passage from article: ...The comparison reveals where your habituated tendencies have been reinforced by your work environment and are pulling you out of balance. Now you know where to start. As your priorities change, you will spend time in areas you neglected and shift responsibility for things you used to do to others. People around you will react in different ways: those for whom your old ways were convenient will resist the changes, while others will welcome them. You will, inevitably, see more clearly how your work environment systemically reinforces reactivity in you and in others.
passage from article: One of the primary characteristics of learned helplessness is that the person feels passive with respect to the system. The passivity, however, is only half the story... Can learned helplessness be undone? The answer is "Yes." The cost, however, is high.
passage from article: Increasingly, money has become the only medium for exchange between people in our culture. The human part of us resists this as we feel that there is more than simply financial value in our interactions. But money is now used to determine the value of time, the value of any material article, the value of culture, the value of social programs, etc. It is this seeming willingness to measure every aspect of life in money that indicates the true extent to which we have engaged this collective thought.
passage from article: Imbalance in a relationship, whatever the basis of the relationship, inevitably leads to lack of respect on one side and resentment on the other. Relationships can and do endure periods of imbalance. Sooner or later, however, the imbalance must be addressed if the relationship is to continue.
passage from article: Deep questions about values and ethics arise around the issues of abortion, life support, and elective suicide for those with debilitating and terminal illnesses. In these and other circumstances, call up compassion so that you see clearly, go empty in all the complexities so you know what is, and in that knowing act without hesitation.
passage from article: Freedom is not a state; it is a process. It is something you are, not something you have. In freedom, there is a continual releasing of reactive material as it arises in each moment of experience.
Comments on paying homage (verse 1), intention (verse 2), what it is meant by study, reflect, and meditate/cultivate (practice 1), what is meant by 'experience has no coming and going', suffering as the result of fighting experience, traditional and internal interpretations of the eight unrestful states, the five individual advantages and the five circumstantial advantages that make practice of Dharma possible. Translated text available on the website.
Questions on previous session's content including importance of sequence in lists, how to approach a mythic cosmology in a rational culture, translation points around "spiritual heir", comments on leaving your homeland (practice 2) including the three levels of meaning (inner, outer, and secret), the need to take action, two levels of ignorance, three poisons, and the six realms; comments relying on silence (practice 3) including what it means not to engage disturbances or distractions, relationship between clear vivid awareness and confidence. Translated text available on the website.
Translation Questions: ‘forget the conventional concerns’ (practice 4) and ‘ordinary gods’ (practice 7). Reflection Questions: What is a relationship, actually? (practices 4 and 5), How do we construct a world out of thoughts, feelings, and sensations? What is the relationship between teacher and student? (practice 6), What does ‘give up bad friends’ mean? How do you work with negativity? (practice 5), What does it mean to take refuge? (practice 7). Meditation Questions: How do you work with this material in your own practice? Buddhist ethics as a description of awakened behavior vs. a prescription for how you should behave. Translated text available on the website.
Translation Questions: 'awakening mind' (practice 10), Are spaciousness and wisdom synonymous with emptiness? Reflection Questions: Does 'even if your life is at risk, don't engage in destructive actions' mean exactly that? (practice 8), What determines the morality of an action? (practice 8), What is the resistance to dying to reactive behavior? (practice 8). Note: Due to technical difficulties there are two short gaps in this recording. Translated text available on the website.
Reflection Questions, continued: What if you engage in a destructive action? (practice 8), How do you deal with a sense of rebellion about being told hold to behave? (practice 8), How do you avoid hardening to experience?, What is meant by 'this highest level of freedom is one that never changes'? (practice 9), What arises when you reflect on 'if they are still suffering, how can you be happy?' (practice 10). Note: Due to technical difficulties there is a short gap towards the end of this recording. Translated text available on the website.
Translation Questions: 'driven by desperate want' (practice 12), 'wanting your own happiness' (practice 11), 'exchange completely your happiness for the suffering of others' (practice 11). Reflection Questions: What is this 'I' that wants to be happy? (practice 11). Note: Due to technical difficulties this recording contains a few brief sections that have electronic static which couldn't be corrected. Translated text available on the website.
Reflection Questions, continued: Are desire and want okay so long as one doesn't cling to the results? (practice 11), What, if any, are appropriate boundaries in interactions with people? (practices 12 and 13), What is compassion when dealing with a thief? (practice 12), But don't you ultimately need to be happy or have a sense of well-being? (practice 11) What is the appropriate response when you are falsely accused? (practice 13) Note: Due to technical difficulties this recording contains a few brief sections that have electronic static which couldn't be corrected. Translated text available on the website.
Reflection Questions: In what circumstances is violence appropriate or warranted? (practice 13, follow-up from previous session), You say "this approach works", but what does that mean? Does it resolve situations? (practices 14 - 17), How does "experiencing what arises" end suffering? Translated text available on the website.
Reflection Questions, continued: What do you have to do to actually do this? (practices 14 - 17), How can you prevent 'coming into awareness' from becoming just another concept?, How do these practices compare with the Christian teaching of turning the other cheek? Understanding the intention of these practices (practices 14 – 17), How are we supposed to lavish our worst enemy with love when that runs so counter to what society does? (practice 14) Translated text available on the website.
Reflection Questions: Why is existence described as magnificent? (verse 19), How can I achieve balance between the two extremes described in these verses? (verses 18 & 19), How does taking and sending work? (verse 18) Translated text available on the website.
Reflection Questions, continued: Verse 19 doesn't seem directly related to taking and sending. What is the intention behind it? Why does giving things away through taking and sending feel better than regarding them as an empty experience? (verse 18), How can I maintain sufficient attention and awareness to do these practices so my patterns finally dissipate? Translated text available on the website.
Translation Questions: If the opponent inside is one's own anger, what is the opponent outside? (verse 20) Why is the word "subdue" used if we aren't suppose to fight our experience? (verse 20) What do you mean by "subject-object fixation"? (verse 22) What is meant by the word "experience" in 'whatever arises in experience is your own mind'? (verse 22) What is meant by the word "object" in 'any object that you attach to, right away, let it go'? (verse 21) When subduing anger, why are loving kindness and compassion recommended instead of patience? (verse 20) Does the word "fixation" in 'subject-object fixation' mean a hardening around the idea of self and other? (verse 22) Translated text available on the website.
Reflection Questions: What are some ways of working with anger? (verse 20), Is anger always a reactive pattern? (verse 20), Isn't there such a thing as righteous anger? (verse 20), What is vajra anger and how does it apply here? (verse 20), How do you let go of something you desire? (verse 21), Doesn't letting go of desire seem joyless? (verse 21) Translated text available on the website.
Reflection Questions: If the perspective of subject-object isn't real and we aren't to take things we enjoy or things that cause suffering as real, then what is real? (verses 22 – 24) Why does it seem easier to do taking and sending with attraction instead of aversion? (verses 23, 24). This is followed by a discussion and hands-on example of how the mind is like a mirror, the fallacy of subject-object perspectives, and the nature of reality. Note: The discussion of the first question is joined in progress. Translated text available on the website.
Reflection Questions: What makes the 'six perfections' perfections? In other words, what makes a generous act the perfection of generosity? (verses 25 – 30), How can you explain something without using an explanation? (verses 25 – 30), Is the order of the six perfections important? (verses 25 – 30), What quality permeates the perfections? (verses 25 – 30) Translated text available on the website.
Reflection Questions: What does it mean to be 'completely free of irritation or resentment'? (verse 27), What does it mean to 'pour your energy into practice'? (verse 28), What do insight, stillness, and stability refer to? (verse 29), What does it mean to be "free of the three domains"? (verse 30). Comments on the Bodhisattva Vow including the vow as intention, the vow as will, commitments at the level of intention and commitments at the level of will. Translated text available on the website.
Translation Questions: In some prayers there is a request to 'give me the energy to let confusion subside on its own.' Doesn't this contradict the line to 'constantly go into your own confusion?' (verse 31). Reflection Questions: What does it mean "not to say anything about the imperfections of others on the path"? What should you do about the harmful actions of others? (verse 32), What does it mean to let go of any investment in our families and circles of support? (verse 33), Isn't it sometimes necessary to speak in a way that upsets others? (verse 34). Comments from students on what it was like to put these verses into practice. Reminder not to view these verses as dictums on how to behave but rather to weigh them against your own experience and see if they offer a beneficial approach. Translated text available on the website.
Translation Questions: What are the three spheres? (verse 37). Reflection Questions: In previous classes, you have said not to fight experience. Why then are we being instructed to "crush reactive emotions"? (verse 35), How do you 'go into the experience' during daily activities and still function? How does practice 36 differ from being in a constant state of mahamudra? Exactly how do you direct the goodness you generate from the practices to awakening? Translated text available on the website.
Reflection Questions (continued): Are the 37 practices a description or a set of instructions? How does knowing what is happening in your own mind or own experience help others? (verse 36). Comments from students on what it was like to meditate on these practices and put them into action in daily life. (Note: There is a gap in the recording at this point due to technical difficulties.) Comments on the closing four verses and preparation for taking the Bodhisattva Vow. Translated text available on the website.
When everything is going well in life, what is practice about? Letting go of conventional concerns, finding a good teacher and the functions of teachers, the prison of patterns, refuge prayer, karma as instruction instead of karma as explanation, creating conditions so you can listen to what's inside you, the illusion of control, embracing life fully.
An in-depth discussion on: whatever arises in experience is your own mind (verse 22), let go attachment (verse 23), and when you run into misfortune look at it as confusion (verse 24). Questions from participants.
Questions from participants on meditation and prayer, knowing when to refine or change meditation practices, mindfulness and reading. Commentary on what is meant by go into your own confusion (31), undermining yourself when grumbling about others (32), squabbling undermining learning (33), and brief commentary on remaining verses. Observations from participants on what they will take away from the retreat.
Explore “Why am I here?”; become quiet enough to listen to your own heart, the “stammering voice;” initial answers usually conceptual; go deeper into your body; go beyond words and rest there; what arises brings us in touch with natural knowing present in experience.
Instructions for primary practice; primary practice: how to come into experience as it arises right now; being in the experience, as opposed to observing experience; relationship to shamatha and vipassana.
Skipping steps in the primary practice suggests ignoring or suppressing; ascent and descent; three types of shame: shame from acting inconsistently, shame from violating social norms, shame from compromising personal ideals; how do we come to terms with shame and all experiences?; four powers: regret, reliance, remedy and resolve; the impact of practice on relationships.
Three types of practices: practices of presence, of purification, and of energy transformation; relationship between primary practice and the rest of life; how to live in a way that supports spiritual practice; guidance from others is not absolute; train to recognize imbalance and move in the direction of balance; patterns create imbalance; bodhisattva vow -- an aspect is never to indulge our own confusion; open to everything all of the time.
Increasing our relationship to emotional material through practices of loving-kindness, compassion and devotion; awareness of body is key; Mahamudra pith instructions; “body like a mountain, breath like the wind, mind like the sky; heart and mind not distinct; difference between method and result; developing capacity by stopping before attention dissipates; relationship of Mahamudra to primary practice.
The effect of eye gaze in meditation; four ways of working: power (based on coercion, demands), ecstasy (connection through opening), insight (seeing into things) and compassion (being present with another’s pain or when another is in pain); which operate in our close relationships?; three bases of relationship: mutual benefit, shared aim and emotional connection.
Learning to be nobody; allowing a space for problems to resolve; answers to questions regarding compassion and taking and sending; being present in difficulty; developing capacity to be present and open to pain, negativity, even criminality; discussion of different kinds of offerings.
Understanding the rhythm of practice; with attention, peace and openness eventually arise; “Look in the resting, rest in the looking.”; summary of Ken’s approach in four principles: everything is evolving, evolution isn’t toward anything, actions have consequences, and we can’t know all of the consequences; approach life without expectation, recognize both mystery and significance in what occurs, and see what happens as part of a process.
Letting go of idealism; danger to spiritual life from institutional mindsets; counteracting with compassion; walking meditation instruction; being no one in a position of leadership; creating conditions that allow others to do what’s needed; discussion of ten methods of mind-killing and how they corrupt practice.
Advice regarding thoughts of life after retreat; importance of the four reminders: precious human existence, death and impermanence, karma and samsara; why traditionally loving-kindness practice is not to be directed at a child; primary practice; what is Mahamudra?; refreshing the mind through resting.; devotion as means of transforming energy; explanation of the guru yoga prayer, “The Magic of Faith: A Teacher Practice with Niguma.”
Speaking from direct experience as a practice of power; the importance of developing power is often ignored both in our society and in traditional Buddhist practice; shamatha is main practice for developing power; explanation of prayer “The Wisdom Experience of Ever-present Good;” investigate why you are here; look at mind, heart, body, intellect, emotions and intuitions, and open to all the answers that arise.
The “five whys” of "why am I here?" as a way to explore more deeply, moving from conceptual to emotional level; discussion of Kalu Rinpoche’s “Essence of the Dharma;” refuge as setting a direction; awakening mind; four great vows from the Zen tradition; mantras: “what protects the mind”; preparatory practices (ngondro); finding your own path.
Learning to sit in the mess; discussion of the mind-training principle: “Rely on the principal witness;” avoiding institutional mindsets; path as a process of growth; importance of sangha; more discussion of “The Wisdom Experience of Ever-present Good.”
Point of practice; paramitas; being without reference; discussion of protector principle and the relationship of protector principle to protector rituals; transmission rituals; longing can easily degenerate into greed; further discussion of “The Wisdom Experience of Ever-present Good.”
Emptiness and compassion as the two components of awakening mind; the impediment of despair; discussion of Longchempa’s advice: “Practice these two together (goodness and pristine awareness);” the notion of progress in society and spiritual life; instructions for the dispersion practice, a practice for balancing energy.
Middle way as holding both extremes in attention at the same time or “How can I experience this and be at peace at the same time?”; discussion of “Vajra Song Recognizing Mind as Guru;” spiritual path as individual exploration; learning from mistakes; letting go of inner holding; look at life as the field of practice; notice space in which experience arises.
Importance of clear intention; when translation problems arise in source material for practice, problems often result in practice; practice is developing capacity to experience whatever arises; constraints due to limits on willingness, capacity or know-how.
Practice questions: discussion of the evolution and iterative nature of the five step practice; experiencing “the mess” rather than attempting to name what arises; thought, sensation and emotion are all forms of movement in mind; notice the movement.
Modern shift in religions from transcendence toward embracing the human condition; ending reactivity so we can experience whatever arises; living with uncertainty using the four steps of standing up; acting without categories.
Meditating when in pain; distinction between being stretched and being stressed; key is not hardening against experience; overuse of the terms “samadhi” and “mindfulness”; working with reactive emotions by welcoming them; Rumis’ poem “A Guest House”; bodhichitta; practice intensely with little fanfare.
Answering questions on thoughts and “subconscious gossip”; mantras; taking and sending; obstacles in the body from experiences we were unable or unwilling to fully experience; Dzogchen and Mahamudra; dakinis; groundlessness.
Responding to questions on longing and desire; faith and refuge; vajrayana vows; Mahamudra instructions :“no placing, no reference, no missing the point” and “no distraction, no control, no working at anything;" ending wars; martial imagery; Tao Te Ching and groundlessness.
Major traditional metaphors in Buddhism include war and farming; sometimes more useful metaphors are space, weather and evolution; courage and faith needed to engage reactive emotions with loving-kindness; combining tenderness and effort.
Mahamudra, translation, and how to read texts like Tilopa’s Ganges Mahamudra; the metaphor of space; relating to thoughts and other “movements of mind” in mahamudra; looking in a different way and resting in the looking; the three kayas.
Four pitfalls of Mahamudra: making an object out of experience; thinking you can make thoughts or experience empty; thinking that naming things is enough; “buy now, pay later” -- practicing to get enlightened.
Commentary on “The Wisdom Experience of Ever-Present Good;” resting deeply; practices such as primary practice and four immeasurables to transform energy and deepen resting; natural awareness taking expression as compassion; working with comparing mind by coming back to body.
Practice of sky gazing; working with intense experiences; the five step practice (from the Anapanasati sutra); imagining experience at a distance -- and reeling it in slowly -- to attenuate painful intensity; taking and sending as a way of forming relationships with alienated aspects of ourselves; more on the three kayas.
Uchiyama’s “How to Cook Your Life” as a commentary on the four immeasurables; equanimity through seeing life as no more and no less than what we experience; building capacity to relate to life in ways that end suffering (without afflictive reactions); experiencing completely can be painful but not disturbing; joy.
Teaching as a role, not an identity; creating learning situations and deep listening; giving away positive virtues such as trust, generosity, etc.; distinguishing information and knowledge; learning how to learn; transmission; teaching as a shared aim relationship.
Recognizing and countering four forms of “mind killing” in which reactive patterns are used to induce us to act against our own interests; idol of the cave: attempts to replace our experience with others’ goals; idol of the marketplace: language is used to mislead us; idol of the theater: theories or philosophies are used to overwhelm us; idol of the tribe: more cohesion is assumed than actually exists.
Sufi teaching story: “The Story of Fire”; examples of ways traditions move away from direct experience and straightforward application in life; what do we seek in practice?; guided meditation: primary practice; expanding to include the full field of experience, and resting; discussion of uses of such an experience; explanation of reasons that traditional texts were restricted.
Meditation on “What am I searching for?”; resting in the full experience of this question; meditation: “I practice in order to be at peace with the world.” ; samsara as the chaotic process of moving among different ways of experiencing different worlds; “I” as a narrative that is constructed in order to give a semblance of rational consistency to this chaotic process.
Fascination with tools we develop in practice; skandha map; human tendency to worship; honor and appreciation toward those who show us something valuable; discussion of Pure Lands; falling into worship, moving into projection and away from living awake.
Wisdom; meditation: observing what changes when we rest and relax with a problematic experience; experiencing what is actually arising and being at peace at the same time; spiritual opening as memory, idea, belief; beliefs vs ideology; compassion; emptiness as the means to compassion; compassion and ideology.
Identifying what you want to do and what prevents you from doing it; how attention causes one to focus and create results; lack of willingness, know-how, and capacity as a framework for understanding what prevents things from happening
Interest in understanding things; persistence that continues after exploration; close attention to genesis and causation (and the difference between the two); creativity in framing questions (and reversing the six forms of mind-killing as a way to develop them)
An exercise on understanding the distinction between what you actually want and what you're asking for; particpants' reaction to exercise; how relating directly to experience through awareness leads to being more awake and alive; What do I stand for?; attend, intend and commit
How to attend: gathering information (internal and external), check for balance; How to intend: get a symbol, generate possibilities; How to commit: take action (even a small action), keep cycling, watch signs, stay in touch with body and feelings, think evolution; participants' comments; reminder to stay in your own experience
The problem: money drives the way we understand ourselves. Aim of financial model is to see experience through projection of money; aim of Buddhism is to experience what arises without projection; three bases of relationship: mutual benefit, shared aim, emotional connection; all forms of idealism involve avoidance of some form of suffering; when money is regarded as the problem, something else is being ignored; Questions: What are you asking for? What do you want? What does money symbolize to you?
What generates the problem? Confusion about money points to confusion about what we value in our lives; when you see things in terms of money, you are inevitably in one of the six realms; guided meditations: survival, getting emotional needs met, and self-image; intention versus self-image; valuing what can be taken away places life in other people's hands.
Possible directions towards a solution. The world of shared experience and the world we actually experience; money exists in the world of shared experience and of materialism; definition of materialism; comparison of the bases of life in world of materialism and world of well-being; comparison of spiritual ideal and being fully alive; Questions: What would you do with your life if you knew you would die in one year? If you were free from trying to get your emotional needs met? If you weren't concerned with being somebody?
Theoretical and practical concepts of what might be done. Traditional Buddhist method of The Noble Eightfold Path; footnote on the word "right"; four bases of success – curiosity, persistence or enthusiasm, understanding of genesis and conditions, creativity in framing questions; seven steps of manifestation; Questions: What am I going to do next week? Next month? Next year?
Dismantling patterns using a process based on the four noble truths (from Awakening From Belief 11), working with patterns that prevent behavioral changes, how to deal with physical sensations that may arise when working with patterns.
Demystifying ideas around karma (from Awakening From Belief 2), questions on whether karma from previous lives impact this life, karma and the death of children, and is there such a thing as burning off bad karma.
An exchange on working the edge in one’s practice (from Releasing Emotional Reactions 4), questions on feeling tones that aries from practice, how does one find the edge in practice, how to remedy a lack of intention, working with the intention to be present.
Questions on is there difference between rest and observe during meditation, dealing with distractions during meditation, working with clarity when meditating and working with emotions when meditating.
A discussion on distinguishing between active and passive awareness, questions on what to do if one no longer feels the need to meditate and what to do if one pick up practice after an absence, a question on working with emotions.
Is Vajrayana an appropriate path if you have with limited access to your root guru or if you’re unlikely to attend a three-year retreat? After a new practitioner has worked with the breath to gain experience and develop stability, should they then meditate on impermanence or the four immeasurables? How do you incorporate what what you learn from teachers in other Buddhist traditions?
A brief discussion on reincarnation from Death: Friend or Foe 7, questions on if one can have a serious practice without believing in reincarnation, karma and rebirth, and what reincarnates if there is no self.
Introduction to retreat themes and practices. The relationship between power and presence: finding peace under pressure. Exercise: pushing, resisting, giving way. How quickly power accelerates and takes over. Instruction in the primary practice.Fairy tale: The Journey Begins
Staying present in the experience of acceleration. Receiving feedback from the environment and adjusting. The Four Steps of Standing Up: 1) Show up. 2) Open to what is. 3) Serve what is true. 4) Receive the results. Exercise: Showing up in your body. Story: The thief, the samurai, and the warlord. Do what is required, no more. Primary practice, revisted. Fairy tale: The Two Inns
Forming a relationship with power. The ethics of power: the warrior’s sword vs. the predator’s sword. Exercise: Taking the sword. Four ways of working. Five mysteries associated with power: power, balance, presence, truth, freedom.Fairy tale: The Straw, the Egg, and the Book of Knowledge
Power and opposition. Engaging with power, you have no idea what you’re going to be called upon to do. In the experience of opposition: something in yourself that you’re not willing to admit or experience. Exercise: Walking the gauntlet. How training develops capacity to respond in complex situations. Fairy tale: The Sleeping Giants
On Showing Up. Revisiting the primary practice: not to ‘get it right’ but to experience what happens, the totality of your life. Balancing exercises: how slowly thinking happens, but the body knows how to maintain balance. Applications in meditation. Nothing undercuts a distracting story so well as returning to the body. Fairy tale: The Black Castle
Opening to What Is. How familiar situations trigger old scripts, whose function is to dissipate attention. Exercise: Push hands, back-to-back. How triggered scripts corrupt intention. Power is the ability to implement intention, by staying present. Instead of focusing on what you want to do, include the entire situation.Fairy tale: The Old Witch and the White Bird
Serving What is True. Difficulties in serving what is true when it doesn’t accord with expectations and understanding. Fairy tale: The Old Man with Red EyesHow fairy tales describe internal realms of experience vs. the world of shared experience. Attention vs. Intention vs. Will. Exercise: 4-person flocks. Obstacles as simply features in the landscape to be negotiated.
Exercise: Artist and Critic. If you live for respect, you give your life over to others. How the sense of urgency often accelerates things, and we get swallowed up in the acceleration. Evolutionary paradigms: providing the _conditions_ for certain things to evolve. Applications to meditation.Fairy tale: Black Sheep
Receiving the Result. Whatever the outcome, work with that: The Four Steps of Standing Up as a way of living, continually cycling. Four stages of conflict: Pacification, Enrichment, Magnetization, Destruction. Balance, boundary, and the ethics of power. Obligation and the three bases of relationship. Courage. How power differs from other gestures (ecstasy, insight, compassion).Fairy tale: Ransom, Return, Recognition
Participant's questions; experiencing the body; relationship as the experience of interaction; relationship types: mutual benefit, shared aim, emotional connection; reactive needs vs present needs; "I" as an experience; balance, betrayal.
Hope as a manifestation of belief vs a manifestation of faith; conflict as the experience of the resistance to change when two or more worlds interact; fear arising from conflict; interpretation vs actual experience; undischarged feelings leading to conflict.
The aim of Buddhist practice; What is a relationship? Three types of relationship: 1) mutual benefit, 2) shared aim, 3) emotional connection; What's possible in a relationship? What gets in the way -- or how projections arise in relation to the Three Marks of Existence (impermanence, suffering, and no self); How relationships are undermined by disagreement or lack of clarity about their basis; How we can become awake in relationships.
What can we actually know in a relationship? The story of Nasrudin, the smuggler and the customs agent; The world of shared experience and the world of individual experience; The Four Steps of Standing Up in a Relationship: 1) Stand up -- actually be there, 2) Open to what is happening, 3) Serve what is true to the limit of your perception, 4) Receive the result; Useful tools for being awake in relationships: deep listening, four questions for opening up difficult situations, the rule of three, returning confusion to its source and not picking up what isn't yours.
Conflict as the experience of resistance to change when two or more worlds interact; Locating the resistance; The inevitability of conflict and how to engage in it skillfully; The Four Stages of Conflict (from Vajrayana Buddhism) -- pacification, enrichment, magnetisation and destruction; How to be awake in conflict using the same tools as for being awake in relationships and by remembering the Three Marks of Existence.
The Four Immeasurables as higher emotions not based on a sense of self, and their transformative quality; The Four Immeasurables in the context of relationship and conflict and the ways these manifest in relationships; How equanimity manifests as judgement at the base level, up through impartiality, aloofness or detachment, and patience to full acceptance with no sense of judgement; The two aspects of true equanimity; How loving-kindness manifests as attraction or sexual desire at the base level, up through affection and caring to the selfless wish that others be happy; How compassion manifests as pity at the base level up through sympathy, fearlessness to be with another person's pain to the genuine wish that they not suffer; The complexity and richness of compassion; Joy as competition or paranoia at the base level, up through elation or delight to joy in being and knowing what needs to be done and just doing it. Loving kindness and compassion as the appropriate efforts in intimate…
Participant's concerns; how can I experience fear and be at peace at the same time?; how can I have all these stories going on and be at peace at the same time? goals vs results; principles, strategies and tactics; there are no enemies; 3 alternatives to every situation: accept, take action, or suffer; taking a larger view of conflict.
Determining our destiny is a myth; the sense of self is a fiction we construct to endow the chaos of our lives with a semblance of rational consistency; what stories do we believe?; order vs chaos; what beliefs do I hold and what do they prevent me from seeing?; participant's experience; spectrum of possibilities between extremes; no truth, just what happens.
Principle - the middle way, strategy - include both extremes; principle - 4 noble truths, strategy - 8 fold path; 4 steps to problem resolution: problem, genesis, solution, implementation; genesis vs conditions; group exercise; building circles of support.
See clearly, know what is, act without hesitation; focus on how can I help instead of focusing on survival, emotional needs or identity; guided meditation; response vs reaction; open to the whole of your life.
Participants questions are: How do I respond rather than react?; How do I take my life into my practice?; How do I deal with anxiety in my sitting practice?; How do I deal with distractions in my practice?.
Participants' questions are: Is it helpful to have many different practices?, How do I not resist dying?, How do I stop doing?, How do I deal with frustration in my practice?, Is there a difference between observing the breath and resting in the breath?
Participants' questions are: What strategies exist for experiencing emotions?, What do I do with my anger?, What role do negative emotions play?, How do I deal with the feeling of hardening arising from anger?
A guided journey through the progression of one meditation practice, from resting in attention to the union of awareness and experience (mahamudra, dzogchen). Begins with instruction on posture, resting in the experience of breathing, resting in the experience of the body, the breath, and opening to all experience. Then the journey moves to how to bring in the heart and finally how to open to the union of awareness and experience.
How do you balance not craving with the need for money? What causes a lack of self-worth? How do you face disappointment gracefully? Serving what is true. The four steps of standing up. Goals, intentions, and being content. How does one keep going?
What is karma? Do I need to believe in reincarnation? What is the role of celibacy in Buddhism? What should I do when distractions arise while meditating? Resting in the experience of breathing instead of placing attention on your breath. The four states of conflict. What is the practical or real-world benefit of meditation?
Understanding the three jewels on a personal level. What am I suppose to get from meditation? Evolution or revolution? Do you advocate a certain technique over another? How do I deal with physical sensations and movements during meditation?
Meditation as a way to build abilities, distinguishing between thinking and thoughts, fundamentals of meditation practice, creating the right conditions for practice, resting in the experience of breathing
What is appropriate/useful to share in a relationship? What tools can I use to let go of unproductive emotions? Instruction on taking and sending. What is the point of resting with the breath? Prayer and meditation. Seeking clarity in relationships by listening to one’s heart. Working with self-hatred. Please note that due to technical difficulties the audio quality of this recording is uneven.
How can I maintain a regular practice? How can meditation help me build good habits and maintain a sense of happiness? What is the difference between sitting meditation and moving meditation, and how do both relate to the instruction to ‘go to the body’? How do you meditate without goals? How should I do with thoughts that arise during meditation? Why can noting during meditation become an obstacle? What can I do about anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, and insomnia. Should I cultivate specific emotions, like loving-kindness, prior to meditating?
How do I get rid of negative feelings and reactions? Do the efficacies of a teaching continue after a teacher is gone? If practice doesn’t change one’s reactions, can it change how you act? Coming to a crossroad in one’s practice. What is the boundary for sharing in relationships? Are guided meditations trying to control one’s experience? I don’t know how to respond when asked “How is your practice?” How can I forgive? How do I sit with physical pain? Are thoughts an ongoing reaction at the subconscious level? Are there Buddhist writings regarding the creative process?
Prayers and rituals to evoke the emotions of devotion, loving-kindness, and compassion in order to be clear, present, and open during meditation, the importance of intention, concluding meditation by letting go of judgement and attachment
Why distinct thoughts can feel like random, chaotic chatter the longer one practices. The dynamics of balance. Exploring teacher-student interactions under the client model. Working with the emotions of intolerance and hatred; desire, attachment, frustration and action; anger, sadness, and loneliness.
Meditating on your last breath. Is doing your best enough? Incorporating what arises in practice. The inevitability of death. But I am not really dying. Letting go of what you feel you're suppose to feel. Working with things you don't like.
Religion/Spirituality as personal exploration; Practice and the importance of one's own volition; Is nirvana the last delusion; the four things that are impossible to have: control, security, ground, and self; practice as a way to be present; how to find your way among the variety of practice choices
Meeting and resting with experience instead of labeling experience during meditation; not making facts out of your feelings; justice and vengeance; four stages of conflict; keeping your heart open after the loss of a relationship.
Meditating to experience life in a different way; meditating to be a better person; attention in speech; coming to terms with who you are; taking and sending; living in a world that ignores impermanence.
Why meditate? Why practice taking and sending? What should I do when I find myself interrupting my meditation at the same point every day? Why meditate on death and impermanence? Why does it seem that my daily meditation doesn't directly relate to my daily life? What is the difference between equanimity and indifference?
Difference between teaching and learning, faith and belief; the three important things: impermanence/change, compassion, and faith; opening to doubt; the direction of the present. Questions from participants: What is the most productive question you’ve asked yourself? How do I not carry the past into the present? How do I stay focused on this path when at times I just want to be coddled?
"When I notice a change in my emotions I focus on what is occurring instead of the emotion itself. Is this repression?" "How can I get to sleep when my mind is full of thoughts?" "Instead of a fixed daily meditation routine, is it enough just to sit and breathe peacefully when one can?" "How can I handle the changes that are occurring in my life as a result of practice?" "How do I recognize a transition or transformation in energy?" "I don't have an absolute relationship with anything in my life, let alone one with practice. And I envy people that do. How can I develop one?" "A lot of what I feel when sitting is unpleasant and I find I am resistant to that experience. Any way to shorten it?"
How can I determine if I am in active or passive awareness? I haven’t meditated in over two years. Do you have any advice? I have yet to realize an effect in my life after studying and meditating on The Four Immeasurables for a year. Is that to be expected? How do I work with my prejudices? I have an adverse relationship with the world. How do I work with that? How can I deal with anger? Are childish ways of interacting with the world a type of pattern?
How do I deal with shifting priorities, withdrawing from society, and a sense of alienation? How soft should one be when practicing? Is practicing 30 minutes a day enough? How do I find my motivation? I'm working on my reactive emotions. When meditating should I do something to provoke these emotions? Using the immeasurable compassion when working with a pattern. What is a good practice for dealing with situations where I just shut down? Where do I start when practicing taking and sending? Forgiveness and acceptance.
World of actual experience vs world of shared experience; shared continuum; to live fully is to live and function fully in both worlds; role of meditation in correcting an imbalance caused by living in a world of shared experience; creating ideals in the world of shared experience.
Reactivity due to collapsed attention; opening to all experience including opposition; reasons for collapsed attention: for survival, getting our emotional needs met, and our identity; mindkilling is deliberately provoking someone's reactive patterns so they will do something against their interests; various forms of mindkilling.
Story of drinking tea from "Tales of the Dervishes"; coming to terms with our own experience of life; navigating our lives better; transcending life vs living life fully and without regret; discussion of retreat prayers and their relationship to our overall spiritual practice; instruction in meditation based on four foundations of mindfulness.
Summary of earlier discussions; review of The Four Steps to Standing Up; serving the direction of the present; anger signals "an enemy out there" ; compassion: method and result; a discussion of practices, compassion and living fully in the world.
summary: Introduction; how to live in power without being controlled by it; the three illusions -- survival, control, being somebody; how they inhibit the exercise of power; five mysteries: power, balance presence, truth & freedom; primary practice; attention, intention and will.
Sacrificing our conditional personality; the appropriate opponent; the function of reactive patterns, emotional core of patterned mode of experience; passive and reactive poles of a pattern; guided meditation: cutting the opponent.
The second approach discussed is to cut through four types of conditioning: sociological, psychological, perceptual, and cultural. To cut through sociological conditioning one contemplates on death and impermanence. Contemplating on karma cuts through psychological conditioning. Breaking through the I-other framework cuts through perceptual conditioning. And development of compassion cuts through cultural conditioning. The third approach is based on personal experience: study and practice everything you can, make the path your own based on what works for you, and stand in your own knowing. Discrepancies between your intention and experienced results are reliable indicators that you are not standing in your own knowing. A flat or stale practice may indicate you've exhausted your intention and signal the need for redefining your intention in practice. Keep an eye out for chronic imbalances, as they indicate something is not working.The session ends with a group discussion on whether or…
How do you know your next step in the spiritual path? This class explores this question through three different approaches: a traditional path, a path based on cutting through four types of conditioning, and a path based on personal experience.The book Wake Up To Your Life describes one traditional path: developing attention through basic meditation, cutting through conventional notions of success and failure, recognizing patterns, and working with the five elements. This leads to breaking down emotional reactions and dismantling the sense of "I". The section closes with comments on about additional practices, the need to adjust practice to the student, and the importance of working with a spiritual teacher.
The session begins by explaining there are different levels of understanding found in the first two spiritual paths (traditional path and path of cutting through conditioning). These paths have a vertical dimension. A person can become aware of new levels in two ways: through interaction with a teacher or through interaction with fellow students who have more experience. Practice only grows if one works at the edge of one's practice. Working the edge can be difficult: it is often experienced in the body as panic or nausea and in the mind as uncertainty, or confusion. Finding the edge often requires interaction with a teacher, especially if the student experiences a feeling of not getting anywhere, staleness, or coasting in practice. Physical signs of being over the edge include a sense of being out of balance, engulfed, isolated, failing, or bewildered.The discussion then turned to different levels of practice, this time from the perspective of 'doing what you know needs to be done'…
Participants share what each has learned on how to proceed with their practice. Included in this discussion are questions regarding how to know you are working the edge of practice as opposed to falling off the edge, how transmission between teacher and student works, and how to recognize patterns.
passage from text:
The happiness of the three worlds disappears in a moment,
Like a dewdrop on a blade of grass.
The highest level of freedom is one that never changes.
Aim for this — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.
passage from text:
This day my life is fruitful.
I have claimed my human heritage.
Today I am born into the family of the awakened.
Now I am a child of buddha.
From now on I will do only what befits this family.
I will do nothing to disgrace this noble and faultless family.
passage from text:
Not contaminated by holding to other and self,
Natural presence arises on its own.
This is the great power assembly that benefits others.
All samsara and nirvana are pure in this single mandala.
Holding to ground,path and result subsides.
passage from translation:
You make an effort at practice and become a good and knowledgeable person.
You may even master some particular capabilities.
But whatever you attach to will tie you up.
Be unbiased and know how to let things be – that’s my sincere advice