passage from article: In the initial stages of practice, we are consumed by thoughts. As we continue, we gradually are able to experience thoughts as thoughts, and not be distracted by them. To be a little technical, when the level of energy in the attention is higher than the level of energy in what you are experiencing, say, anger, or love, then you can experience the anger or love without getting lost in it. When you experience it that way, energy is transformed to a still higher level, making it possible for you to experience deeper levels of clarity and stillness, and also deeper levels of conditioning.
Working with anger and hurt; Developing a path with depth; Intention, family, and holidays; Thoughts and resting with the breath; Frenetic energy and getting things done; How much should one practice
passage from article: What is freedom? It is the moment by moment experience of not being run by one’s own reactive mechanisms. Does that give you more choice? Usually not.
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Working with anger, practicality and perfection, balance in relationships, pain and compassion, working with slander, shame and enemies, is practice for building skills or for being present
passage from text:
Through my awakened intention
May all who are quarrelsome and competitive
Stop their hostility and relax where they are.
As knowing finds its own place,
May they attain the pristine awareness of effective action.
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.
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.
Releasing physical and emotional sensations behind reactive patterns; not protecting any area of one’s life from practice; keeping things in balance; closing meditation instruction
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
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
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
Meditative stability; participants’ experience with meditation on enthusiasm and lack of enthusiasm in everyday life; stability vs. concentration; results of agitated mind; clairvoyance as a mistranslation of what can happen with a stable mind; stable attention gives rise to compassion; natural virtue of resting mind; stopping distraction; primary characteristics, genesis and faults of fragmentation of attention and solitude; evaluating what brings meaning, value and peace to us; clear intention leads to stable attention; meditation assignment for upcoming week on comparing experience in actions with clear and unclear intention. The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, commentary on Chapter 16.
What is meant by ‘immovable wisdom’ in the text The Unfettered Mind; how to know imbalance; taking action to address imbalance; seeking the lost mind; how integrity looks in action; seeking balance in the whole; questions from retreat participants.
Review of previous day’s talk (recording of talk not available due to technical difficulties); defining integrity; integrity as a value; integrity as balance (rather than standing on principle); addressing imbalance as the essence of ethics; becoming an ongoing response to the pain and suffering of the world; questions from retreat participants.
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’ as opposed to ‘being good.’
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 not compassion or forgiveness towards oneself is important, especially if there is no self, and how to detect imbalance.
Imbalance and relationships; entering vs observing emotions; experiencing a broken heart; patterns as addiction; various forms of obsessions and remedies.
Ethics as comprised of a set of five principles: presence, balance, boundary, obligation, and courage; what these are and what they mean