The four stages of conflict (Warrior’s Solution 3), questions on working with feelings surrounding conflict and the third stage of conflict, magnetization.
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?
“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?”
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?
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.
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?
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
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.
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?
Putting attention on the experience of breathing; what to do when lost in confusion; working with strong patterns; dealing with life’s setbacks; working with depression
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 to work with positive reactions in practice including suggested meditation; questions and answers on using that meditation instruction.
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.
Meditation instruction in three lines, working with emotions, what to do with insights and memories that emerge when meditating, does meditating reduce unwanted emotions.
How do I deal with anxiety when meditating? Impermanence and the four ends. Guilt and morality. Shame and joy. What is the future of buddhism? Messing with your practice.
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.
In response to the earnest request of George Draffan, an experienced follower of the way, Ken McLeod, a blind man who stumbles over his own feet, translated this excerpt from Machik’s autobiography in 2006 in Los Angeles.
passage from text:
Even with a free and well-favored birth, I waste this life.
The meaningless activities of conventional life constantly distract me.
When I work at freedom, which is truly important, laziness carries me away.
Because I am turning away from a land of jewels with my hands empty,
Guru, think of me: look upon me quickly with compassion.
Give me energy to make my life worthwhile.
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.
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.
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.
passage from article: Fear is a reactive mechanism that operates when our identity (including the identity of being a physical entity) is threatened. It works to erode or dissipate attention. We move into one of the six realms and react: destroy the threat or seek revenge (hell being), grasp at safety and security (hungry ghost), focus on survival (animal), pursue pleasure as compensation (human), vie for superiority (titan), or protect status and position (god). Because we are less present to what is actually taking place, our actions are correspondingly less appropriate and less effective. We go to sleep in our beliefs and ignore the consequences of maintaining them.
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.
Q&A based on the students’ experience with direct awareness, simplified instruction in the five steps, common difficulties and how to work with them, connecting the three methods, how to use these in life, the student-teacher relationship, challenges in practice.
Taking original mind, direct awareness, as the basis, all experience as the expression of awareness, instruction in a five-step process based on direct awareness (mahamudra and dzogchen), cautions and pitfalls.
Emotional reactions, what they are, why they are problematic, what does releasing mean, difference between releasing and suppression, instruction in five-step method of releasing from Thich Naht Hanh based on bare attention and the four foundations of mindfulness
Aim of the retreat, overview of content including levels of practice and meditation methods, initial instruction.