun:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/sylvia-boorstein-on-keeping-the-peace-in-your-mind/#

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  100. REMINDER — 5/26/15 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday night meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish; I’ll be this week’s facilitator.

    The highlight event of the week is the latest in a series celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center. On Sunday, May 31, Joseph Goldstein will offer an afternoon (1pm-4:30pm) benefit workshop on “Why Mindfulness?”:

    “From the comments of a second grader, who just finished a mindfulness program in school — Mindfulness is the best thing that ever happened in my life!­ — to the Buddha’s declaration that mindfulness is the direct path to awakening, we are seeing a renaissance of interest in mindfulness as a path of balance and insight. This workshop will explore what wisdom can emerge from the development and practice of mindfulness, and how these understandings can powerfully transform our lives in the world.”

    This event will take place at Lesley University’s Washburn Commons, located on Lesley’s Brattle Campus near Harvard Square.

    On Saturday, May 30, at CIMC, Chas DiCapua will offer a day-long (10am-4:00pm) workshop on “Relationship as Dharma Practice”:

    “Whenever we come into physical proximity to another human being, we are in relationship with them. In this workshop we will explore how we can seamlessly include all of our relationships, from the superficial, to the most intimate, into our Dharma practice. We will be together in silent sitting, inquiry, and small group discussion. All the while practicing being in relationship with each other right as we are in the workshop.”

    For more information or to register for either CIMC event, please visit http://cambridgeinsight.org

    Also on Saturday, May 30, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport to offer a day-long (9am-5pm) retreat on “Curiosity and Humility”:

    “In this retreat we will explore how curiosity and humility, two qualities of heart and mind, can provide a powerful foundation for our practice. How so? Without humility how can we learn? Without curiosity how can we live freshly and openly in the present moment? Both of these qualities draw upon the ability to open to something outside of our own fixed views. When touched upon and cultivated they can help us to become more aligned with and devote to living deeply in the here and now. Come and explore for yourself what a difference this can make in the quality of our lives!”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    I also want to pass on a tip from Ajahn David about another Saturday event a little closer to home. On May 30, SayDaNar Community Development Center will hold its annual fundraising food fair in support of Lowell’s small but growing community of Burmese refugees:

    “Help us to assist 45 young refugee students from Burma to be better prepared for school, by eating delicious authentic Burmese food and celebrating Burmese culture at the Cavalry Baptist Church on Saturday, May 30th, between 3pm and 7pm with the SayDaNar community. The Cavalry Baptist Church is located at 60 Hastings Street, Lowell, MA 01851.Prices will be from $1 – $5 per dish, with all proceeds benefiting the work of the SayDaNar Community Development Center.”

    Ajahn adds “I was blessed with the opportunity to teach an introduction to meditation last year to a wonderful group of children and adults along with a yoga instructor and a social worker from Lowell Community Health Center in a “Stress Reduction Workshop”. I can only say that when you meet them it will be love at first sight…. Oh and by the way, Burmese food is quite delicious!”

    For more information, please visit http://saydanarlowell.org/blog.html

    And before I sign off for this week, I just want to share a short article by Gil Fronsdal on the “Hindrances to Clear Seeing”:

    http://www.insightmeditationcenter.org/books-articles/articles/the-five-hindrances-handouts/hindrances-to-clear-seeing/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  101. REMINDER — 5/19/15 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday night meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel; Gabriela will be this week’s facilitator.

    IMCN and CIMC are both quiet this coming weekend — Memorial Day already! — but stay tuned for events in coming weeks.

    This past week featured an unprecedented gathering of American Buddhist leaders with White House officials in Washington, DC.

    The Washington Post previewed the gathering, and Emma Varvaloucas and Alan Senauke each provided reactions to the event:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/05/12/125-u-s-buddhist-leaders-to-meet-at-the-white-house/?postshare=2221431524168094

    http://www.lionsroar.com/white-house-buddhist-leadership-conference-hozan-allan-senauke/

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/buddhists-go-washington

    For those who are interested in trekking down to DC, BuddhaFest — a different sort of Buddhist gathering — will take place in Arlington, VA, June 11-14. Featured speakers will include Daniel Goleman, Matthieu Ricard, Tara Brach, and Sharon Salzberg. The program includes a commemoration of the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday, as well as a special tribute to Thich Nhat Hanh. For more information, please visit http://www.buddhafest.org

    I’ll leave you this week with a short but thought-provoking essay by Tricycle blogger Richard K. Payne: “What’s Ethics Got to Do with It? The misguided debate about mindfulness and morality”:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/whats-ethics-got-do-it

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  102. REMINDER — 5/12/15 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday night meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie will be this week’s facilitator.

    Coming up this Saturday, May 16, in Newburyport, Matthew Daniell will offer “Waking Up to Your Life” a morning (10am-12:30pm) retreat for beginning and newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. During this retreat we will explore how to calm and steady the mind and see with moreclarity into our lives. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn to touch and live in the moment. Although this retreat is designed for beginners, all are welcome.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, Larry Rosenberg will be in Cambridge to offer his monthly intensive one-day retreat (9am-5pm):

    “This is a day of meditation “without toys.” There are no meditation instructions, no words of encouragement, no Dharma talks and no interviews. This style of practice is not meant to devalue other forms; simply to learn the value of a day of utter silence and simplicity. The retreat will conclude with an opportunity to discuss the experiences of the day with Q&A.”

    To register, please visit http://cambridgeinsight.org

    In other community events, I am happy to pass on some very exciting news regarding the Temple, NH, monastery project via our friends at Valley Insight:

    “Temple Forest Monastery has completed the purchase of the land in in Temple, New Hampshire. Congratulations to them on this wonderful development. New Hampshire now officially has a Theravadan Monastery in the Ajahn Chah Western Forest lineage, a spiritual community which has an unbroken link to the living Buddha of 2,500 years ago. VIMS is happy to be able to contribute to the monastery on a quarterly basis. If you’d like to offer more direct financial support, please go to their website[http://forestmonastery.org]”

    I have kind of a hodgepodge of other links to offer up this week:

    First is “Self-Compassion Practices for Emotional Distress: It’s not just about being kind” a short blog post by Lynette Monteiro:

    https://ottawamindfulnessclinic.wordpress.com/2015/05/01/self-compassion-practices-for-emotional-distress-its-not-just-about-being-kind/

    I also wanted to pass along YouTube link to a talk given earlier this year by Norman Farb on “The Mindful Brain: Sorting Hope from Hype in the Pursuit of Happiness” (49 min):

    https://effortlessmindfulness.wordpress.com/2015/03/19/researcher-norman-farb-cuts-through-mindfulness-hype/

    Dharmaseed recently posted more than 30 dhamma talks — ranging in duration from 30 min to over 2 hours (!) — from Sayadaw U Tejaniya’s recent “Dhamma Everywhere” retreat at Spirit Rock; definitely worth poking around:

    http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/246/

    Finally, in belated celebration of Mother’s Day I offer Gil Fronsdal’s May 10th dharma talk on “The Goddess and the Buddha” (46 min.):

    http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/5668.html

    That’s all for now; I’m very happy to finally be done with classes for the semester and look forward to rejoining the meditation group tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  103. on May 4, 2015 at 9:54 pm | Reply Tim Little

    REMINDER — 5/5/15 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday night meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. This week’s practice facilitator is Christine, who is just back from attending the annual monastic retreat at IMS with Ayya Anandabodhi and Ayya Santacitta.

    This Saturday, May 9, Rebecca Bradshaw will be at IMCN to offer a day-long (9am-5pm) retreat on “Mindful Awareness of Thoughts and Thinking”:

    “Thinking is a big part of our human experience, so it is helpful to learn how to relate to it with mindfulness and kindness. Come join us for a day long retreat to explore relating to the thinking mind with curiosity and equanimity.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    There are also a couple of events coming up in Cambridge this week:

    On May 6, David Loy will be at CIMC for the Wednesday evening program, offering a 7:30pm dharma talk on “A Tale of Two Icebergs: Why the Ecological Crisis is also a Crisis for Buddhism.”

    Then on Saturday, Narayan Helen Liebenson will lead a day-long (10am-4pm) workshop on “Equanimity and the Wordly Winds”

    And don’t forget to save the date for the afternoon (1pm-4:30pm) of Sunday, May 31. Joseph Goldstein will be at Lesley University for a benefit event in honor of CIMC’s 30th anniversary. Joseph will answer the question “Why mindfulness?”

    For information on any of the CIMC events, please visit http://cambridgeinsight.org

    Finally, the annual Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Health Alliance conference on meditation and psychotherapy will take place on Friday, May 8, and Saturday, May 9. Again, this year’s speakers comprise a veritable “who’s who” of experts, including Joseph Goldstein, Narayan Helen Liebenson, Chris Germer, Ron Siegel, Sara Lazar, Willoughby Britton, Jud Brewer, Paul Fulton, Zev Schuman-Olivier, and Susan Pollak. Please visit http://www.hms-cme.net/352525/ for more details.

    This week I just want to pass on a couple of recent links from Lion’s Roar, in case anyone missed them:

    First is an excerpt from a panel discussion of the question “What does mindfulness mean for Buddhism?” (The full conversation is in the current issue of “Buddhadharma” magazine.):

    http://www.lionsroar.com/forum-what-does-mindfulness-mean-for-buddhism/

    The second — “Do Buddhists have to talk about ethics?” — is an excerpt from Ethan Nichtern’s latest book, “The Road Home: A Contemporary Exploration of the Buddhist Path”:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/do-we-have-to-talk-about-ethics/

    And I’ll leave you this week with a short (7 min.) talk by Gil Fronsdal on “Roots and Nourishment”:

    http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/5633.html

    That’s all for now; I’m hoping to wrap up my final term paper of the semester this evening so that I can join you all tomorrow.

    Metta,
    Tim


  104. REMINDER — 4/28/15 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday night meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is scheduled to lead the practice this week.

    Speaking of which, don’t forget that Judi and Brenda are offering a 6-week mindful self-compassion class starting next month; please touch base with either one of them in case you are interested in participating.

    Coming up this Saturday, May 2, at CIMC Madeline Klyne will offer a day-long (10am-4pm) workshop on “Sacred Friends or Kalyanamitta”:

    “The Buddha taught the value of spiritual friendship as a support for practicing the Dharma. This workshop will explore how sacred friendships benefit our lives, the community (sangha) and our practice. This day will include meditation, dharma reflection and contemplation, and discussion.”

    To register, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/home?studioid=11692

    CIMC will continue their 30th anniversary celebration with a couple of events later in the month: Joanna Macy speaking about “Gifts of the Dharma in Times of Crisis” on the evening of May 8, and Joseph Goldstein will offer a “Why Mindfulness?” workshop on the afternoon of May 31. Stay tuned for more details!

    Turning our attention a somewhat further afield, I’m sure that many of you are aware of the dreadful earthquake and aftershocks that recently struck Nepal, birthplace of the Buddha. Rescue and relief efforts are underway, and Lion’s Roar/Shambhala Sun, Tricycle, and the Buddhist Channel each has a list of resources and ways you can help:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/how-you-can-help-nepal-after-the-earthquake/

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/nepal-disaster-relief

    http://buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=39,12285,0,0,1,0#.VT6t0ktcdj4

    Finally this week, Sharon Salzberg has joined the ranks of Krista Tippett’s guest bloggers at Onbeing.org. Sharon will contribute a new post each Sunday; you can check out her initial posts at http://onbeing.org/content/sharon-salzberg

    That’s all for now. Carrie and I have a prior commitment tomorrow evening, but we hope you all have a great sit with Judi and we look forward to seeing everyone next week.

    Metta,
    Tim


  105. REMINDER — 4/21/15 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    First and foremost this week, we are still planning to host a morning meditation retreat this Saturday, April 25, from 9am to 1pm. We’re still working out the exact details, but if you’re interested in attending, please let Carrie know by e-mail NO LATER than Wednesday.

    For those who feel like venturing further afield, Chas DiCapua will be up at IMCN also on Saturday to offer a day-long (9am-5pm) “Acceptance and Loving Kindness” retreat:

    “Often, Loving Kindness is taught separately from the mindfulness practice. While this can be useful, it can also be misleading. During this retreat we will explore how an open heart is inherently present in each moment of accepting what is, regardless of the content. In this way we can begin to heal the split that keeps our heart closed form the unpleasant aspects of life. If our hearts are only open to that which is pleasant and agreeable, that’s not freedom, and it is the unshakable freedom of heart and mind for which we are practicing.”

    For more information, please visit http://imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday at CIMC, Narayan Helen Liebenson will offer a day (9am-5pm) dedicated to “Evening Out the Postures”:

    “The Buddha encouraged mindfulness in the four postures of sitting, walking, standing and lying down. As practitioners, we tend to favor one posture over another. During this day-long retreat, we will shift from one posture to another, encouraging loving attentiveness, no matter what posture is happening. Evening out the postures is a way to cultivate mindfulness in daily life.”

    Then on Sunday, Narayan is joined by George Mumford to offer an afternoon (2pm-5:15pm) “People of Color and Allies” retreat:

    “All are welcome and invited to an afternoon of practice for People of Color and Allies – sitting meditation, walking meditation, and reflections on the Dharma. This precious opportunity of practice provides our Sangha a heart opening exploration of our individual and collective suffering and how we cultivate our beloved and treasured community. We are aware of the social realities that engender our separateness, and of our collective humanity that offers opportunities to cultivate connectedness.”

    To register for either Cambridge event, please visit http://cambridgeinsight.org

    Coming up next month (May 8-9) is the annual Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Health Alliance “Meditation and Psychotherapy” conference. This year’s all-star speaker lineup includes Joseph Goldstein, Narayan Helen Liebenson, Christopher Germer, Ronald Siegel, Judson Brewer, Willoughby Britton, Paul Fulton, Sara Lazar, and many others. If you are interested in attending, please visit http://www.hms-cme.net/352525/

    Also starting next month is the 6-week mindful self-compassion course offered by our own Brenda Rogers and Judi Stein. I believe Brenda will send out a separate e-mail regarding further details, or feel free to contact her directly if you are interested.

    I want to share a couple of short Gil Fronsdal talks this week:

    First is a short (~7 min.) talk on “letting go”: http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/5595.html

    Next up is an even shorter (~3 min.) bit on “giving space to experience”: http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/5594.html

    Last is a 12 minute “dharmette” on “learning to see in new ways”: http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/5568.html

    And last but not least, I leave you with this past week’s NPR interview with octogenarian Buddhist poet Gary Snyder reflecting on “The Present Moment” (~ 4 min.):

    http://www.npr.org/2015/04/18/400573636/at-84-poet-gary-snyder-lives-in-this-present-moment

    That’s all for now; I am swamped with schoolwork this week, so I will be unable to join the group either tomorrow evening or on Saturday, but I wish you all a joyous practice.

    Metta,
    Tim


  106. REMINDER — 4/14/15 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday meditation group will meet tomorrow evening from 7:30 to 9:30 at First Parish. We welcome Sue, this week’s facilitator, back from her winter hiatus.

    There are a couple of events scheduled for this Saturday, April 18:

    Ted Jones will be at IMCN to offer a morning (10am-12:30pm) “Introduction to Insight Meditation” retreat for beginning and newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. During this retreat we will explore how to calm and steady the mind and see with more clarity into our lives. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn to touch and live in the moment. Although this retreat is designed for beginners, all are welcome.”

    IMCN will also host a New Moon Gathering and meal that evening from 6:30pm-8:00pm.

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, Larry Rosenberg will be at CIMC to offer his monthly intensive one-day retreat from 9am to 5pm:

    “This is a day of meditation ‘without toys.’ There are no meditation instructions, no words of encouragement, no Dharma talks and no interviews. This style of practice is not meant to devalue other forms; simply to learn the value of a day of utter silence and simplicity. The retreat will conclude with an opportunity to discuss the experiences of the day with Q&A.”

    For more information, please visit http://cambridgeinsight.org

    And just reminder to save the date for our very own morning retreat at First Parish coming up on Saturday, April 25.

    Also, don’t forget Judi and Brenda’s 6-week MSC class starting next month!

    This week I want to highlight a very special dharma talk (~40min.) from Bhikkhu Analayo in which he offers a very accessible and practical guided meditation on the four satipatthanas (“foundations of mindfulness”). As some of you may know, Analayo published his classic treatise on the subject — “Satipatthana: The Direct Path to Realization” (http://www.amazon.com/Satipatthana-The-Direct-Path-Realization/dp/1899579540) — just over a decade ago. Analyao’s publication served as the inspiration for Joseph Goldstein’s audio series “Abiding in Mindfulness,” which itself formed the basis of Joseph’s most recent book, “Mindfulness.”

    In any event, I very highly recommend giving Analayo’s talk “Exploring the Fourt Satipatthanas” a good listen: http://www.dharmaseed.org/talks/?search=analayo&sort=-rec_date&page_items=10

    In closing, I leave you with a short essay from Rev. Doug Traversa on the connection between Unitarian Universalism and Buddhism:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/buddhism-and-unitarian-universalism-whats-the-connection/

    That’s all for now; Carrie is on retreat this week, but I look forward to seeing everyone else tomorrow.

    Metta,
    Tim


  107. REMINDER — 4/7/15 meditation group

    Good evening…. The Tuesday meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30 in the Chapel at First parish. Mike U. will be back with us to facilitate the practice this week.

    There are several events coming up this week.

    First and foremost, author Daniel Siegel will be in Cambridge from 7pm to 9pm on Friday evening, April 10, to offer a benefit talk on “Mindfulness and Mindsight” on behalf of CIMC:

    “Join Dan Siegel, MD for an exploration of the power of the mind to harness the social circuitry of the brain and promote well-being. Dr. Siegel’s groundbreaking, science-based, work investigates the nature of mindful awareness, the focused attention that allows us to see the internal workings of our own minds. His approach applies the emerging principles of interpersonal neurobiology to promote compassion, kindness, resilience, and well-being in our personal lives, our relationships, and our communities.

    “Daniel J. Siegel, MD, is clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and codirector of the Mindful Awareness Research Center. He is also the executive director of the Mindsight Institute, which offers online learning and in-person lectures that focus on how the development of mindsight in individuals, families, and communities can be enhanced by examining the interface of human relationships and basic biological processes. Daniel has published extensively for professional audiences, and his book Mindsight offers an accessible, in-depth exploration of the power of the mind to integrate the brain and promote well-being.”

    Then starting on Saturday, April 11, Narayan Helen Liebenson will begin a 5-day non-residential retreat on “Learning How to Live, Learning How to Die”:

    “The Buddha encouraged the frequent contemplation of aging, sickness and death. Such meditation, concerned with intimate understanding of the great matters of life and death, can help us face and master our fears. It can also help us more fully appreciate the preciousness of a life inspired and guided by Dharma practice.

    “This five-day long retreat combines formal meditation and daily life as dharma practice. We start with a weekend composed of the familiar formal practices emphasizing sitting and walking meditation. For the subsequent three weekday evenings, yogis will be given a meditation exercise to work with during the day. Coming together again in the evenings we will sit, walk and share our experiences of working with the exercises. Individual interviews will be possible. Yogis are encouraged to attend all five days.”

    To register for either Cambridge event, please visit http://cambridgeinsight.org (and please note that the Daniel Siegel event will take place at First Parish UU Church in Harvard Square, not at CIMC itself).

    Also on Saturday, April 11, Larry Rosenberg and Matthew Daniell will offer a daylong (9am-3pm) retreat entitled “Don’t Turn Away: The Art of Turning Relationships into the Practice of Liberation”:

    “Larry Rosenberg, founder of Cambridge Insight Meditation Center and a co-founder of IMCN, will guide us in exploring how simple awareness practices, beginning with breath in the body, can turn relationship itself into a path where wisdom and compassion grow in our lives. We will break from our usual practice of ‘silent lunch’ and instead enjoy conversation with one another as we share our potluck lunch together. Participants can opt to attend the full day OR only the morning retreat or only the afternoon dharma talk.”

    To register for this event, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    I also want to add a special shout-out on behalf of Ruth, who has been diligently keeping after me for quite some time to mention the programming at Wisdom’s Heart, a meditation and yoga center located in Gloucester. There’s some good stuff coming up this week, and I strongly encourage those who are interested in checking it out:

    http://www.wisdomsheart.org

    Harvard Square certainly seems to be the hub of local dharma activity these days. In addition to the events mentioned above, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, recently spoke to an audience at Harvard’s Memorial Church. The Harvard Gazette covered the occasion:

    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=60,12257,0,0,1,0#.VSMl8EsSRbh

    The Gazette also ran a story on the half-dozen Buddhist monastics currently studying at Harvard Divinity School:

    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=60,12247,0,0,1,0#.VSMmgksSRbh

    And last but not least, I want to put out another plug for Brenda and Judi’s 6-week mindful self-compassion course starting next month. A copy of the event flyer is attached.

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow night!

    Metta,
    Tim


  108. REMINDER — 3/31/15 meditation group

    Good evening…. The Tuesday meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela is this week’s facilitator and will have plenty of good stuff in store, I’m sure.

    This is actually a pretty quiet week both at CIMC and IMCN, so I want to take a moment to highlight a couple of events coming up later this month:

    First and foremost, Cambridge Insight is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year by hosting a number of benefit events. Coming up on the evening Friday, April 10, Daniel Siegel will be at the First Parish UU Church in Harvard Square to speak about “Mindfulness & Mindsight: Their Role in Neural Integration and Mental Health”:

    “Join Dan Siegel, MD for an exploration of the power of the mind to harness the social circuitry of the brain and promote well-being. Dr. Siegel’s groundbreaking, science-based, work investigates the nature of mindful awareness, the focused attention that allows us to see the internal workings of our own minds. His approach applies the emerging principles of interpersonal neurobiology to promote compassion, kindness, resilience, and well-being in our personal lives, our relationships, and our communities.

    “Daniel J. Siegel, MD, is clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and codirector of the Mindful Awareness Research Center. He is also the executive director of the Mindsight Institute, which offers online learning and in-person lectures that focus on how the development of mindsight in individuals, families, and communities can be enhanced by examining the interface of human relationships and basic biological processes. Daniel has published extensively for professional audiences, and his book Mindsight offers an accessible, in-depth exploration of the power of the mind to integrate the brain and promote well-being.”

    Then, from Saturday, April 11 through 15, Narayan Helen Liebenson will offer a 5-day non-residential retreat on “Learning How to Live, Learning How to Die”:

    “The Buddha encouraged the frequent contemplation of aging, sickness and death. Such meditation, concerned with intimate understanding of the great matters of life and death, can help us face and master our fears. It can also help us more fully appreciate the preciousness of a life inspired and guided by Dharma practice.

    “This five-day long retreat combines formal meditation and daily life as dharma practice. We start with a weekend composed of the familiar formal practices emphasizing sitting and walking meditation. For the subsequent three weekday evenings, yogis will be given a meditation exercise to work with during the day. Coming together again in the evenings we will sit, walk and share our experiences of working with the exercises. Individual interviews will be possible. Yogis are encouraged to attend all five days.”

    To register for either event, please visit http://cambridgeinsight.org

    Looking a bit further ahead, I want to mention that Brenda and Judi will be leading a 6-week mindful self-compassion course at the Arlington Center, starting May 11. For more information, please refer to the attached flyer and feel free to contact Judi and Brenda directly.

    And last but not least, we’ve set aside the morning of April 25 to offer a half-day retreat of our own at First Parish in Chelmsford. We’re still working out the details, but be sure to save the date!

    There are a few odds and ends to share this week, starting with a quick Lion’s Roar “meet-a-teacher” profile of Jack Kornfield:
    http://www.lionsroar.com/meet-a-teacher-jack-kornfield/

    Lion’s Roar also recently published Judith Lief’s very nice piece on “Making the Buddha’s Perfections Our Own”:
    http://www.lionsroar.com/making-the-buddhas-perfections-our-own/

    IMP’s Susan Pollak has a nice, short piece in the current (March/April 2015) issue of Psychotherapy Networker on “Seven Myths About Meditation”:

    http://www.psychotherapynetworker.org/magazine/currentissue/item/2641-in-consultation/2641-in-consultation

    And finally, I want to leave you with a great 2012 interview with Kristin Neff on “The Power of Self-Compassion” (~25 min.):

    http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/gg_live/gg_podcast/podcast/kristin_neff_on_the_power_of_self_compassion/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  109. REMINDER — 3/24/15 meditation group

    Good evening…. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish; Christine will be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a pair of interesting events coming up this Saturday, March 28:

    Matthew Daniell will offer a morning retreat on “Embodying Practice” from 9am to 12:30pm at IMC Newburyport:

    “A line from one of T.S. Eliot’s novels reads ‘Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body’. Do we? And if so, does the quality of our life suffer? Come and explore for yourself simple ways of being aware of, and within, your body. When this classical mindfulness practice is developed it can bring us more space and intimacy. It can bring us into the fullness of our bodily, emotional and relational lives while remaining firmly grounded in the here and now. All levels are welcome, from beginners to experienced students.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile at CIMC Chas DiCapua will offer a day-long (9am-5pm) “Retreat for New Retreatants”:

    “This is an opportunity for those who have little or no retreat experience. The schedule will include instructions on how to be on retreat, meditation instructions, as well as shorter sitting and walking meditation sessions. Retreats are an invitation to nurture a continuity of mindfulness. This day will be mainly in silence. There will be adequate time for discussion including how to sustain formal practice in daily life.”

    Please visit http://cambridgeinsight.org for more information.

    I want to lead off this week with another remembrance of the late dharma teacher Ruth Denison:

    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=9,12232,0,0,1,0#.VQn6ctm9LCQ

    The “Dharma Gem of the Week,” however, is undoubtedly Dan Harris’s recent interview with Charlie Rose (24 min.):

    http://www.mindful.org/news/theres-no-substitute-for-meditation—dan-harris-on-charlie-rose

    A wonderful conversation between the two veteran journalists.

    Also worth a good look is Kevin Griffin’s take on lovingkindness meditation by way of the Tricycle blog:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/may-all-beings-be-happy

    I’ll wind things up this week with a couple of “dharmettes”:

    Gil Fronsdal on “Past and Future in Buddhist Practice” (~9.5 min.):

    http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/5489.html

    … and Chelmsford native Kim Allen on “Seeing Is Loving” (14 min):

    http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/5522.html

    That’s all for now; I’m a bit tied up with schoolwork this week, but I wish you all a very happy meditation.

    Metta,
    Tim


  110. REMINDER — 3/17/15 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. I’ll be this week’s facilitator.

    I want to start off with a quick mention that our very own Brenda was featured in Kara Baskin’s Boston Globe piece on meditation from last Friday, March 13:

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/2015/03/13/desperate-for-respite-writer-gives-meditation/dmzZnKah9tpcgzvcty9vAK/story.html

    Very exciting!

    Moving right along….

    Thanissaro Bhikkhu (aka Than Geoff) — who has exerted a very strong influence on my own practice — will be at the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center this Wednesday evening, March 18. Following the evening sitting he will give a talk on “The Art and Study of Practice”.

    Then on Saturday, March 21, Alexis Santos will offer “a relational workshop for [people] 35 and under” focusing on ring beyond formal practice.

    More information on either CIMC event is available at http://www.cimc.info

    Also on Saturday, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport to offer a “Mindful Moment” morning retreat (10am-12:30pm) for beginning and newer students. To register for this event, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    I had an opportunity this past weekend to listen to the latest broadcast of On Being, in which Krista Tippett was joined by psychologist Michael McCullough and Mind & Life Institute president Arthurt Zajonc for a conversation on “Mind and Morality.” A very interesting conversation indeed (~50 min.):

    http://www.onbeing.org/program/arthur-zajonc-michael-mccullough-mind-and-morality-a-dialogue/7316

    And to wrap things up this week, I’ll leave you with a short dharmette from Gil Fronsdal — “Everything Is Important” (~12 min.); enjoy!

    http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/5499.html

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Meta,
    Tim


  111. REMINDER — 3/10/15 meditation group

    Good evening…. I apologize for the lateness of this week’s e-mail. The meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie will be the facilitator.

    There are a couple of events coming up this Saturday, March 14:

    At Cambridge Insight, Narayan Helen Liebenson will lead a day-long (10am-4pm) workshop on Wise Action:

    “It is possible to mistake the teachings of the Buddha as a call to passivity; nothing could be further from the truth. We are learning to distinguish between impulse and intention, instinct and insight, and reactivity and spontaneity. During this workshop we’ll explore what wise action is and what it means to refine our lives in accordance to how we most desire to live. Talks, discussions, and the formal practices of sitting and walking will be included.”

    For more information, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/home?studioid=11692

    Meanwhile, up at IMC Newburyport Chas DiCapua will lead a day-long (9am-5pm) “Letting Go” retreat:

    “The Buddha taught freedom through non-clinging. There are two ways to go about this. First is to let go of that which we are currently clinging to, and the second is to not cling in the first place. We will begin by exploring what it means to cling, not theoretically, but in our own meditative experience. Then we will explore both modalities of non-clinging, including what supports and hinders each. We will use the classical instructions from the Suttas, as well as some contemporary psychological understandings.”

    To register for this event, please visit http://imcnewburyport.org

    Also, stay tuned in the coming weeks as the Spring dharma calendar starts to heat up!

    This week’s featured share is Mary Sykes Wylie’s historical survey of the “mindfulness explosion,” appearing in the January/Februrary 2015 issue of the Psychotherapy Networker (via Alternet.org):

    http://www.alternet.org/personal-health/how-mindfulness-movement-went-mainstream-and-backlash-came-it

    On a related note, also worth checking out is Jeffrey Rubin’s January Truth-out.org piece “The McMindfulness Craze: The Shadow Side of the Mindfulness Revolution”:

    http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/28278-the-mcmindfulness-craze-the-shadow-side-of-the-mindfulness-revolution#

    Given the late hour, that’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  112. REMINDER — 3/3/15 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday evening meditation group is scheduled to meet tomorrow evening from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Mike U. will be back this week as our facilitator. The forecast is for inclement weather from Tuesday evening into Wednesday; if it looks like it would be prudent to cancel, we will try to let folks know by e-mail before 5pm.

    Thinking Spring thoughts…:

    This coming Saturday, March 7, features Larry Rosenberg’s monthly intensive one-day retreat (9am-5pm) at Cambridge Insight:

    “This is a day of meditation ‘without toys.’ There are no meditation instructions, no words of encouragement, no Dharma talks and no interviews. This style of practice is not meant to devalue other forms; simply to learn the value of a day of utter silence and simplicity. The retreat will conclude with an opportunity to discuss the experiences of the day with Q&A.”

    I also wanted to make sure to mention that on the evening of Friday, April 10, Dan Siegel will be in town to offer a talk on “Mindfulness and Mindsight: Their Role in Neural Integration and Mental Health.” This is a benefit event to help celebrate CIMC’s 30th anniversary.

    To register for either event, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/home?studioid=11692

    As some of you may know, Zen and insight meditation pioneer Ruth Denison died this past week at age 92. While perhaps not as well known as other early Western teachers, Denison was a long-time teacher at both IMS and Spirit Rock, in addition to founding the Dhamma Dena Desert Vipassana Center in Joshua Tree, CA: http://www.dhammadena.com/1.html

    Mary Talbot offered an online remembrance last week at Tricycle.com: http://www.tricycle.com/blog/ruth-denison-western-dharma-pioneer-and-vipassana-innovator-dies-92. Denison’s student and biographer Sandy Boucher shared similar via the Lion’s Roar blog: http://www.lionsroar.com/woman-to-woman/. Those who are interested may also wish to check out Boucher’s 2006 book “Dancing in the Dharma: The Life and Teachings of Ruth Denison,” available at Amazon, of course: http://www.amazon.com/Dancing-Dharma-Life-Teachings-Denison/dp/0807073199

    We are fortunate that audio of some of Denison’s later teachings at IMS is available at Dharmaseed: http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/151/

    That’s all for this week. I hope to see all of you tomorrow evening, weather permitting.

    Metta,
    Tim


  113. REMINDER — 2/24/15 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow evening from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi will be this week’s facilitator. Please note that parking around First Parish remains limited due to residual snow.

    This last Tuesday in February marks the 9th (!) anniversary of Carrie and me first meeting with Abhaya for meditation in her office in downtown Lowell, with Christine and Brenda joining us very shortly thereafter. I am very pleased that the group continues to flourish after all these years and I look forward to many more to come.

    Coming up this Saturday, February 28, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport to offer a day-long (9am-5pm) “Compassionate Awareness” retreat:

    “Often mindful awareness is experienced as some kind of separate detached state; it can seem cool, even dry. Compassion on the other hand gets close to experience, is heartfelt, and intimate. These two qualities are experienced as being separate, but they need not be. In this retreat we will explore attitudes and ways of working with awareness itself that bring out the flavor of compassion that is inherently present within it. Compassionate awareness is the foundation for a wise embracing of our own condition and that of those in our lives.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also, a reminder that registration is now open for Valley Insight’s spring retreat, March 13-15, at the Wonderwell Mountain Refuge in Springfield, NH. Our old friend Doreen Schweizer will lead an inquiry on “Who Are We? Softening the Edges of Self with Mindfulness and Kindness.” For more information, please visit http://valleyinsight.org/programs/retreats.html

    Speaking of Doreen, she will celebrate her 70th birthday this Sunday, March 1. The folks at Valley Insight will offer a potluck brunch in her honor, and are accepting contributions for a gift certificate and “memory book” to present to her. If you are interested in contributing to either effort, I’ll be happy to pass along the appropriate contact information.

    I also want to remind folks that Sharon Salzberg’s online “Boundless Heart” 8-week course will start on March 2: http://www.tricycle.com/boundless-heart

    Those of us who attended last week’s meditation enjoyed a discussion of jhana, a term referring to states of deep meditative absorption. (As Brenda points out, jhana — or the Sanskrit dhyana – is the etymological root of the Japanese word zen.) Even within the Theravada Buddhist tradition alone there are varying views on what exactly jhana is and what role it plays in the cultivation of the factors of awakening. Jhana has been historically downplayed within the modern Insight Meditation tradition, but has lately made a bit of a comeback as practitioners become more interested in deepening their practice. As such, there are a growing number of resources out there, including books by Bhante G., Ajahn Brahm, Than Geoff, Shaila Catherine, Pa Auk, and others seeking to demystify jhana as an essential element of practice. Leigh Brasington also has a good website on jhana. (For the record, I highly recommend Richard Shankman’s “The Experience of Samadhi: An In-Depth Investigation of Buddhist Meditation.)”

    This is all by way of a long-winded introduction to this week’s dharma talk by Gil Fronsdal on “Jhanic Factors: Factors of Absorption” (41 min.):

    http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/5080.html

    It’s also worth sharing Than Geoff’s translation of the Samadhaga (Factors of Concentration) Sutta from the Anguttara NIkaya; I hope you appreciate the poetry of the imagery!

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an05/an05.028.than.html

    For those who are interested in learning more about Buddhism, the folks at Shambhala Sun recently offered a list of “10 dharma books everyone should have”:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/buddhism-z-basic-buddhist-library/

    Also don’t forget to check out our very own list of recommended reading: https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/resources/recommended-reading/

    And to wrap things up this week, I leave you with a short segment (10min.) from this past week’s broadcast of Science Friday, offering a psychological perspective on the experience of craving — “Is your empty stomach fueling your shopping spree?”:

    http://sciencefriday.com/segment/02/20/2015/is-your-empty-stomach-fueling-your-shopping-spree.html

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  114. REMINDER — 2/17/15 meditation group

    Good afternoon; happy Presidents’ Day! I hope everyone made it through this weekend’s storm in one piece. I’ve seen varying forecasts for tomorrow, but I expect we’ll proceed as usual tomorrow evening, meeting in the Chapel at First Parish from 7:30 to 9:30. Brenda will be this week’s facilitator. If the weather and road conditions look poor during the day tomorrow, I’ll send out a cancellation e-mail by 5pm.

    Speaking of weather, as I mentioned last week, parking at First Parish — either in the lot or along Westford Street — is more limited than usual due to the snow. I have previously recommended parking in the lot at 10 North Road, however the sidewalk along Route 4 is not always passable. Carrie suggested parking across North Road at the Eastern Bank. This should be somewhat safer than walking in traffic along Route 4, as one can cross at the traffic light by the old fire station and proceed up Academy Street to First Parish.

    Coming up this weekend — weather permitting, of course — are the following events:

    On Saturday, February 21, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport to offer a morning (10am-12:30pm) “Mindful Presence” retreat for beginning and newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. During this retreat we will explore how to calm and steady the mind and see with more clarity into our lives. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn to touch and live in the moment. Although this retreat is designed for beginners, all are welcome.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also this weekend, Narayan Helen Liebenson will offer a two-day non-residential retreat at Cambridge Insight for experienced practitioners. More information on this event can be found at https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/home?studioid=11692

    Looking a bit further ahead, registration is now open for Valley Insight Meditation’s annual spring retreat (March 13-15) led by Doreen Schweizer and taking place at the Wonderwell Mountain Refuge in Springfield, NH. The theme will be “Who are We? Softening the Edges of Self with Mindfulness and Kindness.” To register, please visit http://valleyinsight.org/programs/retreats.html

    This week I want to highlight BCBS’s interview with Buddhist scholar-practitioner John Peacock, featured in the latest issue of the Full Moon Insight Journal: http://www.bcbsdharma.org/insight-journal/ (available at http://www.bcbsdharma.org/2015-2-4-insight-journal/ after 3/5/15).

    Be sure to check out the short video highlights from John’s interview, such as this one “On how the Buddha doesn’t do ‘cozy'”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rW0jygmi3eY&app=desktop

    I also wanted to mention that David Loy has a new book out entitled “A New Buddhist Path: Enlightenment, Evolution, and Ethics in the Modern World.” To find out more, visit Wisdom Publications’ website: http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/new-buddhist-path

    And last but not least, I just finished reading Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor’s book “My Stroke of Insight,” which is assigned for the Biological Bases of Behavior class I’m taking this semester. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Dr. Taylor’s book, it is an unprecedented first-person account of the experience of and recovery from a hemorrhagic stroke — as told from a neuroscientist’s perspective. It’s not specifically a dharma book, but “My Stroke of Insight” provides a very intriguing view into the neuroscience underlying the meditative experience.

    You can watch Dr. Taylor’s 2008 TED talk here (http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight) and check out her website at http://mystrokeofinsight.com/.

    That’s all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  115. REMINDER — 2/10/15 meditation group

    Good afternoon everyone! The Tuesday evening meditation group is still “on” for tomorrow night from 7:30 to 9:30, with Judi being this week’s facilitator. In the event that weather conditions are still issue-ish into tomorrow afternoon, I’ll try to let folks know by 5pm if it looks like we need to cancel. Again, please bear in mind that the First Parish parking lot will likely about “two sizes too small” following this latest round of snow, so be sure to allow a little extra time to find alternate parking (e.g., 10 North Road) and please tread carefully on the sidewalks.

    So, for those of you who are hunkered down for yet another snow day, here are a couple of links to help make good use of the time:

    Thanks to Mai for bringing my attention to this 80 min. talk on the life-changing benefits of mindfulness given by Jon Kabat-Zinn back in March 2013:

    Video of the 30 min. Q&A session following the talk is also available:

    I have to thank Mai also for this somewhat shorter (48 min.) talk on the evolution and power of mindfulness given by Joseph Goldstein at the Middlesex School back in November:

    Thanks to our new friend Sandra for letting me know about the Sunday classes offered at WorldwideInsight.org, featuring teachers including Tara Brach, Eugene Cash, Josh Korda, Phillip Moffitt, Gina Sharpe, Christopher Titmuss, among many others:

    https://www.worldwideinsight.org/

    This is also a good opportunity to remind folks about James Baraz’s regular “Awakening Joy” online course:

    https://www.awakeningjoy.info/

    There are also a number of ongoing online courses available for Tricycle community members, including:

    Sharon Salzberg’s 8-week course on “The Boundless Heart” (Mar. 2 – Apr. 23):
    The Boundless Heart: An Eight-Week Course with Sharon Salzberg | Tricycle

    Josh Korda on “Cultivating Emotional Intelligence”:
    http://www.tricycle.com/online-retreats/cultivating-emotional-intelligence

    Thanissaro Bhikkhu on “The Ten Perfections”:
    http://www.tricycle.com/online-retreats/ten-perfections

    And neuroscientist Rick Hanson is offering a free online video series on “The Compassionate Brain” at SoundsTrue.com:
    http://live.soundstrue.com/compassionatebrain/

    Last but not least, I’ll wrap things up with the latest update from Ajahn Jayanto on the goings with the Temple Forest Monastery project:

    http://forestmonastery.org/news/

    That’s all for now. I hope everyone is staying safe and warm, and I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  116. REMINDER — 2/3/15 meditation group

    Good evening and happy Groundhog Day! I apologize for the late notice, but the meditation group will meet as scheduled tomorrow evening from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. I am also very happy to welcome back Mike U. as this week’s facilitator.

    If it looks like weather will still be an issue tomorrow evening, I will send a cancellation e-mail no later than 5pm. Please note that the First Parish parking lot tends to “shrink” after heavy snow accumulation, so please give yourselves a little extra time to find alternate parking (e.g., 10 North Road).

    There are a couple of events coming up on Saturday, February 7:

    Maddy Klyne will be at CIMC to offer a day-long (10am-4:30pm) beginners’ workshop: https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/home?studioid=11692

    Also, Doug Phillips will be up at IMCN to offer a day-long (9am-5pm) “Freedom, Here and Now” retreat: http://www.imcnewburyport.org/offering-retreat

    I apologize for not getting word out sooner, but Sharon Salzberg’s annual 28-day meditation is already under way:
    http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/28-day-meditation-challenge-2015/

    This is a great opportunity to make a commitment to yourself and your practice!

    I wanted to pick up on a topic that came up when Gabriela was leading the group a couple of weeks ago: “The Three Poisons,” (aka the “Three Fires,” the kilesas or the “defilements”).

    U Tejaniya has e-published nice little book entitled “Don’t Look Down on the Defilements, They Will Laugh At You,” available in three parts at the links below:

    http://sayadawutejaniya.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/dontlookpp1-39.pdf

    http://sayadawutejaniya.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/dontlookpp40-65.pdf

    http://sayadawutejaniya.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/dontlookpp66-78.pdf

    I also wanted to pass along a link to David Loy’s 2007 piece from Tikkun magazine, “The Three Poisons Institutionalized” for a broader view on the topic:

    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=8,4046,0,0,1,0#.VNBHEihr2cN

    As I wind things down for this week, I wanted to pass along a link to a great (if somewhat lengthy — 1 hr 40 min.) talk by Joseph Goldstein on “Mindfulness: What It Is and What It’s Not” given at UMass back in November:

    For those who are feeling a little time-limited, I offer you Matthieu Ricard’s recent TED talk on “How to Let Altruism Be Your Guide” (16 min.):

    And for those who are really, really pressed for time, Ajahn Brahm recently collaborated with the folks at Lion’s Roar on these four very short videos:

    http://www.lionsroar.com/ajahn-brahm-videos/

    That’ll be it for this week; I hope everyone is staying safe and warm and I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  117. REMINDER — 1/20/15 meditation group

    Good afternoon…. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela will be this week’s facilitator.

    Just a quick reminder that next weekend — January 31/February 1 — Chris Germer and Susan Pollak will be at the Arlington Center to offer a 2-day Mindful Self-Compassion Core Skills Training: http://www.challiance.org/inthecommunity/communityeventcalendar/Mindful_SelfCompassion_Core_Skills_Training_177.aspx

    I also want to quickly mention that I’ve updated the “Recommended Readings” page on our website to include links to PDF copies of material from Sayadaw U Tejaniya (“Awareness Alone Is Not Enough” and “Dhamma Everywhere”) and Thai scholar-monk P.A. Pauyutto (“Vision of the Dhamma,” “The Pali Canon: What A Buddhist Must Know,” and “Thai Buddhism in the Buddhist World”). Just look for the nifty new “new” icons on the webpage:

    https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/resources/recommended-reading/

    This week’s main sharing is Gil Fronsdal’s article, “Natural Buddhism,” from last April’s BCBS Full Moon Insight Journal, based on a talk given by Gil at a 2013 conference on secular Buddhism:

    http://www.bcbsdharma.org/2014-4-15-insight-journal/

    Gil was more recently Ted Meissner’s guest on the Secular Buddhist podcast back in September, talking about his upcoming book on “The Book of Eights” (33 min.):

    http://secularbuddhism.org/2014/09/12/episode-208-gil-fronsdal-atthakavagga-the-book-of-eights/

    But wait, there’s more!

    For good measure, here’s a short (11 min.) “dharmette” from Gil on beginning again:

    http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/5366.html

    And last but not least, I’ll leave off with old friend Dan Harris’s recent, short reflection on “How Writing A Book About Meditation Threw My Own Advice Right Back in My Face”:

    https://gma.yahoo.com/writing-book-bbout-meditation-threw-own-advice-back-162736252–abc-news-wellness.html

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  118. REMINDER — 1/13/15 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. I’ll be this week’s facilitator. If anyone has any particular topics or themes they would like to discuss following the meditation, please let me know, and I’ll be happy to put some talking points together.

    CIMC and IMCN are both back in full swing this week….

    On Saturday, January 17, Leigh Brasington will be in Cambridge to offer a workshop on the Buddha’s teachings on Right View:

    “Right View is the first practice given in the Noble Eightfold Path. During this day-long workshop we will examine the Buddha’s teachings on both Right View and Wrong View in order to get a better understanding of exactly what he meant by this very important topic. The day will be a mix of sitting practice and looking closely at various suttas on the topic. There will also be ample time for questions & answers and discussion.”

    The workshop wil run from 9:30am to 5pm, and you can find registration and event details at https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/home?studioid=11692

    Also on Saturday, Matthew Daniell will kick off 2015 at IMCN with a day-long (9am-5pm) retreat offering a fresh look at the Four Noble Truths:

    “The Four Noble Truths are the bedrock of the early Buddhist wisdom path. They simply state that: there is unsatisfactoriness (or suffering) in life; it has a cause (unwise clinging); there is a cure (freedom of the heart); and there is a way to effect the cure (the path of practice). They are considered ‘noble’ insofar as working with them help us to change the quality of our inner life and how we relate to the world. During this silent retreat we will take a fresh look, again and again, at how this simple schema can be used to bring us more fully into the present moment. It also provides the foundation for working with the difficult material that arises on retreat and in our daily lives with more clarity, compassion, and ease.”

    Then on Sunday the 18th Ted Jones will offer a morning (10am-12:30pm) retreat for newer students:

    “As the business and stresses of life take their toll on us we can feel as if we are not fully alive and awake. Life is happening, but we are not fully present for it and thus we suffer. In this retreat geared toward beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will explore simple meditative attitudes and methods to learn to touch a sense of calm, connectedness, and ease in the immediacy of our lives. The Buddha was described as someone who was ‘awake’; come and explore for yourself how to become more fully awake and alive to the fullness of your life.”

    To register for either of the Newburyport events, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    I also wanted to mention that a new sitting group will be starting up in Concord, NH, at the end of February with our old friend, Doreen Schweizer. Meetings will take place monthly, at least at the beginning. If anyone is interested in heading north to check it out, please let me know and I can put you in touch with the organizer.

    There are a couple of recent podcasts that may interest a few of you, I hope:

    About 3 weeks ago, Tricycle’s Emma Varvaloucas had a virtual sit-down with religious scholar Jeff Wilson to discuss his latest book, “Mindful America: The Mutual Transformation of Buddhist Meditation and American Culture.” Their conversation (45 min.) focuses primarily on how Buddhism both influences and is appropriated by minority-Buddhist cultures in the West:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/tricycle-talks-jeff-wilson-mindful-america

    Erik Braun (featured previously on the Buddhist Geeks podcast) was interviewed by the Secular Buddhist’sTed Meissner back in November. Meissner and Braun get into a fascinating discussion of Braun’s book “The Birth of Insight: Meditation, Modern Buddhism, and the Burmese Monk Ledi Sayadaw,” which offers particular insight into the origins of mindfulness meditation as we know it today (40 min):

    http://secularbuddhism.org/2014/11/09/episode-213-erik-braun-the-birth-of-insight-meditation-modern-buddhism-and-the-burmese-monk-ledi-sayadaw/

    And last but not least, I want to pass along the link to an interesting BBC Radio 4 segment (28 min.) from this past weekend, “MIndfulness: Panacea or Fad?” featuring a number of key figures in the mindfulness world, including Andy Puddicombe and Christopher Titmuss among others:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04xmqdd

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  119. REMINDER — 1/6/15 meditation group

    Happy 2015! The Tuesday evening meditation group will kick off the new year tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish.

    As many of you already know, Ajahn David has felt the need to curtail his teaching activity. While it is our hope that he will continue to join us for the first Tuesday of each month — just as he has for the past 8 years — we begin the year with a more flexible arrangement. For the time being, in the event that Ajahn is unable to join us on a given Tuesday evening one of regular facilitators will fill in.

    CIMC has unveiled a new website for the new year — http://cambridgeinsight.org/ — which I encourage you to explore for upcoming offerings. Weekend programming at CIMC is still on hold until January 17, and IMCN (http://www.imcnewburyport.org) also remains on hiatus until the 17th.

    Looking a bit further ahead to the end of the month, the Cambridge Health Alliance is coordinating a Mindful Self-Compassion Core Skills Training workshop with Chris Germer and Susan Pollak. The workshop will take place on January 31-February 1 at the Arlington Center in… Arlington Center. Additional information and registration is available through the CHA website:

    http://www.challiance.org/inthecommunity/communityeventcalendar/Mindful_SelfCompassion_Core_Skills_Training_177.aspx

    I want to start off the new year by sharing a couple of talks that, to my mind, provide helpful perspectives on meditation practice. The first — “Root of Happiness” (65 min.) — is a talk given by Ajahn Pasanno this past New Year’s Eve at Abhayagiri Monastery:

    http://www.abhayagiri.org/audio/root-of-happiness

    The second talk is Andy Olendzki’s presentation on “Early Buddhist Maps of the Mind” (41 min.) from the 2013 Mind & Life Summer Research Institute (and featured in the December 2014 issue of BCBS’s Full Moon Insight Journal):

    The third and final talk is Gil Fronsdal’s talk (42 min.) on the Four Noble Truths from New Year’s Day at IMC:

    http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/5340.html

    And to wrap things up this week, I’ll leave you with “How A Skeptic Learned to Love Meditation,” Dan Harris’s conversation with Rachel Martin from yesterday’s NPR Weekend Edition Sunday (5 min.):

    http://www.npr.org/2015/01/04/374910817/how-a-skeptic-learned-to-love-meditation

    That’s all for now. I wish everyone a safe, happy, and healthy new year and look forward to seeing you all tomorrow.

    Metta,
    Tim


  120. REMINDER — 12/30/14 meditation group

    Good evening…. The Tuesday meditation group will meet for the final time this year from 7:30pm to 9:30pm tomorrow in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie will lead the practice.

    CIMC and IMCN remain on winter break this week, but Sylvia Boorstein’s “Everyday Life as Mindfulness Practice” class begins online this Friday, January 2:

    https://www.spiritrock.org/calendarDetails?EventID=4058

    This is also a good opportunity to mention the array of residential retreats and classes on offer this coming year from the Insight Meditation Society and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies.

    One item to highlight from among the BCBS offerings is a five-day (January 18-23) mindful self-compassion training being led by old friend Kristy Arbon and her colleague Steve Hickman: http://mindfulsc.org/barre-course-jan-2015/

    There are too many wonderful options to choose from, but you can check out the full BCBS course listing here: http://www.bcbsdharma.org/courses/

    Many of the early 2015 retreats at IMS are already full, but space remains for others, including Maddy Klyne’s and Chas DiCapua’s “Awareness, Pure and Simple” from February 28 through March 3: http://www.dharma.org/meditation-retreats/retreat-center/retreat-description?id=354

    The full range of IMS’s retreat offerings can be found here: http://www.dharma.org/meditation-retreats/retreat-center/retreat-center-schedule%20%20%20

    (And yes, I’m way overdue to get back out there myself!)

    I’ll wind up this week’s e-mail with a brief A/V segment:

    A couple of weeks ago, NPR’s TED Radio Hour spent the episode “exploring compassion: its roots, its meaning and its future” with guests including Krista Tippett, Robert Wright, Karen Armstrong, and Daniel Goleman:

    http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/371276520/just-a-little-nicer

    In a similar vein, I thought this short (5 min.) video — “We Are Built To Be Kind” — featuring UC Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner was an appropriate way to mark the transition to the new year:

    And so I’ll ring out 2014 with Steve Armstrong’s “Day’s [or Year’s] Reflection on Benefit of Practice” (8 min.):

    http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/170/talk/24276/

    With best wishes to all for a happy, healthy, and safe new year!

    Metta,
    Tim


  121. REMINDER — 12/23/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. I’ll be this week’s facilitator.

    I want to start off this week’s e-mail by sharing a wonderful resource introduced to me some time ago by dear friend Mai: “The Daily Tejaniya”. Thanks again, Mai!

    The Daily Tejaniya is a daily practice reminder of simple teachings from the Burmese monk Sayadaw U Tejaniya. For example, “Always examine the mind, why is it doing this, how does it feel?” or “We have to keep a tag on the mind, always be be aware of what is going on and keep working on it. It is a full-time job.”

    The Daily Tejaniya arrives via e-mail every morning courtesy of Doug McGill at the Rochester (MN) Meditation Center. To be added to his list, write “SUBSCRIBE” in an e-mail to doug@mcgillreport.org. Doug keeps an archive of The Daily Tejaniya at http://www.mcgillreport.org/TDTArchive.html

    I really appreciate U Tejaniya’s direct and down-to-earth style, which seems much more in keeping with the teachings of the Thai Forest tradition than it does with some other Burmese meditation schools (e.g., those established by Mahasi Sayadaw, Pa Auk Sayadaw, et al.).

    Dharma talks from U Tejaniya are available at both Audio Dharma (http://www.audiodharma.org/teacher/150/) and Dharmaseed (http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/246/), and teachings are available from Sayadaw’s own website: http://sayadawutejaniya.org/teachings/. Among my favorites is his 23-points on “the right attitude for meditation”: http://sayadawutejaniya.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/right_attitude_23_points.pdf. (This is a good one to print out and keep handy.)

    Sayadaw was also interviewed for the Winter 2007 issue of Tricycle: http://sayadawutejaniya.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/8_tej.pdf

    In keeping with U Tejaniya’s theme of “dhamma everywhere,” I also thought I’d share a recent Gil Fronsdal talk (~12 min.) on the “dharma of ordinary things”: http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/5305.html

    Also keeping with the theme, starting next month, Sylvia Boorstein will team up with Spirit Rock to offer an 11-part online course on “Everyday Life as Mindfulness Practice”: https://www.spiritrock.org/calendarDetails?EventID=4058

    Finally, I’ll leave you with a couple of short “dharmettes” by Abhaya’s friend Maria Straatmann:

    First is “Notice What You Do Not Notice” (4 min.): http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/5282.html

    Next is “Wanting, Not Wanting, and Suffering” (~ 15 min.): http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/5283.html

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  122. REMINDER — 12/16/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow evening from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will lead the practice this week.

    I’d like to begin today’s e-mail by sharing the link to the talk that Christine brought in last Tuesday, Gil Fronsdal’s response to the events in Ferguson, MO:
    http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/5271.html

    The talk is about 40 minutes long. As I mentioned at last week’s group, I have tremendous respect for Gil as a dharma teacher and was pleased to hear him discuss a very difficult subject with his usual mindfulness and equanimity.

    I also thought it would be good to share “another view” on Ferguson from Gil’s IMC colleague, Sahara Godfrey (50 min.), although I do so with the disclaimer that I have not yet listened to it myself:

    http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/5288.html

    With that “heavy lifting” out of the way, on to this week’s upcoming events:

    IMCN is on break, with no weekend offerings, until the middle of January.

    In the meantime, CIMC will host Matthew Daniell this Saturday, December 20, for a day-long (10am-4pm) workshop on “Caring for Self, Caring for Others”:

    “In the “Bamboo Acrobat” Sutta, the Buddha is posed a question by two people who are engaged in accomplishing a task together: is it better to prioritize taking care of oneself or the other? His exploration of this theme points us directly to the essential question we all face in practice: How is one to live, with oneself and the complex of interactive relationships that make up our life. The Buddha advises us to bring mindfulness to relation to our own experience, and kindness, patience, non-violence and compassion in relation to others. Come explore how in doing so we learn to take care of the fullness of our interdependent lives, and become more awake and alive in the utter simplicity of the present moment.”

    For more information, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/home?studioid=11692

    I’m also pleased to announce that Against the Stream is off the ground, meeting on Thursdays in Central Square, Cambridge. They have a Facebook page — https://www.facebook.com/groups/ATSBoston/ — but perhaps Adam would be kind enough to pass along details for us Facebook non-users.

    Finally this week, I want to thank Matt among the several who made sure I didn’t miss Anderson Cooper’s piece on “Mindfulness” from last night’s episode of 60 Minutes:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mindfulness-anderson-cooper-60-minutes/

    The segment features Jon Kabat-Zinn, Tim Ryan, George Mumford, Judson Brewer, and Google’s “Jolly Good Fellow” Chade-Meng Tan.

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  123. REMINDER — 12/9/14 meditation group

    Good morning! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Christine will facilitate the practice this week.

    First and foremost this week, Valley Insight will host a daylong retreat with Ajahn Jayanto this Saturday, December 13, at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Hanover, NH. The retreat on “Transforming Our Relationship to Difficulty” will take place from 9am to 4pm. The day will consist of talks and guidance from Ajahn Jayanto, sitting and walking meditation, and periods of silence. For more information, please visit http://valleyinsight.org/retreats.html

    Also on Saturday morning, from 10am to 12:30pm, Matthew Daniell will host an “Insight Meditation for Beginners” retreat at IMCN. Please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org for additional details.

    Coming up in January, Sylvia Boorstein will offer an 11-part online course on “Everyday Life as Mindfulness Practice” by way of the Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Registration is open now: https://www.spiritrock.org/calendarDetails?EventID=4058

    Finally, the keynote speeches from the Mind & Life Institute’s 2014 International Symposium for Contemplative Studies are now available online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLOafJ4rP1PHyAel4TaBVEvDW3U7d1C2zT&v=h5B4aRTI-zQ

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  124. REMINDER — 12/2/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon; I hope everyone enjoyed a happy, safe Thanksgiving holiday. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow — “Giving Tuesday” (http://www.givingtuesday.org/) — from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Ajahn David is scheduled to join us again this week.

    Matthew Daniell will lead a day-long (9am-5pm) retreat at IMCN this Saturday, December 6, on “Turn to What Is”:

    “We spend much of our lives moving toward that which we think will bring us pleasure and avoiding that which is painful. This strategy, although quite understandable at useful at times, creates inner patterns of avoidance and fantasy that cut us off from living our lives fully as they are actually unfolding. In this retreat we will be encouraged to turn to what is, to open freshly and cleanly to the experience of each moment. This movement is at the heart of the journey of awakening, on and off the cushion, lived only in the here and now.”

    The retreat will be followed by IMCN’s annual potluck supper and evening dharma talk; those who attend the day-long retreat are invited to stay for the dinner as well.

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    On Sunday, December 7, Matthew Grady will be at CIMC to lead a day-long (10am-4pm) workshop on “Dharma Practice and Physical Pain”:

    “We will focus on various ways of applying the meditation practice in cultivating a wise and compassionate relationship to physical pain. The day will include guided meditation, talks, and discussion.”

    To register, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/home?studioid=11692

    And looking a bit further ahead, a reminder about Valley Insight’s day-long retreat with Ajahn Jayanto on December 13 at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Hanover, NH. More information can be found at http://valleyinsight.org/retreats.html

    Gratitude and generosity are, at least in my mind, deeply connected. As we move from Thanksgiving into the winter holiday season, we are a presented with a built-in opportunity to explore this connection for ourselves.

    Gina Sharpe offers a short reflection on joyful giving — “the heart of generosity” — courtesy of the Lion’s Roar website: http://www.lionsroar.com/the-heart-of-generosity-gina-sharpe-on-joyful-giving/

    Andrea Miller’s profile of Gina from the September issue of Shambhala Sun is also worth a read: http://www.lionsroar.com/path-frees-us-suffering/

    That’s all for this week; Carrie and I have a schedule conflict tomorrow evening, but look forward to seeing you all on the 9th.

    Metta,
    Tim


  125. REMINDER — 11/25/14 meditation group

    Dear All,

    I’m pinch-hitting for Tim this week for the meditation Reminder email…he has pressing school work.

    I’d just like to take a moment to thank Tim for doing this for us week after week. Tim’s reminders are always so full of interesting and useful information. Thank you Tim!

    We will be meeting as usual this Tuesday evening November 25, from 7:30 – 9:30pm in the chapel of First Parish Unitarian Universalist church in Chelmsford Center. Judi will be leading the practice.

    Tim passed along this information about schedules this weekend in the local Insight communities.

    · IMCN and CIMC are both closed for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
    · CIMC will have a “Gratitude Gathering” with Maddy Klyne from 11am to 12:30pm on Thanksgiving Day.
    · IMCN will have a Thanksgiving morning sit w. Ted Jones from 7:45-8:30.

    (IMCN is the Insight Meditation Center of Newburyport; CIMC is the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center )

    On Gratitude and Thanksgiving

    I heard a talk last weekend by Sharon Salzberg, which was. as always, lovely. (Christine was there too, as well as Lynn from the Wednesday practice group.)

    One thing Sharon said in the talk was that, for her, gratitude is closely aligned with metta, or loving-kindness. One similarity is that they are both heart-opening and heart-softening. Another similarity is, that they can both be strengthened by practice, even though that may seem counter-intuitive.

    One suggestion Sharon had was — gratitude journaliing. I don’t think the Buddha offered this practice, but Sharon did. So I invite you this Thanksgiving, and what-the-hell– the whole holiday season, to take on just a small practice of gratitude journaling. At night, before sleep, in a special notebook, write down three things you are grateful for. They can be just one or two words, and they don’t have to be big and important. For example — ‘red bird’, ‘laughing with Lora’, ‘ Avocado for lunch!’ — whatever. You can also use the big ones if they spring to your mond — ‘family’, ‘health’, etc…

    In some ways, this practice changes nothing. You will probably still get flustered by the season, or stirred up by difficult family relationships, or pulled down by the cold and lack of light. But I think, it can change your focus, and shift your perspective — which can change — EVERYTHING!

    As Marcel Proust said:

    “The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

    Or, as it says in first lines of the famous Buddhist text, the Dhammapada, as translated by Gil Fronsdal

    All experience is preceded by mind, led by mind, made by mind. Speak or act with a corrupted mind, and suffering follows as the wagon wheel follows the hoof of the ox.

    All experience is preceded by mind, led by mind, made by mind. Speak or act with a peaceful mind, and happiness follows like a never-departing shadow.

    Wishing you all a peaceful Thanksgiving.

    Brenda


  126. REMINDER — 11/18/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon…. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow evening from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela will be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of events coming up this week:

    On Wednesday evening, Lesley University will host a discussion on “Mindfulness and Multiculturalism: Sharing Diverse Traditions for the Common Good” — exploring mindfulness across cultural barriers:

    http://www.lesley.edu/mindfulness-and-culture/

    Narayan Helen Liebenson will lead a 2-day non-residential CIMC retreat for experienced (3+ years) practitioners this weekend, November 22 and 23. For more information, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/home?studioid=11692

    Meanwhile, Chas DiCapua will be up at IMCN on Saturday to offer a day-long retreat on “Working with Difficult Emotions”:

    “Having strong, difficult emotions come up happens in every Dharma practitioner’s journey, sooner or later. Whether these challenging experiences become sources of suffering, or gateways to understanding and compassion, has everything to do with how one understands them and the tools that one has at their disposal for meeting them. In this retreat, we will explore the nature of emotions in our own experience as well as cultivate the tools to actually be able to do that without getting lost in them. Being able to work with difficult emotions is an important skill for folks to hone on their Dharma journey.”

    To register for the IMCN event, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org/

    I also wanted to give advance notice that Valley Insight is offering a day-long retreat with Ajahn Jayanto on Saturday, December 13, in Hanover, NH. For more information, please visit http://valleyinsight.org/

    Last but not least, I’m sure many of you have heard the news that Vietnamese Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh recently suffered a brain hemorrhage. As of the most recent update from Plum Village, his meditation community, his condition is being closely monitored and the medical staff remains cautiously optimistic for his recovery. Updates on Thay’s condition are available via the Plum Village website (http://plumvillage.org/news/).

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  127. REMINDER — 11/11/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon…. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow evening, as usual, from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I’ll be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of events coming up this Saturday, November 15, that are unfortunately mutually exclusive:

    From 10am to 4pm, Matthew Daniell will lead a IMCN workshop on “Caring for Self/Caring for Others”:

    “In a teaching called the ‘Bamboo Acrobat’, the Buddha is asked a question by two people who are engaged in accomplishing a task together: Is it better to prioritize taking care of oneself or the other? His exploration of this theme points us directly to the essential question we all face in practice: How is one to live with oneself and the complexity of interactive relationships that make up our life? The Buddha advises us to bring mindfulness to our own experience, and kindness, patience, non-violence and compassion in relation to others. During this workshop we will explore how to take care of the fullness of our interdependent lives, and become more awake and alive in the utter simplicity of the present moment.”

    For more information, please visit http://imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, Chris Germer will be at CIMC from 10am to 4:30pm to offer a benefit workshop entitled “Mindfulness and Self-Compassion: Warming up the Conversation”:

    “The interface between self-compassion and mindfulness, both practically and conceptually, is a popular topic these days. In this workshop we will explore how to integrate self-compassion practice into mindfulness meditation and into one’s daily life. We will also investigate the conceptual similarities and differences between the two.”

    To register for this event, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/home?studioid=11692

    Looking a bit further ahead, next Tuesday evening, November 18, Bhante Buddharakkita will be at Newton South High School to offer a free presentation on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. For more information on this event, please visit https://registration.xenegrade.com/nce/courseDisplay.cfm?schID=5204

    And then from 5pm-6:30pm on Wednesday, November 19, Lesley University will host a public panel discussion on “Mindfulness and Multiculturalism: Sharing Diverse Traditions for the Common Good”:

    “The contemporary field of mindfulness is quickly transforming multiple arenas of medicine, mental health, business, education, and leadership. Research in mindfulness continues to demonstrate significance as an approach to promoting wellness and positive social change. In a globalized society, how does the field of mindfulness translate effectively across multicultural differences? Is mindfulness a public discourse or a particular tradition? Are there diverse multicultural expressions of mindfulness that might serve to engage and transform diverse communities? Is mindfulness a language that could work across cultural barriers to promote the common good? These are the questions this event will seek to engage as we draw together scholars and practitioners from the fields of mindfulness, psychology, religious studies, expressive therapies, education, and leadership.”

    Please visit http://www.lesley.edu/mindfulness-and-culture/ for further details.

    For this week’s featured reading, I’d like to direct you to an op-ed piece that recently appeared on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Religion and Ethics” page: “The Buddhist Leap of Faith” by Jarni Blakkarly:

    http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2014/11/05/4122342.htm

    For additional reading on the subject, I strongly recommend Sharon Salzberg’s fine book: http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/faith/

    Finally, be sure to check out David Vago’s updated webpage if you get the chance: http://davidvago.bwh.harvard.edu/

    That’s all for this week — I hope to see you all tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  128. REMINDER — 11/4/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon everyone…. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow — Election Day — from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. We look forward to Ajahn David’s joining us once again.

    Coming up this Saturday, November 8, Doug Phillips will lead a day-long (9am-5pm) retreat at IMCN on “How Much is ‘Just Right’?”:

    “Sometimes it seems that great effort is required in our practice and in our life, sometimes none at all, and many times less than we imagine. We will explore the range of Right Effort which includes the effortless as a clear expression of life and living.”

    For more information, visit http://www.imcnewburyport.prg

    Also starting on Saturday is CIMC’s 5-day non-residential retreat, led by Narayan Helen Liebenson:

    “This five-day long retreat—affectionately called a ‘half-sandwich’—combines formal meditation and daily life as dharma practice. We start with a weekend composed of the familiar formal practices emphasizing sitting and walking meditation. For the subsequent three weekdays, yogis will be given a meditation exercise to work with during the day, an exercise directly concerned with daily life. Coming together again in the evenings we will sit, walk and share our experiences of working with the exercises. Individual interviews will be possible.”

    For more details please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/home?studioid=11692

    A couple of weeks ago I mentioned the recent Scientific American article on “the mind of the meditator,” recommended by David Vago. This week I am happy to pass along a PDF copy of that article as an attachment to this e-mail. Enjoy!

    In a similar vein I wanted to pass along a link to Jay Michaelson’s provocative commentary on the Mind & Life Institute’s ISIS conference that took place here in Boston this past weekend: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/11/01/what-if-meditation-isn-t-good-for-you.html

    And finally I want to mention that Sharon Salzberg has recently update her website — http://www.sharonsalzberg.com. I highly encourage you to check it out when you have a chance.

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening — and don’t forget to vote!

    Metta,
    Tim


  129. REMINDER — 10/28/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will return to its normal routine this week, meeting from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie will be the facilitator.

    I just want to take a moment to again thank everyone who came to David Vago’s lecture this past week. Dave presented a wealth of information and I certainly learned a lot; I hope the rest of you were able to take away at least as much.

    One related event that Dave mentioned is the Mind & Life Institute’s International Symposium on Contemplative Studies (ISCS), which is taking place here in Boston this weekend, October 30 through November 2. The event will feature Richard Davidson, Arianna Huffington, Amishi Jha, and HH the Dalai Lama as keynote speakers. Other lecturers, teachers, and artists will include Tenzin Priyadarshi, Sharon Salzberg, Saki Santorelli, Jud Brewer, Willoughby Britton, Paul Ekman, Joan Halifax, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Andy Olendzki, Zindel Segal, and Alan Wallace. For more information, please visit http://www.iscs2014.org/

    Other events coming up this weekend include a day-long (9am-5pm) retreat on Saturday, November 1, at CIMC, led by Michael Grady. Then on Sunday, CIMC will welcome Maddy Klyne for a day-long retreat specifically geared towards caregivers (“i.e.,parents, those caring for anyone who is ill, those caring for aging parents, those in caregiving professions from social workers to nurses, to those in home care and hospice.”). More information on either of these events is available at https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/home?studioid=11692

    This week I want to highlight a recent episode of the Secular Buddhist podcast featuring Buddhist scholar Jeff Wilson speaking with host Ted Meissner. In their conversation (38 min.), Wilson and Meissner discuss “the mutual transformation of Buddhist meditation and American culture.” Fascinating stuff:

    http://secularbuddhism.org/2014/10/12/episode-210-jeff-wilson-mindful-america-the-mutual-transformation-of-buddhist-meditation-and-american-culture/

    And before signing off, I want to leave you with “Against the Stream” — a short (28 min.) documentary film featuring Dharma Punx NYC teacher Josh Korda; well worth the time:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/against-stream

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,


  130. REMINDER — 10/21/14 meditation group **SPECIAL EVENT**

    Good morning! I am very happy to remind everyone of tomorrow evening’s special event with Dr. David Vago. Dr. Vago’s talk on “The Neuroscience of Mindfulness and the Meditation Experience” will take place in the Chapel at First Parish starting at 7:30pm. The evening will begin with a short period of guided meditation, followed by Dr. Vago’s lecture (about 45 minutes), and will conclude with an opportunity for Q&A and general discussion.

    Many thanks to all those who pre-registered. If you have sent an early registration payment but have not received e-mail confirmation from me, please let me know.

    Walk-ins are, of course, still welcome @ $25/person (cash or check payable to David Vago).

    I apologize for the short notice, but it would be helpful to have a couple of volunteers to help handle set-up and registration tomorrow evening. This would entail showing up around 7/7:15 to help arrange chairs, the video screen, and the check-in table (taking payment from walk-ins). If anyone is willing and able to lend a hand for this, please let me know.

    For those who haven’t recently joined us for Tuesday evening meditation, please note that parking around First Parish can be somewhat scarce. Alternate parking is available behind the Old Town Hall, behind the Eastern Bank on North Road, and behind 10 North Road (the white building across the street from Eastern Bank, where the law offices of Lampert, Hausler and Rodman are located).

    Looking a bit further ahead on the calendar, Ted Jones will offer a “Waking Up to Your Life” retreat for beginning and newer students from 10am to 12:30pm this Saturday, October 25. For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    On Sunday, October 26, Doug Phillips will be at Cambridge Insight to offer a day-long workshop on “Insight Meditation and the Practice of Relationship”:

    “Our moment by moment life is always in and mutually defined by relationship with something; thoughts, sensations, people, things. In this workshop we will examine ways to engage these relational moments as an opportunity for self knowing and freedom from conflict.

    There will be periods of sitting and walking throughout the day as well as exploration of how conflict arises in relationship, ways to practice with this and opportunities to explore this in group conversation.”

    To register for the CIMC event, please visit http://www.cimc.info

    In other news, for those who aren’t already aware, Shambhala Sun magazine has consolidated its online offerings at a new domain: http://www.lionsroar.com/. I definitely encourage taking some time to explore what’s available.

    Finally this week, I want to mention that the current (November 2014) issue of Scientific American features an article by Matthieu Ricard, Antoine Lutz and Richard Davidson on
    “the mind of the meditator”. Dr. Vago calls it “a decent summary of the current neuroscience research on meditation.” The full article is only available online to SA subscribers, unfortunately, but you can get a quick look at http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/neuroscience-reveals-the-secrets-of-meditation-s-benefits/.

    (Thanks to Dave for the heads up on this one!)

    That’s about all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  131. REMINDER — 10/14/14 meditation group

    Good morning! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a couple of events coming up this Saturday, October 18:

    Larry Rosenberg will offer his monthly intensive one-day (9am-5pm) retreat at CIMC: https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/home?studioid=11692

    Meanwhile, Chas DiCapua will offer a day-long (9am-5pm) retreat on “Body as Teacher”:

    “The human body is one of the most amazing organisms on this planet. It is also an amazing Dharma teacher if we would only pay attention to it! During this retreat, we will learn to inhabit our bodies with awareness and feel what embodied presence is like. With that as a starting point, there will be instruction for using the body as a meditation object to develop concentration, and instruction on using the body to open to the wisdom of the truth of the way things are. Both newer and more experience students will be able to benefit from these teachings.”

    For more information please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org/

    Of course we are just a week away from our very own event — “The Neuroscience of Mindfulness and the Meditative Experience” with David Vago — on the evening of October 21. Anyone who is interested in taking advantage of the early registration price of $17/person can still do so; the cost will be $25 at the door.

    The event is open to the public, so please feel free to share the following link with anyone who might be interested:

    https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/the-neuroscience-of-mindfulness-and-the-meditative-experience-an-evening-with-david-vago-ph-d/

    Dave has been an occasional guest on the Buddhist Geeks podcast, and the Buddhist Geeks will hold their annual conference next week in Boulder, Colorado. You can learn more about the event at http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/conference/, however they also recently posted Rick Hanson’s keynote address from the 2013 conference. The talk is in two parts (each about 35-40 min.) and you can listen here:

    Part one: “Practicing with the Brain in Mind”
    http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2014/10/bg-335-practicing-brain-mind/

    Part two: “How to HEAL the Brain’s Negativity Bias”
    http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2014/10/bg-336-heal-brains-negativity-bias/

    Good stuff, and especially timely given Dave’s visit next week.

    Finally this week I want to share the Metrowest Daily News’ profile of the New England Buddhist Vihara and Meditation Center, now located in Grafton, MA:

    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=60,12047,0,0,1,0#.VDvsEijrf8t

    That’s all for now; Carrie and I have another commitment tomorrow evening, so we look forward to seeing you all for Dave Vago’s talk on the 21st. Until then keep well and remember to keep a little smile in your heart!

    Metta,
    Tim


  132. REMINDER — 10/7/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30-9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. This week we look forward to Ajahn David’s monthly visit.

    While IMCN is taking a break for the Columbus Day weekend, Narayan Helen Liebenson will offer a Metta workshop at CIMC this Saturday, October 11, from 10am to 4pm. For more details, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/home?studioid=11692

    I was remiss last week in failing to mention a series of online conversations on “Mindfulness and Climate Action” coordinated by One Earth Sangha. A number of favorite teachers (including Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach, James Baraz, Chas DiCapua, David Loy, and Bhikkhu Bodhi) plan to participate:

    http://www.oneearthsangha.org/programs/mindfulness-and-climate-action/#register

    The series kicked off yesterday (sorry!) and will run throughout the month of October; conversations will be archived at http://www.oneearthsangha.org/programs/mindfulness-and-climate-action/archive/

    Thanks to Janet M. for the heads up!

    Coming up later this month is ISCS 2014: the International Symposium for Contemplative Studies, sponsored by the Mind and Life Institute and featuring HH the Dalai Lama, Richie Davidson, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Andy Olendzki, Tenzin Priyadarshi, Sharon Salzberg, Saki Santorelli, Jud Brewer, Willoughby Britton, and others.

    This year’s event takes place in our very own back yard — Boston — and represents a fantastic opportunity for anyone interested in contemplative science.

    http://www.iscs2014.org/

    In between now and then, of course, we have our own special event with contemplative neuroscientist David Vago on Tuesday, October 21. I’ve received many pre-registrations already, but there is still time for anyone who would like to take advantage of the early-bird discount ($17/person v. $25/person at the door). Details about the event can be found at https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/the-neuroscience-of-mindfulness-and-the-meditative-experience-an-evening-with-david-vago-ph-d/

    On a related note, there was an interesting conversation at Tricycle.com between Linda Heuman and neuroscientist Catherine Kerr on the dangers of the media over-hyping the state of research on mindfulness meditation. Definitely worth a read:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/don’t-believe-hype

    To wind things down this week, I’ll leave you with “You Can’t Fail at Meditation” from the Shambhala Sun’s SunSpace blog. The piece recounts journalist/author Dan Harris’s recent public conversation with Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, and Mark Epstein. Good stuff:

    http://shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4238&Itemid=0

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  133. REMINDER — 9/30/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon, everyone. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Sue is scheduled to lead the practice this week.

    There are a couple of events coming up this Saturday, October 4:

    Up at IMCN, Larry Rosenberg will lead a morning retreat followed by an afternoon dharma talk on “Don’t Turn Away: The Art of Turning Relationships into a Practice of Liberation.” Larry will guide participants “in exploring how simple awareness practices, beginning with the breath in the body, can turn relationship itself into a path where wisdom and compassion grow in our lives.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, Narayan Helen Liebenson will offer a day-long Metta (lovingkindess) workshop at CIMC. For more information on this event, please visit .https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/home?studioid=11692

    I also wanted to mention a Day Walk for Teens, again on Saturday, October 4, coordinated by our very own Delia Kostner. The walk will take place along the Wampack Trail at Miller State Park in Temple, NH. If you have an interested, teen, please contact me and I’ll be happy to forward Delia’s detailed e-mail about the event.

    While you’re up in that neck of the woods, you might also think about attending the Pa Bah Offering Ceremony on Sunday, October 5, at the Temple Forest Monastery. Details on that event can be found at http://forestmonastery.org/calendar/2014/10/5/pa-bah-offering-ceremony?view=calendar

    Of course all of this leads me to our own special event with David Vago, coming up on the evening of Tuesday, October 21. I’ve been thrilled by the positive response so far and look forward to the evening.

    I also wanted to point out that Dave recently engaged therapist and blogger Lisa Dale Miller on series of video dialogues on the topic of “the clinical relevance of awakening.” I’ve added the following links to our event page — The Neuroscience of Mindfulness and the Meditative Experience: An Evening with David Vago, Ph.D. — but you can also check out the videos directly at the following YouTube links:

    Part 1 (40 min.):

    Part 2a (10 min):

    Part 2b (22 min):

    Part 2c (26 min):

    If you would like to attend the event on the 21st, remember that pre-registration is only $17 rather than $25 requested at the door. Payment may be made via PayPal or by personal check. Please contact me if you have any questions.

    If you have given your name as “interested” but not yet sent payment, please do so at your earliest convenience.

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  134. REMINDER — 9/23/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon, everyone…. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Christine will be this week’s facilitator.

    This weekend, September 27-28, Narayan Helen Liebenson will offer a 2-day, non-residential insight meditation retreat at CIMC. For registration, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/home?studioid=11692

    Also this weekend, from 2pm-5pm on Saturday afternoon, or very own Judi Stein will co-lead an introductory workshop on Focusing, “a mind-body approach to self-understanding, acceptance and growth.”

    “Focusing is a gentle, compassionate and non-judgmental way of giving attention to your inner experience. By following a series of steps, focusing helps us to tap into our natural abilities and resources to find a way to accept our reality, gain a health perspective on our problems and grow and change in ways that we desire.

    “This 3-hour workshop will give you the basics of Focusing. You will have opportunities to practice the Focusing process and get familiar with ‘felt sensing.’ You will be able to explore how you might use this process to make change in your life, find what is truly alive for you, deepen your understanding or relieve some stress. We will use experiential exercises and didactic teaching and include time for discussing and sharing.”

    The event will take place at The Arlington Center in Arlington Center; please visit their website for registration: http://www.arlingtoncenter.org/register

    A few years back, Tricycle’s Linda Heuman interviewed Eugene Gendlin, the founder of Focusing; I remember thinking at the time how much the practice of Focusing reminded me of Abhaya’s approach to mindfulness practice. You can read the interview here:

    https://www.focusing.org/spirituality/2011_sep_tricycle_interview_gendlin.pdf

    Interestingly, I found out recently that Lesley offers a “Focusing and Mindfulness” class as an elective in its Counseling and Psychology program. (Thanks, Janet!) The two worlds are indeed colliding!

    I hope that you all received my mid-week e-mail last week regarding payment for the David Vago lecture on October 21. So far I’ve only received payment from a few people. If you would prefer to pay by check, that’s fine; please e-mail me so we can work out the logistics.

    I am sending e-mail confirmations for those who register early. If you *think* you’ve already registered but haven’t received confirmation, please e-mail me.

    I’ll wind things up this week with a two-part dharmette on “Relaxed Concentration” from Nikki Mirghafori out at IMC. The first part (~3 min.) preceded a practice session, and the second part (~13 min.) took place at the conclusion:

    Part one: http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/5070.html

    Part two: http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/5071.html

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  135. REMINDER — 9/16/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon everyone…. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela will facilitate the practice this week.

    First, many thanks to those of you who have already sent in your registration payment for David Vago’s presentation on October 21. Again, the registration fee goes directly to cover the cost of Dr. Vago’s honorarium. Please make $17/person advance registration payments via PayPal “friends or family” to tlittle [at] designingminds [dot] com and be sure to note “Vago Lecture” in the comments. Registration at the door will be $25/person, so there is a definite advantage to signing up early!

    Again, details of the event can be found at https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/the-neuroscience-of-mindfulness-and-the-meditative-experience-an-evening-with-david-vago-ph-d/

    As I hinted last week, IMCN will kick off the 2014-15 season with a couple of day-long retreats this coming weekend. On Saturday, September 20, Chas DiCapua will offer a retreat on “Cultivating Interest and Curiosity, Not Perfection”:

    “As we walk this Dhamma path, we pay attention in order to understand, not to become perfect. It is critical to be clear about this if we are to cultivate the all-important enlightenment factor of Interest. Bringing interest and curiosity to each moment is a mental skill that we cultivate just like other wholesome mental factors such as mindfulness and concentration. During this retreat we will explore the difference between paying attention to our experience to facilitate understanding of the way things are versus paying attention to become better or perfect. With the clarity of this distinction as a foundation, we will then cultivate an alive, curious interest in the entire range of our experience. The result is an abiding attention that, as Zen Master Dogen said, ‘is intimate with all things.’”

    Then on Sunday, September 21, Matthew Daniell will lead a “Mindful Moment” retreat for beginning and newer students.

    More information on either IMCN event can be found at http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile at CIMC, Maddy Klyne will offer a beginners’ workshop on Saturday the 20th, and Doug Phillips will offer an insight meditation retreat on Sunday the 21st. Both of these are day-long events; more at http://www.cimc.info

    Last week I neglected to pass along the latest update from Ajahn Jayanto and the monastic community in Temple, NH. Of particular note is the Pa Bah Offering Ceremony coming up on October 5: http://forestmonastery.org/news/

    There are a couple of other events coming up next month — including the Vago lecture, of course — so be sure to stay tuned!

    To wrap things up this week, I’ll leave you with, “Stop, Relax, Wake Up,” an older Shambhala Sun article from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche:

    http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3813&Itemid=0

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  136. REMINDER — 9/9/14

    Good afternoon everyone! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish; I’ll be this week’s facilitator.

    First, as I’m sure you’re already aware, I’m very happy to announce that David Vago will join us on the evening of Tuesday, October 21, to speak about “The Neuroscience of Mindfulness and the Meditative Experience.” Additional details about the event can be found at

    https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/the-neuroscience-of-mindfulness-and-the-meditative-experience-an-evening-with-david-vago-ph-d/

    Please note that the registration fee ($17 in advance or $25 at the door) goes entirely to cover the cost of Dr. Vago’s honorarium. The event is open to the public, so please feel free to spread the word and invite others.

    CIMC is back in action again following their summer break. Larry Rosenberg will offer his monthly “one-day intensive retreat” from 9am to 5pm on Saturday, September 13; George Mumford will then lead a day-long (10am-4pm) workshop on “The Power of Mindfulness: The Heart of Insight Meditation” on Sunday the 14th.

    For registration and additional information, please visit http://www.cimc.info/schedule.html

    IMCN — http://www.imcnewburyport.org — will follow suit next weekend with some great-sounding events, so be sure to stay tuned!

    IMS and BCBS have each published their retreat/course catalogs for the coming year; as always there’s some great stuff on offer. Be sure to sign up early for some of the more popular retreats, such as Sharon Salzberg’s annual Metta reterat in February.

    http://www.dharma.org/meditation-retreats/retreat-center/retreat-center-schedule

    http://www.bcbsdharma.org/courses/

    I’ll leave you this week with a short (~10 min.) talk by Gil Fronsdal, “Recognize, Feel, Relax”:

    http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/5053.html

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  137. REMINDER — 9/2/14 meditation group

    Good morning and happy Labor Day! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. We once again look forward to Ajahn David joining us for this First Tuesday of the month. Special thanks to Brenda for stepping in to provide Ajahn’s transportation this month.

    After much planning I am very happy to officially announce that Dr. David Vago will join us at our usual meeting time on the evening of Tuesday, October 21. As I’ve mentioned previously, Dr. Vago is a neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital with a professional interest the mechanisms by which mindfulness-based practices function. He is also an avid meditation practitioner himself and brings a first-person perspective to his scientific inquiry. I very much look forward to his presentation and discussion to follow. I will send out separate e-mail with additional details.

    Dr. Vago’s lecture requires either advance registration or payment at the door. Cost is $17 per person in advance, or $25 per person at the door. Please send advance payment for the “Vago Lecture” via PayPal “friends or family” (http://www.paypal.com) to tlittle [at] designingminds [dot] com. Please note that refunds will only be offered in the event of cancellation.

    As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I invite you to check out the following video (~30 min.) of a presentation Dr. Vago gave at the Advances in Meditation Research conference earlier this year:

    You can hear more from him via Buddhist Geeks:

    http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/author/david_vago/

    In follow up to Judi’s presentation last week, I wanted to pass along a link to Gil Fronsdal’s dharma talk (~45 min.) on “Three Kinds of Equanimity”: http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/4979.html

    I also wanted to share “Slow Down, You Move Too Fast,” a short piece by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche that I read on Shambhala SunSpace page this morning and seems appropriate as we wind down the relatively lazy days of summer:

    http://shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2110&Itemid=0

    Finally, I want to share “Enjoying Meditation,” a short (~8 min.) guided reflection from Ajahn Pasanno: https://www.abhayagiri.org/audio/guided-meditation-enjoying-meditation

    That’s all for now!

    RSVP as soon as possible for the David Vago event, and please enjoy a safe and relaxing remainder of your holiday weekend. I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow.

    Metta,
    Tim


  138. REMINDER — 8/26/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi will be this week’s facilitator.

    As mentioned last week, the local retreat centers (CIMC and IMCN specifically) are on summer holiday, so dharma doings are pretty much on hold for the time being.

    I’m still trying to get a tally of firm commitments so that we can hopefully move forward with out invitation to David Vago. A number of you have indeed already responded — thank you — but I’m hoping to be able to get a few more in order to more equitably defray the cost. Of course, I do realize it can be difficult to make a firm commitment without knowing the date….

    In the meantime, please enjoy a couple of short dharma talks:

    The first is a short (~ 5 min.) but very poignant practice note from Gil Fronsdal on working with the natural rhythm of presence and distraction in meditation: http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/4958.html

    The second is a longer (~ 30 min.) talk by Ajahn Pasanno on the breath as “A Rhythm of Nature”: https://www.abhayagiri.org/audio/a-rhythm-of-nature

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  139. REMINDER — 8/19/14 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 8:30 in the Chapel at First Parish; Carrie will lead the practice this week.

    CIMC and IMCN are both on summer break for the next couple of weeks; in the meantime, I’m trying to coordinate a couple of special events for the fall in Chelmsford.

    I’ve been in touch with Maddy Klyne and hope to finally be able to put together a day-long retreat her at First Parish sometime this fall; I’ll keep you posted once we work out the details.

    I’ve also extended a speaking invitation to Dr. David Vago, a “contemplative neuroscientist” at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, who has been at the forefront of research into the neural mechanisms of meditation from the point of view as a practitioner as well as a scientist. He’s been active with the Mind & Life Institute and has been a featured guest on the Buddhist Geeks podcast.

    We’re sort of in a chicken-and-egg situation as we need to get at least 10-20 firm commitments in order to cover the honorarium for taking the time and effort to prepare a talk and come up to Chelmsford to speak to the sangha and the larger First Parish community. Of course it’s a bit difficult to get a head count without having a date in mind already.

    At the moment I have Brenda, Christine, Gabriela, Judi, Sue, Carrie and myself, so I think we’d need a commitment from at least 3 more people to make it begin to be financially feasible: $25/ea. — although obviously the more commitments we get, the less expensive we can make it for each of us. If you are reasonably sure you can commit to hearing Dr. Vago speak at some point this fall, please let me know by Sunday, August 24, so that I can in turn get back to him.

    To whet your appetite, I invite you to check out the following video (~30 min.) of a presentation Dr. Vago gave at the Advances in Meditation Research conference earlier this year:

    And, as I mentioned above, you can hear more from him via Buddhist Geeks:

    http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/author/david_vago/

    Finally this week, I want to circle back somewhat to a theme that Gabriela introduced at the end of last week’s meditation. I just happened across a short (~15 min.) dharma reflection from our old friend Robert Cusick called “Connecting With Striving”: http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/4591.html

    Enjoy!

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening — and again, please let me know as soon as possible if you are able to commit to hosting Dr. Vago this fall.

    Metta,
    Tim


  140. REMINDER — 8/12/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel in First Parish; Gabriela will lead the practice this week.

    The local meditation centers (CIMC and IMCN) are about to take a brief summer holiday. Before they do so, however, each has a few events coming up this weekend:

    Michael Grady will be at CIMC this Saturday, August 16, to offer a one-day (9am-5pm) vipassana retreat:

    https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Meanwhile, Chas DiCapua will be at IMCN to offer a day-long (9am-5pm) retreat on “Investigating Life”:

    “Investigating the experiences of life as they arise in our meditation practice plays an important role in supporting us to begin to understand the truth of how things are. Yet what investigation is and how it works in our formal meditation practice is often not clear to meditation practitioners. We’ll practice how to investigate our experience as it arises through sitting, standing and walking meditation. Understanding how to investigate in our formal meditation practice is helpful because it can bring it alive and support us in really wanting to practice!”

    To register, please visit http://imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday is the annual Lowell Southeast Asian Water Festival, along the northern banks of the Merrimack River:

    http://www.lowellwaterfestival.org/

    Carrie and I finally had the chance to take in a bit of it last summer and it seems to be quite the cultural event, with food, crafts, traditional dance and, of course, the dragon-boat races.

    Finally this week, I’ll leave you with another great dharma talk from Gil Fronsdal: “How are you?” (40 min.)

    http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/4722.html

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta.
    Tim


  141. REMINDER — 8/5/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. We look forward to Ajahn David joining us for this first Tuesday of August. Please note that parking in the immediate vicinity of First Parish will likely be limited due to the final performance of the Chelmsford Community Band’s summer concert series, scheduled to begin at 7pm.

    I want to start off this week with a link to the “The Broken Mandala,” the Maitreyabandhu dharma talk so wonderfully summarized by Sue last week. (Thanks to Matt, too!) As Sue mentioned, the whole thing clocks in at just under an hour, but it is indeed well worth a listen:

    http://www.freebuddhistaudio.com/audio/details?num=LOC1996

    The words to Kay Ryan’s poem, “The Niagara River,” referenced in the dharma talk can be found here: http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/niagara-river

    In coming events, Narayan Helen Liebenson will offer a “Faith and Doubt” workshop at CIMC this Saturday, August 9, from 10am to 4pm:

    “The foundation of the spiritual path is faith. How can it be nourished and cultivated? What is its place in Buddhist practice? What is the place of doubt? During this workshop, these questions will be explored through talks, discussion and sitting practice.”

    For more information, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Somewhat along the same lines, I recently heard and want to share a short (20 min.) dhamma talk by Ajahn Pasanno on “Faith vs. Belief”:

    “He reminds us that in Buddhism faith is not a belief system made up of views that inevitably lead to conflict with opposing views. Instead, faith is the ability to hold aside one’s deeply engrained views as well as one’s skepticism of views, and simply apply oneself with discernment and conviction to the dhamma.”

    https://www.abhayagiri.org/audio/faith-vs-belief

    And, finally, just a reminder of the Dan Harris/Joseph Goldstein event “Meditation and the Skeptic” coming up on Monday, September 9, in Newton:

    https://registration.xenegrade.com/nce/coursedisplay.cfm?schID=5178&CFID=5114151&CFTOKEN=816fb01c6bcc1214-46AD39C5-9F52-171A-743545EA209E71C7

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  142. REMINDER — 7/29/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Sue will lead the practice this week. Please note that the Chelmsford Community Band is scheduled for their penultimate summer performance for 2014, so parking in the immediate vicinity of First Parish is likely to be limited.

    Michael Grady will lead a couple of events at CIMC this coming weekend: a beginners’ workshop on Saturday, August 2, from 10am to 4pm, and on Sunday, August 3, a “Meditation Off the Cushion” workshop, also from 10am to 4pm. For more information on either event, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Thinking a bit further ahead, ABC News anchor and author Dan Harris will be joined by Joseph Goldstein for a conversation entitled “Meditation and the Skeptic” at Newton South High School on the evening of Monday, September 8. For more information, please visit https://registration.xenegrade.com/nce/coursedisplay.cfm?schID=5178&CFID=5114151&CFTOKEN=816fb01c6bcc1214-46AD39C5-9F52-171A-743545EA209E71C7

    As I think I’ve mentioned previously, I’m finally having a chance to get caught up on some dharma talks now that classes have paused for a few weeks. I’ve lately been listening to some shorter talks given by Ajahn Pasanno, abbot of the Abhayagiri Monastery in Redwood Valley, CA.

    I’m sure I’ll share more in coming weeks, but I thought this was a good one to start with: “Bhavana: Cultivating the Ground of Practice” (~30 min.): http://www.abhayagiri.org/audio/bhavana-cultivating-the-ground-of-practice

    Finally, I want to share a short essay by Tricycle’s Jeff Wilson examining the meaning of “mindfulness” in transition “From Monastery to Marketplace”:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/monastery-marketplace

    That’s all for now; I look forward to being back with the group tomorrow evening and hope to see everyone there and then.

    Metta,
    Tim


  143. REMINDER — 7/22/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish; Christine is scheduled to facilitate. Once again, please bear in mind that the Chelmsford Community Band will perform on the town common starting at 7pm, so parking in the immediate vicinity will likely be limited.

    I want to thank Ruth for providing the following update from the Lowell Wish Project regarding needs for the people displaced by the Branch Street fire:

    “Currently we are looking for dorm size refrigerators for the fire victims in hotels, tracfones and tracfone minutes cards, small things to keep the children busy in hotel rooms, there are more boys than girls, decks of cards, electronic games, coloring things. Grocery store gift cards and monetary donations so we can buy the things not donated are always appreciated. Thank you for sharing this with anyone that would like to help out.”

    More information can be found at http://thewishproject.org/fire-victims/

    Coming up this weekend, Matthew Daniell will offer a morning retreat on “Insight Meditation for Beginners” at IMC Newburuyport this Saturday, July 26. For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, Helen Narayan Liebenson will be at CIMC to offer a day-long workshop on “Wise Speech”:

    “In this workshop, we will explore ways in which speech and communication become vehicles for developing awareness and insight instead of fostering pain and misunderstanding.”

    For registration and additional information, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    I’ve recently had the opportunity to listen to some wonderful short dharma talks by Ajahn Pasanno, Abbot of Abhayagiri Monastery in California.

    This one — “Uncomplicated” — is about 15 minutes long: http://www.abhayagiri.org/audio/uncomplicated

    Finally, Sharon Salzberg was interviewed last week for NPR’s recent series on stress. Sharon spoke very eloquently (of course!) about “mindfulness” and even led a short meditation. You can listen here (~ 4 min.):

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/07/12/330680160/searching-for-stress-relief-try-feeling-your-breath

    That’s all for now. I’m still in the throes of my last paper for the semester, due Wednesday, but I’m still holding out hope that I’ll see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  144. REMINDER — 7/15/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon everyone! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will facilitate the practice this week. Please note again that — weather permitting — the Chelmsford Community Band is scheduled to perform on the town green starting at 7pm; parking around First Parish is likely to be limited, but alternate parking is available behind 10 North Road.

    First and foremost, I’m sure most of you have heard, there was a terrible tragedy in Lowell this past week when seven people were killed and dozens of others left homeless due to a fire. A fund to assist victims of the fire has been set up via the Jeanne d’Arc Credit Union. For those who wish, donations may be sent to the Branch Street Fire Fund, c/o Kathryn Dame, Vice President-Branch Administration, Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union, 1 Tremont Place, Lowell, MA 01853.

    There are a couple of events taking place at CIMC this coming weekend:

    On Saturday, July 19, Narayan Helen Liebenson will lead a one-day Metta (lovingkindness) workshop.

    On Sunday, July 20, Michael Grady will offer a day-long vipassana retreat.

    Information on both events can be found at https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692; online advance registration is encouraged.

    I’d like to recommend the feature interview with Buddhist scholar Jay Michelson on “The Evolving Sangha” appearing in July’s BCBS Full Moon Insight Journal:

    http://www.bcbsdharma.org/insight-journal/

    (After the August full moon, the interview will be archived at http://www.bcbsdharma.org/2014-7-12-insight-journal/)

    Jay will be teaching a weekend course on this topic at BCBS in September: http://www.bcbsdharma.org/courses/?page=Class_Details&id=a0GA000000TbGs1MAF

    I also want to share a short (12 min.) dharma talk on “Wisdom in Practice” from Chelmsford native Kim Allen:

    http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/4846.html

    Finally this week I want to share a segment from last week’s episode of Science Friday, discussing a study that shows people would rather give themselves an electric shock than to “be alone with their thoughts.” I guess this should be encouraging to anyone who finds meditation to be a difficult practice: here’s some evidence to show that it really is counter to our biological and cultural conditioning:

    http://www.sciencefriday.com/#path/segment/07/11/2014/what-s-so-bad-about-being-alone-with-your-thoughts.html

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  145. REMINDER — 7/8/14

    Good morning! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. I’ll will be this week’s facilitator.

    Please note that parking at First Parish will be even more limited than usual for the next few weeks. Chelmsford Community Band summer “concert on the common” series kicks off tomorrow evening and will run every Tuesday evening through August 5. Additional parking for First Parish is available behind the law offices of Lampert, Hausler, and Rodman at 10 North Road, directly across from Eastern Bank.

    This coming Saturday, June 12, Matthew Daniell will lead a day-long retreat at IMCN on “Infinite Respect”:

    “In our lives and in our meditation practice we respect and value certain experiences, people, and things more than others. While doing so is understandable, it fundamentally limits our practice. In this retreat we will engender an attitude of heart and mind which seeks to deeply value whatever arises in the present moment. When we learn to ‘bow to life’ and practice with infinite respect, boundaries fall away, the heart opens, and the moment is full, just as it is.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also this weekend, Narayan Helen Liebenson will lead a two-day, non-residential retreat for experienced practitioners (3+ years vipassana experience) at CIMC. For more information and/or registration, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Thinking somewhat further ahead, tickets have just gone on sale for the Dalai Lama’s public teaching at the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre on the morning of Thursday, October 30: http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/01004CD0DDE1B157?Camefrom=CH_MSG

    Ajahn Jayanto has returned to Temple, New Hampshire, and has provided a run-down of summer events at the facility via the monastery website: http://forestmonastery.org/news/

    Perhaps we can arrange a field trip for one of the Saturday evening dhamma talks. Ajahn has also posted a list of household items, etc., that would be helpful to have at the monastery, in case anyone is inclined to make a contribution in support of the community.

    Finally this week I leave you with Gil Fronsdal’s take on the story of the Buddha (42 min): http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/4866.html

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  146. REMINDER — 7/1/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow evening from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. We look forward to Ajahn David once again joining us.

    This coming Saturday, July 5, Larry Rosenberg will offer an intensive one-day retreat at CIMC. For those who are interested, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    I had the opportunity this past weekend to listen to a fairly recent interview with Joseph Goldstein, speaking about his new book and reflecting on his 40+ years of practice. The whole thing is just shy of an hour long, but well worth it:

    http://mindrollingpodcast.com/joseph-goldsteins-mindfulness/

    And I’ll leave you this week with a short (~5 min.) practice reflection from Gil Fronsdal:

    http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/4779.html

    That’s all for now…. I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  147. REMINDER — 6/24/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon everyone. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    This Saturday, June 28, Sara Schedler will offer a dayl-long Beginners’ Workshop at CIMC, For more information, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Also on Saturday, Doug Phillips will be at IMC Newburyport to offer a day-long retreat on the theme “How Simple Can It Be?”:

    “One of Ajahn Chah’s most quoted practice pointers is ‘Keep it simple and stick to the present moment.’ What does it mean in our practice on and off the cushion to ‘keep it simple’ in such a high stimulus and high demand culture? How do we stick to the present moment when even what we call the ‘present moment’ is already on its way to becoming something else? And ‘who’ would be doing this anyway, if there is no such thing as a stable self that is not subject to the law of impermanence? These are the questions we will be exploring together in silence, group conversation, and individual interviews throughout the day.”

    For registration and additional information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Finally, I wanted to share WBZ’s piece (~2 min.) on the opening of the new Thai temple in Raynham a couple of weekends ago:

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2014/06/13/large-buddhist-temple-set-open-raynham/sTP9de9XD2cLZPblqHDL1J/video.html

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  148. REMINDER — 6/17/14 meditation group

    Good morning! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    Just a couple of quick announcements again this week:

    On Saturday morning, June 21, Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN to offer a retreat for “beginning and newer students” on “The Mindful Moment”:

    “Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, Matthew Grady will be at CIMC on the 21st to offer a day-long workshop on “Shining the Light of Awareness on Self-Doubt”:

    “This tenacious and potentially undermining habit of mind seems pervasive in this hyper-competitive modern life. By learning to mindfully recognize self-doubt when it arises and developing the capacity to work with this energy in a wise and compassionate way, one opens to the possibility of freedom from this suffering.”

    To register, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    For those who are inclined towards exploring a Tibetan approach to Buddhist practice, the American-born former monk, Lama Marut, is on a teaching tour in support of his new book, “Be Nobody”. Lama Marut will be at Wisdom Heart in Rockport on the evening of the 21st and then will speak at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Rockport on the morning of the 22nd.

    You can read more about Lama Marut at http://lamamarut.org/about/ and follow his local teaching schedule at http://www.wisdomsheart.org/benobody.shtml

    (Thanks to Ruth for the heads-up on this one!)

    I also wanted to share the feature article from latest issue of BCBS’s Full Moon Insight Journal. This month teacher Jason Siff discusses “Awareness of Thinking: Recollective Awareness Practice” and his forthcoming book “Thoughts Are Not the Enemy”:

    http://www.bcbsdharma.org/insight-journal/

    (Future archive at: http://www.bcbsdharma.org/2014-6-13-insight-journal/)

    Finally, I leave you with a short (~3 min.) video from Sharon Salzberg on “Happiness Redefined”:

    That’s all for now…. Unfortunately neither Carrie nor I will be able to make tomorrow’s meditation, but I hope everyone has a good sit and look forward to seeing you all on the 24th.

    Metta,
    Tim

    ————————————————————————–
    A student once said: “When I was a Buddhist, it drove my parents and friends crazy, but when I am buddha, nobody is upset at all.”

    — Jon Kabat-Zinn, “Wherever You Go, There You Are”


  149. REMINDER — 6/10/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon everyone. Just a short and sweet reminder this week: The meditation group is very happy to welcome back our founding teacher, Abhaya Kopka, tomorrow evening from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Again, this is an excellent opportunity for her old students to reconnect and for new group members to introduce themselves.

    Coming up this Saturday, June 14, at CIMC Michael Grady will offer a day-long workshop on “Mindfulness: An Open Gate to Dharma Wisdom”:

    “Mindfulness is an innate and creative intelligence that facilitates clear seeing and deep learning. In this workshop, we will explore the role that mindfulness plays in developing different aspects of wisdom from self-knowing to discernment in everyday life, to understanding the nature of suffering.”

    For registration and additional information, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    That’s all for now; I very much hope to see you all tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  150. REMINDER — 6/3/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. We look forward to once again welcoming Ajahn David for his montly visit.

    Just a reminder that next week, June 10, Abhaya will be back to lead the Tuesday evening meditation. Again, this is an excellent opportunity for her old students to reconnect and for newer members of the group to meet her for the first time.

    In the meantime, Matthew Daniell is offering a half-day “Wisdom and Compassion” workshop at IMCN from 10am to 1pm on Saturday, June 7:

    “Wisdom and compassion are likened to the two wings of a bird. In order for us to move skillfully and spaciously in our lives they must both be strong and work together. This easier said than done, and often we feel as if we are off balance or unable to fly at all! In this workshop we will explore key teachings of the Buddha on how to strengthen and balance these essential qualities of wisdom and compassion in our formal meditation practice and daily life. All are welcome!”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    For those who may have missed it, Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer was this past week’s guest on Krista Tippett’s radio program On Being.

    While Langer has a somewhat differernt perspective on “mindfulness” from how it is understood within the Theravada Buddhist tradition, there are still many areas of consonance. The program is about an hour long and definitely worth a listen:

    http://www.onbeing.org/program/ellen-langer-science-of-mindlessness-and-mindfulness/6332

    Finally, I leave you with a short piece published recently on the BBC website on “Why Is Buddhism So Hip?”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/0/27039902

    (You can also check out About.com’s Buddhism blogger Barbara O’Brien’s response here: http://buddhism.about.com/b/2014/05/28/is-buddhism-still-hip.htm)

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,

    Tim


  151. REMINDER — 5/27/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon; I hope everyone is enjoying a safe and relaxing holiday weekend. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow evening from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Sue will lead the practice this week.

    Please mark your calendars: Abhaya will be back in the area early next month and will join us for meditation on the evening of Tuesday, June 10. As always, this will be a great opportunity for Abhaya to reconnect with her old students and to meet those who are relatively new to the group.

    In the meantime, there are a couple of events coming up this Saturday, May 31:

    As I mentioned last week, Chris Germer and Delia Kostner are among those coordinating Saturday’s conference on “Mindfulness, Compassion and Psychodynamics Psychotherapy” at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. More information can be found online at http://continuingeducationprogram.org/courses/mindfulness-compassion-and-psychodynamics-psychotherapy-converging-paths/

    Also on Saturday, Lila Kate Wheeler will be at IMCN to offer a day-long (9am-5pm) retreat on “Lovingkindness Toward Those We Find Difficult”:

    “It is said that carrying resentment is like drinking poison. Today we experiment with carrying kindness instead, through time-tested, structured meditation practices. First, we offer goodwill to ourselves, even though we’ve all caused trouble for ourselves, others and the world. Next we include loved ones – those special beings who also drive us crazy. We all face difficulty when we love–it has been said that the one who doesn’t want any difficulty doesn’t want to love at all. Finally, we wish only the well-being of everyone, even those who act crudely or unfairly. We never condone harm, nor expect magical solutions. Yet when we can break the cycle of violence in ourselves, the relief is sweet.”

    For registration and additional details, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    I also wanted to send out a reminder that Brenda and Judi’s 8-week Mindful Self-Compassion class will be starting up on June 2. If you are interested in participating, please contact Brenda directly for additional details.

    Finally this week I want to recommend listening to this great conversation (~20 min.) between Tricycle’s Linda Heuman and scholar David McMahan on “Buddhism and Science”:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/buddhism-science

    That’s all for now; I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the holiday and look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  152. REMINDER — 5/20/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon everyone! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela will be this week’s facilitator.

    Things will be quiet at the local retreat centers this Memorial Day weekend. Looking a bit further ahead on the calendar, however, some of you may be interested in the conference on “Mindfulness, Compassion, and Psychodynamics Psychotherapy: Converging Paths” coming up on May 31. Conference and registration details may be found at http://continuingeducationprogram.org/courses/mindfulness-compassion-and-psychodynamics-psychotherapy-converging-paths/

    Coming up in June, Brenda and Judi will offer an 8-week class on Mindful Self-Compassion. Classes will be held Mondays from 7-9pm between June 2 and July 28, excluding July 7. There will also be a half-day on Saturday, July 12.

    The class is based on the Mindful Self Compassion (MSC) writings and teachings of Christopher Germer and Kristin Neff. For a description of MSC, you can look on these websites:

    http://centerformsc.org

    http://www.mindfulselfcompassion.org/

    Please email Brenda directly at brogers1926@hotmail.com if you have questions or would like to sign up.

    A few weeks ago, I mentioned a two-part Buddhist Geeks interview with Buddhist scholar Erik Braun on the origins of what we know today as the “Insight Meditation” tradition. Erik has also penned a couple of related articles, adapted from his recent book “The Birth of Insight: Meditation, Modern Buddhism, and the Burmese Monk Ledi Sayadaw” (http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/B/bo16744419.html)

    The first article, “The Insight Revolution,” appears in the Winter 2013 issue of The Buddhadharma: http://www.thebuddhadharma.com/web-archive/2013/11/12/the-insight-revolution.html

    The second article, “Meditation En Masse: How Colonialism Sparked the Global Vipassana Movement” from the Spring 2014 issue of Tricycle is attached as a PDF.

    Tricycle has also started a feature on their blog on “10 Misconceptions about Buddhism” by noted scholars Robert Buswell and Donald Lopez. Of particular interest is their recent entry entitled “Which Mindfulness?” http://www.tricycle.com/blog/which-mindfulness

    You can check back to see some of their other entries here: http://www.tricycle.com/blog/10-misconceptions-about-buddhism

    Finally, if anyone knows of a good home for back issues of Tricycle, Buddhadharma, and Shambhala Sun, I believe Mike U. is still looking.

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  153. REMINDER — 5/13/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon and happy Vesak! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi will lead the practice this week.

    The full moon of May — May 13 this year — is recognized by Theravada Buddhists as the common day on which the Buddha — over the course of his lifetime — is said to have been born, achieved his awakening, and then finally passed away. It is a major holiday in the countries of Southeast Asia, and celebrated by Theravada Buddhists worldwide.

    In honor of this auspicious day, I want to begin by sharing a dhamma talk given by the late Thai forest master Ajahn Lee to mark the occasion back in 1956:

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/lee/visakha.html

    Ajahn Lee was a few years older than Ajahn Chah, and both masters studied under the tutelage of Ajahn Mun.

    Those who are interested can find out more about Ajahn Lee and the Thai forest “lineage” here: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/index.html

    Additional transcripts of Ajahn Lee’s teachings can also be found at Access to Insight: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/lee/index.html

    A little closer to home, both in terms of time and place, Narayan Helen Liebenson will offer a day-long workshop on “Mindfulness of Thinking” at CIMC this Saturday, May 17, from 10am to 4pm:

    “Thinking itself is not a problem; the struggle lies in identification and attachment. Learning how to observe and work with thoughts is a key aspect of the meditative process. Coming into wise relationship with thoughts is a pathway to liberation. Instead of disconnection and preoccupation, thoughts are observed with wisdom and compassion. The day will include sits, walks, talks, and discussions.”

    To register, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    I leave you this week with the Valley Dispatch’s short profile of Lowell artist Virigina Peck:

    http://www.thevalleydispatch.com/lifestyles/ci_25658340/lowell-artist-virginia-peck-devoted-her-passion-painting

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,

    Tim


  154. on May 5, 2014 at 4:27 pm | Reply Tim Little

    REMINDER — 5/6/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. We look forward to wecloming Ajahn David for his monthly guest teaching visit.

    There are a couple of meditation retreats coming up this Saturday, May 10:

    Rebecca Bradshaw, Guiding Teacher at the Insight Meditation Center of Pioneer Valley (http://insightpv.org/), will be visiting IMC Newburyport to offer a day-long (9am-5pm) retreat on “Equanimity: Wholehearted Cooperation with Life”:

    “During this retreat, we will explore ways to develop more grace, poise, balance, and humor in our engagement with the joys and sorrows of this magnificent life.This retreat is suitable for ongoing meditation students.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, Michael Grady will offer a day-long (also 9am-5pm) insight meditation retreat at CIMC: https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692
    There are also a couple of events coming up later this month:

    Unfortunately registration for MIT’s free Memorial Day weekend “ReThinking Mindfulness” conference is already closed, but it looks like it should be an interesting event:

    http://www.prajnopaya.org/rethinking-mindfulness/

    Then on May 31, the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center will host a one-day conference on “Mindfulness, Compassion, and Psychodynamics Psychotherapy: Converging Paths”:

    Registration and additional details are available at http://continuingeducationprogram.org/courses/mindfulness-compassion-and-psychodynamics-psychotherapy-converging-paths/

    Tricycle magazine has just started a series on their blog on “10 Misconceptions about Buddhism”. They lead off with what authors Ed Buswell and Donald Lopez call the “biggest” misconception about Buddhism, saying “Contrary to popular belief, most Buddhists throughout history have not meditated.” Read more here:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/biggest-misconception-about-buddhism

    Speaking of which, Buddhist Geeks recently posted a fascinating two-part podcast (~30 min./each) with religious studies scholar Erik Braun on “The Birth of Insight Meditation” and “The Making of a Mass Meditation Movement”:

    http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2014/04/bg-318-birth-insight-meditation/

    http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2014/04/bg-319-making-mass-meditation-movement/

    Good stuff!

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow night!

    Metta,
    Tim


  155. REMINDER — 4/29/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon! This week we return you to your regularly scheduled Tuesday evening meditation at First Parish. Carrie will facilitate the practice in the Chapel from 7:30 to 9:30 tomorrow.

    I just want to lead off by saying what I wonderful experience I had at last Tuesday’s “field trip” to hear Ajahn Sucitto speak in Lexington. The audience seemed much larger than anticipated, and I think there were 10 of us in attendance from Chelmsford. If anyone would like to share his/her reflections on the evening, I’d be happy to put them up as a post on the website.

    Ajahn Jayanto will be back in July to take up summer residence at Derbyshire Farm in Temple, NH, the proposed site of the new forest monastery (or “values community” as Ajahn Sucitto referred to it). I’ll keep you posted on upcoming events there, or you can sign up for their e-mail list: http://forestmonastery.org/contact/

    Somewhat closer at hand, Sara Schedler will be at Cambridge Insight this Saturday, May 3, to offer “An Introduction to Equanimity: Cultivating Resiliency of the Heart Workshop” from 10am to 4pm:

    “Equanimity practice supports us in regaining stability and balance of mind in the midst of change and difficulty, helping us to develop an inner resiliency of heart. This workshop is designed for beginners and those new to meditation who are interested in learning meditative techniques for how to respond to life with greater clarity, compassion and wisdom through the development of equanimity.”

    To register, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    The latest issue of BCBS’s Full Moon Insight Journal features an interesting article by Gil Fronsdal on “Natural Buddhism”:

    http://www.bcbsdharma.org/insight-journal/

    After May 14, Gil’s article should be be archived at http://www.bcbsdharma.org/2014-4-15-insight-journal/

    If anyone is interested in checking out the particular Pali text — the Atthakavagga — to which Gil refers, it can be read in translation here:

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/index.html#vagga-4

    Thanissaro Bhikkhu also offers his commentary here: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/atthakavagga.html

    I’ll wind things up for now by sharing a short (~13 min.) dharma talk Gil recently gave in answer to the question “What is Liberation?”:

    http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/4755.html

    Enjoy!

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  156. REMINDER — 4/22/14 meditation group

    Good morning! This is a reminder that the Tuesday evening meditation group will take a “field trip” tomorrow evening to hear Ajahn Sucitto speak at Hancock Congregational Chuch in Lexington at 7pm.

    I have Brenda carpooling from First Parish along with the following people: Carrie, Christine, and Komala. Departure will be at 6:15pm.

    Judi and I (and possibly Shaw) will meet up with everyone in Lexington.

    If I missed anyone — especially for the carpool contingent — please let me know (and Brenda, too!).

    The address is 1912 Massachusetts Avenue. Hancock is the gray stone church facing Lexington Town Green. Please use the driveway to the left of the church, park behind the building, and use the rear entrance. The Pearson Room is located on the second floor.

    For more information, please visit http://buddhaparisa-events.blogspot.com/

    In related news, there will also be a meditation from 2-4pm this Saturday afternoon, April 26, at the Temple, NH, site proposed for the future New England forest monastery. Ajahn Jayanto says there should also be an opportunity to tour some of the property. For more information on this event, please visit http://forestmonastery.org/news

    Michael Grady will be at CIMC on Saturday to offer a daylong workshop on “The Power of Mindfulness”. For more information or to register, please visit: https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Meanwhile, also on Saturday, Chas DiCapua will be up at IMC Newburyport to offer a daylong retreat (9am-5pm) on “Kind Hearted Awareness”:

    “Although it is commonplace in our culture and language to separate the heart and mind, there is only one word in the original language of the Buddhist texts: citta. The attitude with which we meditate has everything to do with how our meditation goes. If we bring a project-oriented, striving-to-get-better attitude to our practice, it will not serve well because it promotes constriction in the heart and mind. What we will cultivate on this retreat that does serve the practice well is how to develop an awareness and an approach to the meditation practice that is imbued withkindness. This approach is supportive of relaxation, contentment, and kindness towards oneself; all of which are crucial if we are to sustain years of interested, energetic engagement with the dharma. Everyone can benefit from such cultivation, newer and more experienced students alike.”

    Please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org for more details.

    Finally, I’ll leave you with another wonderful Toni Bernhard interview (about 25 min.):
    http://fullcirclewellnesstools.com/toni-bernhard/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone in Lexington tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  157. REMINDER — 4/15/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet under the full moon tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda — freshly back from assisting Chris Germer’s “Mindful Self-Compassion” workshop at Kripalu — will be the facilitator.

    Before I get into events coming up later this week, I want to let everyone know about an important schedule change for next Tuesday, April 22.

    Next Tuesday evening, from 7pm to 9pm, Ajahn Sucitto will lead a “Dhamma evening” at the Hancock Congregational Church in Lexington.

    Ajahn Sucitto is abbot of Cittaviveka (aka Chithurst Buddhist Monastery) and trained under the tutelage of Ajahn Sumedho, Ajahn Chah’s first Western acolyte. Ajahn Sucitto is presently at IMS with Ajahn Jayanto and Ajahn Metta, leading the annual monastic retreat.

    This will be an excellent opportunity to hear from a senior teacher from the Thai forest tradition, and Brenda has proposed that we take a “field trip” in lieu of next week’s regular meditation at First Parish.

    So…

    Brenda will meet anyone interested who is in carpooling or convoying from First Parish; the carpooling/convoying group will need leave for Lexington promptly at 6:15. If you are interested, please let *both* Brenda and me know by e-mail by next Monday morning, April 21.

    If there is anyone who would prefer to stick to the usual Tuesday evening routine, please let me know and I will be happy to facilitate the practice. I plan to join the group going to Lexington if no one is interested in sitting at First Parish, so again please e-mail me by Monday morning if you know you will come for our usual Tuesday evening meditation next week.

    You can find out more about Ajahn Sucitto and Cittaviveka at http://ajahnsucitto.org/ and http://www.cittaviveka.org/.

    Ajahn Sucitto also maintains a “contemplative journal” at http://sucitto.blogspot.ca/. One post that I particularly recommend is “Mindfulness of Mindfulness”: http://sucitto.blogspot.ca/2013_07_01_archive.html

    Buddhaparisa, the local group coordinating Ajahn Sucitto’s talk as well as the Jeta Grove project to establish a new forest monastery in New England, has its own website at http://buddhaparisa.org/Welcome.html

    Meanwhile, Michael Grady will host CIMC’s Spring one-day reatreat this Saturday, April 19. To register, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    I want to recommend an article on “The Mainstreaming of Mindfulness Meditation,” which I think makes for particularly interesting reading in conjunction with Ajahn Sucitto’s essay:

    http://theweek.com/article/index/259351/the-mainstreaming-of-mindfulness-meditation

    I also wanted to pass along the Dharmaseed links to the Tara Brach and Greg Scharf talks that Christine shared last week:

    Tara Brach
    2/5/14 part 1: Universal faces of love

    http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/175/talk/22174/
    With her talks you have to hit SHOW TALKS so you just get her talk and not the meditation.

    Greg Scharf
    12/31/12 turning toward the light
    http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/229/talk/18011/

    And last but not least, Mike U is (I believe) still looking for a good home for his collection of Dharma magazines. Please let me know if you know of someone who would be willing to take them in.

    That’s all for now — I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening. And again, please be sure to let me know what your plan/preference is for next Tuesday.

    Metta,
    Tim


  158. REMINDER — 4/8/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Christine will lead the practice this week.

    There are a few events going on this weekend:

    Up in Newburyport, Matthew Daniell will offer a morning “Insight Meditation for Beginners” retreat from 10am to 12:30pm on Saturday, April 12.

    Then on Sunday, April 13, Kate Lila Wheeler will offer a full-day retreat entitled “Cling to This Moment!”:

    “We humans have a big brain that easily gets mesmerized by its own creations. With his typical humor, the Buddha suggests that clinging to this present moment is the key to letting go of all the fears, anxieties, and regrets that make us miserable. Today we will train our brain to wake up to the present, release fermented hallucinations, and connect with life’s natural balance and richness.”

    For more information on either event, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile down in Cambridge, on Saturday the 12th Narayan Helen Liebenson will offer a day-long workshop on “Working with the Judging Mind”

    And on Sunday, Sara Schedler will offer a day-long beginners’ workshop.

    Information on these events ca be found at https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692
    Last week Ajahn David mentioned his participation at a stress reduction workshop at the SayDaNar Community Development Center in Lowell, supporting the region’s growing community of Burmese refugees. You can learn more about SayDaNar and at their website: http://saydanarlowell.org/

    The current issue of Shambhala Sun features “”The Myth of Multitasking,” a short exceprt from Sharon Salzberg’s latest book, “Real Happiness at Work.” Definitely a good read:

    http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4167&Itemid=0

    Finally, our good friend Mike U. is looking for a good home for his collection of Shambhla Sun/Tricycle/Buddhadharma/Inquiring Mind/etc. back issues. If anyone would like to “adopt” them or can think of a place where they might be useful, please let me know and I’ll be happy to coordinate.

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  159. REMINDER — 4/1/14 medtation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow evening from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish, where we will once again welcome Ajahn David for his monthly visit.

    Things are pretty quiet in terms of retreats and workshops, with the notable exception of Chris Germer’s Mindful Self-Compassion workshop at Kripaly this weekend, April 4-6. I believe there may still be space available:

    http://kripalu.org/program/view/yogamed/MPSC-141/

    I wanted to pass along a link to “.b” — the mindfulness-in-schools program that Christine mentioned last week:

    http://mindfulnessinschools.org/

    This seems to be just one of a number similar initiatives gaining momentum in recent years.

    There’s a long (~2 hour) video of MBSR pioneer Jon Kabat-Zinn speaking about the benefits of mindfulness in education:

    http://www.mindfulschools.org/home/jkz-benefit/

    Mindful Schools was also highlighted in the 2013 documentary “Room to Breathe”:

    http://www.roomtobreathefilm.com/index.html

    And back in October, Greater Good published a “research round-up” of mindfulness programming in schools:

    http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/research_round_up_school_based_mindfulness_programs

    Finally, a bit more research, by way of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy, who share the following study on the impact of lovingkindness meditation (LKM — or “metta” to the rest of us) on self-criticism:

    http://www.centerformsc.org/sites/default/files/LKMself-criticism2014.pdf

    Very interesting stuff indeed!

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,

    Tim


  160. REMINDER — 3/25/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela is scheduled to be this week’s facilitator.

    On Saturday, March 29, Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN to offer a morning workshop on “Exploring Aging, Sickness, and Death as Gateways to a Fuller Life”:

    “The Buddha taught that old age, illness, and the inevitability of death can be powerful positive teachers in our lives. In this workshop we will combine discussion, reflection, and silent meditation periods to help us explore how these universal themes can actually help wake us up to a richer, more fulfilling life, now. All are welcome.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    On Sunday, March 30, Michael Grady will offer a one-day retreat at Cambridge Insight:

    “Since the time of the Buddha, intensive retreat practice has been considered crucial for the maturing of insight. The simplicity and support of the retreat environment encourage a continuity of awareness. Retreats can help develop qualities such as confidence, perseverance, mindfulness, concentration and the unfolding of wisdom and compassion. All retreats include instruction, interviews and/or discussion in addition to meditation practice and a short period of mindful work. Retreats are held in silence and meals are provided; CIMC is unable to provide housing.”

    Additional information can be found at https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    And, of course, another plug for the Mindful Path to Self-Compassion weekend (April 4-6) at Kripalu with Chris Germer and our very own Brenda:

    http://kripalu.org/program/view/yogamed/MPSC-141/

    For those who were able to attend last week’s meditation, I wanted to post the link to Diana Winston’s Shambhala Sun piece that Sue shared, “Sit Every Day” (including “Ten Suggestions for Having a Regular Daily Practice Even if You Would Rather Be Thrown into a Shark-Infested Ocean”):

    http://shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3298&Itemid=0

    I also wanted to pass along information on the Buddhist Insight Network (BIN), a new resource I recently discovered through IMS’s Sangha News:

    “BIN is an organization for people and groups that feel a spiritual connection and identify their spiritual lineage with the founders of the Insight Meditation movement in the West. These founding teachers created the Insight Meditation Society, Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and Gaia House, and inspired the formation of many sanghas around North America and Europe. BIN serves as a dynamic hub for the network of Insight teachers and sanghas. We gather resources, facilitate wise action, and carry the shared meaning of the Insight Meditation tradition.”

    BIN hosts an annual conference, publishes a quarterly e-newsletter, and maintains an international directory of insight meditation sitting groups and retreat centers (to which I have added our group).

    For more information, I strongly recommend checking out http://www.buddhistinsightnetwork.org/home

    Finally, I want to share a short (~15 min.) interview that ABC News anchor Dan Harris gave to WBUR’s Radio Boston last week:

    http://radioboston.wbur.org/2014/03/19/dan-harris

    Harris, a Newton native, and dedicated meditator has recently published a book called “10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story”:

    http://www.harpercollins.com/books/10-Happier-Dan-Harris/?isbn=9780062265425

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  161. REMINDER — 3/18/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Sue will facilitate the practice this week.
    It’s fairly quiet on the event front this week, with the one exception being Michael Grady’s “Wising Up” workshop at Cambridge Insight on Saturday, March 22:

    The workshop, which goes from 10am to 4pm, will “explore the role that mindfulness plays in developing different aspects of wisdom from self-knowing to discernment in relationships.”

    For more information, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Also, just a reminder that Chris Germer (and our very own Brenda!) will be at Kripalu the weekend of April 4-6 to offer a workshop on “The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion”:

    ————————————————————————–
    Self-compassion is an emotional skill that can be learned by everyone. It means being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate. Recent research has shown that self-compassion greatly enhances emotional well-being, reduces anxiety and depression, and promotes healthy lifestyle habits such as diet and exercise.
    In this weekend, you learn
    · What self-compassion is and isn’t
    · How to enhance mindfulness with self-compassion
    · The art of loving-kindness meditation
    · Ways to motivate yourself with kindness rather than criticism
    · Techniques for handling difficult emotions with greater ease
    · How to transform challenging relationships and fully enjoy your life.
    Christopher Germer presents the theory and core practices of the empirically supported, eight-week Mindful Self-Compassion training, a new program specifically designed to help participants become more self-compassionate using meditation, exercises, and group discussion. Come join this journey of self-discovery and self-kindness.
    ————————————————————————–

    Please see http://kripalu.org/program/view/yogamed/MPSC-141/ for additional details.

    I’ll leave you this week with a short article that actually appeared last spring in Psychology Today’s blog, but just recently came to my attention: “This Is Your Brain on Meditation”

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/use-your-mind-change-your-brain/201305/is-your-brain-meditation

    Enjoy!

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  162. REMINDER — 3/11/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I’ll be this week’s facilitator.

    There are a few things going on this coming weekend:

    On Saturday, April 15, Matthew Daniell will offer a day-long retreat at IMCN on “Abiding in Mindfulness”:

    “Normally we think of being mindful of something (i.e. being mindful of the breath). When we shift the meaning to include a sense that mindfulness is something that actually holds experience, then we can learn to loosen our grip on particular objects. This allows us to relax more into the nature of the mind that is mindful itself. Come and see how this shift in approach can help open your mind and heart into living more deeply in the present moment!”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, Larry Rosenberg will offer his monthly day-long intensive retreat at CIMC.

    Then on Sunday, March 16, Sara Schedler will be in Cambridge to offer a day-long newcomers’ retreat on “Cultivating A Mindful Life”:

    “This workshop is designed for beginners and those new to meditation who are interested in learning the basics of mindfulness meditation—both sitting and walking meditation—as well as exploring the integration of mindfulness in daily life.

    “The workshop begins with foundational mindfulness instructions, provided through guided meditation sessions, instructions, talks and interactive Q&A sessions. As familiarity with the practice grows throughout the day, we discuss creative ways in which the practice of mindfulness can be integrated into our daily lives. Ultimately, integrating what we learn through formal practice into daily life is where some of the deepest insights, learning and growth in wisdom and compassion can arise.”

    More information on both CIMC events can be found at https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    A couple of weeks ago, when Carrie was facilitating the group, it was suggested that I would introduce Metta (often translated as “lovingkindness”) practice to our newcomers and re-introduce it to those who’ve been around for a little while.

    I’ll be happy to get into the mechanics of the practice and to talk about it more detail tomorrow evening, but I thought it would be helpful to share a very short (4 min.) dharma talk from Thanissaro Bhikkhu that hepfully — if somewhat unsentimentally — puts Metta (“goodwill”) into context of mindfulness and insight practice:

    [audio src="http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/shorttalks/y2013/131006(short)_Genuine_Goodwill.mp3" /]

    Than Geoff further develops the theme of metta-as-goodwill in a pair of short articles published in Shambhala Sun and previously shared with our group:

    “When Goodwill is Better Than Love: The Meaning of ‘Metta'”:

    http://shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=22219

    “Protecting Others by Protecting Goodwill”

    http://shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=22224

    Of course for further reading, I can’t help but recommend Sharon Salzberg’s “Heart As Wide As the World” or “Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness”.

    Also, some time ago I had put together a bit of a study guide on the “Brahmaviharas”: goodwill, compassion, joy, and equanimity. If anyone would like me to send them a copy, please let me know.

    Finally, I want to share my recent discovery that Richard Shankman has posted a very nice series of 14 short (5-10 min.) videos on “Concentration and Insight as One Path of Practice”. Richard covers a lot of ground from basic mindful breathing to exploration of “deeper” states of meditative absorbption, so there’s no need to try to “get” it all at once. It’s definitely a handy resource to come back to, however, as one develops one’s practice:

    http://www.mettadharma.org/video-teachings/

    A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to sit a retreat on the very same theme taught at IMS by Richard, followed up by a weekend workshop with him at BCBS. I’ve found this “integrated” approach to be very helpful to my own practice and highly recommend giving him a listen to see if it can be helpful to you, too.

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,

    Tim


  163. REMINDER — 3/4/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Ajahn David is expected to join us again for this first Tuesday of March.

    There are a couple of events going on this Saturday, March 8:

    At IMCN, Matthew Daniell is offering “The Mindful Moment” a morning-only (10am-12:30pm) retreat for beginning and newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. During this retreat we will explore how to calm and steady the mind and see with more clarity into our lives. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn to touch and live in the moment. Although this retreat is designed for beginners, all are welcome.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also on Saturday, Narayan Helen Liebenson will be at Cambridge Insight to offer a day-long (10am-4pm) retreat on “Learning How to Live, Learning How to Die”:

    “The Buddha encouraged the frequent contemplation of aging, sickness and death. Such meditation, concerned with intimate understanding of the great matter of life and death, can help us face and master our fears. It can also help us more fully appreciate the preciousness of a life inspired and guided by Dharma practice.”

    For more information on this event, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    (This reminds me of this interesting NPR piece from the end of last year: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/12/31/256596253/nothing-focuses-the-mind-like-the-ultimate-deadline-death)

    Also, just a reminder that Chris Germer will be leading a Mindful Self-Compassion workshop at Kripalu the first weekend of April (4/4-4/6); our very own Brenda will be Chris’s assistant for the weekend. (We’re very proud of her!)

    http://kripalu.org/program/view/yogamed/MPSC-141/

    Thanks to the recent influx of newcomers, I’ve taken some time to update the “About” and “FAQ” pages of our website. These continue to be works-in-progress, and I would be enormously grateful for everyone’s feedback especially on the FAQ page:

    https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/faq/

    Whether you’re new to the group, one of the regulars, or someone we haven’t seen for a while, I’d appreciate your input on what I might have forgotten (or said too much about!). If you have any other feedback on the website, too, please let me know!

    I’ll leave you this week with a wonderful, short (11 min.) dharma talk from Gil Fronsdal on “Relaxing”:

    http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/4636.html

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow!

    Metta,
    Tim


  164. Good morning! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30. Carrie will facilitate the practice this week.

    This last Tuesday of February marks the 8th anniversary of when Carrie and I first started attending Abhaya’a “Mindfulness Meditation for Caregivers” group out of her office in downtown Lowell. In the time since it has been a joy to see the group continue to grow — in many ways — yet still keep the spirit and framework of the practice Abhya first introduced.

    This coming Saturday, March 1, Doug Phillips will lead a day-long retreat at IMCN on “Who is Binding You?”:

    “A student said to a teacher, ‘Please, I urgently beg you, give me the teaching of liberation!’ The teacher asked, ‘Who is binding you?’ The student replied, ‘No one is binding me.’ The teacher asked, ‘Then why do you seek liberation?’ This binding, or suffering, happens to us all and yet we rarely ask these questions. On this retreat we will inquire into the nature and dynamics of the conditioned action of the mind that binds us all, going into the Buddha’s admonition, ‘On no account cling to anything as me or mine.'”

    For registration and additional information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Then on the morning of Sunday, March 2, Sharon Salzberg will be in Cambridge to present a “Real Happiness at Work” workshop to benefit CIMC.

    “In this workshop we will explore a path to finding real happiness at work. Despite the many hours we tend to spend working, that arena of our lives may not be the source of great fulfillment or meaning. We will look at the qualities that can turn that around, including mindfulness, compassion, resiliency, integrity, and open awareness, and learn practices that help cultivate each of these. Suitable for both new and experienced meditators, the workshop will consist of guided meditations, talks and time for questions and answers.”

    Advance registration is highly recommended: https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Sharon will offer another workshop at Newton South High School on the evening of Tuesday, March 4:

    “Explore your notions of happiness, strength, aloneness, and possibility. Each of us has a genuine capacity for love, forgiveness, wisdom, and compassion, and meditation can awaken these qualities so we can discover the unique happiness that is our birthright. Happiness that is not shaken by conditions begins with imagining that such happiness can even exist for us. Join us for meditation along with dialogue and discourse; gain wisdom about the patience and perspective you need to see things as they are and make happiness real for you. Beginning and experienced meditators are welcome.”

    To register for this event, pleae visit https://registration.xenegrade.com/nce/courseDisplay.cfm?schID=3994

    (And, yes, this March 4 event does conflict with next week’s meditation group with Ajahn David….)

    Finally this week I leave you to check out a neat piece of artwork currently on diplay at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. As the folks at Shambhala Sun point out, you can take a close-up look at this very intricate work by way of the Met’s website: http://shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=36715

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  165. REMINDER — 2/18/14 meditation group

    Good morning! Just a quick reminder this week that the meditation group will meet tomorrow evening from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi is scheduled to facilitate the practice.

    This is a pretty quiet week locally, but there is still time to register for the February 28-March 2 Valley Insight Meditation Retreat with Doreen Schweizer: http://valleyinsight.org/retreats.html

    Also Sharon Salzberg’s upcoming “Real Happiness at Work” workshop to benefit CIMC will take place in Cambridge at Lesley University on Sunday, March 2: https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    This past week I came across and interesting piece on NPR about a Harvard project to track “happiness” in real time using an iPhone-optimized website to check in on participants at various points during the day (at intervals determined by each participant): http://www.npr.org/2014/02/15/277385186/an-app-on-the-search-for-the-secret-to-happiness

    I’ve signed up and so far it hasn’t been too intrusive…. You can find out a bit more about the project here: http://www.trackyourhappiness.org/about

    The Tricycle.com blog just posted a great new essay, “Less Is More,” by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (aka Than Geoff): http://www.tricycle.com/blog/less-more

    “Less Is More” appears in Than Geoff’s most recent collection of essays, Meditations 6, which — like all of his work — is freely available at http://www.dhammatalks.org/ebook_index.html

    Along similar lines, I highly recommend the following dharma talk from Gil Fronsdal, “If It’s Not Simple, It’s Not Vipassana”: http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/4614.html

    The talk itself is only about 8-1/2 minutes, with another 4 minutes or so of housekeeping odds and ends at the end.

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  166. REMINDER — 2/11/14 meditation group

    Good morning! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will facilitate the practice this week.

    Coming up on Sunday, February 16, Kate Lila Wheeler will be at IMC Newburyport to offer a day-long retreat on “Lovingkindness toward Those We Find Difficult”:

    “It is said that carrying resentment is like drinking poison. Today we experiment with carrying kindness instead, through time-tested, structured meditation practices. First, we offer goodwill to ourselves, even though we’ve all caused trouble for ourselves, others and the world. Next we include loved ones – those special beings who also drive us crazy. Finally, we wish only the well-being of everyone, even those who act crudely or unfairly. We never condone harm, nor expect magical solutions. Yet when we can break the cycle of violence in ourselves, the relief is sweet.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Looking a bit further ahead, the Valley Insight Meditation Society will hold a residential retreat with Doreen Schweizer at the Wonderwell Mountain Refuge in Springfield, New Hampshire, from Februray 28 through March 2.

    “This retreat will use one of the Buddha’s basic teachings to explore and practice Mindfulness in order to familiarize the mind more deeply with this state. This text, the Satipatthana Sutta, which is most often translated as The Four Foundations of Mindfulness, provides a clear method for establishing mindfulness as a continuous presence in our lives. The retreat will be held in ‘noble silence’ with alternate periods of sitting and walking meditation along with instruction from the teacher. Optional periods of guided, gentle yoga will also be offered. There will be ample time for questions and for individual guidance from the teacher.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.valleyinsight/retreats.html

    Also on Saturday, March 2, is Sharon Salzberg’s morning workshop on “Real Happiness at Work” to benefit the Cambridge Insight Meditaiton Center: https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    And, finally, on the weekend of April 4-6, Chris Germer will be at Kripalu to offer a weekend workshop on “Mindful Self-Compassion”: http://kripalu.org/program/view/yogamed/MPSC-141/

    I’ll leave you this week with a short eassy from the September 2012 issue of Shambhala Sun: “The Tweeting, Yelping, Flickring, Foursquaring, TripAdvising Mentality” by Michael Stusser:

    http://shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3938&Itemid=0

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  167. REMINDER — 2/4/14 meditation group

    Good morning! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet “between the snow squalls” tomorrow from 7:30-9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Ajahn David is scheduled to join us this week.

    Things are pretty quiet at both CIMC and IMCN this week.

    Looking a bit further ahead, however, a location was just announced for the CIMC fundraiser featuring Sharon Salzberg. Sharon’s “Real Happiness at Work” workshop will take place from 9am to 1pm on Sunday, March 2, at Lesley University’s Washburn Hall, near Harvard Square. Pre-registration for this event is highly recommended: https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Last Monday WBUR’s Radio Boston featured a lengthy (26 min.) interview with Jon Kabat-Zinn on “The Science of Mindfulness”; definitely worth a listen: http://radioboston.wbur.org/2014/01/27/the-science-of-mindfulness

    And finally this week, I’ll leave you with “GPS of the Mind” — an excerpt from Sylvia Boorstein’s piece in the new issue of Shambhala Sun: http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4137&Itemid=0

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,

    Tim


  168. REMINDER — 1/28/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon! First, I want to apologize again for the short notice of last week’s cancellation; of course the storm turned out to be not much of anything (at least up in our neck of the woods). Better safe than sorry, I guess.

    Since the forecast for tomorrow is expected to be fair — if cold — there shouldn’t be any similar issues this time around. Christine will be the facilitator and we’ll meet, as usual, from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish.

    As I mentioned last week, Larry Rosenberg will be at IMC Newburyport on Saturday, February 1, for a morning retreat and afternoon dharma talk:

    From IMCN Director Nancy Morrison: “Larry is a co-founder of IMCN, as well as a founder of Cambridge IMC in Cambridge, MA, a teacher, and an author. He will offer a silent morning retreat this Saturday from 9am-12:30pm. We will then gather for a delicious potluck lunch before his afternoon talk from 2-3pm. The title of his talk is taken from his newly published book, Three Steps to Awakening. To celebrate his new book we will have a book signing at the end of the day with copies of his book available.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, Maddy Klyne will be at Cambridge Insight to offer a Beginners’ Workshop from 10am to 4pm also on Saturday, February 1: https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Then on Sunday, February 2, Doug Phillips will offer a day-long retreat on “Insight Meditation and the Practice of Relationship”:

    “Our moment by moment life is always in and mutually defined by relationship with something; thoughts, sensations, people, things. In this workshop we will examine ways to engage these relational moments as an opportunity for self knowing and freedom from conflict. There will be periods of sitting and walking throughout the day as well as exploration of how conflict arises in relationship, ways to practice with this and opportunities to explore this in group conversation.”

    For registration or additional information, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Of course February is also the month of Sharon Salzberg’s annual 28-day Meditation Challenge. For more on the challenge, please visit Sharon’s blog: http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/realhappiness/blog

    You can also catch Tricycle.com’s Amy Gross speaking with Sharon about her latest book, Real Happiness at Work: http://www.tricycle.com/blog/tricycle-talks-sharon-salzberg

    Finally this week I want to share a late December post from the blog at Discover Magazine. The post is about “body maps” that correlate emotional states with certain bodily sensations. The corresponding graphic is also really quite striking and just something to bear in mind the next time you’re doing mindfulness of body practice:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2013/12/30/body-atlas-reveals-where-we-feel-happiness-and-shame/#.UsgXOHi9LCS

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,

    Tim


  169. REMINDER — 1/21/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Sue will facilitate the practice this week.

    Michael Grady is offering a one-day meditation retreat (9am-5pm) at CIMC this Saturday, January 25: https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Also on the 25th, Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN to offer a morning retreat (10am-12:30pm) on “Waking Up to Your Life”:

    “As the business and stresses of life take their toll on us we can feel as if we are not fully alive and awake. Life is happening, but we are not fully present for it and thus we suffer. In this retreat geared toward beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will explore simple meditative attitudes and methods to learn to touch a sense of calm, connectedness, and ease in the immediacy of our lives. The Buddha was described as someone who was ‘awake’; come and explore for yourself how to become more fully awake and alive to the fullness of your life”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also coming up at IMCN, on Saturday, February 1, Larry Rosenberg will offer a half-day retreat (starting at 9am), followed by a potluck lunch and afternoon dharma talk on the theme of his new book, The Three Steps to Awakening: A Practice for Bringing Mindfulness into Life (http://www.shambhala.com/three-steps-to-awakening.html)

    You can read an excerpt (“Be A Lamp Unto Yourself”) from Larry’s book here, courtesy of Shambhala Sun: http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4130&Itemid=0

    In follow up to last week’s conversation regarding the scientific study of meditation, I wanted to share a few links about a recent review of meditation-involved clinical trials published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

    LA Times: http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-78797445/

    Boston.com: http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/health/blogs/daily-dose/2014/01/07/can-meditation-treat-anxiety-and-depression-better-than-medication/ZhFgKq6CB0Wia4ipGSoBOP/blog.html

    WBUR’s “Here and Now: http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2014/01/07/meditation-anxiety-study

    For those who are interested in keeping up with the scientific literature, Mindfulness Research Monthly is a neat resource:

    http://www.mindfulexperience.org/resources/MRM_v5n1_jan.pdf

    And finally this week, I’ll leave you with a short (~12 min.) practice reflection from Gil Fronsdal. This is also reminder that you can find a number of short “dharmettes” such as this among his catalog of longer dharma talks at Audiodharma.org:

    http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/4510.html

    And with that, I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  170. REMINDER — 1/14/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela will lead the practice this week.

    Things are back in full swing both at CIMC and at IMCN:

    Chas DiCapua will be in Newburyport on Saturday, 1/18, to offer a day-long “Mindfulness of Breathing” retreat:

    “The breath probably the most used meditation object there is. There is good reason for this, as the breath is an excellent place to put the attention, develop stability of mind, and ascertain the truth of the way things are. In this retreat we will explore using the breath as a meditation object in depth, both for tranquility and for insight. We will be placing special emphasis on how to be with the breath without getting tight and constricted, and also without it lulling us to sleep! Since the breath can be used as an object of meditation from the first moment one begins to meditate all the way to realizing complete freedom from suffering, this retreat will be equally suitable for newer and more experienced meditation students.”

    Please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org for more details.

    Also on Saturday, Maddy Klyne and Ron Denhardt will be at CIMC to offer a day-long workshop on “Being In the Now”:

    “Regardless of what is going on in our lives, it is possible to find inner freedom now. In this workshop we explore how to use holistic awareness (body, heart, mind), wisdom, presence, kindness, compassion and equanimity to find inner peace and freedom in the only place possible this very moment.”

    Again, https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692 for more.

    However, before all of that, Sharzon Salzberg will be back in town on the evening of Friday, January 17, for a 7pm talk and book-signing at Brookline Booksmith:

    “World-renowned meditation teacher Salzberg presents a practical guide of meditations—doable anywhere—that will increase your mindfulness in order to relieve job stress, increase motivation, and fuel creativity. Learn how to be committed without being consumed, competitive without being cruel, and how to manage time and emotions to counterbalance stress and frustration.”

    Details on this event at http://www.brooklinebooksmith-shop.com/event/sharon-salzberg-real-happiness-work

    Speaking of Sharon, BigThink.com has a short (2 min.) video of her speaking about why “Kindness is Great”:

    http://bigthink.com/big-think-tv/kindness-the-most-underrated-virtue?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=linkedin&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+bigthink%2Fmain+%28Big+Think+Main%29

    And speaking of kindness, author and educator Janice Lynne Lundy takes a moment at the SunSpace blog to answer the question “Why I Do Metta”:

    http://shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=36227
    Finally this week, I’ll leave you with a link to the thought-provoking NPR piece on “Searching for the Science of Reincarnation” that Matt S. brought up at meditation last Tuesday:

    http://www.npr.org/2014/01/05/259886077/searching-for-science-behind-reincarnation

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  171. REMINDER — 1/7/14 meditation group

    Good afternoon and happy 2014! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. We look forward to Ajahn David joining us to “invite” in the new year.
    Following upon our New Year’s Eve meditation — and talk of “resolutions” — I want start off this week by passing along the link to Access to Insight’s page on “Right Resolve”:

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sacca/sacca4/samma-sankappo/index.html

    As always, some interesting stuff from the texts….

    I’m sure many of us have resolved to practice more meditation this year. In this great SunSpace post, Diana Winston offers some observations about why it’s so difficult to find time to meditate (when there’s so much other stuff going on) and offers some suggestions on how to cultivate a regular practice “even if you would rather be thrown into a shark-infested ocean”:

    http://shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3298&Itemid=0

    And finally this week, a brief clip of the Dalai Lama’s thoughts on setting intentions for the new year:

    http://shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=36207

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  172. REMINDER — 12/31/13 meditation group

    Good morning! The Tuesday evening meditation group will ring out 2013 from 7:30 to 9:30 tomorrow in the Chapel at First Parish. I’m still recovering from a bit of a sinus cold, but expect to be on hand to facilitate the practice.

    Just a few things to pass along this week:

    One of Tricycle magazine’s “Top 13” articles of 2013 is the following interview with scholar/author David McMahan about the role of social and cultural context in meditation:

    http://www.tricycle.com/interview/context-matters

    The passing of the old year and beginning of the new marks a natural time of reflection on the past and contemplation of the future. BCBS Senior Scholar Andy Olendzki is embarking upon a new chapter in his life as Visiting Scholar at the Mind and Life Institute. In the December BCBS Full Moon Insight Journal, Andy reflects on his time spent at BCBS and contemplates what may lie ahead at Mind and Life:

    http://www.bcbsdharma.org/insight-journal/

    Finally I’ll leave you with a short guided “lovingkindness with self compassion” meditation video courtesy of Kristy Arbon, whom some of you may know from her involvement with BCBS, the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy, and the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion:

    That’s all for 2013; I hope to see at least a few people tomorrow evening and wish everyone a safe, happy, healthy, and peaceful New Year!

    Metta,

    Tim


  173. REMINDER — 12/24/13 meditation group cancelled

    Good afternoon! Just a reminder that the Tuesday evening meditaiton group will be on hiatus this week due to Christmas Eve activities at First Parish. We’ll be back in action next week, December 31, for a year-end meditation from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel.

    There are a couple of quick reads to pass along this week:

    First is a short piece written by former BCBS-staffer Sumi Loundon Kim on the art of navigating mutiple cultural identities:

    http://shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=36139

    Then, it seems not a week goes by without my sharing words of wisdom from Toni Bernhard; this week is no exception. In her latest post for Psychology Today, Toni offers some Buddhist-inspired reflections on kindness:

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/turning-straw-gold/201312/all-about-kindness-quotations-reflections-and-photos#!

    And, finally, I’ll leave you with Gina Sharpe’s recent offering for Shambhala Sun: “Joyful Giving: The Heart of Generosity”

    http://shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=36099

    That’s all for now; I wish everyone a very merry Christmas and look forward to seeing everyone next week to bid adieu to 2013 and welcome in the new year.

    Metta,

    Tim


  174. REMINDER — 12/17/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30-9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie will facilitate the practice this week. Hopefully tomorrow’s snowstorm won’t be siginificant enough to pose travel problems, but please use discretion in deciding whether to venture forth.

    PLEASE NOTE: There will be no meditation next Tuesday, December 24, due to Christmas Eve activities at First Parish. However, we do plan to offer a New Year’s Eve meditation the following week, December 31, at our usual time.

    Coming up on Saturday, December 21, Larry Rosenberg will offer his monthly one-day (9am-5pm) intensive retreat at Cambridge Insight. For more information, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Historian Richard Gombrich is pushing back a bit on the recent discovery of a “Buddhist” shrine in Nepal that would significantly shift the commonly accepted dates for the Buddha’s lifetime. You can follow his line of thinking by way of Tricycle.com: http://www.tricycle.com/blog/recent-discovery-earliest-buddhist-shrine-sham

    Now that my classes are over for the semester, I’m trying to get caught up on my Buddhist Geeks podcasts. The latest episode features scholar and author Jay Michaelson discussing “The Next Generation of Enlightenment” with host Vincent Horn. Enjoy!

    http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2013/12/bg-303-next-generation-enlightenment/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  175. REMINDER — 12/10/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow evening from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi will facilitate the practice this week.

    I apologize for the brevity of this week’s e-mail, but I do have a couple of items to mention quickly:

    Ajahn Sucitto will be at CIMC on Wednesday evening, Decmber 11 (7:30pm-9pm) offering the dhamma talk “Engaged Disengagement: Nibanna, the World, and What to Do About It”. More information on the full evening program can be found at https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    (Many thanks to Brenda for the heads-up!)

    Also at CIMC, on Sunday, December 15, Narayan will offer a day-long (10am-5pm) workshop on “Faith and Doubt”: https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Meanwhile, on Saturday, December 14, Matthew Daniell will offer the day-long retreat “Lovingkindness and Insight for the Holidays”:

    “Lovingkindness (metta) is a heart opening practice where we cultivate intentions of wishing well for ourselves and for others. It is also an attitude that can help soften and bring fullness to our insight meditation (vipassana) practice. What better time to practice this powerful combination of metta and vipassana than in the holiday season, renewing us in this busy time, and helping us to open and connect with others in loving and wise ways.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.com/

    Finally, I want to share a link to yet another excellent (short) essay by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, via Tricycle.com, in which Than Geoff contemplates “What’s Noble about the Four Noble Truths?”: http://www.tricycle.com/blog/what%E2%80%99s-noble-about-four-noble-truths

    That’s all for now. Brenda is away this week and Carrie has a schedule conflict, so I really hope that I’ll have made enough progress on my schoolwork to see the rest of you tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  176. REMINDER — 12/3/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! I hope everyone enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30-9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Ajahn David is scheduled to be with us again this week.

    Coming up on Saturday, December 7, Chas DiCapua will be at IMCN to offer a day-long retreat on “Freedom Through Non-Clinging”:

    “This is what our practice boils down to. The Buddha said, “Nothing whatsoever should be clung to as me, my, or mine.” During this retreat we’ll explore clinging, why we cling, the results of clinging as well as letting go, what supports letting go, and the results of letting go. This retreat is suitable to newer students and ongoing students as we don’t have to wait until we have some sort of realization to not cling. We can begin right now!”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org/

    This week’s featured link is “Being Sick and Waking Up” an hour-long podcast conversation between Toni Bernhard and Ed and Deb Shapiro:

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/vividliferadio/2013/11/27/award-winning-author-toni-bernhard-discusses-being-sick-and-waking-up

    Finally, a couple of links regarding a recent archaeological finding in Nepal that some say helps pinpoint the Buddha’s historical timeframe:

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/11/131125-buddha-birth-nepal-archaeology-science-lumbini-religion-history/

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/11/25/birth-buddha/3692971/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  177. REMINDER — 11/26/13 meditation group

    Good morning everyone…. Just short reminder e-mail this holiday week: the meditation group will meet tomorrow evening from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Christine is scheduled to facilitate the practice.

    For anyone who might be interested, IMC Newburyport will host a Thanksgiving morning sit on Thursday from 7:45-8:30am: http://www.imcnewburyport.org/Articles/view/9

    Thanksgiving is, of course, a time when we have the opportunity to reflect on any feelings of gratitude that may (or may not) be present to us. However, as my faculty advisor reminded us in class last week, “the holidays” are a time of the year that many people — for myriad reasons — find especially stressful. So, with that in mind, I just wanted to share the following handout — “Soften, Soothe, and Allow in Daily Life” — from Chris Germer’s website, in the event you may find it useful: http://www.mindfulselfcompassion.org/handouts/Soften-Soothe-Allow%20Daily%20Life.pdf

    I hope to see everyone on Tuesday and I wish you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday!

    Metta,

    Tim


  178. REMINDER — 11/19/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the chapel at First Parish. Gabriela will facilitate the practice this week.

    Coming up this weekend at IMCN, on Saturday, November 23, Doug Phillips will lead a full-day (9am-5pm) retreat on “Mind and Heart at the Holidays”:

    “Our practice is about the growth of wisdom and compassion that emerges from clear awareness of the present moment and seeing who we truly are. Holiday times can present unique challenges in living our understanding in the complex web of relationship. This retreat will offer time to explore these issues that are particularly fresh at this time of the year.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    I want to give thanks to Brenda for the heads-up on this great (is there any other kind?) dharma talk by Gil Fronsdal, “Compassion without a Basis” (~42 min.)

    http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/4287.html

    Enjoy!

    A couple of recent items from the Shambhala SunSpace blog:

    Toni Bernhard is back to ask the question “Is Mindfulness Ethically Neutral?”:

    http://shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=35631

    And Josh Korda checks in with “Meditation Malice” — working with distractions and resentment:

    http://shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=35667

    And finally a quick update on the Thai temple project in Raynham:

    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=60,11673,0,0,1,0

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,

    Tim


  179. REMINDER — 11/12/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. I’ll pinch-hit for Sue as this week’s facilitator.

    Just a couple of things to mention this week:

    On Saturday, November 16, Michael Grady will be at CIMC to lead a day-long workshop (10am-4pm) on “Shining the Light of Awareness on Self-Doubt”:

    “This tenacious and potentially undermining habit of mind seems pervasive in the hyper-competitive modern life. By learning to mindfully recognize self-doubt when it arises, and developing the capacity to work with this energy in a wise and compassionate way, opens up the possibility of freedom from this form of suffering.”

    Please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692 for additional details.

    Also on Saturday, Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN to lead a morning (10am-1pm) workshop on “Sympathetic Joy Meditation”:

    “It is rare as we are growing up that we are taught to take joy in others happiness and success, let alone our own. Without this ability, feelings of unworthiness, isolation, complaining, and comparing mind can grow in us. When these tendencies become deeply entrenched, our hearts can become small and brittle, and the quality of our own life and those around us suffers. Supported by reflections on gratitude, this workshop will allow us to explore simple, powerful practices the Buddha taught of repeating positive appreciative phrases of intention to counteract the often unchallenged habit energies. When cultivated, sympathetic joy (mudita) allows us to connect to ourselves and others in ways that open the heart and mind, helping us to touch an innate quality of joy within us and providing the basis for living more fully in the here and now. This workshop is open to everyone.”

    For more information please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    I want to thank Brenda for bringing my attention to the writings of Nyanasobhano Bhikkhu, and American-born monk in the Thai tradition. Nyanasobhano is a prolific writer and many of his works are available on Access to Insight. In particular I would recommend his Bhikkhu Tissa dialogs and some of his shorter essays, such as “Radical Buddhism” and “To the Cemetery and Back”:

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/price/index.html

    As an aside, there are changes coming to the Access to Insight website: site curator John Bullitt writes: “After 20 years of operating and maintaining Access to Insight, the time has come for me to retire from its day-to-day operations so that I can devote my attention to other projects. Over the remaining months of 2013, I’ll be working on streamlining the website so that it can stand on its own, unattended, for long periods of time.” For more details on what will become of the site, please refer to http://www.accesstoinsight.org

    This week I want to share yet another Toni Bernhard piece, this time on patience as an act of self-compassion: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/11/in-buddhism-patience-is-an-act-of-self-compassion-that-gives-rise-to-equanimity-toni-bernhard/#!

    And then finally a short little (~2min.) video from Scientific American on how exactly meditation changes the brain:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/video.cfm?id=how-does-meditation-change-the-brai2013-10-30&WT.mc_id=SA_Facebook&goback=%2Egde_2004449_member_5803354580532092930#%21

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  180. REMINDER — 11/5/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon, everyone! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Ajahn David is scheduled to be with us again this week.

    We had a good gathering for our retreat with Matthew Daniell on Saturday; from what I’ve heard, it seems everyone seemed to get a lot out of it. I look forward to inviting him back again in the new year. Matthew, of course, teaches regularly at the Insight Meditation Center of Newburyport; you can also listen to some of his archived IMS dharma talks via the Dharmaseed website: http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/123/

    Also this past week, Sharon Salzberg joined her friend an recent co-author Robert Thurman as Krista Tippett’s guests on the latest episode her On Being radio show. Sharon and Bob engage Krista in a heartwarming conversation (~50min.) on the topic of their new book, “Love Your Enemies”:

    http://www.onbeing.org/program/embracing-our-enemies

    I also want to share a couple more Toni Bernhard links this week, following upon the publication of her latest book “How to Wake Up”. First up is an interview she gave at the end of September on the Secular Buddhist podcast (~27min.):

    http://secularbuddhism.org/2013/09/28/episode-183-toni-bernhard-how-to-wake-up-a-buddhist-inspired-guide-to-navigating-joy-and-sorrow/

    Then just a couple of weeks ago Toni gave a great dharma talk (~1 hour) at the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, California, available via AudioDharma.org:

    http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/4403.html

    Finally this week, I want to share a short article from the Nashua Telegraph regarding Ajahn Jayanto and the latest on the plans to develop a forest monastery in Temple, New Hampshire:

    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=60,11665,0,0,1,0#.UnZXGLK9KK0

    That’s all for now. I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening… and don’t forget to vote!

    Metta,
    Tim


  181. REMINDER — 10/29/13 meditation group

    Good morning, everyone! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will facilitate the practice this week.

    My first order of business this week is to make sure I’ve accounted for everyone planning to attend our day-long retreat with Matthew Daniell this Saturday, November 2. At the moment I have Carrie, Brenda, myself, two folks from IMCN, Komala (morning only), and Christine (morning only). If I missed anyone, or if you want to come but haven’t yet RSVP’d, please let me know.

    We are very fortunate that Matthew has offered to join us in Chlemsford. Details on this very special event — “The Art of Mindful Living” — can be found here: https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/the-art-of-mindful-living-a-day-of-insight-meditation-with-matthew-daniell/

    We hope to begin promptly at 9am, so please try to arrive a few minutes early to get settled in.

    On Sunday, Lila Kate Wheeler will offer a “Simply Breathe” day-long retreat at IMCN:

    “Breath is essential to life. No wonder it’s a central vehicle in most spiritual traditions. During this retreat we will develop a relationship with our breathing, using the gradual instructions offered by the Buddha. The simple practice of tuning into our breath, connecting with how it feels, and returning again and again has tremendous power. It can calm the mind, re-frame dilemmas, and ultimately lead to deep insight into the nature of our existence. ”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org/

    Also starting on Saturday, is the “signature event” at Cambridge Insight: the week-long, nonresidential retreat (which now includes a partia — weekends and evenings only — option):

    “The weekends are composed of the familiar formal practices emphasizing sitting and walking meditation. During the weekdays yogis will be given a meditation exercise directly concerned with daily life to be discussed during evening sessions, which will also include sitting and walking practice.”

    For more information, please visit: https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Just a couple more things this week:

    I wanted to share CNN correspondent Ruppert Arrowsmith’s account of his recent experience living as a monk in Myanmar: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/10/14/world/asia/myanmar-buddhist-monk-retreat-experience/index.html

    And last but not least, I want to share this interesting-looking link passed on to me last week by Matt T.:
    http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=E._Raymond_Rock

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening and again for a fulfilling day of meditation on Saturday!

    Metta,
    Tim


  182. Good morning, everyone! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. I’ll be this week’s facilitator.

    I’ll start off this week with a reminder for our upcoming day-long retreat with Matthew Daniell on Saturday, November 2. RSVP by Friday, October 25, if you plan to attend:

    https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/the-art-of-mindful-living-a-day-of-insight-meditation-with-matthew-daniell/

    In the meantime, it looks to be a busy weekend in Newburyport this coming weekend with Chas DiCapua and Matthew Daniell each offering a retreat.

    On Saturday, October 26, Chas will offer a day-long retreat on “Wise View”:

    “Wise view, along with wise companions, is stated as what is most helpful in freeing the heart and mind from suffering; it is one of the central themes of the path to freedom. Through dharma talk/discussion, Q & A, and formal practice, we’ll see what wise and unwise views are, how they come to be, and what effects they have on the liberation of the heart and mind. We’ll also explore the Pali term for Wise View so as to gain a more complete understanding of this important quality of mind that we must cultivate in order to see things as they truly are.”

    Then on Sunday, October 27, Matthew will offer a morning workshop on compassion:

    “Compassion is described in the classic texts as ‘the quivering of the heart’ in the face of suffering. Based on ancient instruction given by the Buddha, this practice of repeating phrases with the intention to be free from suffering (for oneself and others) has helped countless people over the centuries. In this workshop, short forgiveness exercises, periods of guided compassion meditation, and discussion will provide the form in which we explore how to open our hearts in the face of suffering and find inner strength and authentic empathy along the way. All are welcome. Although this is a three-part series, you can participate in any one workshop.”

    To register for either event, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Per Ajahn Jayanto’s latest newsletter, it looks like the property in Temple, NH, may well become the future home of a New England monastery. Ajahn Jayanto has arranged for a visit of the property on Saturday, October 26.

    Then on the morning Sunday, October 27, a Pa Bah (offering ceremony) will take place at St. Luke’s and St. Margaret’s church in Allston. Ajahn Viradhammo, abbot of Tisarana Monastery in Ontario, will be visiting and will offer a dharma talk.

    For more information on either of these events, please visit

    http://forestmonastery.org/news/2013/10/15/day-to-gather-and-see-the-temple-property-saturday-oct-26

    and

    http://forestmonastery.org/news/2013/10/1/pa-bah-offering-ceremony-sunday-oct-27

    Before wrapping things up this week, I want to be sure to share the feature article from the October BCBS Full Moon Insight journal. This month Joseph Goldstein speaks about the process behind his forthcoming book, “Mindfulness: A Practical Guide for Awakening”:

    http://www.bcbsdharma.org/insight-journal/

    More information on the book itself, due out November 1, can be found here:

    http://www.soundstrue.com/shop/Mindfulness/4472.pd

    Finally, I want to mention that Carrie has kindly offered to share her paper on Buddhism, which she wrote for her seminary studies last year. A PDF copy of her general introduction to the mulitifaceted tradition is attached.

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,

    Tim


  183. REMINDER — 10/15/13 meditation group

    Good evening! I hope everyone is enjoying a safe and restful holiday weekend. The meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30-9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie will facilitate the practice this week.

    I’ll keep things short and sweet this week, and simply recommend that you listen to the following conversation (~55 min.) between Sylvia Boorstein and Toni Bernhard, recorded last month at Spirit Rock:

    http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/174/talk/20852/Thanks#!

    I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  184. REMINDER — 10/8/ 13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi will facilitate the practice this week.
    First things first this week: A reminder that on Thursday, October 10, the Coolidge Corner Theatre will hold a screening of the documentary “Free the Mind” – featuring Richie Davidson – followed a by a special panel discussion:
    http://www.coolidge.org/content/free-mind
    On Saturday, October 12, Larry Rosenberg will be at IMC Newburyport for his annual fall retreat. As IMCN Director Nancy Morrison writes:
    “This fall, Larry’s talk is titled ‘The Way of Awareness in Action’. For most of us, we are ‘in action’ from waking to sleeping, and the practice is in knowing the way of awareness as we move.“This is a particularly fun fall retreat tradition at IMCN because in between the retreat and dharma talk we take a break from our traditional ‘silent lunch’ and enjoy a potluck lunch and the chance to meet and talk with one another.
    “Morning schedule: 9am-12:30pm Larry Rosenberg will lead a meditation retreat that includes periods of sitting meditation and walking meditation.
    “Lunch: 12:30pm-2pm – We break for an always enjoyable potluck lunch! This lunch gives us a chance to visit with people we know and make some new friends as we sit at tables together and share the food we have collectively brought to the table. For those who don’t cook: a cold vegetarian salad from your favorite deli or a sweet from a bakery is always perfect!
    Afternoon Dharma Talk: 2pm – 3pm – We return to the meditation hall for a talk by Larry Rosenberg on the theme ‘The Way of Awareness in Action’. Larry always leaves time for some Q and A at the end.”
    To register please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org
    Also, don’t forget to RSVP for our very own day-long retreat with IMCN Guiding Teacher Matthew Daniell on Saturday, November 2:
    https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/the-art-of-mindful-living-a-day-of-insight-meditation-with-matthew-daniell/
    More memorials are pouring in following the death of S.N. Goenka last week. “Goenkaji” was Sharon Salzberg’s first meditation teacher, and she provides the following remembrance:
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/10/02/how-sn-goenka-changed-my-life-and-the-lives-of-millions-more.html
    Meanwhile, Erik Braun offers the following at Tricycle.com:
    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/s-n-goenka-pioneer-secular-meditation-movement-dies-90
    It seems a week cannot go by without my sharing a few more gems from Toni Bernhard:
    First, “You Don’t Have to Believe Your Thoughts,” her latest from Psychology Today:
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/turning-straw-gold/201310/you-don-t-have-believe-your-thoughts#!
    And then a half-hour audio conversation on Toni’s new book with Meditate Like A Girl’s Janice Lundy:
    http://www.meditatelikeagirl.com/1/post/2013/10/guest-mentor-toni-bernhard-how-to-wake-up.html#!
    Then, last but not least, at Ajahn David’s request I’m attaching the flow-chart to which he referred last week. Hopefully you will find it useful.
    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.
    Metta,
    Timwww.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/10/02/how-sn-goenka-changed-my-life-and-the-lives-of-millions-more.html
    Meanwhile, Erik Braun offers the following at Tricycle.com:
    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/s-n-goenka-pioneer-secular-meditation-movement-dies-90
    It seems a week cannot go by without my sharing a few more gems from Toni Bernhard:
    First, “You Don’t Have to Believe Your Thoughts,” her latest from Psychology Today:
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/turning-straw-gold/201310/you-don-t-have-believe-your-thoughts#!
    And then a half-hour audio conversation on Toni’s new book with Meditate Like A Girl’s Janice Lundy:
    http://www.meditatelikeagirl.com/1/post/2013/10/guest-mentor-toni-bernhard-how-to-wake-up.html#!
    Then, last but not least, at Ajahn David’s request I’m attaching the flow-chart to which he referred last week. Hopefully you will find it useful.
    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.
    Metta,
    Tim


  185. REMINDER — 10/1/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon, the Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Ajahn David is scheduled to be with us for his monthly visit.

    In a bit of breaking news, I learned just this morning that “Vipassana pioneer” S.N. Goenka died this weekend at his home in Mumbai, India, at age 89. Goenka was well-known internationally for his role in disseminating a very particular style of mindfulness meditation, developed by the lay Burmese teacher U Ba Khin. Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein, and Jack Kornfield were among his students, although their paths had diverged by the time the Insight Meditation Society was founded in 1975. The three young Americans founded what has become the Insight Meditation traditon, while Goenka established the “Vipassana” brand utilizing his very precise, systematic teaching style. Goenka’s Vipassana centers are worldwide, including in Shelburne Falls, Mass., (www.dhara.dhamma.org). The Vipassana style also features prominently in the 2008 film “The Dhamma Brothers” (http://www.dhammabrothers.com/) about the meditaiton program at the Donaldson Correctional Facility in Alabama.

    There will undoubtedly be many remembrances of Goenka in the coming days and weeks, but links to a few that already exist are provided below:

    http://buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=9,11617,0,0,1,0

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jay-michaelson/sn-goenka-dead_b_4016374.html

    http://shambhalasun.com/news/?p=50712

    Also in the news recently this weekend is a progress update in the Boston Globe on the Wat Nawamintararachutis/NMR Meditation Center project in Raynham:

    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=60,11628,0,0,1,0 (Photos: http://www.boston.com/yourtown/buddhist-temple-rises-raynham/cPGvAkVUp9dUujRQMqjLwL/gallery.html)

    There are, of course, a few events coming up this weekend that may be of interest:

    Larry Rosenberg will offer a day-long retreat at Cambridge Insight on Saturday, October 5:

    https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Meanwhile, up the road at IMCN, also on Saturday, Matthew Daniell will lead a morning reatreat for “beginners and newer students called “Waking Up to Your Life”

    “As the business and stresses of life take their toll on us we can feel as if we are not fully alive and awake. Life is happening, but we are not fully present for it and thus we suffer. In this retreat geared toward beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will explore simple meditative attitudes and methods to learn to touch a sense of calm, connectedness, and ease in the immediacy of our lives. The Buddha was described as someone who was ‘awake’; come and explore for yourself how to become more fully awake and alive to the fullness of your life.

    Then on Sunday, October 6, Lila Kate Wheeler will present a full-day retreat on “Awareness of Death”:

    “At this season when leaves fall, and playful (and scary) symbols of death decorate our neighborhoods, we will spend a day together, contemplating the amazing mystery of life and death. Death and life are nondual, yet we split them apart in our minds, valuing one and fearing the other. Today we will touch upon the beauty and fleetingness of life directly with mindfulness meditation; share ‘ghost stories’ of our own losses, understandings, experiences, beliefs, and fears; and explore some Buddhist teachings about death. Could it be true that accepting that we will die enhances life rather than the reverse?”

    To register for either of the Newburyport events, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    And, of course, don’t forget to RSVP for Matthew’s day-long — “The Art of Mindful Living” — at First Parish coming up on Saturday, November 2: https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/the-art-of-mindful-living-a-day-of-insight-meditation-with-matthew-daniell/

    I’ll sign-off this week with “The Glorification of Busyness,” a short piece by Josh Korda that appeared on the Shambhala SunSpace blog recently: http://shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=34991

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow!

    Metta,
    Tim


  186. REMINDER — 9/24/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda is scheduled to lead the practice this week.

    A quick heads up that starting today, September 23, through November 11, Rick Hanson will be presenting an online conference on “Hardwiring Happiness: The 7 Essential Strengths”. Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein, and Kristin Neff are among the experts who will speak. More information can be found here:

    http://www.entheos.com/conferences/Hardwiring-Happiness/Rick-Hanson

    One last reminder that the “Couch and Cushion” symposium on Buddhism and psychoanalysis will take place this Saturday, September 28, at Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill; please refer to the following link for full details on the event:

    http://www.pineanalysis.org/events/couch-cushionher

    In other coming attractions, Narayan Helen Liebenson will lead a two-day non-residential retreat at Cambridge Insight this weekend; details on this event can be found here:

    https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Sharon and Joseph each have new books coming out soon. Sharon’s “Love Your Enemies” – a collaborative effort with Bob Thurman – will be out in early October:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1401928145/ref=s9_psimh_gw_p14_d2_i2?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0K9MT5RCJ4V97RMMDFP1&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1389517282&pf_rd_i=507846

    Joseph’s forthcoming book “Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening” is due to hit bookstore shelves (virtual or otherwise) in November:

    http://www.soundstrue.com/shop/Mindfulness/4472.pd

    Sharon’s “Real Happiness at Work” will be available in early 2014:

    http://www.amazon.com/Real-Happiness-Work-Meditations-Accomplishment/dp/0761168990/ref=pd_sim_b_4

    Another event coming up in a few weeks’ time is a special screening of the documentary film “Free the Mind”:

    “In 1992 Professor Richard Davidson, one of the world’s leading neuroscientists, met the Dalai Lama, who encouraged him to apply the same rigorous methods he used to study depression and anxiety to the study of compassion and kindness, those qualities cultivated by Tibetan meditation practice.

    “The results of Davidson’s studies at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, are portrayed in Free the Mind as they are applied to treating PTSD in returning Iraqi vets and children with ADHD. The film poses two fundamental questions: What really is consciousness, and how does it manifest in the brain and body? And is it possible to physically change the brain solely through mental practices?”

    A special screening will take place at the Coolidge Corner Theatre on Thursday, October 10, followed by a panel discussion:

    http://www.coolidge.org/content/free-mind

    I will once again leave the last word to Toni Bernhard, who describes the “ever-shifting flow of self” in her new book “How to Wake Up” (excerpted here on the SunSpace blog):

    http://shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=34811

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  187. REMINDER — 9/17/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon everyone! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow in the Chapel at First Parish. Christine will facilitate the practice this week.

    Ajahn Jayanto will be up in Temple, New Hampshire, this Saturday, September 21, to offer “a day of meditation practice, with alternating 45-minute periods of sitting and walking meditation, instructional talks and chances for questions and discussion. All levels of experience are welcome.”

    As of late last week the 20-25 places in the meditation space are filling rapidly, so please contact Bruce Kantner (bruce@tellink.net) to register as soon as you know you’d like to attend.

    They add: “Please note that as this is not a meditation center, amenities will be simple. Use of the facilities of a nearby house and of a port-a-loo will be available. We will practice in a stand-alone meditation cabin which resides in a tree-lined field.)

    The monks are also looking for volunteers to help house the sudden influx of dhamma books with which they have suddenly been bestowed.

    For more information on either the retreat or the book stowage, please visit http://forestmonastery.org/news/

    After a brief hiatus, activities are back in full swing at both IMCN and CIMC this week:

    Up in Newburyport this Saturday, September 21, Chas DiCapua will lead a day-long retreat on “Restlessness”:

    “Restlessness is a deep and ingrained mind state. In some ways it underlies every movement of the heart and mind. It is the opposite of ease, peace, or a deep sense of well-being; it is a potent force that obstructs our happiness and freedom. In this retreat we will practice stabilizing and fine-tuning the attention with body-based awareness so that the restlessness that is so omnipresent in the mind can be observed. We will then work with the body-based awareness as skillful means to allow the restlessness to unwind and diminish.”

    Then on Sunday, Matthew Daniell will offer a morning “Lovingkindness” meditation workshop:

    “The Dalai Lama said that ‘love is a not a luxury, but a necessity,’ yet in our hearts we often do not feel love for ourselves or others and we bear the painful consequences. In this workshop we will explore time-tested Buddhist practices which tap the power of intention through offering phrases of loving kindness (metta) to ourselves and others. When cultivated, loving kindness practice helps us to heal our own hearts by loving ourselves more deeply. It can also help us touch those in our lives and the world with a deeper sense of love and connection. All are welcome. This is the first of a three part series entitled Opening the Heart.”

    For more information on either of these events, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, in Cambridge on Saturday Maddy Klyne will offer a day-long beginners’ workshop: https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Also, be sure to mark your calendars for Matthew’s day-long retreat at First Parish on Saturday, November 2: https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/the-art-of-mindful-living-a-day-of-insight-meditation-with-matthew-daniell/

    For those who have a professional and/or personal interest in the junction between meditaiton and psychotherapy, don’t forget about the “Couch and Cushion” symposium coming up on Saturday, September 28, at Pine Manor College: http://www.pineanalysis.org/events/couch-cushion

    There’s a great new (short) interview with Thanissaro Bhikkhu on the Tricycle.com blog this morning in which he speaks about his recent meditation guide “With Each and Every Breath”; the interview is well worth checking out, as is the book itself:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/committee

    And last but not least, I want to pass along the following from Friday’s installment of the NPR Storycorps series:

    http://www.npr.org/2013/09/13/221761277/how-one-man-continues-to-just-pass-it-on

    Enjoy!

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow!

    Metta,

    Tim


  188. REMINDER — 9/10/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon, everyone…. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Sue will be the practice facilitator this week.

    Things remain relatively quiet at both CIMC and BCBS for the time being, although each center is ramping up for a busy autumn.

    In the meantime IMS and BCBS have respectively unveiled their retreat and course schedules for 2014, with — as always — an enticing selection from which to choose.

    Since open slots tend to fill quickly for the most popular events, it doesn’t hurt to register early for anything you might be interested in attending:

    For the Retreat Center: http://www.dharma.org/meditation-retreats/retreat-center/retreat-center-schedule%20%20%20

    For the Study Center: http://www.bcbsdharma.org/courses/

    More Toni Bernhard this week; this time some reflections on her new book in her latest blog post from Psychology Today: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/turning-straw-gold/201309/about-my-new-book-how-wake

    I also want to share a great article by British psychologist Paul Gilbert on “How to Turn Your Brain from Anger to Compassion”: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_turn_brain_anger_compassion

    And Kelly McGonigal is back with another TED talk, this time on “How to Make Stress Your Friend”: http://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend.html

    This past Saturday I had the chance to attend a fascinating workshop on “Mindfulness and Internal Family Systems” co-sponsored by the Institute for Medidation and Psychotherapy and Lesley University’s Mindfulness Studies Program. In his opening remarks on mindfulness, co-presenter Chris Germer showed a pair of very short films that I think are well worth sharing.

    First is a ~5-minute video “Moments” produced by Radiolab and WNYC:

    Chris then followed that with the ~3-minute animated short “The Fly”:

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dSsAEWkmBFU&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DdSsAEWkmBFU

    Finally this week I’ll leave you with a short piece from the latest issue of Shambhala Sun: “No Time to Meditate?”

    http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4086&Itemid=0

    Enjoy!

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow!

    Metta,

    Tim


  189. REMINDER — 9/3/13 meditation group

    Good evening! I apologize for the lateness of this week’s e-mail; I hope everyone has enjoyed a safe and relaxing Labor Day weekend. The meditation group will meet tomorrow evening in the Chapel at First Parish from 7:30 to 9:30. Ajahn David is scheduled to join us for this first Tuesday of September. (Many thanks to Brenda for covering last week’s e-mail!)

    Things are still pretty quiet at the local meditation centers with both CIMC and IMCN continuing on their summer breaks.

    Looking ahead a bit, however, I am happy to announce that I recently posted details about our November 2 day-long meditation retreat “The Art of Mindful Living” with Matthew Daniell:

    https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/the-art-of-mindful-living-a-day-of-insight-meditation-with-matthew-daniell/

    Please RSVP by Friday, October 25, if you plan to attend.

    There are a few odds and ends to pass along this week:

    First, I thought the feature essay from August’s BCBS Full Moon Insight Journal was quite thought-provoking: Akicano Weber examines “secular Buddhism” and asks whether it is “a new vision or yet another of the myths it claims to cure?”

    http://www.bcbsdharma.org/insight-journal/

    From Shambhala Sun’s Sunspace blog a couple of short pieces:

    Josh Korda exhorts us to take as good care of our brains as we do our bodies (http://shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=34436) and comedienne Margaret Cho reflects on beauty, humor, suffering and growing up as a Korean-American (http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_contacent&task=vieaw&id=4085&Itemid=0) in a short Q&A with Andrea Miller.

    Toni Bernhard was the subject of another short, sweet interview discussing her new book “How to Wake Up”: http://www.aliceboyes.com/how-to-wake-up-toni-bernhard-interview/

    And finally this week, I’ll leave off with the following from cartoonist Dan Piraro; enjoy!

    http://shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=34587

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  190. REMINDER — 8/27/13 meditation group

    This is coming from Brenda, subbing for Tim. As usual, it will be briefer than Tim’s :-) Gabriella will be leading the practice for us this week.

    This is a link to an article I read this week called “Psychotherapy, Buddhism, and a sense of boundless support” by Mark Epstein, on Tricycle:

    http://www.tricycle.com/feature/what-changes

    A reminder that there are 2 monks of the Thai Forest tradition visiting the Boston area, who give talks and meditation instruction on Sundays from 2-5 at the Theosophical Society in Arlington. I went last week, and found it very interesting and useful.
    The TS (Theosophical Society) Center is at 21 Maple Street in Arlington Center. It’s a light blue-gray house behind number 19 Maple Street.

    There were many wonderful words in the air this week around the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Below are a few of MLK’s that struck me as completely in-line with our intentional cultivation of metta, or good will, or love. Although in keeping with changing times, I have an itch to change ‘men’ to ‘beings’, of course I will let it stand :

    In the final analysis, love is not
    this sentimental something that we talk
    about. It’s not merely an emotional
    something. Love is creative, understanding
    goodwill for all men. It is the refusal to
    defeat any individual. When you rise to the
    level of love, of its great beauty and
    power, you seek only to defeat evil
    systems. Individuals who happen to be
    caught up in that system, you love, but you
    seek to defeat the system.

    Hope to see you Tuesday night!
    Brenda


  191. REMINDER — 8/20/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. I’ll facilitate this week’s practice.

    The calendar seems to be pretty quiet for the next couple of weeks as both CIMC and IMCN are on brief summer holiday into September.

    This past Saturday, Carrie and I had the opportunity to take in a bit of the Lowell Southeast Asian Water festival. We arrived toward the end of the day, as festivities were beginning to wind down, but still got a good sense for the scale and scope of of the event. In addition to music and dance performances (which we mostly missed), there were numerous vendor stalls from which all sorts of wares were sold: clothing, food, trinkets, crafts, etc. The two Cambodian temples (Glory Buddhist Temple) and Vatt Khmer were each represented by booths near the Sampas Pavillion; the Wat Buddhabhavana community was out in full force with a complex of canopies and carpets in the heart of the vendor village. Community members were busy selling Laotian food and had a small table on which a smattering of “dana” dhamma books (in both Thai and English) were available.

    The winners of the dragon boat race were being announced just as Carrie and I returned from our stroll along the riverwalk; Team Paya Nak (“paya nak” is apparently “the mythological naga snake-fish of the Mekong” — a great name for a dragon boat team!) was this year’s champion and donated their trophy to Wat Buddhabhavana:

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lowell-Southeast-Asian-Water-Festival/177046288977449#!/photo.php?fbid=187628301415926&set=p.187628301415926&type=1&theater

    I’m already looking forward to taking in more at 2014 festival!

    Shifting gears slightly, I want to pass along a couple of links forwarded to me by some of my work colleagues this past week.

    The first is a short excerpt from Robert Augustus Masters’s book “Spiritual Bypassing: When Spirituality Disconnects Us from What Really Matters”:

    http://www.realitysandwich.com/spiritual_bypassing

    (Thanks, Sherry!)

    The other link is a series of dharma talks by Sharon Salzberg and Joan Halifax Roshi from a retreat (“Freedom and Its Myriad Joys”) they led together in July at Santa Fe’s Upaya Zen Center:

    http://www.upaya.org/dharma/speaker/?by=Sharon+Salzberg

    (Thanks, Mai!)

    Sharon has a couple of books coming out in the near future.

    Due to hit bookstore shelves in October is “Love Your Enemies: How to Break the Anger Habit and Be A Whole Lot Happier,” which Sharon co-wrote with Robert Thurman. (You’ll have to listen to the final dharma talk linked above to hear Sharon’s rather amusing take on book title!)

    http://www.hayhouse.com/details.php?id=8326

    This will be followed in January by “Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement and Peace”:

    http://www.workman.com/products/9780761168997/

    Finally this week I want to thank Matt T. for pointing out a rather interesting blog post on the Greater Boston Buddhist Community Census:

    http://readingsangha.wordpress.com/greater-boston-buddhist-community-census/

    While it seems like an interesting exercise to have undertaken, I do wonder a bit about the methodology as there seem to be some obvious gaps in some instances (e.g., why include the meditation group at the First Religious Society UU in Newburyport, but not IMCN) and questionable inclusion in others. Thought-provoking in any event.

    That’s all for now! I start classes at Lesley a week from today, so Brenda has kindly consented to send out next Monday’s e-mail reminder. I hope to be able to pick things back up in subsequent weeks.

    In the meantime, I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  192. REMINDER — 8/13/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie will facilitate this week’s practice.

    We had an intimate crowd on hand for Saturday evening’s dharma talk by Ajahn Jayanto. Venerables Jayanto and Caganando will remain in the Boston area through October and have a full teaching schedule, including a regular Sunday afternoon meditation workshop at the Theosophical Society in Arlington. For more details, please visit http://forestmonastery.org/events/

    Also stay tuned for details on our November 2 day-long retreat featuring Matthew Daniell, Guiding Teacher from IMC Newburyport.

    There are a number of events coming up this weekend….

    On Saturday, August 17, Larry Rosenberg will offer his monthly intensive one-day retreat at CIMC:
    https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Then on Sunday, August 18, Lila Kate Wheeler will be at IMC Newburyport to offer a day-long retreat (9am-5pm) on “Sympathetic Joy (Mudita)”:

    “Know that joy is rarer, more difficult and beautiful than sadness,” Andre Gide said. “Once you make this all-important discovery, you must embrace joy as a moral obligation.” Gide could have been echoing recent scientific discoveries about the human bias toward negativity–also known as the ‘default network’ of the brain—and our deep, embodied instinct toward kindness, empathy and joy. But if we take time to train ourselves, we can overcome the negativity bias and experience greater appreciation, peace and happiness for our lives. At this retreat we will develop new neural connections by appreciating goodness in ourselves, others, and in life. We will train in the ancient Buddhist practice called ‘mudita,’ rejoicing in the happiness of all beings. When we share others’ joy, the walls of our hearts break open and we feel wonderful–often without changing a thing.

    To register for the Sunday retreat, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    The third Saturday in August also marks what has become an annual cultural tradition in Lowell: the Southeast Asian Water Festival, now in its 17th year. I have not yet seen a detailed schedule of events, but the festivities will run from 9am to 5pm at the Sampas Pavillion on Pawtucket Boulevard. You can catch an overview of what to expect from the Festival’s website: http://www.lowellwaterfestival.com/?page_id=2

    Brenda forwarded to me a copy of Mark Epstein’s recent New York Times op-ed “The Trauma of Being Alive”: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/04/opinion/sunday/the-trauma-of-being-alive.html?pagewanted=1&_r=3&smid=fb-share&pagewanted=all&amp;

    It’s a good, brief read which I expect touches on many of the themes from his forthcoming book “The Trauma of Everday Life” due to hit bookstores on Thursday, August 15:

    http://www.us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9781594205132,00.html?The_Trauma_of_Everyday_Life_Mark_Epstein

    Just as a reminder, Epstein will be a featured presenter at the “Couch and Cushion” symposium on psychoanalysis and Buddhism coming up on September 28 at Pine Manor College:

    http://www.pineanalysis.org/events/couch-cushion

    Finally this week I’ll leave you with another recent feature on the Spirit Rock Meditation Center, this one being from the (Marin County) Pacific Sun newspaper:

    http://www.pacificsun.com/marin/life_in_marin/article_20e26baa-f4b8-11e2-b903-001a4bcf6878.html

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  193. REMINDER — 8/6/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Although he has not been in the best of health recently, Ajahn David is still scheduled to join us for this first Tuesday of August. Once again, please note that parking around First Parish will likely be limited due to the finale of the 2013 Chelmsford Community Band concert series.

    Of course this Saturday, August 10, we will be fortunate to welcome Ajahn Jayanto for an evening dharma talk in the Chapel from 7pm to 9pm. If you plan to attend, kindly RSVP no later than Wednesday, August 7:

    https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/an-evening-with-ajahn-jayanto-meditation-bringing-mindfulness-peace-and-wisdom-into-our-lives/

    If anyone would be willing and/or able to bring an arrangement of flowers (not too fragrant, please, for those of us who are sensitive to such things), please let me know.

    On Saturday morning, Michael Grady will be at CIMC to offer a day-long (10am-4pm) workshop on “The Power of Mindfulness”:

    “Mindfulness is an innate power of mind that enables us to relate to each moment in our enfolding lives with open-hearted attention and creative intelligence. In this workshop we will explore ways to strengthen mindfulness and let go of habitual attitudes and reactions that obscure clear seeing and the joy of connecting to the here and now in a fresh way.”

    For more information, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Finally this week I want to pass a long the link to a fun (if not directly meditation-related) link to a radio story I heard on NPR this weekend about a rather unusual orchestra from Thailand:

    http://www.npr.org/2013/08/03/208338182/the-biggest-thing-out-of-thailand-an-elephant-orchestra

    Enjoy!

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening and again on Saturday.

    Metta,
    Tim


  194. REMINDER — 7/30/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening
    meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in
    the Chapel at First Parish. Judi will be this week’s
    facilitator. Again, please be aware of limited parking at
    First Parish due to the concert on the town common.

    I trust that you all received my e-mail last week formally
    announcing our special event on the evening of Saturday,
    August 10. Ajahn Jayanto will join us at 7pm to offer a
    dhamma talk on “Meditation: Bringing Mindfulness, Peace and
    Wisdom into Our Lives”. Ajahn Jayanto’s talk will be open to
    the First Parish community and other friends of the
    meditation group, so please feel free to invite a guest or
    two. More details are available on our website:

    https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/an-evening-with-ajahn-jayanto-meditation-bringing-mindfulness-peace-and-wisdom-into-our-lives/

    Kindly RSVP by August 7 if you plan to attend.

    In the meantime you can listen to some of Ajahn Jayanto’s
    recorded dhamma talks at the following:

    http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/247/

    http://forestsanghapublications.org/downloadListen.php?id=18

    http://www.amaravati.org/teachings/audio_compilation/1963

    Coming up this weekend, Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN to
    offer a half-day (10am-1pm) workshop on “Generosity,
    Gratitude and Insight”:

    “Gratitude and generosity open the heart. When the heart is open there is more space to be with things as they are. From this place, mindfulness practice can grow naturally and ripen into insight, freeing us to live with more energy, clarity, and connection. In this workshop we will explore how to do this through guided meditation, presented material, and discussion. All are welcome.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    The latest issue of the BCBS Full Moon Insight Journal
    features a thought-provoking essay by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
    entitled “The Essence of Dhamma,” which is followed by a
    somewhat shorter interview on which he expounds further on
    the topic. It’s definitely worth a read, even if the details
    of the subject matter can get a little dense at times:

    http://www.bcbsdharma.org/insight-journal/

    I have to thank my mother for providing a heads-up regarding
    this short (~8 min.) piece that aired on PBS’s NewsHour last
    week on the GRIP (“Guiding Rage into Power”) program at
    California’s San Quentin State Prison. While the pience
    makes only a passing reference to meditation per se, it does
    seem to be in line with a growing number of “prison dharma”
    projects across the nation:

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/nation/july-dec13/guns_07-24.html

    Finally, I’ll leave you with a nice profile of the Spirit
    Rock Meditation Center that appeared in the San Francisco
    Chronicle earlier this month as Spirit Rock celebrates its
    25th anniversary:

    http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Spirit-Rock-at-25-meditation-and-renovation-4651650.php?t=3f1b749399&t=3f1b749399

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow!

    Metta,
    Tim


  195. REMINDER — 7/23/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish; Brenda will lead the practice this week. I’m not sure if tomorrow’s forecast for scattered evening thunder showers will have any impact on the scheduled concert on the common, so please be prepared to use “satellite” parking at 10 North Road or behind the Chelmsford Center for the Arts (Old Town Hall).

    First things first this week: In follow up to last week’s e-mail, **please save the date for Saturday, August 10**. I am very happy announce that Ajahn Jayanto of Amaravati Monastery in the UK has very graciously accepted an invitation to offer a dhamma talk at First Parish that evening (tentatively from 7-9pm). Details are still being confirmed; I will issue a formal annoucement once plans are finalized. (If anyone is willing/able to provide transportation for Ajahn Jayanto to and/or from the vihara in Allston, please let me know.)

    Tomorrow evening WGBH 2 will air two Buddhist-related films. For anyone who happens to be at home tomorrow evening, the Richard Gere-narrated film “The Buddha” will air from 8pm to 10pm:

    http://www.pbs.org/thebuddha/

    Then at 10pm, Secrets of the Dead will present “The Bones of the Buddha”

    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/featured/bones-of-the-buddha-about-this-episode/1023/

    I’ve had the opportunity to see both films and highly recommend each of them.

    In upcoming local events, Doug Phillips will be at IMCN this Saturday, July 27, to offer a day-long (9am-5pm) retreat on “Freedom through Non-Clinging”:

    “Although the Buddha encouraged us to cling to nothing as ‘me or mine’ as the heart summation of his teaching, the fact remains that a very large part of being human is about clinging and attachment, and we do it a lot. The theme of this retreat orients us toward an exploration of this dynamic as both a source of suffering and a gateway to liberation. We do this not with the hope of escaping a very human and normal aspect of living but rather through the direct experience of spontaneous seeing, knowing natural release, and letting go into freedom in this moment.”

    You may register for this event at http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile at CIMC this weekend, on Saturday Narayan Helen Liebenson will offer a day-long (10am-5pm) workshop on “Practice in All Four Postures”:

    “The Buddha encouraged mindfulness in the four postures of sitting, walking, standing and lying down. As practitioners, we tend to favor one posture over another. During the day long, we will shift from one posture to another, encouraging loving attentiveness, no matter what posture is happening. This is called “Evening out the postures” and is a way to cultivate mindfulness in daily life.”

    https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Then on Sunday, July 28, Sara Schedler will lead a “Beginners Workshop”:

    https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Finally this week, the Buddhist Channel posted a brief but fascinating interview with Harvard professor and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen on the ambitious project to establish Nalanda International University in Bihar, India:

    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=9,11531,0,0,1,0#.UewjXcu9KSM

    That’s all for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim

    PS — If anyone is willing and able to provide transportation for Ajahn David on August 6, please let me know. Many thanks!


  196. REMINDER — 7/16/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. This week I’m very happy to welcome Sue back into the practice leader rotation. Please note once again the parking in the First Parish lot will be restricted due to the Chelmsford Community Band concert; alternate parking is available behind 10 North Road (law offices of Hausler, Lampert and Rodman). I apologize for any inconvenience.

    Following up on last week’s NY Times op-ed by Northeastern University researcher Dr. David DeSteno, I wanted to pass along a link to his appearance on WBUR’s “Radio Boston” last Friday. Dr. DeSteno and his colleague from Boston University, Dr. Gaelle Desbordes, discuss further their research on meditation and compassion that will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science:

    http://radioboston.wbur.org/2013/07/12/can-meditation-make-us-more-compassionate

    There are a couple of meditation events coming up this weekend both at IMCN and at CIMC.

    Up in West Newbury, on Saturday, July 20, Matthew Daniell will lead a day-long retreat on “Unwinding the Cycle of Reactivity”:

    “In his classical teaching on ‘dependent origination’ the Buddha described how we create cyclical patterns of unwanted and often unnecessary suffering in our lives. He called the repetitive cyclical nature of these reactive patterns ‘samsara’. Fortunately, he also taught that by mindfully exploring this same causal link in reverse we can unwind these painful inner patterns of reactivity and find greater responsiveness, freedom, and ease in our lives.”

    Then on Sunday, July 21, Matthew will return to offer a morning retreat “The Mindful Moment” for beginning/newer students:

    “Insight meditation is a time tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. During this retreat we will explore how to calm and steady the mind and see with more clarity into our lives. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn to touch and live in the moment. Although this retreat is designed for beginners, all are welcome.”

    Information on either event can be found at http:/www.imcnewburyport.org

    Down in Cambridge, on Saturday, Narayan Liebenson Grady will offer a day-long “Loving-kindness (Metta)” retreat. On Sunday, Narayan will be joined by Michael (Liebenson Grady) and Larry (Rosenberg) for “Shining Light on the Awareness of Fear” in which “the guiding teachers will share their personal stories as well as the various approaches they have discovered to be most useful in working with the energy of fear.” To register for either of these events, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Finally this week I want to pass along a very exciting bit of news that I learned thanks to the Valley Insight e-newsletter I received last week.

    Ajahn Jayanto and Caganando Bhikkhu of Amaravati Monastery in England have been invited to spend their 2013 “Rains Retreat” (July-October) in the Boston area scouting locations and gauging support for a new monastery in Thai Forest tradition of Ajahn Chah and his senior Western disciple, Ajahn Sumedho. For those of you who are familiar with Abhayagiri Monastery in California, the proposed monastery would be its East Coast counterpart.

    The Jeta Grove Foundation has been established locally as a not-for-profit entity to steward the project. Gloria Taraniya Ambrosia, whom I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, is on the Foundation’s board of directors.

    For more information on the project, please visit the website http://forestmonastery.org/

    Ajahn Jayanto will also offer a workshop on “Five Khandas Here and Now” at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies the weekend of August 2-4:

    “In order to teach the way to the end of suffering, the Buddha described ourselves and the world we experience in terms of five ‘khandas’ (literally ‘heaps’ or ‘aggregates’): form, feeling, perception, formations and consciousness. This workshop will examine these concepts with a view to identifying them in our experience of the present moment. As a framework for contemplative awareness, the five khandas can be a powerful gateway to greater freedom. Through sitting and walking meditation, talks, and discussion, we will explore ways to use an awareness of the khandas in our practice.”

    http://www.bcbsdharma.org/courses/?page=Class_Details&id=a0GA000000NNWL6MAP

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  197. REMINDER — 7/9/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon everyone! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. I am very happy to welcome Christine back to the practice leader rotation this week after an extended hiatus.

    Now that we’re past the annual July 4th festivities it’s time once again for the Chelmsford Community Band’s weekly summer concert series (July 9 through August 6). Concerts begin at 7pm, which means that parking in the First Parish is likely to be extremely limited. Auxillliary parking is available in the lot behind the law offices of Lampert, Hausler, and Rodman at 10 North Road (Rte. 4) — the white building across the street from Eastern Bank. I am not absolutely certain, but I believe the lot behind the Chelmsford Center for the Arts (aka Old Town Hall) is also fair game.

    Sharon Salzberg and Ethan Nichtern’s online “Back to Basics” retreat kicks off this Thusday, July 11, with updates following weekly thereafter through August 29. The plan is to keep the course up on the IDP website indefinitely, so if the timing isn’t convenient right now, you can always check it out later:

    http://theidproject.org/events/2013/07/11/back-basics-eightfold-path-awakening?utm_source=Ethan+Nichtern+Newsletter&utm_campaign=e508962c62-&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fd42160c00-e508962c62-303013053

    Meanwhile, Larry Rosenberg will be at CIMC this Saturday, July 13, for his monthly daylong intensive retreat:

    https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    I also wanted to give folks a heads-up about a special event coming up at the end of September at Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill.

    “The Couch and the Cushion: What Psychoanalysis and Buddhism Can Learn from Each Other” is a one-day symposium on September 28 seeking “to deepen the dialogue between psychoanalysis and Buddhism by bringing together three distinguished thinkers and scholars to explore what each discipline has to contribute to the other.” Among the presenters are Mark Epstein and Andrew Olendzki.

    More information on the symposium can be found at http://www.pineanalysis.org/events/couch-cushion

    (Many thanks to Deila for bringing this to my attention!)

    My days of reading purely for pleasure are rapidly drawing to a close as I begin to turn to the required reading for my classes, which should occupy my time and attention for the foreseeable future.

    This past week I finished Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s translation of Ajahn Lee’s short autobiography; it’s deceptively deep dharma for such a “light” read and offers an insightful view into the Thai Buddhism of the first half of the 20th century. If anyone’s looking for a little light summer reading, I recommend it. And, of course, you can download as a free PDF from http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writings/a_lee_autobiography_v121212.pdf

    There were also a couple of items of interest in the popular press this week.

    Northeastern University psychology professor David DeSteno shares thoughts on his research on meditation and compassion in the New York Times op-ed “The Morality of Meditation”:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/07/opinion/sunday/the-morality-of-meditation.html?hp&_r=1&

    Meanwhile, Ron Purser and David Loy consider the proliferation of “mindfulness” without Buddhism in the Huffington Post piece “Beyond McMindfulness”:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ron-purser/beyond-mcmindfulness_b_3519289.html

    And finally this week, I leave you with Sumi Loundon Kim’s short Shambhala Sun essay “Why I Quit Facebook”:

    http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4064&Itemid=0

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  198. REMINDER — 7/2/13 meditation group

    Good evening; sorry for the late e-mail! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Ajahn David is scheduled to join us again on this first Tuesday of July.

    I’m still trying to get caught up from my vacation last week — thanks to Brenda for sending out last week’s reminder in my absence — but there are a few items to mention this week:

    Narayan Liebenson Grady will offer a two-day, non-residential retreat for “experience practitioners” (3+ years’ experience) at CIMC this weekend, July 6 and 7. More information on this event is available here: https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    While things are otherwise fairly quiet on the “live” retreat front this holiday weekend, there are a couple of noteworthy online offerings coming up soon:

    I was very happy to discover today that the teacher for July’s Tricycle.com online retreat is none other than Thanissaro Bhikkhu (aka “Than Geoff”), who many of you know is a major influence on my practice.

    Than Geoff’s Tricycle offering is entitled “Working and Playing with the Breath”. The full course is offered only to Tricycle.com members, but this week’s (all-too-short) teaser video can be viewed here:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/new-online-retreat-working-playing-breath

    For those who haven’t had the opportunity to do so already, I highly recommend checking out Than Geoff’s dharma talks or writings, all of which are freely available here:

    http://www.dhammatalks.org

    Also of interest is the 8-week online course “Back to Basics: The Eightfold Path to Awakening”, starting on July 11. The course is hosted by the Interdependence Project and will be taught by Sharon Salzberg and IDP founder Ethan Nichtern. More information on the course and registration details can be found here:

    http://theidproject.org/events/2013/07/11/back-basics-eightfold-path-awakening?utm_source=Ethan+Nichtern+Newsletter&utm_campaign=e508962c62-&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fd42160c00-e508962c62-303013053

    Stepping back for a moment to take a look Buddhism in the global view, I’m sure many of you are already aware of the ethnic/religious violence that has taken hold in Burma/Myanmar for the past several months — much of which has been perpetrated in the name of Burmese Buddhism. The media has made much of the anomaly between the “facts on the ground” in counterpoint to the Western stereotype of Buddhism as a religion of peace and nonviolence. Amid the frenzy I was particularly struck by the following two essays as providing something of value:

    From Singapore, Ven. S. Dhammika offers “Dhamma or Ethnic Buddhism” (by way of the Buddhist Channel: http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=6,11506,0,0,1,0#.UdIzi-Abj8s

    And Burmese expatriate blogger Kenneth Fong’s “Sooner or Later, We Face History’s Judgment” is a poignant, personal reflection: http://kennethwongsf.blogspot.sg/2013/06/sooner-or-later-we-face-historys.html

    Finally this week I leave you with the words of Gloria Taraniya Ambrosia, longtime IMS and BCBS teacher and recently “retired” Advisory Teacher to the Vermont Insight Meditation Society. Taraniya is also the author of this month’s feature article in the BCBS Full Moon Insight Journal: “‘Seeing’ the Asavas”. Hers is a very down-to-earth presentation of what she calls “one of the most important and practical teachings in the Pali Canon.” Enjoy!

    http://www.bcbsdharma.org/insight-journal/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening and wish everyone a happy and safe In(ter)dependence Day holiday!

    Metta,
    Tim


  199. REMINDER — 6/25/13 meditation group

    Greetings all,

    ( Brenda substituting for Tim. )

    First, let me remind you to VOTE!

    I will be leading the practice this week.

    These are some links to stir your mind

    First, a moving 23-minute TED talk by Andrew Solomon that reminds us of the joyful side of impermance.

    Or if that seems like too much, here’s an old favorite of mine — MIngyur Rinpoche on “What Meditation Really Is” — 5 minutes.

    Hope to see you Tuesday Evening!

    Brenda


  200. REMINDER — 6/18/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi will lead the practice this week.

    Just a couple of quick items to pass along on this Monday….

    Our friend Chas DiCapua will visit IMCN this Saturday, June 22, to offer a full-day retreat on “Emptiness”:

    “Realizing the emptiness of conditioned experience (defined as anything we can know) is the crown jewel of understanding and is what frees the mind from clinging. During this retreat, we will debunk the notion that this is something complex and esoteric and therefore too difficult to comprehend. We will practice directly with our experience during sitting and walking meditation as a way to apprehend the immediacy of this truth. This retreat is more suitable for continuing students.”

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    The other tidbit I want to pass along this week is an excellent, if brief Tricycle.com Q&A with Michele McDonald in which she discuss, in part, her CD “Awake at the Wheel: Mindful Driving”:

    http://www.tricycle.com/buddhist-traditions/vipassana/qa-vipassana-instructor-michele-mcdonald?goback=%2Egde_760027_member_249946041

    (Credit to Daniel Goleman for bringing my attention to this piece via LinkedIn.)

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  201. REMINDER — 6/11/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. The Reverend Carrie Little will lead the practice this week. (I just had to throw that in there. For those of you who don’t know, Carrie was ordained as an interfaith minister on Saturday afternoon. Congratulations!)

    Some of you may remember about three years ago when I voulnteered for a MGH research study that was looking at the effects of lovingkindness meditation on blood hormone levels. Well the study has since been completed and some results were recently published in the journal “Brain, Behavior, and Immunity”. A short, layperson’s summary can be found here:

    http://www.agemarker.com/2013/05/meditation-associated-with-longer-telomeres/

    For those who are interested, the scientific abstract is available on PubMed:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23602876

    The IMS Sangha Newsletter just arrived in my e-mail this morning, and while I haven’t had a chance to peruse it in great detail, there a number of things that jumped out at me.

    The first is a short conversation between IMS Executive Director Bob Agoglia and CIMC and IMS teacher and Watertown, MA, resident Narayan Liebenson Grady. In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, Bob asked Narayan to share her thoughts on “how our meditation practice can help us in the face of traumatic public or private events [and] how can we remain compassionate and engaged, and live with an open heart.”

    http://dharmaseed.org/talks/audio_player/131/19623.html

    The Sangha News also has a link to a longer (~ 1 hour) talk recently delivered by Joseph Goldstein on “Buddhism: The Essential Points” which you can view here:

    There is also a short “print” interview with Joseph in the current issue of “Heartwood: Journal of the Buddhist Insight Network”:

    http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=a8de535fb0cd1a269cb2eed05&id=e8369276d6&e=4ed1b94ff4#mctoc1

    I also recently came across the following excerpt (~ 8 min.) from a longer podcast conversation with Mirabai Bush in which she talks about “Finding Time for Mindfulness”:

    http://www.morethansound.net/blog/2013/03/finding-time-for-mindfulness/

    For upcoming events let’s circle back to CIMC, where Larry Rosenberg is scheduled to offer his monthly intensive retreat this Saturday, June 15:

    https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    And I’ll once again wrap things up with a blog post by Toni Berhhard… although in her latest she shares an article on “the illusion of frew will” written by Zen teacher Joan Tollifson:

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/turning-straw-gold/201306/is-free-will-illusion-guest-post-joan-tollifson

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  202. REMINDER — 6/4/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. We look forward to Ajhan David’s return on this First Tuesday of June.

    In addition to Carrie’s ordination as an interfaith minister, there are a couple of events coming up this Saturday, June 8:

    Joseph Goldstein will be at Cambridge Insight from 1pm to 5pm offering a special benefit workshop on “Working with Thoughts and Emotions”:

    “Thoughts and emotions play such an important role in our lives, yet we are often more lost in their content and story rather than in understanding their empty, insubstantial nature. This workshop will explore how to fully live in the experience of them from a place of freedom. The afternoon will include sitting meditation, dharma talks and discussion.”

    To register, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Meanwhile, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburyport to offer day-long retreat on “Compassion and Wisdom”:

    “Compassion teaches us to open our heart in kindness to suffering; wisdom teaches us to let go. On the path of Buddhist practice these qualities are often linked, likened to the two wings of a bird. When we learn to hold suffering and also to let it go, we discover an inner openness, resilience, and responsiveness that allows our practice on the meditation cushion and in relational life to be uplifted. On this retreat we will cultivate compassionate attitudes that complement the core of our practice: clear, present moment awareness.”

    Registration for this event via http://www.imcewburyport.org

    I also want to pass along a couple of “save the dates” for later in the summer:

    The Center for Mindful Self-Compassion will be offering a MSC Core Skills workshop with Kristin Neff and Chris Germer on September 14-15 at The Arlington Center:

    http://www.centerformsc.org/MSC_Core_Skills_Workshop_Arlington_September_14-15_2013

    Then on Saturday, September 28, the New England Foundation for Psychoanalysis and the PINE Psychoanalytic Center will co-sponsor a conference at Pine Manor College entitled “The Couch and the Cushion: What Psychoanalysis and Buddhism Can Learn from Each Other”. Featured presenters include Mark Epstein and Andrew Olendzki. More details to follow.

    For those who haven’t already seen May’s issue of the Full Moon Insight Journal, I’d like to suggest reading Jason Siff’s feature article “Meeting Your Thoughts at A Resting Place,” excerpted from his forthcoming book “Thoughts Are Not the Enemy”. (This topic which would seem to tie quite nicely into the theme of Joseph’s workshop this coming weekend.)

    http://www.bcbsdharma.org/insight-journal/

    Coincidentally, Jason will be at BCBS later this month (June 20-23) to offer a weekend workshop on “Awareness of Thinking” for which space seems to be still available:

    “This workshop follows the frameworks set up in Jason Siff’s book “Unlearning Meditation” to allow meditators to come to terms with their thinking; those who have been accustomed to focusing on the breath or body sensations can transition to include thoughts in their meditation practice. Developing a gentle awareness of thinking while attending to meditation can paradoxically lead to less thinking and to periods of calm and clarity. Beginning meditators will learn a meditation practice that is friendly to thoughts and emotions from the outset. Through the course of this retreat, participants will learn about an open and receptive way of meditating, in which thoughts and emotions are not a problem or a distraction—they are fully allowed. Participants will be able to explore their inner experiences in meditation by journaling their meditation sittings and discussing their experiences with the teacher.”

    http://www.bcbsdharma.org/courses/?page=Class_Details&id=a0GA000000H2aYjMAJ

    And I’ll wrap things up this week by leaving you with another recent Psychology Today post by Toni Bernhard. In the following Toni reflects on her response to (finally) hearing the audio-book version of her classic “How To Be Sick”:

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/turning-straw-gold/201305/reflections-how-be-sick

    That’s all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim

    ————————————————————————–
    A student once said: “When I was a Buddhist, it drove my parents and friends crazy, but when I am buddha, nobody is upset at all.”

    — Jon Kabat-Zinn, “Wherever You Go, There You Are”

    The Center for Mindful Self-Compassion will be offering a MSC Core Skills workshop with Kristin Neff and Chris Germer on September 14-15 at The Arlington Center:

    http://www.centerformsc.org/MSC_Core_Skills_Workshop_Arlington_September_14-15_2013

    Then on Saturday, September 28, the New England Foundation for Psychoanalysis and the PINE Psychoanalytic Center will co-sponsor a conference at Pine Manor College entitled “The Couch and the Cushion: What Psychoanalysis and Buddhism Can Learn from Each Other”. Featured presenters include Mark Epstein and Andrew Olendzki. More details to follow.

    For those who haven’t already seen May’s issue of the Full Moon Insight Journal, I’d like to suggest reading Jason Siff’s feature article “Meeting Your Thoughts at A Resting Place,” excerpted from his forthcoming book “Thoughts Are Not the Enemy”. (This topic which would seem to tie quite nicely into the theme of Joseph’s workshop this coming weekend.)

    http://www.bcbsdharma.org/insight-journal/

    Coincidentally, Jason will be at BCBS later this month (June 20-23) to offer a weekend workshop on “Awareness of Thinking” for which space seems to be still available:

    “This workshop follows the frameworks set up in Jason Siff’s book “Unlearning Meditation” to allow meditators to come to terms with their thinking; those who have been accustomed to focusing on the breath or body sensations can transition to include thoughts in their meditation practice. Developing a gentle awareness of thinking while attending to meditation can paradoxically lead to less thinking and to periods of calm and clarity. Beginning meditators will learn a meditation practice that is friendly to thoughts and emotions from the outset. Through the course of this retreat, participants will learn about an open and receptive way of meditating, in which thoughts and emotions are not a problem or a distraction—they are fully allowed. Participants will be able to explore their inner experiences in meditation by journaling their meditation sittings and discussing their experiences with the teacher.”

    http://www.bcbsdharma.org/courses/?page=Class_Details&id=a0GA000000H2aYjMAJ

    And I’ll wrap things up this week by leaving you with another recent Psychology Today post by Toni Bernhard. In the following Toni reflects on her response to (finally) hearing the audio-book version of her classic “How To Be Sick”:

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/turning-straw-gold/201305/reflections-how-be-sick

    That’s all for this week; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  203. REMINDER — 5/28/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! I hope everyone is enjoying a happy, safe Vesak/Memorial Day weekend. The Tuesday evening meditation group will take place tomorrow evening from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will lead the practice this week.

    IMCN is back in action this coming Saturday with a day-long workshop on Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy and Insight Meditation, featuring Louise Beck and Ted Jones:

    This workshop explores the complementary aspects of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and Insight Meditation. MBCT emphasizes working with individuals providing them therapeutic tools to cultivate ease of mind, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and improve attention. Insight Meditation emphasizes the cultivation of continuous present moment awareness and freedom from the compulsive self-absorption that is the root cause of suffering. This day-long workshop combines lecture, experiential exercises, and two hours of formal training in Insight Meditation. Participants will emerge with a basic understanding of MBCT and of its application to decrease suffering through an increase in non-judgmental awareness. In addition, basic meditation skills will be developed, along with an appreciation of the potential benefits of regular, ongoing meditation practice.

    To register, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Following up on last week’s Brene Brown video, I found Josh Korda’s wonderful, short Shambhala SunSpace post on “Awakening Together” to touch on some of the same themes:

    http://shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=33403

    Toni Bernhard is back with another great Psychology Today column, this time on “Why and How to Practice Patience”:

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/turning-straw-gold/201305/impatient-why-and-how-practice-patience

    Meanwhile “Radical Acceptance” author Tara Brach was the subject of a feature article in last Tuesday’s Washington Post:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/meditation-guru-tara-brach-is-calm-eye-of-washingtons-stress-filled-storm/2013/05/18/48674bb8-b409-11e2-9a98-4be1688d7d84_story.html

    This past week I finally finished Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s latest offering, the long-anticipated (and reluctantly-written) meditation guide “With Each and Every Breath”. While I would not necessarily suggest it as a guide book for the novice meditator, I do strongly encourage anyone with a modicum of practice experience to add it to his or her library. It is a very straightforward and succinct presentation of meditation from the fundamentals to the most advanced practice, and makes for a good complement to Bhante Gunaratana’s “Mindfulness in Plain English”. Fortunately, as with all of Than Geoff’s publications, “With Each and Every Breath” is available for free download as a PDF:

    http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writings/EachAndEveryBreath_v130123.pdf

    Finally this week, I want to leave off with the brand-new National Geographic video “Bones of the Buddha” (45 min.). This documentary recounts the very recent re-discovery of relics alleged to belong to the Buddha himself and is a fascinating tale:

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow!

    Metta,
    Tim


  204. REMINDER — 5/21/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela will lead the practice this week.

    IMCN will be closed for the Memorial Day weekend, however Larry Rosenberg will be at Cambridge Insight on Monday, May 27, for an intensive day-long retreat (9am-5pm) for experienced students:

    https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Last week the Wisconsin State Journal reported on an event called “Change Your Mind, Change the World” at which His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was among the participants:

    http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/dalai-lama-other-leading-thinkers-say-emotional-health-key-to/article_3611133a-9f24-5283-9ffd-5c6ce0778952.html

    Another of the program participants, as mentioned in the above-referenced WSJ article, was noted University of Wisconsin neuroscientist, Richard J. Davidson.

    As it turns out, I just happened to finish reading Davidson’s book “The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel, and Live — And How You Can Change Them”:

    http://www.us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9781594630897,00.html

    I very strongly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in the practical mechanisms of the mind-body system, especially as it pertains to meditation (of which Davidson himself is an avid advocate and practitioner). The book is written in a very accessible manner while also clearly presenting the science.

    The main theme of Davidson’s book (written in conjuction with Sharon Begley, I might add) is the concept of Emotional Style. Early on he presents a series of short questionnaires by which the reader may assess his or her own emotional style. It’s certainly enough to get a taste for the concept, but I suspect that a longer questionnaire would yield more accurate results.

    In any event, the questionnaire is also avaiable online via the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, so you can check it out for yourself (there are only 30 questions) and let me know what you think:

    https://www.facebook.com/investigatinghealthyminds/app_320433878002397

    I’ll leave you this week with another TED video, this time a 2012 talk on “The Power of Vulnerability” from University of Houston professor Brene Brown:

    Enjoy!

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening, so until then….

    Metta,
    Tim


  205. REMINDER — 5/14/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group meets tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 at First Parish. I’m on the schedule to facilitate the practice this week.

    There are a couple of local-ish events on the docket for this coming Saturday, May 18:

    IMCN instructor Ted Jones will be in Newburyport to offer a morning (10am-12:30pm) “Intro to Insight Meditation Retreat for Beginning and Newer Students”:

    “Insight meditation is a time tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. During this retreat we will explore how to calm and steady the mind and see with more clarity into our lives. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn to touch and live in the moment. Although this retreat is designed for beginners, all are welcome.”

    http://www.imcnewburport.org

    Also on Saturday, Narayan Liebenson Grady will be at Cambridge Insight to offer a day-long (10am-4pm) workshop entitled “Learning How to Live, Learning How to Die”:

    “The Buddha encouraged the frequent contemplation of aging, sickness and death. Such meditation, concerned with intimate understanding of the great matter of life and death, can help us face and master our fears. It can also help us more fully appreciate the preciousness of a life inspired and guided by Dharma practice.”

    To register, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    A couple of short (10-12 min.) videos came to my attention this week that actually dovetail quite nicely.

    The first — “Befriending Your Mind, Befriending Your Life: Mindfulness and the Endless Adventure of Growing into Yourself” — is part of a longer series featuring, it seems, featuring Jon Kabat-Zinn:

    I’ll definitely have to track down the rest of the series at some point.

    The second video is a TEDx talk given by Yale neuroscientist and addiction specialist Judson Brewer entitled “You’re Already Awesome. Just Get Out of Your Own Way!”. A very interesting and well-presented look at “flow” and craving and the fun things that one can do with fMRI:

    Something else that really resonated for me this week was this short NPR piece by University of Rochester astrophysicist Adam Frank, “Noticing: How to Take A Walk in The Woods”:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2013/05/09/178467726/noticing-how-to-take-a-walk-in-the-woods?sc=emaf

    Of course I’d add that it’s just as important to turn the quality of noticing inward as well as as outward.

    Those of you who were able to come to meditation last Tuesday may remember a brief discussion regarding two books about the Dalai Lama. The titles recommended by Gabriela and Ajahn David respectively are “The Wisdom of Compassion: Stories of Remarkable Encounters and Timeless Insights” by His Holiness with the assistance of Victor Chan:

    http://www.amazon.com/Wisdom-Compassion-Remarkable-Encounters-Timeless/dp/1594487383/ref=la_B001K8J0FC_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1368464253&sr=1-1

    Ajahn David highly recommends “Transforming the Mind: Teachings on Generating Compassion”:

    http://www.amazon.com/Transforming-Mind-Teachings-Generating-Compassion/dp/B000BTH58K/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1368464346&sr=1-1&keywords=transforming+the+mind

    In somewhat local news, the Taunton Gazette provides an update on the progress on “the $60 million Wat Nawamintararachutis Thai Temple and Meditation Center” located in Raynham. Quite the undertaking, to say the least!

    http://www.tauntongazette.com/news/x1424275413/Exterior-work-nearly-complete-on-Raynham-Buddhist-temple

    And finally this week, I leave you with “Bearly Zen”:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/bearly-zen

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomororw evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  206. on May 6, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Reply Tim Little

    REMINDER — 5/7/13

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:030 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Ajahn David will rejoin us this week for May’s First Tuesday.

    There are a couple of noteworthy events coming up this Saturday, May 11.

    Rebecca Bradshaw, guiding teacher of the Insight Meditation Center of the Pioneer Valley, will visit IMC Newburyport for a day-long retreat (9am-5pm) exploring “Mindfulness of Emotions”:

    “During this retreat, we will explore how to connect with emotions using awareness and kindheartedness, learning through our own practice how to disentangle from afflictive mind states and how to nurture beautiful mind states.”

    To register please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Meanwhile, George Mumford will be at CIMC to offer a workshop entitled “Heart of the Matter”:

    “All transformation begins with an intense, burning desire to be transformed. The first step in the ‘renewing of the mind’ is desire. You must want to be different [and intend to be] before you can begin to change yourself.

    “This workshop will explore and discuss the practice of Insight Meditation and its role in Getting to the Heart of the Matter, the energy needed for transformation. The workshop will include meditation, discourse, discussion and question and answer segments.”

    https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    You can read a short profile of George here, by way of Tricyle:

    http://www.tricycle.com/-life/buddhist-life-george-mumford

    And Rebecca’s bio, by way of IMCPV:

    http://insightpv.org/insight-pv-teachers/

    And finally this week, I’ll leave you with Chris Talbot’s feature for the April edition of the BCBS Full Moon Insight Journal. In his feature, Chris provides a broad recap of the conference on “secular Buddhism” held recently at BCBS. All in all it sounds like it was a fascinating and wide-ranging discussion:

    http://www.bcbsdharma.org/insight-journal/

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  207. REMINDER — 4/30/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Please join us **after you vote** in tomorrow’s primary election. Carrie will lead the practice this week.

    It’s a fairly quiet week on the events front, with one notable exception being the second installment of Newton Community Education’s Spring Mindfulness lecture series. (Somehow I missed last week’s inaugural forum “Mindfulness: At Work for You”.)

    This Thursday evening, May 2, corporate mindfulness guru Mirabai Bush will be in Newtown to talk about “Working with Mindfulness”:

    “Mirabai Bush will share her experiences of introducing mindfulness practices into diverse business and nonprofit workplaces and lead discussion with participants. She will also teach mindfulness practices adapted for the workplace, including sitting practice to cultivate attention, insight, and a calm, centered presence as well as compassion practice to increase self-awareness and awareness of others. She will share exercises she helped to develop at Google for their company-wide program, Search Inside Yourself, including mindful emailing and mindful listening. Appropriate whether you have never tried a mindfulness practice or have been practicing for years.”

    To register, please visit https://registration.xenegrade.com/nce/courseDisplay.cfm?schID=2814

    Providing some counterpoint to Mirabai’s talk is this recent article in the Canadian newsweekly Macleans. Anne Kingston explores the tensions between proponents of “mainstream mindfulness” and those who are wary of watering down the traditions from which the practices are derived:

    http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/04/21/the-battle-for-buddha/

    I recently came across a short, interesting interview on Tricycle.com with journalist John-Paul Flintoff, author of the new book “How to Change the World”:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/how-change-world-without-getting-really-depressed-interview-john-paul-flintoff

    A short excerpt on “purposeful action” suggests the book will be one worth looking into:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/purposeful-action-how-change-world

    And I’ll wrap things up this week with Harvard scientist Sara Lazar’s recent TEDxCambridge talk (~9 min.) on “How Meditation Can Reshape Our Brains”:

    http://www.tedxcambridge.com/thrive/sara-lazar/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow!

    Metta,
    Tim


  208. REMINDER — 4/23/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon…. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Judi will facilitate the practice this week.

    So much can change in just of a few hours, let alone over the course of a week. It was shortly after I sent last week’s e-mail that an unfathomable act of violence turned what was a celebration of triumph into a horrible tragedy. Altogether five individuals lost their lives in that moment and in the week that followed, and the life trajectories of hundreds of others were abruptly and irrevocably redirected. We all bear the burden of having witnessed — directly or indirectly — the truths of impermanence, sickness, and death.

    Yet we also had the opportunity to witness a great outpouring of compassion in response to suffering: first responders coming to the immediate aid of the wounded; medical professionals doing their best under unprecedented circumstances; law enforcement officers doing their duty with tremendous courage; communities coming together in a show of solidarity and support.

    Individually we may experience a complex of emotions: fear, anger, and sadness for sure; perhaps even joy that somehow, serendipitously our own loved ones were spared. As I mentioned to the small group that gathered last Tuesday, I found a tremendous amount of gratitude for this practice of meditation. Not only does meditation help me to weather the storms of my own mind, but the practice is a gift that I can offer to others, in some small way making the experience of this world a little less burdensome. We may never be able to put an end to the kind of senseless violence to which we bore witness last week, but — to paraphrase the familar verse from the Dhammapada — only non-hatred and non-delusion will move us any closer in that direction.

    As life begins to return to normal — or at least the new “new normal” — I am very happy to remind you of a special event at IMCN this Sunday, April 28. Larry Rosenberg will be on hand to offer a morning retreat, followed by a potluck lunch and afternoon dharma talk on “Where Is Peace to be Found? The Urgency of Self-Discovery”. To register please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Toni Bernhard recently shared a couple of blog posts on the Psychology Today website. The first is a reprise of a 2011 article on “How to Cope with Personal and Global Uncertainty”; the second is a collection of some favorite quotations in “Tapping in to Self-Compassion to Help Ease Everyday Suffering”:

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/turning-straw-gold/201108/how-cope-personal-and-global-uncertainty

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/turning-straw-gold/201304/tapping-self-compassion-help-ease-everyday-suffering

    Last Thursday, in response to the events earlier in the week, Tibetan teacher and 2005 Boston Marathon runner Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche offered this short (5 min.) compassion and lovingkindness meditation:

    http://shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=32690

    And finally — and in some ways quite fittingly — Gina Sharpe’s Tricycle.com online retreat draws to a close this week by granting forgiveness to those whom we believe have harmed us. The short preview video can be found here:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/final-week-gina-sharpes-retreat-granting-forgiveness

    That is all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening and thank you all for your continued practice.

    Metta,
    Tim


  209. REMINDER — 4/16/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon; happy Tax/Patriots’ Day! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. I’ll facilitate the practice this week.

    This Saturday, April 20, Larry Rosenberg will lead an “intensive” day-long retreat at Cambridge Insight for anyone with at least two years of practice experience:

    “This is a day of meditation ‘without toys.’ There are no meditation instructions, no words of encouragement, no Dharma talks and no interviews. This style of practice is not meant to devalue other forms; simply to learn the value of a day of utter silence and simplicity. The retreat will conclude with an opportunity to discuss the experiences of the day with Q&A.”

    Then on Sunday, April 21, Phillip Moffitt (author of “Dancing With Life” among other titles) will be at CIMC to offer a benefit workshop on “The Four ‘Enobling’ Truths:

    “The Four Noble Truths are not just to be known, they are to be lived. It is this key understanding that provides the opening for us to choose non-suffering over suffering. As we apply the Four Noble Truths to our daily lives, we can respond to the stresses, disappointments, and longings we experience in a manner that is truly ennobling. The program for this half-day workshop will be split between meditation practice and an exploration of teachings that show us how to apply the Four Noble Truths as a basis for living with authenticity and intentionality.”

    To register for either event, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    The following Saturday, April 27, Larry will be up at IMC Newburyport to offer his annual spring retreat. The morning practice will be followed by a pot-luck lunch and Larry’s afternoon dharma talk on the topic “Where Is Peace to Be Found? The Urgency of Self-Discovery”.

    In the meantime, IMCN will host Matthew Daniell’s morning retreat on “Waking Up Your Life” for newer students this Saturday, April 20:

    “As the business and stresses of life take their toll on us we can feel as if we are not fully alive and awake. Life is happening, but we are not fully present for it and thus we suffer. In this retreat geared toward beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will explore simple meditative attitudes and methods to learn to touch a sense of calm, connectedness, and ease in the immediacy of our lives. The Buddha was described as someone who was ‘awake’; come and explore for yourself how to become more fully awake and alive to the fullness of your life.”

    Register for either of the IMCN events at http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Gina Sharpe’s online “Forgiveness” retreat at Tricycle.com enters week three; this week’s teaser video has just been posted:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/third-week-gina-sharpes-retreat-asking-forgiveness

    Speaking of Tricycle, the current issue features a fascinating interview with Jeff Wilson on the particular role of place in defining the American Buddhist landscape. The full article seems to no longer be available online to the general public, but you can still read a short outtake here:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/world-places-extras-current-issue-tricycle

    In the interview Wilson specifically mentions Richmond, Virigina’s Ekoji Buddhist Sangha, a “multi-denominational community of Buddhist and Buddhist-inspired groups” who, by necessity, have found themselves sharing a single facility — with some rather interesting results.

    If anyone happens to be travelling down in the Richmond area, I imagine it would be a very interesting place to visit and/or practice: http://www.ekojirichmond.org/

    I think that’s about it for now…. I hope everyone who has today off is enjoying the holiday and not slogging through last-minute tax preparation; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow.

    Metta,
    Tim


  210. Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 at First Parish. Judi will lead the practice this week.

    This coming weekend seems to bring a full docket of dharma activity in the area:

    As previoulsy highlighted, Valley Insight will host Winnie Nazarko in a day of “The Cultivation of Kindness in Wisdom” this Saturday, April 13, at the Lebanon (NH) Methodist Church:

    http://valleyinsight.org/retreats.html

    Also on Saturday, Narayan Liebenson Grady will host a day-long (10am-4pm) retreat on “Equanimity” at Cambridge Insight Meditation:

    “Equanimity is the cultivation of a balanced heart in the midst of change. Pleasure and pain, gain and loss, fame and disrepute, and praise and blame are the experiences that all beings encounter. Equanimity makes it possible to respond to these experiences with less reactivity and with greater wisdom and compassion. In this workshop, we will focus on various ways to cultivate equanimity in our lives.”

    https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Meanwhile, Matthew Daniell will be up the road at IMC Newburyport offering “Awareness First and the Art of Daily Living” on Saturday from 9am to 5pm:

    “Often in our formal practice we are taught that in order to calm and steady the heart and mind we must get good at observing the breath, or another ‘anchor’ for our attention. Although working in this way can be very skillful, it may set up an often unconscious pattern of suffering when we don’t achieve our idealized goal in practice. Why not drop this burden, and put awareness first! In this retreat we will explore how to do this. Drawing from the teachings of the Burmese monk Ashin Tejaniya, we are encouraged to value a lightness and continuity of awareness over a preoccupation with depth in relation to any object in particular. The implications for daily living on and off retreat are immense. All levels are welcome.”

    http://www.imcnewburyport.com/offering-retreat

    (Incidentally, U Tejaniya has a great website including English-language resources, in case anyone is interested: http://sayadawutejaniya.org/teachings/)

    The teaser video for week two of Gina Sharpe’s Tricycle.com retreat on “Forgiveness” is now online, too:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/second-week-gina-sharpes-retreat-forgiving-ourselves

    As some of you may already know, renowned Thai activist, author, and “engaged Buddhist” Sulak Sivaraksa just celebrated his 80th birthday. Matteo Pistono’s profile of “Ajarn Sulak” is a worthwhile read:

    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=9,11379,0,0,1,0

    And as many of you know, Carrie and I are both big fans of Toni Bernhard’s book “How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers”. Psychology Today recently ran a short interview with Toni, who has a new book due for release this fall:

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/living-the-questions/201304/how-be-sick

    I’ll wrap up things this week as I had intended to do last week (before my computer ate my draft e-mail). I’m sure many of you may have already seen this short (4 min.) video from the folks at the Cleveland Clinic:

    “Empathy: Exploring Human Connection”:

    http://health.clevelandclinic.org/2013/03/empathy-exploring-human-connection-video/?utm_campaign=emp+empathy&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin&utm_content=130311+li+empathy&dynid=linkedin-_-emp+empathy-_-social-_-social-_-130311+li+empathy#channel=fe6d3a709eb13f&origin=http%3A%2F%2Fhea lth.clevelandclinic.org&channel_path=%2F2013%2F03%2Fempathy-exploring-human-connection-video%2F%3Futm_campaign%3Demp%2Bempathy%26utm_medium%3Dsocial%26utm_source%3Dlinkedin%26utm_content%3D130311%2Bli%2Bempathy%26dynid%3Dlinkedin-_-emp%2Bempathy-_-social-_-social-_-130311%2Bli%2Bempathy%26fb_xd_fragment%23xd_sig%3Df1218b8eff952ae%26

    Powerful stuff indeed.

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  211. REMINDER — 4/2/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Unfortunately Ajahn David is presently feeling unwell and his regular visit will most likely be postponsed until the first Tuesday in May.

    On Saturday a number of us had the privilege of being present for IMS Resident Teacher Chas DiCapua’s kind offering of a day spent in “mindfulness of the body”. It was a wonderful day of practice for me personally, and I’m sure it was appreciated by all who were able to attend. We look forward to arranging another visit by Chas as his schedule permits, likely sometime in 2014.

    In the meantime please be sure to mark you calendars and save the date for Saturday, November 2, when we will welcome IMC Newburyport Guiding Teacher Matthew Daniell for a day-long retreat at First Parish. Details will follow as the event approaches.

    As the spring begins to unfold around us, so too are offerings of the dharma coming into bloom….

    Matthew Daniell will be at IMCN this Saturday, April 6, to offer a morning (10am-1pm) workshop on “Aging, Sickness and Death as Gateways to A Fuller Life”:

    “The Buddha taught that old age, illness, and the inevitability of death can be powerful positive teachers in our lives. In this workshop we will combine discussion, reflection, and silent meditation periods to help us explore how these universal themes can actually help wake us up to a richer, more fulfilling life, now. All are welcome.”

    Then on Sunday, April 7, Kate Lila Wheeler will offer a day-long Metta/lovingkindness retreat:

    “Lovingkindness (Metta) meditation is a practice that cultivates a good heart. Based on 2,600 year old instructions given by the Buddha, this practice of repeating phrases intending good will has helped countless people over the centuries to counter inner fear, anger, confusion and isolation. In this workshop, periods of guided sitting and walking meditation will be combined with theory and optional discussion, as we explore new ways of nourishing ourselves and others through the power of wishing well for ourselves and others.”

    For information on either event, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also this weekend, April 6 and 7, Narayan and Michael Liebenson Grady will offer a two-day non-residentential retreat at CIMC. To register, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Looking a bit further ahead, CIMC will also host Phillip Moffit for a special benefit workshop on “The Four Enobling Truths” on the morning of Sunday, April 21:

    “The Four Noble Truths are not just to be known, they are to be lived. It is this key understanding that provides the opening for us to choose non-suffering over suffering. As we apply the Four Noble Truths to our daily lives, we can respond to the stresses, disappointments, and longings we experience in a manner that is truly ennobling. The program for this half-day workshop will be split between meditation practice and an exploration of teachings that show us how to apply the Four Noble Truths as a basis for living with authenticity and intentionality.”

    Registration is also open for Valley Insight’s one-day retreat on “The Cultivation of Kindness and Wisdom” offered in Lebanon, NH, on Saturday, April 13, by IMS and Forest Refuge teacher Winnie Nazarko: http://valleyinsight.org/retreats.html

    Tricycle.com’s online retreat for the month of April is on “The Power of Forgiveness: Forgiving Ourselves and Others” featuring NYIMC co-founder Gina Sharpe. The retreat is available to Tricycle’s Supporting and Sustaining Members, but a short teaser video can be found here: http://www.tricycle.com/blog/new-online-retreat-power-forgiveness-forgiving-ourselves-and-others

    As most of you know, I was fortunate to be able to spend quite a bit of time in formal practice this past month. My own personal “March madness” began with a weekend workshop on “Developing Discernment” with with Thanissaro Bhikkhu at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, followed shortly thereafter by a study retreat on the Brahma Viharas with Christina Feldman and John Peacock at IMS. It will still take me quite a bit of time to fully process the vast amount of information presented, but each was a wonderful opportunity to be steeped in the both the theory and practice of the dharma.

    As a bit of a taste of what was on offer, Than Geoff presented this hour-long dharma talk at the Downtown New York Meditation Community shortly following his visit to BCBS (courtesy of Tricycle.com): http://www.tricycle.com/blog/refuge-dharma-dharma-talk-thanissaro-bhikkhu

    I will then leave you with John Peacock’s essay (in two parts) on “Mindfulness and the Cognitive Process” from the June and August 2012 issues of the BCBS Full Moon Insight Journal. Again, a lot of information, but really interesting stuff:

    http://www.bcbsdharma.org/2012-06-05-insight-journal/

    http://www.bcbsdharma.org/2012-8-31-insight-journal/

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,

    Tim


  212. REMINDER — 3/26/13 meditation group

    Greetings all,

    This is your reminder for meditation practice at First Parish Chelmsford, tomorrow, Tuesday March 26 at 7:30 (we usually go until 9:30). Gabriella will be leading the practice this week.

    Next Saturday, March 30, is our Sangha day-long retreat with Chas DiCapua, resident teacher at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre. Please come if you can — it’s a wonderful opportunity! You should bring something for lunch. You can RSVP to Tim at grommit_2000@yahoo.com

    I had some sad news this weekend, as we all do from time to time. My brother Martin passed away unexpectedly from a choking accident. He was 69 years old, and had a difficult life and a sweet heart.

    His death reminds me of the opportunity of what Buddhists call this precious human birth. I don’t entirely know the effect this will have on my life. I think and hope it will soften my heart even more than growing up with him already has, especially towards people with mental illness. And I hope it will act to set my hair on fire to practice to live more fully in this incarnation, with no knowledge or expectation of any other incarnation. We are always ‘Living in the Light of Death’ as Larry Rosenberg’s book title so aptly says. We just keep forgetting.

    A friend sent me the link below when I sent her the news. It’s a Hindu site, but gives a nice account of the end of the Buddha’s life as told in the suttas. It is interesting and uplifting.

    http://www.hinduwebsite.com/buddhism/messagetodisciples.asp

    I hope you will let this reflection lend some joy to your day — strange thought perhaps, but, although my brother has died, I have not, and you have not, and we still live in a world that offers many opportunities for joy in this spring season.

    Metta to each of you and all beings,
    Brenda


  213. REMINDER — 3/19/13 meditation group

    Greetings one and all, I am pinch hitting for Tim on the email, as he and Carrie are off on a ‘Brahma Vihara’ retreat out in Barre.

    This week Gabriela will be leading the practice, starting, as usual, at 7:30 pm in the chapel at First Parish Chelmsford.

    Tim left these offerings.

    Cambridge Insight Meditation Center offers a day-long ‘no-frills’ retreat this Saturday (3/23/2013) with Larry Rosenberg. He suggests at least 2 years of practice. This is the URL with more information: https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Also on Saturday 3/23/2013, Newburyport Insight Meditation Center is offering a day-long retreat on ‘Breath’ with Chas DeCapua. More information can be found at:
    http://www.imcnewburyport.com/

    We are very fortunate to have these 2 wonderful centers so close. If you would like to browse for upcoming events and offerings, these are the websites:

    http://www.imcnewburyport.com/
    http://cimc.info/

    **************************************************************************************************
    AND!

    We are very fortunate to be hosting our own day-long retreat right at First Parish led by Chas DiCapua on Saturday, March 31. Please contact Tim (grommit_2000@yahoo.com) or Brenda (brogers1926@hotmail.com) for more info, or to RSVP. What an opportunity!

    *************************************************************************************************

    Hope to see you Tuesday!

    Brenda


  214. REMINDER — 3/12/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie will lead the practice this week.

    I’ll start off again this week with a request to please RSVP by March 22 if you are planning to attend our day-long retreat with Chas DiCapua on Saturday, March 30:

    https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/mindfulness-of-the-body-a-day-of-insight-meditation-with-chas-dicapua/

    Those of you who have been with the group for a while will recall Doreen Schweizer, Abhaya’s friend and CDL classmate who has been so supportive of us over the years. I just received word yesterday, by way of a touching tribute in the Valley Insight Newsletter, that Doreen’s ninety-six year-old mother passed away on March 3. I hope you will join me in holding Doreen and the extended Schweizer family in your thoughts this week.

    In somewhat brighter news, Valley Insight is offering a day-long retreat at Lebanon (NH) Methodist Church on Saturday, April 13. The guest teacher for the retreat is Winnie Nazarko:

    ——————————————————————————————————————————
    Time: 9:30 am – 4 pm
    Place: Lebanon Methodist Church, 18 School Street, Lebanon, NH
    Teacher: Winnie Nazarko
    Topic: The Cultivation of Kindness and Wisdom

    Winnie Nazarko started dharma practice 30 years ago, asking, ‘Why does
    there have to be suffering in the world?’ A graduate of the Insight
    Meditation Society/Spirit Rock Teacher Training Program, she teaches
    to help individuals realize their full potential for clarity, balance,
    kindness and wisdom. Winnie teaches with Joseph Goldstein during the
    IMS 3-month retreat, is a teacher at the Forest Refuge, and has taught
    with Jack Kornfield at Kripalu.

    Listen or download one of Winnie’s talks “Seeing the Good” on
    Dharmaseed at http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/315/?page=2

    There will be silent periods of sitting and walking meditation and
    dharma reflections from the teacher. This retreat is appropriate for
    meditators of all experience levels. Winnie will be offering
    instructions in two primary practices, insight meditation and
    loving-kindness meditation.

    Registration and other details will be posted on VIMS’ website in
    mid-March, http://valleyinsight.org/
    ——————————————————————————————————————————-

    Somehwat closer at hand, Michael Liebenson Grady and Sara Schedler will be at Cambridge Insight this Saturday, March 16, for a day-long Beginner’s Workshop:

    https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Coming up in late April/early May is the latest in Newton Community Education’s “Mindfulness” lecture series. The theme for the spring 2013 series of talks is “Mindfulness in Business and at Work” featuring Mirabai Bush among others. For more information, please visit https://registration.xenegrade.com/nce/courseDisplay.cfm?schID=2812

    And finally this week I’d like to leave you with a recent two-part Buddhist Geeks podcast (each about 20 minutes) featuring Ted Meissner, Exective Director of the Secular Buddhist Association and host of the Secular Buddhist podcast. Meissner and Geeks’ host Vincent Horn seem to enjoy a very interesting conversation:

    http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2013/02/bg-278-secular-buddhism/

    http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2013/03/bg-279-finding-authority-outside-of-tradition/

    Don’t hestiate to check out the newly-revised Buddhist Geeks webste, too:

    http://shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=31815

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  215. REMINDER — 3/5/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Ajahn David will be on hand for his monthly visit.

    To begin with, I just want to remind everyone of our upcoming day-long retreat with Chas DiCapua on Saturday, March 30. Please be sure to RSVP to me by March 22 if you plan to attend:

    https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/mindfulness-of-the-body-a-day-of-insight-meditation-with-chas-dicapua/

    A little closer at hand, Michael Liebenson Grady is offering a day-long of his own this Saturday, March 9, at CIMC:

    https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    The latest issue of IMS’s Sangha News features a short (~10 min.) conversation between Executive Director Bob Agoglia and long-time teacher Kamala Masters, discussing in particular “Practical Wisdom for Everyday Mindfulness”:

    http://dharmaseed.org/talks/audio_player/99/18454.html

    Finally this week, for those of you who have not already seen this short video (~20 min.), I strongly recommend giving it a viewing. While not specifically “Buddhist” it does feature Zen teacher David Loy, who was a strong early influence on my practice:

    http://www.upworthy.com/some-strange-things-are-happening-to-astronauts-returning-to-earth?g=3

    Many thanks to Brenda for bringing this to my attention!

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow night!

    Metta,
    Tim


  216. REMINDER — 2/26/13 meditation group

    Good morning! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. This week I’m very happy to welcome Judi to the role of practice facilitator.

    The last Tuesday in February marks the anniversary of the night Carrie and I first attended a “mindfulness meditation for caregivers” class offered by a hospice chaplain out of her workspace in downtown Lowell. It was thus seven years ago that we first met Abhaya Kopka, recently returned to the East Coast following a number of years living in California. That evening it was just Abhaya, Carrie, myself, and Dr. Stephen Fisher — a local psychologist, meditation practitioner, and friend of Abhaya’s — who gathered in an office suite on Middle Street for what was my initial foray into formal meditation practice.

    I had serendipitously stumbled upon a listing for the class a few weeks earlier by way of the website of the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California, which I had naturally Googled up while searching for “local” meditation groups. In fact, the listing was one of several by graduates of Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leader (CDL) program, a number of whom had subsequently established classes and workshops across the country in their respective communities.

    The group grew steadily during the first year, especially following the summer meditation course that Abhaya offered at First Parish in Chelmsford. Unfortunately, the following winter Abhaya was diagnosed with a medical condition that would at least temporarily preclude her further teaching. As such it was left to us, her students, to keep the group going in a peer-guided format. To be sure, we had the support and encouragement of Abhaya’s Spirit Rock friends, most notably Doreen Schweizer, Abhaya’s CDL classmate, who on a couple of occasions trekked down from Lebanon, New Hampshire, to help out with teaching. (It is Doreen to whom we owe thanks for introducing the practice of Pali chanting to begin an evening’s meditation.)

    It was also around this time that I was fortunate to discover a local monastery practicing in the Thai Forest tradition of Theravada Buddhism — one of the foundational influences for Abhaya’s mentor Jack Kornfield and the other Western teachers who founded Spirit Rock and, previously, the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. And so it was with Abhaya’s blessing that I approached Ven. Ajahn Mangkone, then Abbot of Wat Buddhabhavana in Westford, inviting him join us as a guest teacher. In fact is was the American-born Vice Abbot, Ajahn David Chutiko, who became our regular teacher; we are very grateful for the continued generosity of his teaching on the first Tuesday of each month.

    In the years that have followed, our sangha has continued to evolve. One constant, however, has been the format as first established by Abhaya: a period of formal meditation practice, followed by a “check-in” and finally a dharma offering from the evening’s facilitator (what I like to somewhat cheekily refer to as “show-and-tell”).

    Of these, to me the most important — dare I say sacrosanct — is the check-in: it is during this process that the experiences of the evening’s meditation are “digested”. However, it is also during the check-in that the integrity of the group is most at risk: the parameters of confidentiality and no “cross-talk” exist to create a place of refuge within which each person can share sometimes intimate observations about his or her practice. When those parameters are violated — regardless of the intention — it can jeopardize that essential sense of safety. For each of us as we listen, the check-in is an opportunity to be curious about and reflect upon our own inner experience rather than be drawn out by the narrative presented by the person speaking.

    Of course each of us is human, imperfect by definition. And as Ajahn Chah used to say, “everything teaches us” — especially our mistakes and missteps. On the whole I feel justified in being proud of the integrity of our sangha, and I know that Abhaya is encouraged by and encouraging of the good work that we do together for a couple of hours each Tuesday evening. And so it is with deep gratitude that I acknowledge each of you as the stewards of that refuge, and I look forward to continuing to share that safe space with you in the weeks, months, and years to come.

    Returning now to our regularly scheduled business….

    On Saturday, March 2, IMCN will host a day-long retreat on “Freedom, Here and Now” led by Doug Phillips:

    “Using the familiar forms of sitting and walking we will inquire into how we are bound and how we are set free in each moment; our common human nature to fall asleep and wake up without choice; and how to increasingly notice our true nature underlying and suffusing it all.”

    For more information, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    As some of you may have already seen, last week the Nour Foundation posted a series of featured video excerpts from a panel discussion on “The Science of Mindfulness” featuring Richie Davidson, Jon Kabat-Zinn, and Amishi Jha. The excerpts are each about 5 minutes long, with the full discussion clocking in at just over an hour. Really fascinating stuff:

    “How Mindfulness Can Help Prisoners” (~2min)

    “Jon Kabat-Zinn Defines Mindfulness” (~5min)

    “Mindfulness Practice and the Brain” (~5min)

    “How Does Mindfulness Reduce Stress?” (~5min)

    “Can Mindfulness Reduce our Resilience to Stress?” (~6min)

    “Is Mindfulness A Spiritual Practice?” (~5min)

    “Can Mindfulness Training Benefit Soldiers in Combat?” (~6min)

    “Is The Mind-Body Connection Scientific?” (~5min)

    “Is There A Science of Happiness?” (~5min)

    “Becoming Conscious: The Science of Mindfulness” (~1hr 15min)

    And finally, as the month of February draws to a close so too does Sharon Salzberg’s online retreat at Tricycle.com. The final video (~1min) from this retreat returns to a theme near and dear to Sharon’s heart: lovingkindness.

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/lovingkindness-final-week-sharon-salzbergs-retreat

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow!

    Metta,
    Tim


  217. REMINDER — 2/19/13 meditation group

    Good morning! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. I’ll be facilitating the practice this week.

    Meditation Month continues apace at Tricycle.com. The latest teaser video — on “Mindfulness and Emotions” — from Sharon Salzberg’s online retreat is available and worth a quick look-see:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/mindfulness-and-emotions-third-week-sharon-salzbergs-retreat

    Mindfulness consultant Andy Puddicombe, whose TED video “10 Mindful Minutes” I recommended back in January, offers some practical suggestions for exploring emotions in this Tricycle.com blog post:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/meditation-month-exploring-emotions-andy-puddicombe

    Earlier this month, Tricycle featured an excerpt from Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s (aka Than Geoff) new book “With Each and Every Breath: A Guide to Meditation” (available here as a free PDF: http://www.dhammatalks.org/ebook_index.html#eachandeverybreath). The “committee of the mind” is a recurring metaphor in Than Geoff’s teaching which he presents in the following article:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/meditation-month-excerpt-committee-mind

    Tricycle editor James Shaheen also offers a favorite bit of advice on establishing a regular meditation practice:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/meditation-month-day-13-get-thee-cushion

    (Andy Olendzki’s notes on the referenced sutta can be found here and are well worth a quick read in their own right: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn47/sn47.010.olen.html)

    There are a couple of local dharma events coming up on Saturday, February 23:

    Larry Rosenberg will be at Cambridge Insight to offer a one-day meditation retreat (9am-5pm):

    https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Meanwhile, Chas DiCapua will be up at IMC Newburyport to offer a day-long retreat on “Mindfulness of the Body”:

    —————————————————————————————————————————-
    The body is the first foundation of mindfulness that the Buddha offered as a meditation technique to bring an end to suffering. In this day long retreat, we will explore the various meditations on body from the Satipatthana Sutta (Foundations of Mindfulness) in both sitting and walking meditation. This retreat is suitable for both beginning and ongoing meditation students. People fairly new to practice may find these teachings and meditation techniques helpful. If you have not sat a day long retreat yet, this would be a good first one for you.
    —————————————————————————————————————————-

    http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Don’t worry if you’re not able to make it, however, as Chas will undoubtedly cover much of the same material at our upcoming day-long retreat on March 30:

    https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/mindfulness-of-the-body-a-day-of-insight-meditation-with-chas-dicapua/

    For those up for a bit more of a challenge, Vincent and Emily Horn will be starting an 8-week virtual “Life Retreat” beginning March 11. For more information, please visit http://www.liferetreat.me/integrating-practice-and-life/

    And I’ll wind things down this week with a recent CBS News feature on Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan’s ongoing Mindful Nation initiative (~3 min.):

    http://www.mindful.org/news/cbs-special-on-tim-ryan-scheduled-to-air-for-inauguration?goback=%2Egde_760027_member_213087075

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow night!

    Metta,
    Tim


  218. REMINDER — 2/12/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon; I hope everyone has emerged from “Nemo” unscathed. The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow evening from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish; Brenda will be this week’s facilitator.

    The first order of business is to correct the link I sent last last week regarding our one-day retreat with Chas DiCapua on Saturday, March 30. (Thanks to Carrie for the heads-up!)

    https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/mindfulness-of-the-body-a-day-of-insight-meditation-with-chas-dicapua/

    A little closer at hand, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburport this Saturday, February 16, to offer a morning (10am-1pm) workshop on compassion:

    “Compassion is described in the classic texts as ‘the quivering of the heart’ in the face of suffering. Based on ancient instruction given by the Buddha, this practice of repeating phrases with the intention to be free from suffering (for oneself and others) has helped countless people over the centuries. In this workshop, through periods of guided sitting and walking meditation, theory and discussion, we will explore for ourselves how to open our hearts in the face of suffering, finding inner strength and authentic empathy along the way. All are welcome.”

    Speaking of compassion, the “Dharma Gem of the Week” is a recently-posted TEDx talk (20 min.) by self-described “self-compassion evangelist” Kristin Neff on the space between self-esteem and self-compassion; definitely worth the time to watch:

    In other news, a few weeks back an interesting article appeared in the Asia Sentinel on “the crisis in Thai Buddhism,” highlighting some of the contemporary issues confronting monastics and laypeople:

    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=52,11302,0,0,1,0

    Another take on the meeting of tradition and modernity was highlighted in this story yesterday on NPR’s “All Things Considered”:

    http://www.npr.org/2013/02/10/171630978/wests-allure-dulls-monkhoods-luster-for-some-buddhist-reincarnations?sc=emaf

    And finally this week, as promised, the teaser video for Week Two of Sharon Salzberg’s online retreat at Tricycle.com:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/mindfulness-and-body-second-week-sharon-salzbergs-retreat

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  219. REMINDER — 2/5/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. We once again welcome Ajahn David, who recently celebrated the 17th anniversary of his ordination.

    This past Saturday, February 2, was of course Groundhog Day — with prognostication of an early Spring, per Punxatawny Phil. The 1993 movie of the same name has become a bit of an underground classic in American Buddhist circles. In 2009 Shambhala Sun contributing author Perry Garfinkel penned a profile of Harold Ramis, the movie’s director, which now reappears on the Sunspace blog:

    http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=3379

    As I mentioned in last week’s e-mail, Sharon Salzberg is teaching this month’s online retreat at Tricycle.com. You can watch the full first installment (“Concentration” ~19min.) here:

    http://www.tricycle.com/online-retreats/real-happiness-28-day-meditation-program/concentration

    I’ll post excerpts from future installments as the become available.

    This coming weekend will be a busy one at local retreat centers.

    Larry Rosenberg will offer a one-day retreat at Cambridge Insight Meditation Center on Saturday, February 9, from 9am to 5pm:

    https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Also on Saturday, Matthew Daniell will be at IMC Newburtport to offer “Waking Up to Your Life” a morning retreat for beginners:

    “As the business and stresses of life take their toll on us we can feel as if we are not fully alive and awake. Life is happening, but we are not fully present for it and thus we suffer. In this retreat geared toward beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will explore simple meditative attitudes and methods to learn to touch a sense of calm, connectedness, and ease in the immediacy of our lives. The Buddha was described as someone who was ‘awake’; come and explore for yourself how to become more fully awake and alive to the fullness of your life.”

    Then on Sunday the 10th, Kate Lila Wheeler will be joined by Jeanne Anne Whittington for “Embodied Presence” a day-long workshop of mindfulness meditation and slow yoga:

    “This workshop will support a fun, exploratory, experiential approach to the living field of our bodies. Basic yoga and meditation instructions will help us to connect with the experiential body in both stillness and movement. As we find our own connection with body experience, we will attempt to sustain that connection during slow, easy guided movement sessions as well as the traditional four meditation postures of walking, sitting, standing, and lying down. The yoga sessions will be noncompetitive, slow, and easy for as many kinds of bodies as possible. Please wear loose, comfortable clothing.”

    More information on either of IMCN’s offerings can be found here: http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Before signing off for this week, I’ll leave you with “Letting Go of What It All Means” short, insightful Sunspace blog post from Dharmapunx teacher Josh Korda:

    http://shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=31166

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim

    PS — Don’t forget about our own one-day retreat on March 30 with Chas DiCapua: http://shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=31166


  220. REMINDER — 1/29/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. Gabriela will facilitate the practice this week.

    Doug Phillips will be at IMCN from 9am to 5pm this Saturday, February 2, to offer “A Quiet Place of Rest: The Art of Opening into Life”:

    “Often we build walls to protect ourselves from inner wounds and the business of daily life, but find little rest. The Buddha taught that when we bring attention mindfully to the present moment over time we learn to calm the heart and touch a quiet place of rest inside. From this place we can then expand the boundaries of practice to include all that makes up our life in any given moment, including seeing into and through walls of resistance and pain that no longer serve us. As we learn to meet the moment in a wholehearted way we find we can touch inner quiet in the midst of business and open more fully into life. In this retreat we will explore how.”

    Please visit the IMCN website for more details on this and other upcoming events: http://www.imcnewburyport.org/

    The month of February marks what has become a bit of an annual tradition: Sharon Salzberg’s 28-day meditation challenge. You can participate via Sharon’s website: http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/realhappiness/blog

    This year the 28-day challenge concides with Tricycle’s latest online retreat featuring Sharon: http://www.tricycle.com/retreats. I’ll be sure to post links to the video excerpts as the become available.

    Of course you can always arrange your very own 28-day challenge at any time by following along with Sharon’s book “Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-day Program”: http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/realhappiness/look-inside

    Tara Brach has a new book: “True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart”: http://www.randomhouse.com/book/16999/true-refuge-by-tara-brach

    The guided reflection “Brining RAIN to Difficulty” has been excerpted from from Tara’s book and is available via the Sunspace blog:

    http://shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=31087

    Finally this week, Mirka Knaster (author of the highly recommended “Living This Life Fully: Stories and Teachings of Munindra” http://www.shambhala.com/living-this-life-fully.html) is the subject of the feature interview in the current issue of BCBS’s Full Moon Insight Journal. In the interview Knaster shares stories of her experience studying with Munindra and talks about a new scholarship at BCBS set up in honor of the late Begali teacher:

    http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=s7wricdab&v=001ERobWwfqaacQDIN7F9F7oc_SvUzAFGK6tT2GxhfwfKzVOmyWfzbMLm-YjhoAMyQMGkIIwLFrUVpW-2c3-JkB17AehPllpziMxa-_FBmMf6RtXPfo41A449fTuKfI_K4cIgSTJcMCguRiknJEAD3afA%3D%3D

    Do stay tuned for news regarding upcoming offerings from the Study Center.

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow!

    Metta,
    Tim


  221. REMINDER — 1/22/13 meditation group

    Good evening! My apologies for the lateness of this week’s reminder e-mail; the meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I’ll be the practice facilitator.

    I’ll just leave you with a quote by Joseph Goldstein that arrived in my e-mail inbox some time ago by way of DharmaCrafts:

    “From concentration comes the birth of wisdom. Meditation begins with calming the mind and collecting the attention. In addition to the feelings of restfulness and peace, the state of concentration also becomes the basis for deepening insight and wisdom. We find ourselves opening to the world’s suffering as well as to its great beauty.”

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow!

    Metta,
    Tim


  222. REMINDER — 1/15/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. This week’s practice facilitator will be Carrie.

    First, a reminder that Maddy Klyne and Ron Denhardt are offering a day-long workshop on “The Inner Critic” this Saturday, January 19, at CIMC:

    “Many of us are all too familiar with the inner critic. The judgmental mind constricts our hearts and our well-being. However, with awareness, we can see that judging is based on dislike of some aspect of experience. We can practice by bringing awareness and compassion to these thoughts and the underlying pain that drives them. In this workshop, we will explore the nature of the inner critic. We will use practice and discussion to begin to understand how judgments arise from habits, hindrances and self view and attempt to bring mindfulness and kindness to these thoughts and emotions.”

    https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    On Sunday the 20th, Lila Kate Wheeler will be up at IMCN for a day-long retreat on “Mindfulness of Mind: The Third Foundation of Mindfulness:

    “When we meditate, we often believe that our mind *should* be peaceful. Then we are disappointed when it moves around, grabbing onto thoughts, moods, or distractions. All we need to do when this happens is to notice our mind in the here and now. Is it moving or still? How are we relating to experience? This simple inquiry can unlock a sense of ease, replacing turmoil with a sense of interest and pure, non-judgmental attentiveness. Peace builds up on its own when we let the mind be natural, moment to moment, and notice how and what it’s doing instead of trying to tie it up in a box.”

    For registration and more information on events in West Newbury, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org/

    It also looks like there is still space available for the Richard Shankman/Bob Stahl retreat “Steadying the Mind, Opening to Insight” that begins at IMS on January 23:

    “Concentration is often taught as a separate practice from insight meditation. This retreat, however, will integrate concentration, mindfulness and insight into a single meditative path, using mindfulness of breathing as the foundational practice. Practicing in this way, the mind becomes more collected and centered, leading to deep states of concentration, peace, clarity and calm abiding. At the same time, awareness opens naturally into mindfulness of the body and states of the heart and the mind, revealing the Four Foundations of Mindfulness.”

    http://www.dharma.org/meditation-retreats/retreat-center/retreat-description?id=277

    At four days, this is a relatively short retreat by IMS standards, but would be a fantastic opportunity for anyone looking to do their first residential practice.

    I also have a few fun links to throw at you this week:

    First is a new TED video that’s been making the rounds recently featuring Andy Puddicombe, a former monk who has started Headspace, a UK-based project to “demystify meditation and make it applicable in everyday life”. Based on this video I’d say he’s well on his way:

    The Taunton Daily Gazette has an update on the effort to build what will be the largest Thai temple outside of Thailand. The architects’ renderings on the temple website suggest quite an impressive facility!

    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=60,11280,0,0,1,0

    And finally, I recently crossed paths again with Amita Schmidt’s fun 2009 Tricycle article “Which Buddhist Personality Type are You?” A fun read if you get the chance:

    http://www.amitaschmidt.com/documents/personality.pdf

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  223. REMINDER — 1/8/13 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow evening from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish.

    In upcoming events, on Saturday, January 19, CIMC’s Maddy Klyne and Ron Denhardt will offer a day-long workshop on “The Inner Critic”:

    ——————————————————————————————————————————

    Many of us are all too familiar with the inner critic. The judgmental mind constricts our hearts and our well-being. However, with awareness, we can see that judging is based on dislike of some aspect of experience. We can practice by bringing awareness and compassion to these thoughts and the underlying pain that drives them.

    In this workshop, we will explore the nature of the inner critic. We will use practice and discussion to begin to understand how judgements arise from habits, hindrances and self view and attempt to bring mindfulness and kindness to these thoughts and emotions.

    ——————————————————————————————————————————

    To register, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Don’t forget that there’s also still room available for Richard Shankman and Bob Stahl’s IMS retreat “Steadying the Mind, Opening to Insight”, taking place January 23-27:

    http://www.dharma.org/meditation-retreats/retreat-center/retreat-description?id=277

    It seems that both Buddhism and meditation have once again become a hot item in the popular media of late.

    Last month “The Gray Lady” — The New York Times, that is — recently featured a short op-ed invoking Sherlock Holmes in “The Power of Concentration”:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/16/opinion/sunday/the-power-of-concentration.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&ref=general&src=me&

    A few days later the Times ran a feature on the struggle of Buddhist monks to stay relevant as Thailand grows materially wealthier:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/19/world/asia/thai-buddhist-monks-struggle-to-stay-relevant.html?_r=0

    Sometime Times “Opinionator” Robert Wright recently wrote a short piece for The Atlantic Monthly answering addressing the question: Should Buddhist meditation make you happy?

    http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/12/should-buddhist-meditation-make-you-happy/266703/

    For a somewhat more in-depth conversation on this topic, I’ll refer you to a 2008 conversation recently posted online from the Buddhadharma archives. The enlightening conversation features BCBS’s Andrew Olendzki, Zen teacher Blanche Hartman, and Gaylon Ferguson, a teacher from the Tibetan tradition:

    http://archive.thebuddhadharma.com/issues/2008/spring/forum.php

    More locally and, again, more recently WBUR radio’s Anthony Brooks was joined in conversation by entreprenuer Bobby Sager to discuss Sager’s forthcoming book “Beyond the Robe” about the Science for Monks initiative. The project, as the name might suggest, endeavors to teach modern science to expatriate Tibetan monks:

    http://radioboston.wbur.org/2012/12/27/entrepreneur-bobby-sager-takes-us-beyond-the-robe

    And to wrap up this week’s media round-up, the following piece from last Thursday’s All Things Considered seems somewhat appropriate to the contemplation of impermanence:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/01/03/168567019/you-cant-see-it-but-youll-be-a-different-person-in-10-years?sc=emaf

    Finally, I want to leave you with a couple of clips from last month’s Tricycle.com online retreat, featuring Zen teacher David Loy. As some of you know, David was a key figure in my getting started on the path of Buddhist practice; over the past few years he’s developed an interest in what I would call “social dharma” — that is how things like karma can play out in a societal context. He visits some of these themes in “Transforming Self, Transforming Earth: A Buddhist Ecology”:

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/new-online-retreat-transforming-self-transforming-earth-buddhist-ecology

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/healing-oneself-healing-earth-second-week-david-loys-retreat

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/new-buddhist-story-week-three-david-loys-retreat

    http://www.tricycle.com/blog/new-bodhisattva-path-final-week-david-loys-retreat

    That’ll be it for this week; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  224. REMINDER — 1/1/13 meditation group

    Good morning! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Ajahn David will join us to “ring in” 2013 and get the new year started off on the right foot.

    In other exciting news, I am thrilled to announce that on Saturday, March 30, Chas DiCapua will join us at First Parish to offer a day-long retreat on “Mindfulness of the Body”. As most of you know, I’m sure, Chas is currently Resident Teacher at the Insight Meditaiton Society in Barre and also teaches frequently at the Insight Meditation Center of Newburyport.

    For more information on the March 30 event, visit https://kalyanamittasangha.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/mindfulness-of-the-body-a-day-of-insight-meditation-with-chas-dicapua/ and please be sure to RSVP!

    In the meantime, of course, you can listen to some of Chas’s archived dharma talks via the Dharma Seed website:

    http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/43/

    Speaking of IMS, it looks like there is still space available for “Steadying the Mind, Opening to Insight” a four-night retreat with Richard Shankman and Bob Stahl coming up at the end of January. As some of you know, I had the opportunity to attend this retreat a few years ago and highly recommend it, particularly if this would be your first time on a residential retreat:

    http://www.dharma.org/meditation-retreats/retreat-center/retreat-description?id=277

    Of course, I also strongly recommend Richard’s book “The Experience of Samadhi” for anyone who is interested in exploring the theoretical underpinnings of this particular mode of practice:

    http://www.shambhala.com/the-experience-of-samadhi.html

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone in the New Year and wish you all much peace and joy in 2013!

    Metta,
    Tim


  225. REMINDER — 12/25/12 meditation group

    Good afternoon! This is just a reminder that while there will not be an “official” meeting of the meditation group tomorrow, Brenda will be holding the space in the Chapel at First Parish for less formal — and somewhat shorter — practice starting at 7:30.

    I will keep this week’s e-mail brief, only sharing a couple of short readings that have particular personal resonance at this time of year, even if they are not explicitly Buddhist.

    First are two variatons on “A Letter to a Friend” attributed (if not conclusively) to the 15th-16th century Italian monk, Fra Giovanni Giocondo.

    I was first acquanited with the letter in the form of the poem “Take Joy!” as published in Tasha Tudor’s Chirstmas book of the same title:

    http://www.timesizing.com/2fragiov.htm

    A fuller version — perhaps truer to the “original” epistle — can be found here:

    http://www.bartleby.com/73/1467.html

    For those who are interested, more biographical details about Fra Giovanni can be found via Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giovanni_Giocondo

    The second reading is the poem “The Shortest Day” written by Susan Cooper for the Christmas Revels in 1977, and recited each year since as a part of that Yuletide celebration:

    http://jesspages.net/bestofuu/tag/susan-cooper

    And so, for now, I shall leave you with those seasonal sentiments and wish you all the blessings of holidays. Until our paths come together once again in the new year….

    Metta,
    Tim


  226. REMINDER — 12/18/12 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Sue will lead the practice this week.

    Also, just a reminder: Please let us know if you plan to attend next week’s (12/25) evening sitting with Brenda.

    Yesterday evening I had the chance to watch the hour-long award-winning 2007 documentary “Bhutan: Taking the Middle Path to Happiness”, which was broadcast on WGBH. It’s a fascinating film about the small, Himalayan country’s cultivation of “Gross National Happiness” as a guiding principal in it’s quest to balance modernization with cultural, social, and environmental wellbeing. Definitely worth a viewing if you get the chance. You can find out more about the film here:

    http://www.bhutan-film.com/

    Another film that I’m sure I’ve mentioned before but recently had a chance to see again is the classic 1979 (?) BBC documentary (about 25 minutes long) “The Mindful Way” about Ajahn Chah and the Buddhist monks of the Thai Forest tradition:

    Finally, going back a couple of weeks, a neat report from Science Daily on meditation “appearing to produce enduring changes in emotional processing in the brain”; neat stuff:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121112150339.htm

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening.

    Metta,
    Tim


  227. REMINDER — 12/11/12 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Brenda will lead the practice this week.

    I was very happy to take the opportunity to head up to West Newbury on Saturday to attend Chas DiCapua’s day-long retreat on “Karma: Understanding It Here and Now”. I was reminded of what a lovely, intimate space IMCN’s “new” facility is; in fact quite cozy at times, with about 20 people on hand for the morning, about half of whom stayed through the afternoon.

    Chas, Resident Teacher at IMS in Barre, did an excellent job of presenting karma as a natural force — like gravity — which which we can choose, from moment to moment, to align ourselves in our thoughts, words, and deeds. The aim, it seemed, was to demystify karma, making it a practical consideration in our daily lives. I was also impresssed by Chas’s skill in answering yogis’ questions during a couple of Q&A sessons amidst the periods of formal practice.

    I also had the opportunity to speak with Chas following the retreat, and I hope to invite him to lead a day-long retreat at First Parish sometime in the spring — an invitation to which he initially seems amenable. Stay tuned!

    IMCN will shorly be closing down until January, but not before Matthew Daniell wraps things up with a couple of events this week:

    First, on Wednesday, December 12, Matthew will lead an evening exploration of “Buddhist Precepts and Refuges”:

    “The classical Buddhist ‘refuges and precepts’ are known in modern language as ‘guidelines for living’. They reflect the ways in which we can develop behavior that supports our practice and the communities in which we live. Having refuges and precepts as signposts for action can help us in times of indecision and clarify how we actually live. During this evening we will explore the five Buddhist precepts, as well as the three refuges which support them. At the end of the session participants have the option of joining in their recitation as a way of deepening their practice. This evening event is open to all who have a regular meditation practice.”

    Then, on Saturday the 15th, he will lead a morning workshop on “Mindfulness Yoga and Insight Meditation”.

    For more information on either event, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also this weeked, on Saturday afternoon CIMC will offer a special event in celebratoin of Larry Rosenberg’s 80th birthday. As CIMC’s Executive Director Maddy Klyne writes:

    “As you may know, Larry is one of the founding teachers at CIMC. Twenty-seven years ago, he envisioned an urban dharma center where the teachings of the Buddha could be offered to all. Through Larry’s tireless devotion, his generous spirit, and with the help of others, CIMC has become a refuge in this busy world, and the teachings have helped alleviate the suffering of thousands of yogis over the years.

    “It is a perfect time to honor him and show appreciation for everything he has done to make CIMC what it is today So, on Saturday December 15, from 2-5 PM we will gather to celebrate Larry. There will be time for reflections and cake, and we’ll welcome a special guest at the event, Jon Kabat-Zinn.

    “At this celebration, there will be an opportunity for each of us to write a short note to Larry and also to make a heartfelt gift in any amount to CIMC’s Endowment campaign. As many of you know, we have begun to build an Endowment fund for CIMC as a way of helping to care for the teachers, for the Center, and to continue to offer dharma teachings to future generations of yogis. Larry’s birthday offers a wonderful chance to give a gift that honors his vision and contributes to the sustenance of that vision.

    “Please join us to celebrate Larry’s life of teaching and generosity to all of us!”

    Then on Sunday the 16th, Michael Liebenson Grady will offer a one-day retreat. For more on either of these, please visit https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Finally this week, for those who haven’t seen this via my LinkedIn updtes I’d like to pass along a video shared by one of my colleagues: a TedX presentation on “Gratitude” by filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg. It’s definitely worth the 10 minutes or so to watch:

    That’s all for now; I hope to see everyone tomorrow!

    Metta,
    Tim

    PS — If you are planning to join the informal meditation with Brenda on the evening of December 25, please let me know so we can keep a count. Thanks!


  228. REMINDER — 12/4/12 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Ajahn David is scheduled to join us for his monthly “First Tuesday” visit.

    Before I get into more immediate events, I want to first float a couple of scheduling thoughts by the group in anticipation of the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays coming up in just a few weeks’ time.

    As you are likely already aware, each public holiday falls on a Tuesday; my initial thought was to postpone the meditation group for those two weeks — sort of a winter hiatus — in anticipation that turn-out might be somewhat low. However, there seems to be enough interest to offer the following:

    – For Tuesday, December 25, the thought is to have more of an informal, drop-in evening meditation at First Parish — basically sitting/walking meditation practice without the formality of a check-in or our usual practice leader’s “show-and-tell”. We might even have some tea or hot cider on offer afterward. If you’d be interested in attending, please send me an e-mail to let me know so we have an idea of how many people to expect.

    – For January 1 there seems to be consensus that an evening of formal meditation practice would be an appropriate way to set foot into the new year, so the plan will be to hold to our regular schedule on the first Tuesday of 2013.

    And so, without further ado, on to events that are a bit nearer on the calendar:

    Michael Liebenson Grady will offer a day-long Beginners’ Workshop this Saturday, December 8, at CIMC. More information can be found here:

    https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Also on Saturday the 8th, Chas DiCapua will be up at IMCN offering a day-long retreat on “Karma: Understanding It Here and Now”:

    ——————————————————————————————————————————
    Often when Karma is discussed it remains on the conceptual level. During this retreat we will look at our moment-to-moment experience through the lens of the understanding of Karma. The retreat’s dharma talk will take place in the morning to offer a framework for our understanding of what it is we are noticing in our sitting and walking practice. One does not need to ascribe to a view of multiple lives or reincarnation in order to benefit from this way of understanding our experience.

    ——————————————————————————————————————————

    Then on Sunday the 9th, Matthew Daniell will offer “The Mindful Moment” a morning retreat also geared specifically for beginners and newer students:

    ——————————————————————————————————————————
    Insight meditation is a time-tested method of mind training that enables us to change our relationship to each moment’s experience, and thus our lives. In this retreat, specially designed for beginners and those with limited meditation experience, we will systematically explore (through sitting and walking meditation periods, teachings, and discussion) how to calm and steady the mind and see more clearly. As we strengthen this capacity we begin to move from suffering and reactivity to responsiveness, freshness and ease. We learn how to touch and live in the mindful moment.

    ——————————————————————————————————————————

    Please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org for more on these and other upcoming IMCN events.

    Moving along….

    As some of you may have already heard, just before Thanksgiving NPR’s “All Things Considered” aired a short piece on war veterans practising compassion meditation to help mitigate the effects of PTSD. It’s a moving story and well worth the 7-8 minutes it takes to listen:

    http://www.npr.org/2012/11/21/165667696/through-meditation-veterans-relearn-compassion?sc=emaf

    And I’ll leave you this week with “Living with Awareness” — an excerpt (via Shambhala Sun) from Bhante Gunaratana’s latest book, The Four Foundations of Mindfulness in Plain English:

    http://shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=29365

    That’s all for now!

    I hope to see everyone tomorrow evening — and please remember to let me know if you expect to attend medtation on either December 25 and/or January 1.

    Metta,
    Tim


  229. REMINDER — 11/27/12 meditation group

    Greetings all!

    This reminder is from Brenda, subbing for Tim who’s out of town.

    We will, as usual, be meeting for meditation practice Tuesday night, Nov 27 at First Parish Unitarian Church in Chelmsford Center, from 7:30-9:30 pm. Gabriella will be leading the practice.

    Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio, who is also the author of the book ‘A Mindful Nation’, is speaking tonight (Monday night) in Newton.

    The cost is $10. This is the url for registration. https://registration.xenegrade.com/nce/courseDisplay.cfm?schID=1852

    Below are links to two short videos by Congressman Ryan on why he thinks mindfulness is so important to ourselves, and even to the nation.

    http://video.pbs.org/video/2258240170

    I hope this finds you all peaceful and at ease!

    Brenda


  230. REMINDER — 11/20/12 meditation group

    Good evening! The Tuesday night meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30pm to 9:30pm in the Chapel at First Parish. I look forward to leading the practice this week.

    Given the late hour, this week’s e-mail will be somewhat briefer than usual… perhaps.

    In upcoming events, Maddy Klyne will lead a “Gratitude Gathering” at Cambridge Insight from 11am to 12:30pm on Thanksgiving Day. Participants “will share readings and reflections on gratitude and the blessings in our lives. The gathering will include a period of guided sitting meditation on gratitude and discussion. Please feel free to bring a reading. Light refreshments will follow.”

    https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Then on the evening of Monday, November 26, Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan will wrap up Newton Community Education’s “Mindfulness” series with a special presentation and signing of his book A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit. “Congressman Ryan will share the story of how he first encountered mindfulness, and what he continues to encounter and learn while travelling the country and speaking with people from all walks of life engaged in the practice and work of mindfulness.”

    For tickets and more information please visit https://registration.xenegrade.com/nce/courseDisplay.cfm?schID=1852

    A couple of weeks ago I came across the following addition to Tara Brach’s “Finding True Refuge” project and thought it was well worth sharing:

    http://shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=28370

    You can, of course, check out the gamut of videos comprising the project here:

    … and learn more here:
    http://www.tarabrach.com/findingtruerefuge/index.html

    Tara also has a new book coming out in January, True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart. It looks like it will be a good addition to any dharma library:

    http://www.amazon.com/True-Refuge-Finding-Freedom-Awakened/dp/0553807625/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=25LCLHVUDSQDS&coliid=I18AZKSV6518J7

    Anushka Fernandopulle had a nice piece published at Huffington Post a little while back called “Buddhist Meditation: Catching the Right Thought Train”; it’s definitely worth a read (via the Buddhist Channel):

    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=6,11153,0,0,1,0

    Anushka (along with Pascal Auclair) will be leading the 2013 Labor Day Weekend retreat “Uncovering Innate Freedom” at IMS:

    http://www.dharma.org/meditation-retreats/retreat-center/retreat-description?id=301

    And I’ll leave you with Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s short essay “The Agendas of Mindfulness” as the “dharma gem of the week”:

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/agendas.html

    That’s all for now…. I hope to see all of you tomorrow evening and wish everyone a happy, safe Thanksgiving holiday!

    Metta,
    Tim


  231. REMINDER — 11/13/12 meditation group

    Good afternoon! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Carrie will lead the practice this week.

    Also tomorrow evening is Lama Surya Das’ presentation “The Secrets of Tibetan Mindfulness: Nowness-Awareness is the Ultimate Therapy, Freedom, and Awakened Way of Life”, part of Newton Community Education’s mindfulness lecture series, rescheduled from October 30 due to “Superstorm” Sandy:

    ‘”If you are not here now you won’t be then,” says the American Lama. The Dzogchen masters of Tibet say that nowness-awareness is the authentic and unfabricated natural Buddha within. Mindful living is renowned as an extraordinary way of loving and more fully accepting ourselves, befriending oneself and befriending the world– opening the way for compassionate action. “Remembering to remember to catch yourself before things catch you and to choose how, when and if to respond, — rather than just blindly react–is the very essence of mindful anger management and emotional balance, equanimity, restraint and detachment.””

    For more information visit https://registration.xenegrade.com/nce/courseDisplay.cfm?schID=1849

    There also are a couple of events on the calendar at both IMCN and CIMC this coming weekend.

    Up in Newburyport, Matthew Daniell will lead a “Formal Practice as Daily Life” day-long retreat on Saturday, November 17:

    “When we treat formal practice and daily life as two distinctly separate parts of our lives, we suffer. In this retreat we will explore specific attitudes and practices that encourage us to break down this often unconscious split between formal practice and daily life. During this day of silent retreat we will use selective teachings of the contemporary Burmese monk, Sayadaw U Tejaniya, to help us wake up to our lives in a more accurate and fulfilling way, right where we are, on the meditation cushion and off of it.”

    Then on Sunday the 18th, Jim Austin leads a morning workshop of mindfulness yoga and meditation.

    For more information on each, please visit http://www.imcnewburyport.org

    Also this weekend, Narayan and Michael Liebenson Grady will lead a two-day non-residential vipassana rereat at the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center. More information on that program can be found here: https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    As some of you may know, Tricycle magazine offers monthly online retreats that feature teachers crossing the spectrum of the Buddhist traditions. Shinzen Young — who has a unique background comprising vipassana, Zen, and Shin Buddhism — was the teacher of the month for September. While the retreats themselves are limited to Tricycle community members, excerpts from the weekly videos are freely available online and are generally worth viewing in their own right.

    http://www.tricycle.com/online-retreats/what-mindfulness

    (The 30-minute introduction seems to be viewable in its entirety; 2-4 minute excerpts are available for each of the subsequent videos via the link shown above.)

    If anyone is interested in sitting with Shinzen, he has a a couple more day-long retreas on offer in 2012: Sunday, November 25, and Saturday, December 8, at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters in Waterbury, Vermont. For more infomation please check out the PDF file in the following link: http://www.shinzen.org/GMCR%20Retreat%20Information.pdf

    Thanks to the folks at Valley Insight for the heads up!

    For more information on Shinzen himself, his background and his teaching style visit his website http://www.shinzen.org

    That’s all for now; I look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow evening!

    Metta,
    Tim


  232. REMINDER — 11/6/12 meditation group

    Happy Election Day Eve! The Tuesday evening meditation group will meet as usual tomorrow from 7:30 to 9:30 in the Chapel at First Parish. Since the temperature is expected to be somewhat chilly, it might be a good idea to dress in layers for warmth. As tomorrow is, of course, the first Tuesday of November we look forwarding to welcome Ajahn David for an evening of practice and conversation.

    Ahead of tomorrow’s election and in the wake of last week’s “superstorm”, I’d just like to share “Topsy-Turvey World” a short contemplation from Zen teacher Norman Fischer by way of Shambhala Sun’s SunSpace:

    http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3959&Itemid=0

    Come what may tomorrow evening, life will go on when the sun rises (presumably) on Wednesday morning. And so there are a number of events in the coming week which may be of interest:

    On Saturday, November 10, Christopher Germer will offer a day-long workshop to benefit the Cambridge Center for Insight Meditation. The theme is “Transforming Relationships through Self-Compassion”:

    https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Then on Monday, November 12, Larry Rosenberg will offer a one-day insight meditation retreat, also at CIMC:

    https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=11692

    Meanwhile, up the road at the Insight Meditation Center of Newburyport, Matthew Daniell will lead a day-long retreat “for beginners and newer students” on Saturday the 10th; then on Sunday the 11th, Lila Kate Wheeler will be at IMCN to offer a daylong exploration of “Aging, Sickness, and Death”:

    —————————————————————————————————–
    How do we meet the reality of our impermanent bodies: with denial and fear, or tender acceptance of their mysterious, organic nature? Living means dying; no one is exempt. Buddhist practice suggests that if we can meet this fact with ultimate wisdom and kindness, we move out of the limited, defensive self into communion with all of life. Today through traditional recollections and f