Summer meditation series

Moving toward insight

an 8-week meditation course

Wednesday Evenings
July 4 – August 22, 2018

7-8:30pm
Stream Yoga + Meditation, 819 Weaver Rd, Port Colborne

Join us for an 8-week meditation series. In this Summer series we will emphasize cultivating a daily practice of relaxation, inner stillness and insight. We will consider the obstacles to our practice, and begin an exploration of the seven factors of enlightenment: mindfulness, investigation, energy, joy, relaxation, concentration and equanimity.

We will spend much of our time together in meditation, but leave time each session for a brief talk and for discussion and Q&A. You will be encouraged to spend time meditating at home between the weekly classes.

A simple joy is available to us any time that we can relax — regardless of our external conditions. In fact, learning to relax and be still may be the single most important thing we can do to improve our life, our relationships and ultimately our world.

Dates
July 4, 11, 18, 25, August 1, 8, 15, 22, 2018

Cost
$95 (includes HST)

Pre-register by email hello@gentlydownthestream.org or call/text Heather at 519.400.7862.

More details.

12 principles of forgiveness

  1. Understand what forgiveness is and what it is not. It’s not condoning, it’s not a papering over, it’s not for the other person, it’s not sentimental.
  2. Sense the suffering in yourself, of still holding onto this lack of forgiveness for yourself or for another. Start to feel that it’s not compassionate; that you have this great suffering that’s not in your own best interest. So you actually sense the weight of not forgiving.
  3. Reflect on the benefits of a loving heart. [Buddhist texts say]: Your dreams become sweeter, you waken more easily, men and women will love you, angels and devils will love you. If you lose things they will be returned. People will welcome you everywhere when you are forgiving and loving. Your thoughts become pleasant. Animals will sense this and love you.
  4. Discover that it is not necessary to be loyal to your suffering. This is a big one. We are so loyal to our suffering, focusing on the trauma and the betrayal of “what happened to me.” OK, it happened. It was horrible. But is that what defines you? “Live in joy” says the Buddha.
  5. Understand that forgiveness is a process. It’s a training, it’s a process, layer by layer—that is how the body and the psyche work.
  6. Set your intention. There is a whole complex and profound teaching in Buddhist psychology about the power of both short-term and long-term intention. When you set your intention, it sets the compass of your heart and your psyche. By having that intention, you make obstacles become surmountable because you know where you are going.
  7. Learn the inner and outer forms of forgiveness. There are meditation practices for the inner forms, but for the outer forms, there are also certain kinds of confessions and making amends.
  8. Start the easiest way, with whatever opens your heart. Maybe it’s your dog and maybe it’s the Dali Lama and maybe it’s your child which is the thing or person that you most love and can forgive. Then you bring in someone who is a little more difficult to forgive. Only when the heart is all the way open do you take on something difficult.
  9. Be willing to grieve. You have to be willing to go through this process in some honorable way. Be willing to grieve, and then to let go.
  10. Forgiveness includes all the dimensions of our life. Forgiveness is work of the body. It’s work of the emotions. It’s work of the mind. And it’s interpersonal work done through our relationships.
  11. Forgiveness involves a shift of identity. There is in us an undying capacity for love and freedom that is untouched by what happens to you. To come back to this true nature is the work of forgiveness.
  12. Forgiveness involves perspective. We are in this drama in life that is so much bigger than our ‘little stories.’ When we can open this perspective, we see it is not just your hurt, but the hurt of humanity. The loss is not just your pain, it is the pain of being alive. Then you feel connected to everyone in this vastness.

(via Jack Kornfield)

Inspiration through myth

In this engaging podcast, best selling author and teacher Jack Kornfield reads stories from Buddhist texts and explores their meaning by asking simple questions of his audience. The result is a lyrical and thoughtful hour-long teaching, scattered with gems of inspiration and insight for anyone walking the path of awakening to their true nature.

Path on the park“Drawing from Buddhist texts, Jack tells the story of the last year of Buddha’s life, and the teachings he imparted to his followers and future seekers on the path. Guidance for practice, and instructions for building and sustaining wise relationships were the focus of these final offerings. The power of mythology is emphasized in appreciating its capacity to speak to the human imagination.”

You can subscribe directly to Jack Kornfield’s Heart Wisdom podcasts on iTunes. There are new podcasts uploaded 2-3 times a month.

(via MindPod Network)

It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it

Over at her website, much-loved teacher and author, Tara Brach, has hundreds of dharma talks available to stream or download free! As she sweetly says at the beginning of each episode, they are “offered freely, and your support matters.” I subscribe to her podcast directly through iTunes and enjoy listening while driving, walking the dogs or working out.

In her most recent offering, Three Attitudes that Nourish a Liberating Practice, Tara shares her experience and insights from a recent retreat. She begins with the line of inquiry that lead to her developing the talk: ‘what way of paying attention really wakes us up out of the dream of being a separate self?’ And then, throughout the hour, she answers this question by sharing stories and guiding brief meditations. Spoiler alert: the three special attitudes to bring to your spiritual practice that will yield results (regardless of your particular practice or faith tradition) are 1) relaxation, 2) interest and 3) friendliness.

While I’m at it, if you haven’t read it, Tara Brach’s book, Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha, is truly wonderful.

Blume

Breathe gently into your heart

A healing guided meditation by Jack Kornfield to open your heart. Find a quiet place, 24 mins and enjoy:

“As you breathe in the heart area gently… let yourself remember and feel the sorrows you carry from betraying or harming others… from betraying or harming yourself… and from being betrayed and harmed by others.”

Allow the meditation to take your heart from the feeling of sorrow to the peace of forgiveness, and finally to the mind of lovingkindness, for your self, your friends, your enemies and all living beings.

Hearthands

(via ZenFriend)

Bathe everything with your lovingkindness

We did a variation of this sweet Ajahn Brahm lovingkindness meditation tonight at Just Sit!

Oh, boy! I just love the build up. Brilliant, natural progression:

In order to generate a spontaneous feeling of love and caring, first imagine an easy-to-love being (we used a helpless baby bird). Then gradually, in ever-widening circles, spread that feeling of tenderness to other imagined beings, until eventually you have imagined including all sentient beings. Finally, in a surprise twist ending, give that lovingkindness even to that person who can be the most challenging of all to love and accept: your self.

Go, find yourself a quiet corner, take 36 mins and wash your heart.

water heart

(via ZenFriend)

The giant YES to life

“We honestly think that by saying No to where we are, we can get to the Yes. But if we say No to where we are right now, even when we get There, there will be a No. We carry the No with us. If there’s resistance right now, if there’s pushing away life right now, pushing away thoughts, pushing away feelings, pushing away the present scene, when we get to the future scene, the future perfect scene we’ve always been waiting for, it will be the present scene, and we’ll still be resisting it. So that’s why we never feel that we get There. Because we’re saying No to where we are. So this is about saying Yes…this is about the Yes to the present scene, however imperfect this scene feels…”

(via lifewithoutacentre.com)