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)

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)

Meet pain with compassion

In this 3-minute video, Dr. Gabor Maté, a Vancouver-based physician and author, known widely for his work in addiction medicine, speaks clearly on the root cause of addictions and how to heal them. Spoiler alert: the root cause is emotional pain — and avoiding or running from that pain, and the cure is learning to be with your pain — to meet it, and yourself, with compassion.

(via reset.me)

Sitting through March

We’ve added more dates, continuous now through the end of March 2015, for the “Just Sit!” sessions on Tuesday evenings. (Please check back monthly for future dates.) These guided meditations are open to any and every one. All levels of experience and all faith or no faith backgrounds are welcome. Just Sit! is an opportunity to sit with others in contemplation and meditation, whether you are just learning how to meditate or have been at it for years.

For those of you who haven’t come to sit — or haven’t come in a while — we are currently dividing the hour into three meditations, or, one mediation with three sections. However you slice it:

Part 1 — 15 mins on the breath, developing concentration and allowing our mind to settle by counting our exhalations (to 3 sets of 21 exhalations) and then simply sitting without counting for a little longer, deeply experiencing the breath.

Part 2 — 20 mins on allowing, noticing and meeting our direct experience with an embracing mind of love, coming back again and again and again to the direct experience of each moment, allowing, allowing, allowing…

Part 3 — 20 mins on ‘feeling into’ our basic nature: the awake, alert awareness in which direct experience is arising — that which is always already present. We turn our focus from the experiences, the thoughts, feelings, sensations and pay attention instead in each moment to the space in which the experiences are arising.

 

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Fill ‘er up

Graphic by Sam Gerrard, Shore Creative, UK

So this is awesome: Buddha at the Gas Pump — a show that explores enlightenment through a series of interviews with spiritual practitioners and teachers, many of whom openly discuss their experiences with ‘the awakened state.’ By its own description:

Many people are skeptical of claims of higher states of consciousness. They find it hard to believe that apparently ordinary friends and neighbors might be experiencing something extraordinary. Maybe they expect Enlightenment to look as remarkable on the outside as it is reputed to be on the inside. This show will attempt to dispel skepticism and misconceptions by week after week, allowing otherwise ordinary people to relate their experience of spiritual awakening.

Head over and check out the long list of nearly 300 guests — you’ll find some very well-known names. The interviews are sorted alphabetically by guest, or quite handily can be browsed categorized under a broad-range of traditions/schools/predilictions. You can watch episodes on YouTube or download them as podcasts — great for trips by car!

To get you started, I’m linking to just one of many that I’ve so far enjoyed. It’s a discussion moderated by the show’s creator and host, Rick Archer, between Adyashanti and Francis Bennett. Adyashanti, a long-time Zen practitioner, and Bennett, a former Trappist monk, talk broadly on the theme of the former’s book, Resurrecting Jesus, in which Adyashanti “reveals the man known as Jesus as an exemplar of the realized state and a model of enlightened engagement with the world.”

Good stuff. I’m excited to discover more.

You can subscribe to receive email updates of future interviews as they’re released. You can also follow Buddha at the Gas Pump on Facebook and Twitter.

Making friends with yourself

I’ve been going again and again to watching this clip of Pema Chödrön talking about authentically engaging with ourselves and our experience.

 She says, when you seek out teachings:

You do want to hear something that is genuinely going to be of value in your life. And the approach of Buddhism, and the approach that all the Buddhist teachers have been drawn to personally, and then end up teaching, is about engaging in your life fully. And having an attitude of kindness toward yourself and all things that might arise in you, such as: your rage and your addictions and your grief and your loneliness and your resentment, and all these different things. Some attitude of kindness towards your humanity. And a way of working with it, which is acknowledging it completely and fully, for what it is. Very conscious of what is going on with yourself. But with an attitude of kindness. Trungpa Rinpoche used to call it ‘making friends with yourself.’

Just Sit! Another 6 weeks of mindfulness

Just Sit!  NEW DATES
A 6-week course in mindfulness meditation

This series of six 1-hour classes on mindfulness meditation is appropriate for new or experienced meditators. Simple instructions, lengthy in-class practice and suggested homework assignments are meant to give you the experience and encouragement to start, and/or maintain, a daily habit of meditation.

When are the classes?
7-8pm on Tuesday evenings
April 15, 22, 29, May 6, 13, 20, 2014

Where are they?
What World Common Room
(where the Hillside offices used to be)
123 Woolwich Street, 2nd Floor, Guelph, ON N1H 3V1

What does it cost?
$60 /6 classes
Space is limited. In order to encourage regular attendance and a commitment to practice, pre-registration is required and payment for course is due in full at the first class.

Who is teaching?
Heather Finlayson has been practicing and teaching meditation for over 12 years. Heather is an independent (or is that interdependent?) graphic designer based in downtown Guelph.

How do I sign up?
Please email meditate@gentlydownthestream.org for more information or to register.

Open to nature, open to gratitude

File this one under B for BLISS!

Nature’s Beauty Inspires Gratitude is a must-see 20 min TEDx talk featuring the stunning filmwork of Louie Schwartzberg. It starts as simply jaw-dropping time lapse nature photography and builds into a compelling vision for why and how to be grateful when we open our eyes each morning.

On the bio page of his website — aptly named “Moving Art” — beside the picture of his peaceful smile and super-clear eyes, it reads:

As the only cinematographer in the world who has been shooting time-lapse 24/7 continuously for well over three decades, Schwartzberg is a visual artist breaking barriers, connecting with audiences, and telling stories that celebrate life and reveal the mysteries and wisdom of nature, people and places.

If you pay attention right around the 5 min 50 sec mark, you might audibly gasp, as I did. But you must watch this one all the way through. Then be grateful you did.

And for fans of non-narrative documentaries, in 1982 he provided additional cinematography for the film Koyaanisqatsi.