TUESDAY SITTING: 6/11/19: BEGINNER’S MIND

BEGINNER’S MIND

A MIND IS LIKE A PARACHUTE, IT DOESN’T WORK IF ITS NOT OPEN.

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few.    SUZUKI ROSHI

 Cultivate DON’T KNOW MIND” freeing us up from our habitual, ordinary ways of seeing, and knowing the world by propelling us towards our direct experience.

CURIOSITY, OPENNESS, WONDER, RECEPTIVITY, EMPTY, SURPRISE, FRESH, NEW,

Ignorance is not ‘DON’T KNOW MIND”, IN IGNORANCE WE KNOW SOMETHING BUT IT IS A MISPERCEPTION—BEYOND KNOWING AND NOT KNOWING. 

NOT LIMITED BY:  AGENDAS, ROLES, RULES, EXPECTATIONS…IT IS FREE TO DISCOVER!  REQUIRES THAT WE LET GO OF FIXED IDEAS AND CONTROL!!!

It is often this aversion to being out of control that separates us from others, ourselves and the present moment….dunno mind.

KNOWING IS OFTEN A REACTIVITY TO OUR OWN SENSE OF HELPLESSNESS AND POWERLESSNESS IN THE PRESENT MOMENT.  We connect knowing with clarity, reason and competency.

Memory is not objective, true, accurate, or permanent.

With dunno mind we bring a sense of curiosity, open-ended inquiry to help us discover new ways of being with old stories.

In dunno mind, we are not throwing out our wisdom, but rather opening to how our direct experience, which informs how we think, speak and act.

It allows us to bear witness to experience beyond thoughts, feelings and actions.   Witnessing and awareness is always present.  Non-reactive awareness is the greatest intimacy we can bring to this moment.

 Kalu Rinpoche:
“We live in the illusion and appearance of things.  There is a reality.  You are that reality. When you understand this, you will realize that you are nothing. And being nothing, you are everything.  THAT IS ALL!

Zen Buddhism teaches a concept of "Beginner's Mind", Shoshin, as a positive attribute, something to cultivate.

Now western science agrees. In a paper about "earned dogmatism," which appeared in The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology in November, 2015, Professor Victor Ottati from Loyola University of Chicago reports on a series of experiments he conducted showing that "self-perceptions of expertise increase closed-minded cognition." In other words, science says those who think they are experts are more likely to be closed-minded.

Some westerners didn't wait for the science to embrace the philosophy. Dr. Kevin Tidgewell of Duquesne University, the School of Pharmacy, Division of Medicinal Chemistry, spoke about how religion influenced his research and his science. Although he grew up as a Catholic, attended and teaches in a Catholic university, he points to Zen Buddhism and, in particular, the philosophy of the Beginner's Mind as his most important influence: "And so when you come at your science and when you come at questions of science, you should come with an open mind in that all things are possible, not simply the previously held beliefs and the standard beliefs of the field."

In Primal Teams Jackie Barretta tells us that experts are the last people to include in creative brainstorming sessions. They often lose their ability to think up or consider wildly creative solutions that lead to team breakthroughs. Newer, less "expert" team members may resent them.

Here are a few practices from Mary Jaksch of Goodlife Zen:

1.    Take one step at a time.
2.    Fall down seven times, get up eight times.
3.    Use Don't Know mind. Don't pre-judge.
4.    Live without “shoulds”.
5.    Make use of experience. Don't negate experience, but keep an open mind on how to apply it to each new circumstance.
6.    Let go of being an expert.
7.    Experience the moment fully.
8.    Disregard common sense.
9.    Recognize fear of failure.
10. Invite the spirit of inquiry.
11. Consider questions, not answers.

With Beginner's Mind, more open to possibilities and more creative.
form closer bonds with others in your life as they experience your interest in them and your appreciation for their thoughts and ideas.

  MENTAL Attitude of openness, eagerness, and freedom from preconceptions when approaching anything. **space where the mind does not know.
**you are sure of nothing, yet completely fearless, totally available to the moment.

 We all start off with a beginner’s mind! Every time you learn something new, you are in ‘beginner mode’. The moment something becomes familiar - the mind tries to take over, calling up memories, and creating expectations and fears which stop us from connecting directly to the reality of the present moment.

 MOST thoughts and emotions come from the past or the future, totally unrelated to each other and to the present moment in time.
**These past perceptions and emotions actually determine how we perceive and respond to the outside world. They close us to new experiences.

 **Beginner’s mind is to have a clean slate - a pure innocence where everything is fresh and new. This innocence opens many doors in life. Look at the innocence of a child; see how intense he is about anything he does. As adults, we have lost that power - but it can be regained through meditation.

Right understanding:
See things as they are   We exist to benefit self and others
Focus on direct experience  Do not focus too much on teachings   Consistent practice 
Individualized practice    Recognize Emptiness    See Buddha in everyone

 

A BLESSING – JOHN O’DONOHUE

May you awaken to the mystery of being here and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.
May you have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.
May you receive great encouragement when new frontiers beckon.
May you respond to the call of your gift and find the courage to follow its path.
May the flame of anger free you from falsity.
May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame and may anxiety never linger about you.
May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.
May you take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.
May you be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.
May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.

AWAKENING JOY:
THE JOY OF BUDDHA BEING (5/28/19)

FINAL CLASS FOR 18-WEEK AWAKENING JOY SERIES:

THANK YOU FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION AND CONTRIBUTION TO THE AWAKENING JOY SERIES THROUGH LIVE OR ON-LINE PARTICIPATION, BY OFFERING YOURSELF AS A JOY BUDDY, IN CONSIDERING, INTENTIONING AND PRACTICING THE SUGGESTED PRACTICES EACH WEEK AND BY COMING TO RECOGNIZE THAT JOY IS POSSIBLE EVERY MOMENT, NO MATTER THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE PRESENT MOMENT.

MAY WE ALL BE HAPPY AND HAVE THE CAUSES FOR TRUE HAPPINESS.
MAY WE ALL BE FREE FROM SUFFERING AND THE CAUSES OF SUFFERING.
MAY WE ALL HAVE GREAT JOY AT THE JOY OF OTHERS.
MAY WE ALL REST IN EQUANIMITY; FREE FROM ATTACHMENT, AVERSION AND AFFLICTION.

MAY YOU ENJOY CONTINUED AND EXPANDING MOMENTS OF JOY THROUGHOUT THIS LIFETIME AND BEYOND.

WITH LOVE AND BLESSINGS TO YOU, DIANA

FORMAL PRACTICE:
OPEN SPACIOUS AWARENESS EACH BREATH. Resting in buddha-body, buddha breath and buddha being.

INFORMAL PRACTICE:
1.) CONTINUE YOUR DAILY INTENTION SETTING WITH THE WORD COLLAGE THAT YOU CAN EASILY MAKE AND PRINT AT:
WORD-IT-OUT.COM. This is one way to recollect, remember and enjoy setting your three word daily intentions each day.

2.) Take time throughout the day to PAUSE, OPEN AND BREATHE in the blessings and the challenges of this very moment. Send out the antidote, good medicine, care, love and compassion that can contribute to the end of suffering for you and others.

3.) James Baraz is offering a month long course called AWAKENING THE HEART this summer. beginning June 11 - July 7, 2019. You can go to: https://www.realizemedia.org/mpreg/awakening-the-heart-with-james-baraz-3x50/ to register.

4.) Continue to join us live or on Zoom each Tuesday for weekly meditation practice. 491481520 will continue to be the ZOOM code.

5.) Join us Thursday evening from 6:30-8:00 PM in our outdoor meditation space at 816 Passiflora Avenue, Encinitas for twice monthly practice in the gorgeous SoCal summer. No RSVP REQUIRED, but helpful.

6.) You can continue to access and utilize the AWAKENING JOY video/audio materials through the last 17 weeks here on the EVERYDAYMIND.COM website. It will remain active until September, 2019.

AWAKENING JOY:
JOY OF BEING - CHAPTER 11
(5/21/19)

FORMAL PRACTICE:

1.) Buddha Breath, Buddha Body, Buddha Being meditation at least 3 times this week from audio/video above.

2.) Take moments throughout the day to rest in open space making contact with your already present/already perfect buddha breath/body/being. See how it changes your experience.

INFORMAL PRACTICE:

1.) On-the-spot practice: Feel into a moment of claustrophobia, tightness, contraction or dis-ease—
First, PAUSE and see if you can make contact with the sense of limited space within and around you. Can you sense the short or tight breath-sense? In recognition of this moment of distress, offer yourself the buddha breath for 5-10 cycles, remembering that this is a moment of awakening, and one in which we can remember and recollect our own buddha nature…offering it to ourselves and then, “ALL THOSE JUST LIKE ME, who feel this too.” Expanding buddha being not only to ones self, but loved ones, those in need and those we don’t know.

2.) Take the main theme from each week and identify three words that represent your growth, learning, experience in that section. Then, go to wordle.net where you can make a word collage of your experience of the AWAKENING JOY series. Please bring to class to share next week for our last AWAKENING JOY CLASS.

AWAKENING JOY #14 (5/14/19)

FORMAL PRACTICE:
1.) Listen to the compassion practice audio meditation at least three times this week for at least 20 minutes.
2.) Write your own bodhisattva vow? First, find words that represent your most heart-felt and genuine aspirations for the practice and its benefits. Why do you practice: What is your motivation for practice? This is the bedrock of your personal vow and aspiration. Please bring to Class #15 next week.

INFORMAL PRACTICE:

COMPASSION PRACTICE ON THE SPOT—Take this step-wise and honor where your practice limits are.
1.) Recognize this as a moment of suffering…name it—”This is a moment of suffering”, reactivity, distress, etc.
2.) Wish yourself the blessings of compassion: “May I be free from suffering. May I use this moment on the path to awakening.”
3.) Recognize that “Others, just like me, feel this too.”
4.) See if the compassionate wish for another’s relief from suffering is available. If not, return to offering yourself the wish for the end of suffering. “May I and all those others just like me who are stuck, be free from suffering.”
5.) Begin to breathe in for all those others, just like me who feel this too….breathing in their pain and suffering, since you are already in contact with it and it is here.
6.) Visualize thick dark, heavy, hot smoke and breathe it in willingly for all those who suffer.
7.) Send out the blessings of your presence and the transformation of the suffering based upon your “being with” your suffering and those like you, who suffer too.
8.) End the practice with a few moments of open spacious awareness, resting in the wide-open heart of compassion.

NOTES FROM CHAPTER 9 - COMPASSION
“The only ones among you who will be truly happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”   Albert Schweitzer.

Checking In
1.    What was the practice you focused on to bring more joy into your life?
2.    What have you done to nurture yourself?
3.    Have you been meditating, singing, laughing, journaling, exercising, dancing, setting intentions, being mindful, practicing gratitude, loving yourself and connecting with others?
4.    Do you stop and take in the good for thirty seconds?
5.    Have you been appreciating yourself and the good you do for other people?
6.    When did you find joy through other people’s happiness?

Shared Quotes from Chapter 9 - Compassion

“In English the word compassion means ‘to suffer with’, but a beautiful and perhaps more meaningful definition of compassion in Buddhist teachings is ‘the quivering of the heart’ in response to suffering.   At its core, compassion is a recognition that we are all interconnected, that your suffering is my suffering, that when I see you in pain, my heart trembles.”  Pg. 240

 “Compassion is not the same as pity, although they are sometimes spoken of interchangeably.   Pity carries a subtle quality of distancing and aversion.” Pg. 240

 “Neuroscience is revealing that we literally ‘feel with’ others through what are called ‘mirror neurons’ in our brain.  In his book Field Notes on the Compassionate Life, Marc Barasch describes this process: ‘One study showed that the same cells that light up when a person’s finger is jabbed with a pin also light up when someone else’s finger is pricked.  We wince when we see someone stub her toe and hop painfully on one foot.  We know how it feels.  Perhaps we have a ‘Golden Rule nugget’ containing the neurological ground rules for compassion itself.’”   Pg. 241

“The deep caring that suffering evokes in us, the greatness of heart, is actually an uplifting state.  It feels good to care.  This capacity to care about others and about life is the essence of the compassionate heart.”  Pg. 242

 “Modern neuroscience corroborates the fact that focused meditation is one of the most direct ways to activate and strengthen those areas in the brain that increase empathy." Pg. 242

 “When asked what unites the ethics of the world’s religions, scholar Karen Armstrong responded with the simplest of answers: ‘compassion’. If faced with their own version of the question – What is the central moral adaptation produced in the evolution of human sociality? – evolutionists would converge on a similar answer: ‘compassion.’  On this, the religiously inclined and evolutionists would agree.”  pg. 247

 “Thich Nhat Hahn, Buddhist teacher and activist, makes the point that compassion does not stop with letting our hearts feel the suffering of others.  ‘Compassion is a verb,’ he stresses.  Compassion and action go hand in hand.  In the MRI scans of monks meditating on compassion, neuroscience researcher Richard Davidson discovered that the areas of the brain responsible for planning action also lit up.” Pg. 246

 “When we don’t know what to say in response to the suffering of another, sometimes just being present is enough.  A story submitted for Canfield and Hansen’s A 3rd Serving of Chicken Soup for the Soul, has since become a popular example of the value of this response.  The writer Leo Buscaglia was asked to be a judge for a ‘most compassionate child’ contest.  The winner was a four-year-old boy whose mother told the following story.  Her son noticed that his next-door neighbor- an elderly man whose wife had just died – was sitting outside in his yard crying.  The boy went over and climbed into the man’s lap.  When he returned home, the mother asked, ‘What did you say to him?’  Her child replied, Nothing.  I just helped him cry.’  Offering our compassionate presence not only helps another but deeply nourishes us as we do it.  And we don’t need to know how to do anything other than be present.”  Pg. 248-249

Discussion Questions on the topic of Compassion
1.    Did any of the readings resonate with you?
2.    How do you think compassion and pity are different?
3.    What actions do you take when you feel compassion?
4.    Do you feel compassion for yourself?

 Shared Readings on Equanimity

“Vowing to keep your heart open to suffering doesn’t mean that you add to it by getting overwhelmed or burning yourself out.  The point of the teachings is to create balance and well-being in your life, not overwhelm and chaos.  You are one of most important recipients of your compassion.  This can be hard to remember, but it is essential.” Pg. 253

 “What helps with this is the practice of equanimity, the ability to remain composed and balanced, even in the face of challenges.   Equanimity means neither getting caught up in the desire for circumstances to be a certain way nor pulling away from them in disgust or annoyance.  While it can sometimes look like indifference, equanimity is actually based in a deep and compassionate understanding of the nature of life – that all things change, and that reacting from frustration or anger rather than responding with wisdom only creates more suffering.” Pg. 253

 “President Obama is sometimes criticized for his equanimous disposition, especially by some who want more bluster and bravado to his reactions.  But in my eyes he is a good example of equanimity in action.” Pg. 253

 “Compassion doesn’t mean rescuing everyone we see from suffering.  It means doing what we can, while also honoring our own limits.  As the Serenity Prayer, used in the twelve-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous, says: ‘Grant me the courage to change the things I can, the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference.’  Equanimity teaches us to care deeply but not be overwhelmed by our caring.”   Pg. 254

 “Thich Nhat Hanh, who was deeply involved in trying to alleviate the suffering in his country during the Vietnam War, often talks about the importance of equanimity for acting effectively in the face of danger.  As an example, he refers to the boat people, refugees who risked the high seas and other dangers as they attempted to escape the war.  Many were lost.  Those boats that made it to safety, he reports, were the ones that had at least one calm person aboard.  Their energy was enough to inspire others to find that place of courage, determination, and calm within themselves.” Pg. 254

 “Some of us may be temperamentally more equanimous than others, but like any other quality, equanimity can be developed.  Each moment of mindfulness, nonjudgmental awareness, strengthens equanimity.  As with lovingkindness, there is also a practice to develop this facility.  The phrase traditionally used is:  ‘Your happiness or unhappiness depends on your actions, not only on my wishes for you.’  Once again, the practice is intended to help us accept the way things are.  Over time I began to understand that I can’t prevent people from suffering, even those I love most deeply.  I can only honor their life’s journey.” Pg. 256

 “Serving is different from helping.  Helping is based on inequality.  When we help we may inadvertently take away from people more than we could ever give them…When we serve, we serve with ourselves…. The wholeness in us serves the wholeness in others…Service is a relationship between equals.”  Rachel Naomi Remen, pg. 266

 “Recent scientific studies are identifying the kinds of environments that cultivate compassion.  This moral emotion is cultivated in environments where parents are responsive, and play, and touch their children.  So does an empathic style that prompts the child to reason about harm.  So do chores, as well as the presence of grandparents.  Making compassion a motif in dinnertime conversations and bedtime stories cultivates this all-important emotion.”  Dacher Keltner, Born to be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life, pg. 267

 “The vagus nerve resides in the chest and, when activated produces a feeling of spreading, liquid warmth in the chest and a lump in the throat…Physiological psychologist Steve Porges has made the case that the vagus nerve is the nerve of compassion, the body’s care-taking organ.”  Dacher Keltner, Born to be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life, 2009, pg. 270

 “I think if you’re only thinking about yourself, your life becomes diminished.  The way to live a full life is to think about:  What can I do for others?  How can I be a part of this larger project of making a better world?”  President Barack Obama, Responding to a Question at Strasbourg, France, Apr 2009, quoted on pg. 272

 Discussion Questions on the topic of Equanimity

1.    What does equanimity mean to you?
2.    How do you develop equanimity?
3.    Who in your life models equanimity?
4.    Do you use equanimity when family members are suffering?

 Practices that Increase Compassion and Equanimity
1. Creating your own Bodhisattva Vow. Pg. 240
2. Developing the Compassionate Heart. Pg. 246
3. In the Field of Compassion. Pg. 248
4. Caring for the World. Pg. 251
5. Inviting Equanimity. Pg. 253
6. Equanimity Practice for a Loved One. Pg. 257

 “Awakening Joy in ourselves is also a way to serve others. By remaining in touch with your own aliveness and appreciation for life, you remind those around you of their own capacity to do the same.  Rather than being self-indulgent or frivolous, to be joyful is a gift we give to those we meet and to the world.  Joy awakens our love for life, and it’s contagious. This is what the planet needs in order to heal and thrive.  This is what we all need in order to blossom and to live fulfilling lives.  For the sake of all of us, be happy.”


 

 

 

AWAKENING JOY #13 (5/07/19)

NOTES FROM AWAKENING JOY: CHAPTER 8 - LOVING OTHERS

Step 8 represents the culmination of all the practices we’ve had with the first 7 steps.

Everything is brought to bear:- and not necessarily in a sequential order!

 The intention to be happy can be a guide and touchstone to how we relate to others.

 Mindfulness is the tool to help us be truly present for and with others as well as the love

that flows between us.

 Gratitude allows us to appreciate the lovely qualities in others that touch us.

 We learn to work with pain and sorrow when things don’t go our way or when people

disappoint us.

 Integrity is the basis for trust and respect vital to foundation of relationships.

 Letting go of stories and expectations allows us to see them for who they are.

 Loving ourselves is the prerequisite for loving others and remembering they too want to

be happy. James Boraz

Most importantly is that last piece. Loving ourselves is foundational. And as we talked about in

Chapter 7, loving the self with unconditional friendliness, with compassion in the totality of who

we are, with our shared humanity is the place to start. What we see in ourselves – not as good

qualities and bad qualities, but a quality of heart and mind that is open and spacious, we also

see in others, over time, with practice. Multiple meditations in this chapter – loving self, dear

one, neutral one, difficult one, gratitude, asking/offering forgiveness. Focus on self, dear one

and neutral – and discussion of some of the other topics in preparation for Diana’s return.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival

A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of furniture,

Still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.

Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

Every day an opportunity to hold ourselves in lovingkindness, forgive and be skillful again.

Meditation: Moving from Self to the Cherished to the Neutral

 Opening to the Sea of Awareness (5 min)

o Opening into the spaciousness that can hold everyone’s essential goodness

o From this place of awareness, inviting the aspiration for compassion for

ourselves and other

 Offering Lovingkindness to the Self (10 min)

o May I be happy

o May I have ease and well-being

o May I be free of pain and emotional distress

o May I be present for the joys and sorrows – the full catastrophe

o May I have the strength and courage to continue this path

 Offering Lovingkindness to a Cherished Person (10 min)

 Offer Lovingkindness to a Neutral Person (10 min)

Your Experience?

1. What was your direct experience of the meditation? Is it becoming easier or harder to offer yourself lovingkindness?

2. What difference was there, if any in offering lovingkindness to a cherished person and a
neutral one?

3. Was there any place in the meditation where you found yourself shutting down?

Some Takeaways: How Do We Bring All 7 Steps to Realize the 8th One

 It takes practice with the first 7 seven steps to embody the 8th one.

o Which of the 7 steps are particularly helpful to you?

 The difference between love and attachment: Love is the movement of the heart that

opens and radiates. Attachment is the contraction as it closes in fear.

o How do you know when you’ve crossed the line from love to “attachment to an

agenda” with another person? What sensations, thoughts, emotions arise?

 The personal love that exists between two people is the taste of a universal love that

exists in everyone and it shines on everything without condition.

o Also an opportunity to allow all the easy/hard qualities in another

 When we love someone, we want them to be happy. It requires a lot surrender to trust

that they might find their way by a different route than the one we think is best.

 What we think of as love can sometimes end up being a strategy to get our loved ones

to behave in ways we think are “right” or to give us what we need – which cut off a

genuinely loving connection.

 Forgiveness is giving up all hope for the past. It doesn’t change the past, but it changes

the present. Realizing the other’s actions/words are not about you, but their internal

reality. Forgiving other’s confusion knowing they, too, want to be happy, free of pain.

o What does James Baraz mean by “forgiveness is the highest act of self-interest”?

 How can sending lovingkindness “be not a reward, but a prayer”?

Informal Practice Options (Homework)

1. Notice times when you feel yourself closing down to someone you love. Ask yourself if

you are attaching to an agenda and what it might take for you to let it go.

a. Where is the judgment, resistance, not wanting?

2. Find opportunities to scatter joy, to practice lovingkindness, especially with people you

don’t know or don’t know well.

3. Practice finding the good in others – notice its impact on your feelings and interactions

4. To access the joy of others, set aside time to engage in playful activities.

AWAKENING JOY #12 (4/30/19)

AWAKENING JOY #11 (4/23/19)

AWAKENING JOY: JOY OF LOVING OURSELVES (4/16/19)


AWAKENING JOY: CHAPTER 7 - THE SWEETNESS OF LOVING OURSELVES

 “Imagine meeting someone who laughs at all of your jokes, has similar tastes and really grasps your take on things.  This person understands all your hopes and fears. In short, this is someone who really gets you.  How would you feel?  Probably ecstatic.  There is only one person in the world who completely fits that description and he or she is right inside your own skin.  This is someone you can learn to love.”

Check-In

1.     What was the practice you focused on to bring more joy into your life?
2.     What have you done to nurture yourself?
3.     Have you been meditating, singing, laughing, exercising, dancing, being mindful, practicing gratitude?
4.     Have you been taking in the good?
5.     What have you practiced letting go of?  Stuff?  Negative thoughts and stories?
6.     Have you been looking for the good in your own heart and in other people?
7.     Are your choices creating joy for yourself and others?
8.     Have you had any “aha” moments?

 

QUOTES - CH. 7: Learning to Love Ourselves 

“Self-love is the most altruistic of all practices.  When you are free to be kind and loving to yourself, the world and all of the people in your life are touched.”  Dr. Mark Abramson, Stanford University. http://www.esalen.org/content/abramson

 “When we love ourselves, we don’t hurt ourselves or others.”  The Dalai Lama

 “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”  Oscar Wilde

 “It is of practical value to learn to like yourself.  Since you spend so much time with yourself, you might as well get some satisfaction out of the relationship.”  Norman Vincent Peale

 “There’s only one of you, and if you let yourself be the best one of yourself possible, you may also like what you see.” Pg.180

 “Learning to love yourself is a process that evolves over time.  It begins with letting go of self-criticism and forgiving yourself for being who you are.”  Pg.181

 “As you stop focusing on what you don’t appreciate and start seeing yourself as a unique, mysterious, changing being, you allow your best self to shine through.  And the joy of that radiates out to the world.” Pg.181

 “Instead of getting caught up in judgment and self-hatred, which only feeds a negative state of mind, you can begin by shifting your focus to more positive ways of regarding yourself.” Pg.184

 “Even the tiniest opening of seeing the goodness in ourselves can begin to break through a lifetime of self-judgment.  By inclining our mind toward looking for what is good and wholesome in us, we stop feeding the negative and start bringing our positive qualities to life.   As we do this, we cultivate a new way of regarding ourselves, so that over time the old voices inside that belittle us are replaced by others that are kind and supportive.” Pg.187

 “For years I had been looking for love and fulfillment outside myself – loving others, looking for love from others.  I now understand that no matter how much love came to me from ‘out there’, until I could truly love myself, I couldn’t really take it in.” Pg.192

 “True love for yourself comes whole and unconditional.  The love that embraces the whole package encompasses both compassion for the confused parts and love for the goodness.” Pg.193.

 “Take good care. This phrase holds a clue to cultivating love for ourselves.  Love is taking good care – of your body and your mind, nourishing them with healthy foods, kind and effective healing methods, enough exercise, adequate rest and quiet time, creative self-expression and play.  When you take care of yourself out of love, your love for yourself increases.” Pg. 194

 “We all long for kindness and care, and we are the ones who can give that to ourselves at any and every moment.”  Pg. 196

 “Speaking kindly to yourself is one of the most important ways to bring more joy into your life.  Learning to recognize the harsh voice of judgment inside your head, and in its place cultivating the gentle voice of compassion and support, can help you stay in touch with what you need in order to love and care for yourself.”  Pg. 196

 “Your ability to love yourself evolves as you evolve, but when you finally love yourself, you have passed a watershed point in your spiritual practice.  You no longer are trapped in looking to others to prove that you are okay.”  Pg. 201

Discussion: Learning to Love Ourselves:

1.     Why is self-love the most altruistic of all the practices?
2.     What do you appreciate about yourself?
3.     How were you encouraged to believe that you are “good enough?”
4.     What would you need to accept and understand in order to truly forgive yourself?
5.     How do you take good care of yourself?  Are these activities and aspirations on your nourishing list?

 Practices that Support Learning to Love Ourselves

 Seeing Your Goodness Enlivened Right Now Pg.187
“Look into a mirror and tell yourself what three specific good qualities you know you have.”

Seeing Yourself with Love Pg.193
“Bring to mind someone who genuinely loves you. Imagine yourself as that person and look at yourself through his or her eyes.  What qualities do you see in yourself from that perspective?”

 On the Lookout for Goodness Pg.201
“Be on the lookout for those moments when something good expresses itself through you – a spontaneous urge to call a distressed friend, an impulse to give a donation to charity.  Be sure to pause and let those thoughts, feelings and sensations register in your awareness.”



SUPPORT PRACTICE FOR THE WEEK:

Choose an Awakening Joy practice that will bring more joy and well-being into your life this week.

 "Searching all directions with one's awareness, one finds no one dearer than oneself."  The Buddha

 

Invite the following phrases of lovingkindness:

May I be on my own side.
May I support my best interest in thought, word and deed.
May I see myself the way people who love me do.
May I see the good in myself.
May I appreciate myself.
May I forgive myself.
May I be healthy in mind and body.
May I take good care of myself.
May I be kind to myself.
May I love and accept myself just as I am.




 

AWAKENING JOY: JOY OF LETTING GO
(TUES., 4/9/19)

POEMS:

She Let Go - SAFFIRE ROSE

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of the fear.  She let go of the judgments.  She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.  She let go of the committee of indecision within her.  She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a book on how to let go.  She didn’t search the scriptures. She just let go.  She let go of all of the memories that held her back.  She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.  She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go. She didn’t journal about it. She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer. She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. She just let go.

She didn’t analyze whether she should let go. She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment. She didn’t call the prayer line. She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.

No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations. No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing. Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be. A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.

 LET IT GO By Danna Faulds

Let go of the ways you thought life would unfold; the holding of plans or dreams or expectations – Let it all go. Save your strength to swim with the tide. The choice to fight what is here before you now will only result in struggle, fear, and desperate attempts to flee from the very energy you long for. Let go. Let it all go and flow with the grace that washes through your days whether you receive it gently or with all your quills raised to defend against invaders. Take this on faith; the mind may never find the explanations that it seeks, but you will move forward nonetheless. Let go, and the wave’s crest will carry you to unknown shores, beyond your wildest dreams or destinations. Let it all go and find the place of rest and peace, and certain transformation.





CHAPTER #6: JOY OF LETTING GO
NOTES FROM DI

Dear AWAKENING JOY Friends,

I hope this letter finds you well.

I have been in silent retreat at Questhaven for the last week and have just returned to Tuesday’s AWAKENING JOY CLASS #10—THE JOY OF LETTING GO.

UNFORTUNATELY, DUE TO DI’S SEVERE LACK OF TECHNOLOGY SKILLS, WE WERE NOT ABLE TO ARCHIVE THE VIDEO/AUDIO FOR CLASS #10. Consequently, I have included lengthy notes regarding the current chapter #6 and support practices.

In Sundays newsletter I talked about the art of letting go of regrets and remorse, or the confronting of feelings of guilt and shame by asking for forgiveness. This is part of the letting go practice and is of great benefit to you, the one who is holding the anger, regret, lack of forgiveness or ill-will. In addition, I also shared my current letting go of external objects/items by “cleaning out” the side doors of our refrigerator and the over-stuffed underwear drawer. Yes, I did get to it yesterday.

In addition, I will now be bringing books and shawls to sangha each week to share the gifted bounty and liberate both internal and external space for the need and benefit of a more spacious presence in my life. I trust that these items will find their way to greatest benefit than they are currently receiving from my own lack of care and attention.

It is easy to make a case for the benefits of holding on. It can be viewed as frugal, consumer-conscious and valuing the things, objects and intentions which they have come to represent. However, no thing is greater than the reality with which it is lived and breathed. My wholesome desire to be conscious in my consumption has infinite and varied ways in which it can be realized in any moment. Keeping “things” as the primary form of my “consciousness” is not likely accurate or honest. It has allowed me an opportunity to investigate with lots of genuine care and compassion the more subtle and not so apparent reasons for HOLDING ON. This is a worthy endeavor and has already revealed hidden fears, believed thoughts and recriminations towards self and other that have been beneficial to recognize, accept and release, when appropriate.

I hope you’re finding genuine joy, well-being and peace in your life. Now that we are at the mid-point of our course, this is a good time to reflect on how the course is going for you. Remember why you signed up in the first place. Are you still connected with your overall intention? Are you honoring your intentions? Are you too busy to give time to develop more well-being or joy in your life? Would it be more rewarding if you put more energy into it? If so, it’s never too late.

I encourage you to re-connect with your intention. By prioritizing happiness in your life, you create the most important condition for manifesting it. Please do this course as a nourishing project in whatever way works for you. Don’t worry about doing everything and being a “good student.” Work with whatever themes resonate with you. Use the supportive practices like taking quiet time or meditating, singing and exercise in whatever way works for you. Remember, no guilt, no pressure, no failing.

At the same time, what you get out of it will depend largely on actively putting some of these ideas into actual practice. You can click on the next Tuesday, 4/ 16- 7:00 AM ZOOM meeting here: https://zoom.us/j/907345444. You will need to download Zoom (a simple free one time process) to your device to participate. It should enable you to join directly. The call can be by audio only for those who do not have a video camera on their computer as well as by phone.

Checking in about Integrity, I hope you found our last theme on integrity helpful. When our words and actions are aligned with our values we live with greater ease. And when they’re not, we feel disconnected, as if there’s something not quite right within us. One participant shared how, in working with the theme of Integrity, it was embarrassing to notice the subtle ways he doesn’t act in alignment with his values. As humbling as it is to see this, it’s actually a very healthy sign that you are waking up. Celebrate that fact and each time you do act with integrity, be present for the feeling of well-being that accompanies it. Each time you don’t, notice how it feels, have compassion for the depth of conditioning, and see what it’s like to make a commitment to go for a deeper happiness.

The Joy of Letting Go was our theme this last Tuesday.

The “Letting Go” theme is a natural continuation of our last theme’s practice on Integrity. Integrity involves a quality of restraint in which we let go of acting on impulses that might cause harm. Now we continue to develop an attitude of wise letting go by applying it to other areas of our life and noticing the feeling of well-being that accompanies it when we do. In the U.S., some think freedom means being able to choose from 150 TV channels or 31 flavors of ice cream. But unfortunately all those choices usually have the opposite effect. We often don’t realize that true independence is an inner freedom from being at the mercy of our endless desires. This is where “The Joy of Letting Go” is such a radical and profound pathway to true well-being and joy. Letting go is commonly referred to in Buddhist teachings as renunciation. This word can bring to mind images of sacrifice or deprivation, which seem far removed from joy. But letting go leads to joy when we realize we don’t have to hold onto extra baggage. We are putting down an unnecessary burden—the pain that comes from grasping onto what we think will make us happy. The secret to true letting go is learning to distinguish what we want from what we truly need. To do this we need to quiet down enough to listen carefully to the different voices in our head. Then we can hear whether they’re coming from a feeling of lack or from a deeper, wiser, compassionate connection that truly knows what’s good for us. What we’re letting go of are the attachments—whether to thoughts, sense experiences or material things—that hook us and cause us to suffer. The suffering that comes from holding on tightly to changing experience is like rope burn. But we rarely realize that it’s the holding on that’s causing the suffering. If we can wisely let go, we free ourselves of the problem.

Letting go doesn’t mean rejecting what is here. Rather it’s an attitude of letting things be without picking up what doesn’t serve us. One example is the power of letting go of troublesome thoughts. You don’t need to get rid of those thoughts. The very effort to “get rid of” is rooted in aversion and trying to push them away actually gives those thoughts more life. It’s like saying, “I don’t want to feel this frustration right now!” The more we try to make the thought go away the bigger it becomes. What we are really letting go of the illusion of control in a world of change. This attempt to control things keeps us bound in fear. Letting go of control is not easy since that habit is so strong. We often think that if we don’t hold on tightly to keep things the way they are or try hard enough to make things happen, we’ll be disappointed. The irony is that our over-efforting is what blocks the natural unfolding of things. The secret of letting go is seeing, through direct experience, the pain that comes with attachment to things being a certain way. When you find yourself struggling, if you look deeply, chances are you may discover attachment somewhere—either wanting things to stay the same or wanting them to change. As unpleasant as this realization may be, this is not a bad thing. As you bring awareness to this predicament, you will see directly for yourself that attachment leads to suffering and you become more motivated to let go. There are several dimensions of letting go that lead to a joyful heart.

The following are suggested areas of exploration to practice with. If one area in particular speaks to you, work with it in a more focused conscious way. If you take on a particular practice, notice how it affects your general level of well-being. Then you will see for yourself why it’s said that the highest happiness comes from a mind free of attachment. Letting Go as Simplifying The essence of letting go is bringing greater simplicity into our lives. When we simplify and get rid of clutter, we provide space and simplify or “uncomplicate” our minds.

One aspect of simplifying can involve letting go of material things. How much do we really need? Our consumer society is constantly telling us all the things we need to make us happy but it’s just not so. We crave simplicity. The spacious feeling that comes from cleaning out your closet is actually more invigorating than acquiring more “stuff.”

If you want to see how we are manipulated by forces of greed I highly recommend the amazing 21 minute video with Annie Leonard mentioned in Awakening Joy called “The Story of Stuff” http://www.storyofstuff.org/movies-all/story-of-stuff. In the book, Ven. P. A Payutto’s offers a clear articulation of “wise consumption”—how we know when “enough is enough”: It is an awareness of that optimum point where enhancement of true well-being coincides with the experience of satisfaction. Consumption...balanced to an amount appropriate with well-being rather than to the satisfaction of desires. In contrast to maximum consumption leading to more satisfaction, we have moderate, or wise consumption leading to well-being. This practice of finding the point of optimal well-being requires mindful attention. But it saves you from going overboard turning pleasure into suffering. (Will that extra portion of dessert really bring you more happiness or more indigestion?)

The Rippling Effect of Simplifying There are profound ramifications for simplifying our lives that go beyond the personal. Some striking facts: 1) ½ of climate change can be tied to the livestock industry; 2) 75% of every dollar spent on food in the U.S. goes for advertising, packaging, transportation and storage. Contrasting that, 95% of food purchased from a farmer’s market goes directly to the farmer. I highly recommend Bill McKibben’s book Eaarth, which documents the enormous price our society pays with habits that depend on a non-sustainable lifestyle. Letting go of our consumer mentality to acquire more can have a tremendous effect on not only our own happiness but on the survival of the planet.

Reflection: 1) Settle the attention for a few moments and then look at your own genuine care and attention. Remember just how much you care about this planet—about nature, all the people, plants and animals who live on this planet as well as future generations
2) As you get in touch with that caring consider how, through letting go of some habit of consumption or in taking some positive action, you could have a lighter footprint.
3) How would this contribute to your greater happiness and well-being? If you get clear on some action, see what how it affects you to consciously take it on as a practice that supports deepening joy. Be present for those moments.

Greater Balance through Simplifying Another area of letting go that can lead to more happiness is bringing more balance to an overcrowded, busy life. We create suffering by taking on more than we can possibly handle.

Even if the choices are pleasant ones doing too much throws our life out of balance. As Peace Pilgrim, a wise 20th Century American sage, says: “If your life is in harmony with your part in the Life Pattern, and if you are obedient to the laws which govern this universe, then your life is full and good but not overcrowded. If it is overcrowded, you are doing more than is right for you to do, more than is your job to do in the total scheme of things.”

You might reflect on these questions:
1. What is making my life complicated or out of balance these days?
2. What would I need to simplify or let go of to bring my life more into balance? To practice with this theme, you might try the following experiment. Pick an area to take on as a practice of simplifying. This can be as simple as practicing not looking at email more than you need to. If you want to add something to your schedule, make sure to delete something else. Every time you make a choice for simplifying by letting go of stuff or overcrowding your life feel the joy of practicing a way that better serves you.

Letting Go of Our Stories One of the most profound letting go practices is letting go of the stories and beliefs we tell ourselves about who we are and how it all is. While some of our stories are important and can inspire us in very positive, impactful ways, we often believe mental fabrications that evoke feelings of smallness, fear, separation or contraction that don’t serve our well-being. These kinds of limiting stories are a major source of our suffering. They may involve beliefs about our past, our potential, what others think of us, our expectations or any interpretation that causes us confusion or fear. The brain creates assumptions based on past information and conclusions about life. We push the present through a filter of the past in order to predict the future.

However, we can cultivate what Dan Siegel calls Mindsight, the ability of the mind to see itself in action, not be at the mercy of its stories. This gives us more choices. Mindfulness meditation practice is one of the most powerful ways to cultivate this. We often carry core beliefs that don’t serve us, often developed when we are very young. Tara Bennett-Goleman talks about classical “schemas” in her book Emotional Alchemy. These patterns and beliefs can easily be triggered giving rise to stories create a self-fulfilling reality. The stories often include words like always or never, as in “I never can…” or “She always…” What can you do about them? By understanding the conditioning that keeps you locked in unskillful thoughts and habits, you can begin to bring compassion to your predicament and let go of self-judgment and blaming others.

The Mindful Self-Compassion exercise described above is a good way to hold those habitual thoughts. Another way to not be run by your thoughts is by clearly recognizing the story you habitually get caught in. Labeling the story calms down the mind by activating a different part of the brain than the one that is triggered. There is a power in reframing your story. You might ask yourself. “How else can I most skillfully and compassionately look at this?” When you see through your negative story, what you have left is the truth. That’s why the practice of letting go of a limiting story is extremely liberating and leads to greater spaciousness and joy.

Whenever we are suffering or get confused, one of the simple practices is to simply ask, “What story am I believing right now?” The moment we ask this, it allows us to see the emptiness of the thought and let go of the story. I’m out of my prison and can see things from a clearer perspective. Thoughts are as real as we believe them to be or as empty as we see them to be. You may find that using this reflection is an effective way to free the mind of the tyranny of negative thinking. I encourage you to take some time to reflect and perhaps write your own responses to these questions.

Consider sharing these reflections with a course buddy or friend:
1. What story do you believe that keeps you from experiencing well-being and joy?
2. What would it be like if you saw it as just a story and could let it go?
3. What would you need to understand or remember in order to let it go in the future? You might experiment with a particularly limiting belief or story such as “I’m not kind to myself because I never learned how to...” or “This won’t work out because…”

With great compassion, be aware of the conditioning that you’re trying to unlearn. Since you’ve been practicing it a long time, it will take time and patience to learn a new way. What story could you substitute that would be more supportive of your well-being? (e.g. “I’m someone who is learning to be kind to myself,” or “This will be a positive experience because…”)

Letting Go of Expectations and Figuring Out Letting go of expectations and plans allows us to be with what really is and respond with openness and curiosity. Having a plan is useful for giving us direction, but if you’re looking to see if life passes or fails your test, you’re setting yourself up for suffering. Even if you have a strong intention and give whole-hearted effort, in the end you need to let go of the outcome when life takes an unexpected turn, which it often does. Letting go of trying to figure out how things will turn out creates a lot of space in the mind, too. Often we don’t have enough information. Life will keep unfolding, revealing in its own time what we need to know. We just have to be open enough to hear the messages. Anxiously trying to find the right answer rarely allows space enough for your wisdom to emerge.

By letting go of worrying about what is beyond your control, you can quiet down enough to listen inside to the wisest response to your current situation.

Generosity, the Full Flowering of Letting Go Practice The kind of letting go that most directly results in well-being is generosity, the active expression of letting go which also acknowledges the inter-connectedness that we all share. The stuff we share is the currency of our caring and love. Think of someone who’s been a recipient of your generosity. How has that exchange impacted your relationship? Or think of a gift in your house that someone gave you. Does the object help you feel connected to that person? What we share connects us with others.

Generosity brings us joy and it is something that can be consciously practiced. A wise teaching encourages that while performing a generous act one can reflect, “I am being generous.” and then let the uplifting feeling that accompanies it gladden the heart. We experience genuine delight when we give with no ulterior motive. We like to share just because it feels good. The Dalai Lama calls this “selfish altruism” which he says is skillful. Whenever you are being generous, don’t miss that good feeling. Notice how good generosity feels. That way you reinforce the wholesomeness of your generosity and awaken more joy.

It’s important to include ourselves in our generosity practice. We’re not trying to be martyrs by giving more than is appropriate. If you do, your generosity will be coming from a feeling of depletion instead of abundance. That is one reason why nourishing yourself is so important. Not only is your own well-being increased but others benefit from your self-care as well.

Receiving as a Part of Generosity Practice Another aspect of generosity comes with understanding the three elements that are said to affect the power of an exchange of a gift: the purity in the heart of the giver, the purity of the gift and the purity in the heart of the receiver. It’s just as important to receive graciously when someone is being generous with us. Being the recipient is, for many people, more difficult than being the giver. You don’t do anyone a service by turning their generosity away with a response like, “Oh, you shouldn’t have!” Receiving with appreciation and delight is actually an act of generosity itself. It lets you become a “field of merit” for them, letting them enjoy the good feeling of their giving heart. If you choose to work with generosity pay attention to receiving graciously, particularly if it’s easier for you to give than to receive.

Practicing Generosity Let generosity be a source of joy for you. Practice it in any way that feels right. Start wherever you are. Sometimes the greatest gift we can offer is being truly present for someone. You can also cultivate generosity as an extension of your gratitude practice. Each day find someone in your life to whom you can express genuine appreciation. No need to keep it to yourself. Let them benefit from hearing about something you value in them. Roger Walsh, in his book Essential Spirituality, offers some ideas for practicing generosity. He suggests doing your work in a spirit of generosity and service.

Another practice is dedicating your generosity for someone else’s benefit. For instance, as you’re engaged in a generous act you can say something like, “May any merit from this act be for the benefit of my son, Tanner.” Another generosity practice you might enjoy is giving anonymously, with no possibility of being acknowledged for it. Have fun experiencing the joy connected with generosity. Be present for how it feels any time you act on the impulse as it arises.

The Power of Music Here’s a brain research study what shows that favorite music evokes same feelings as good food or drugs. http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/jan/09/why-we-love-music-research. Whether or not you sing as part of your “Awakening Joy” practice put on some of your favorite music and notice how it affects your mood. In this study, the piece of music that was the most popular in activating subjects’ pleasure center was Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings. Of course, musical taste varies from person to person, so you may not agree. But here’s a video of extraordinary photography to go along with that piece of music. Enjoy!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KylMqxLzNGo

Supportive Practices As you focus on practices related to Letting Go, you might pick one practice below and work with it. Or do them in any sequence or way that works for you. Rather than feeling burdened, use these suggestions as support for your greater well-being.

1. Read Chapter 6, “The Joy of Letting Go” in Awakening Joy.
2. You might use this period to work on simplifying your life in some way. Consider letting go of material stuff, of busyness or of habits and behaviors that don’t serve you. Be gentle and patient with yourself since old habits die hard. Try working with it in one area and feel good about any changes you see. Pay attention to how it feels in your body and mind. Let it register in your awareness.
3. When you’re caught in struggle, work directly with letting go of your stories by asking, “What story am I believing right now?” I sometimes have people on retreat write that sentence on a piece of paper. I suggest them to remember, when they’re stuck, that there’s something they’re supposed to ask themselves. You might try carrying a slip of paper with “What story am I believing right now?” around in your wallet. Notice how it feels to let go of the story.
4. Work with letting go of expectations, worrying about the future or various ways you try to control what is beyond your control. Be flexible with the way things are unfolding so that you can let go of or adjust your plan when that’s called for.
5. Practice generosity as the active expression of letting go: ● Whenever you have an impulse to be generous, notice mindfully how it feels in your body. If appropriate, act on it. Notice how it affects the connection you feel with the other person. ● Pick an area like work, family, friendships and devise a personal generosity practice with regard to a particular individual. ● Practice receiving graciously.
6. Continue the most supportive practices that work for you: meditating or taking some quiet time, singing or other ways to express yourself creatively, healthy body movement (exercise, yoga, walking etc.). You might use a journal in any way that serves you like a daily gratitude practice or tracking your letting go/generosity practices.

I want to encourage you not to try hard to be joyful. Just open up to the feeling of well-being when it’s here. I hope in the coming weeks you’re present for all your blessings.

May you be happy, truly happy. May you and all beings benefit.
with love, diana

Information about the April 16th Zoom video conference call: Mark your calendar(s) for Tuesday, April 16 starting at 7:00 am U.S. Pacific Time.
To join the Zoom Meeting use this link:

AWAKENING JOY CLASS #9 (4/2/19)

AWAKENING JOY CLASS #8 (3/26/19)

SATURDAY SANGHA PRACTICE: 3/23/19

FORGIVENESS IN THE THREE DIRECTIONS
To practice forgiveness meditation, let yourself sit comfortably, allowing your eyes to close and your breath to be natural and easy. Let your body and mind relax. Breathing gently into the area of your heart, let yourself feel all the barriers you have erected and the emotions that you have carried because you have not forgiven – not forgiven yourself, not forgiven others. Let yourself feel the pain of keeping your heart closed. Then, breathing softly, begin asking and extending forgiveness, reciting the following words, letting the images and feelings that come up grow deeper as you repeat them.

FORGIVENESS OF OTHERS: 
There are many ways that I have hurt and harmed others, have betrayed or abandoned them, caused them suffering, knowingly or unknowingly, out of my own pain, fear, anger and confusion.

 Let yourself remember and visualize the ways you have hurt others. See and feel the pain you have caused out of your own fear and confusion. Feel your own sorrow and regret. Sense that finally you can release this burden and ask for forgiveness. Picture each memory that still burdens your heart. And then to each person in your mind repeat: 

 I ask for your forgiveness, I ask for your forgiveness.

FORGIVENESS FOR YOURSELF
There are many ways that I have hurt and harmed myself. I have betrayed or abandoned myself many times through thought, word, or deed, knowingly or unknowingly. Feel your own precious body and life.

 Let yourself see the ways you have hurt or harmed yourself. Picture them, remember them. Feel the sorrow you have carried from this and sense that you can release these burdens. Extend forgiveness for each of them, one by one.

 Repeat to yourself: For the ways I have hurt myself through action or inaction, out of fear, pain and confusion, I now extend a full and heartfelt forgiveness. I forgive myself, I forgive myself.

FORGIVENESS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE HURT OR HARMED YOU
There are many ways that I have been harmed by others, abused or abandoned, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought, word or deed. 

 Let yourself picture and remember these many ways. Feel the sorrow you have carried from this past and sense that you can release this burden of pain by extending forgiveness when your heart is ready. Now say to yourself: 

 I now remember the many ways others have hurt or harmed me, wounded me, out of fear, pain, confusion and anger. I have carried this pain in my heart too long. To the extent that I am ready, I offer them forgiveness. To those who have caused me harm, I offer my forgiveness, I forgive you.

 Let yourself gently repeat these three directions for forgiveness until you feel a release in your heart. For some great pains you may not feel a release but only the burden and the anguish or anger you have held. Touch this softly. Be forgiving of yourself for not being ready to let go and move on. Forgiveness cannot be forced; it cannot be artificial. Simply continue the practice and let the words and images work gradually in their own way. In time you can make the forgiveness meditation a regular part of your life, letting go of the past and opening your heart to each new moment with a wise loving kindness.

AWAKENING JOY - CLASS #7
INTEGRITY/PRECEPTS
(3/19/19)

FORMAL PRACTICE:
1.) Take a few minutes each morning to read/recite and review the written precepts. Construct a way that you can carry out the 5 precepts each day this week. These are commitment statements regarding our aspirations and intentions to honor the precepts. Make it simple and do-able. REMEMBER, that a few moments in stillness and silence are considered a practical and beneficial way to honor the precepts. It is in stillness and silence that we are not causing harm, contributing to the good and doing so for not only ourselves, but all beings.
2.) Commit to finding 3-5 minutes at the beginning, middle and end of each day for review and reflection of the precepts. Also, find 10 3-breath opportunities throughout the day for gathering one’s attention and aspiration again towards the precepts.
3.) Check in with your joy buddy to discuss the benefits, blessings and challenges of honoring yourself and your highest aspirations through the precepts.
4.) Check-in with yourself to see the BLISS OF BLAMELESSNESS that is available when honoring your aspirations. Also, notice the distress and dukkha that you experience when you devalue yourself and buy into the ever-present storyline that you are somehow not capable or worthy of these blessings. Can you honor the precept of WISE SPEECH here and offer yourself a few words of kindness, inspiration or support? Can you reach out to others to assist and remind you of your goodness, value and benefit?

2019 THE FIVE WONDERFUL PRECEPTS--EVERYDAY MINDFULNESS/EMC

FIRST PRECEPT---Aware of the suffering caused by the disregard and destruction of life, I vow to cultivate compassion and learn ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to allow others to kill, and not to condone any act of killing in the world, in my thoughts, and in my way of life.

SECOND PRECEPT---Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I vow to cultivate lovingkindness and learn ways to work for the well being of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I vow to practice generosity by sharing my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in real need. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that belongs to others. I will respect the property of others, and prevent others from profiting from taking the possessions of others.

THIRD PRECEPT---Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I vow to cultivate responsibility and learn ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. I am determined not to engage in relations without love and a long-term commitment. To preserve the happiness of others, and myself, I am determined to respect my commitments and the commitments of others. I will do everything in my power to protect children and to prevent couples and families from being broken by heedless misconduct.

FOURTH PRECEPT---Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to deeply listen to others, I vow to cultivate loving speech and listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering. Knowing that words are made manifest by the mind, I vow to learn to speak truthfully, with words that inspire goodness and peace. I am determined not to share information that I do not know to be certain and not to criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure. I will refrain from uttering words that can cause division or discord, or that can contribute to distress. I will make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.

FIFTH PRECEPT---Aware of the suffering caused by heedless consumption, I vow to cultivate good health, for myself and others by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I vow to ingest items that preserve peace, well being, and joy in my body, in my consciousness, and in the collective consciousness of my family and society. I will not use intoxicants or ingest foods or other substances that contribute to harm; including social media, written materials, TV/films, and conversations. I am aware that to ingest these toxins is to harm myself, my ancestors and future generations. I will work to transform violence, fear, anger, and confusion in myself and in society by practicing a healthful diet that benefits the Earth and myself.

Aware of the truth that practice leads to the end of suffering, that mindfulness is a path to reducing distress and the need for the essential support of the community in which we practice, I commit to daily practice and to thoughts/actions that contribute to the end of suffering for myself and all beings. 

Signature____________________________________________Date: _____________

 

STEP 5: INTEGRITY

Opening Quote
“Integrity feels good.  When I act with integrity, I feel lighter in my body, and I can simply go on to the next thought or action”.

Check In:

What was the intention you focused on to bring more joy into your life?
What have you been doing to nurture yourself?
Have you been meditating, singing, exercising, dancing or writing in a journal?
Have you set an intention every morning?
Have you been mindful?
Have you been writing down what you're grateful for every day?
Have you been taking in the good?
Have you been seeing the good in yourself and in other people?

Readings on Integrity

"Every choice we make has a consequence. As Jesus put it, ‘As you sow, so shall you reap.’” Pg. 123

"Living with integrity is a practical strategy for Awakening Joy. It's also considered a ‘skillful’ one, because it makes our lives work better. In Buddhist teachings, thoughts and actions are not categorized as good or bad but rather as “skillful” and “unskillful”. Pg. 123

"To be skillful means to think and act in ways motivated by the desire to enhance the well-being of yourself and others.  To be unskillful means to intentionally think or act in ways that harm you or others.” Pg. 123

“The Buddha referred to the happiness of integrity as “the bliss of blamelessness” and he offered us a set of guidelines:
1. Honor all life.
2. Share your time and resources.
3. Take care with sexual energy, respecting boundaries.
4. Speak kindly.
5. Develop a clear mind and healthy body. Pg. 126; 135-140

“Meditation teacher Ruth Denison puts it, “Karma means you don't get away with nothing, darling!”
Because karma is not an easy teacher in delivering to us the consequences of our actions, the humbling process of waking up requires genuine compassion and kindness for ourselves.  That begins with forgiveness.” Pg. 130

“Sometimes the hardest area of integrity is being truthful with ourselves.  Integrity is not just about following guidelines for morality.  On a deeper level, it's about being true to yourself.” Pg.147

"Wise speech not only applies to interactions with others, but also to our relationship with ourselves.  Be watchful of how you speak to yourself.” Pg. 139

"And this above all, to thine own self be true and it must follow as the night the night the day, thou canst not then be false to anyone.” William Shakespeare

Discussion Questions on Integrity:


1. What does it mean to “honor all life”? (Commit no harm)
2. What does it mean to share your time and resources? (Use resources wisely, do not take).
3. What does it mean to take care with sexual energy, respecting boundaries and offering safety? (Protecting those deserving of protection).
4. What does it mean to speak kindly and carefully? (WISE SPEECH: true, of benefit, kind, timing, skillful)
5. What does it mean to develop a clear mind and healthy body? (Ingestion of substances, distraction, dependency).
6. Do you keep commitments to yourself?
7. When you have spoken or acted in ways you later regretted, what contributed to that action?
8. When you have spoken or acted wisely in a challenging situation, what supported you?
9. What helps you forgive yourself?

Support Practices - Integrity

1. Remembering the Gladness of the Wholesome, Pg. 127
“Think of a time when you reached out and were kind or caring to someone.  Let yourself recall the pleasure you felt in your mind/body as you saw how happy they were.  Take these positive feelings in and let them motivate you to continue to choose wholesome and skillful actions.”

2. Forgiving Yourself, Pg. 132
“Think of an incident from your past that you still regret or feel guilty about. Consider what conditions, inner and outer, might have motivated your words or actions.  Was fear a part of what motivated your choices?  Fear of what?  How did the fear activate your thoughts, words and deeds?

Now imagine yourself as a wise and kind being who understands and forgives you.  Notice if there is any change in your body or mind as you take in that forgiveness.  Is there any way you might act differently if a similar situation presents itself in the future?”

3. Cultivating Habits for Happiness, Pg. 141
“Choose one of the five habits or precepts that you would like to cultivate as a way to bring more joy and well-being into your life, and commit to doing it for one week.  Brainstorm ways you might act in alignment with this guideline.  Write them down and place the paper in a prominent location where you can readily see it every day.”

4. A North Star, Pg. 147
“If you're facing a decision that could compromise your integrity, imagine how you will feel five months or five years from now looking back on your choice.”

Closing Words
“You do not become good by trying to be good, but by finding the goodness that is already within you, and allowing that goodness to emerge.” 
Eckhart Tolle

PHRASES OF LOVINGKINDNESS:
May I act in ways that will enhance the well-being of myself and others.
May I be true to myself.
May I honor my life.
May I share my time and resources skillfully.
May I speak kindly and mindfully. 
May I develop a clear mind and healthy body.
May I forgive myself for the mistakes I have made.


Donation For Awakening Joy Class Series

AWAKENING JOY - CLASS #6
JOY IN DIFFICULT TIMES
(3/5/19)

Allow

There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado.  Dam a
stream and it will create a new
channel.  Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.

Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground.  The only
safety lies in letting it all in
the wild and the weak; fear,
fantasies, failures and success.

When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.

In the choice to let go of your
known way of being,
the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.

 


Step 4:  Finding Joy in Difficult Times

DAILY ASPIRATION:

In the shared quiet, an
invitation arises like a
white dove lifting from
a limb and taking flight.

Come and live in truth.
Take your place in the
flow of grace. Draw
aside the veil you thought
would always separate
your heart from love.

All you ever longed for is
before you in this moment
if you dare draw in a
breath and whisper "Yes."—DANNA FAULDS

OPENING QUOTE:
"Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.  And the self-same well from which your Iaughter rises was often times filled with your tears.  And how else can it be?  The deeper that sorrow curves into your being‚ the more joy you can contain."
Khalil Gibran

Checking In
1. Did you focus on your intention to bring more well-being into your life?
2. How have you been nurturing yourself?
3. Have you been meditating, singing, exercising‚ dancing or writing in a journal?
4. Have you set an intention every morning?
5. Have you been aware of being mindful?
6. Have you been aware of gratitude on a daily basis?
7. Have you been soaking in the good?
8. Have you been seeing the good in your own and other people’s hearts?
9. Are you noticing that the choices you are making are creating joy and well-being for yourself and others?

“It's not a question of if the hard stuff comes but when it comes.  Suffering and stress are part of the fabric of life.  While some of us have easier lives than others, if each of us lives a normal life span, not one of us can escape old age, sickness and death." Pg. 86

"The fourth step in Awakening Joy shows that by being open to the suffering that comes into your life‚ rather than resisting it‚ you can learn to let the pain of life's inevitable challenges move through you rather than get stuck in you."
Pg. 88

”Mindfulness is the primary tool because the resistance that intensifies our suffering is in our mind.  Mindfulness can ease what we're going through in hard times and it releases us from mental states that cause suffering."
Pg. 88

“Mindfulness gets to the root of suffering and frees us from its power.  As we stop trying to protect ourselves from our painful experiences and mindfully open to them, all those positive qualities within us— understanding, compassion, kindness -can also come to Iife.", Pg. 88

Dealing with difficult times is “learning how to keep going.  ‘It’s all about putting in the baby steps.’  That's really the key—repeating your intention‚ sitting through the hard stuff consciously when it happens, staying inside the good stuff for longer periods and really appreciating it‚ practicing loving kindness for yourself‚ not becoming discouraged or impatient‚ and then getting up tomorrow and starting all over again."
Pg. 90

"Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional."   Proverb attributed to M. Kathleen Casey, on pg.94

“To diminish the suffering of pain‚ we need to make a crucial distinction between the pain of the pain and the pain we create by our thoughts about the pain.  Fear‚ anger, guilt, loneliness‚ and hopelessness are all mental and emotional responses that can intensify pain."  Dalai Lama  pg. 96

“The thoughts spinning around and around in our minds can be very convincing. We build elaborate scenarios of failure and chaos and believe them to be true.  This may be very creative, but it's not conducive to happiness. Worry is a very real kind of mental suffering." Pg. 98.

“l have been through some terrible things in my life‚ some of which actually happened." Mark Twain quoted on pg.99

 "Mindfulness interrupts the tape loop by bringing us back to the moment so we can respond to what is actually happening right now.”
Pg.99

"Sometimes the most overpowering illusion the mind can create is fear and it is important to recognize that you are caught in thoughts that are giving rise to fear."
Pg.100

Discussion Questions - Finding Joy in Difficult Times

1. Do you allow yourself to be “AS YOU ARE” when you are going through a difficult time?

2. What  did you learn when you went through a challenging situation or difficult period in your life?

3. When going through difficult times, do you remember that everything is impermanent?

4. Do you practice holding your suffering with kindness and compassion when you are going through a difficult time? How do you nourish yourself then?

Support Practices: Finding Joy in Difficult Times

1. Keeping Perspective
“Keep in mind that everything is impermanent, including negative mind states‚ and notice any moments of well-being that arise.  Be grateful of any blessings in your life.” Pg.91

2. Having Known Them
“Recall an experience of losing a loved one.  Allow yourself to feel the sorrow with tender awareness.  Open to the gratitude you feel for having known him or her and focus on sending that beloved being your thoughts of love and appreciation.”
Pg.94

3. RAIN: Recognize, Allow, Investigate and Non-Identification

Recognize
what you are feeling and name it. Is it anger‚ fear, sadness, confusion or something else?
Allow the feelings to be present, without pushing them away and without getting lost in them.
Investigate the feelings in your body and mind.  Explore the landscape of the emotion with curiosity and interest.  Where in your body do you feel it? How does it feel in your mind—heavy, tight, open, agitated?
Not-personal/NURTURE is the key to freeing yourself from the emotion's grip.  Don't take it personally.  What you are feeling is a human emotion that arises and passes away.  It does not define who you are.

4. Overcoming Overwhelm.
“By shifting your focus from the intense emotion, you can wake up from the dream your mind is creating and wisely address what needs to be attended to.”
Pg. 113

Set an Intention
Choose a practice that will bring more joy and well-being into your Iife. Share with your joy-buddy.

Closing Words
“Suffering is grace.”  Neem Karoli Baba, pg. 116

 PHRASES OF LOVINGKINDNESS

May I be open to the suffering that comes into my life, rather than resisting it, so that the pain doesn't get stuck in me.

May I hold my suffering with kindness and compassion when I'm going through a difficult time.

 

AWAKENING JOY - CLASS #5
BOUNDLESS GRATITUDE II
(2/26/19)

WEEKLY PRACTICES IN GRATITUDE:

1.) Listen to at least 10 minutes of the audio or video meditation on gratitude 3-5 times this week. We remember what we intention and practice and what we intention and practice grows stronger. We are setting ourselves up for disappointment, reinforcement for falsely believed thoughts and suffering, if we do not purposefully incline our attention on gratitude each day.

2.) Call to mind our three aspiration/intention words as we awaken each day. Allow GRATITUDE and JOY to be two of your intentions each day this week.

3.) Continue to look for moments of gratitude and ingratitude, seeing if we can take a few breaths moving closer to and developing a friendliness with each. Each experience is useful in the recognition, acceptance and inquiry. Where is gratitude or the lack of gratitude alive in this present moment? What is feeding this experience?

4.) WRITE A LETTER OF GRATITUDE TO “SELF” or to “ME” and bring it to class #6. We will be exchanging this letter with our buddies in the next class. Online participants, please exchange with your buddy on Monday, prior to Class #6 on Tuesday, March 5, AM.

DISCUSSION IN CLASS #5 _GRATITUDE II

We will begin to explore challenging, difficult and reactive moments that inhibit and deprive us of joy next week in Class #6.

ATTITUDE:
There are the four important reasons for INGRATITUDE: failure to recognize a benefit as a benefit, taking benefits for granted, egoism, and forgetfulness. Ingratitude is, unfortunately, liable to crop up in various ways in the context of the life of a practicing Buddhist. Beyond a certain point of spiritual progress, it is simply impossible to feel ungrateful. One who knows the truth of impermanence and the interconnectedness of all things, will be overflowing with gratitude to parents, teachers, and spiritual friends.

DEFINITIONS of Gratitude - 'duty to benefactors' and as 'desire to return benefits'. Concise Oxford says, 'being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness', and  'a feeling of thankfulness or appreciation, as for gifts or favors'.

From another point of view, we can look at the Pali word being translated as gratitude: katannutaKata means that which has been done towards the good, especially that which has been offered to oneself; and annuta means knowing or recognizing; then katannuta means knowing and recognizing what has been done to one for one's benefit. The English word gratitude is emotional - we speak of feeling grateful. But katannuta is more intellectual, more cognitive. It makes it clear that what we call gratitude involves an element of knowledge: knowledge of what has been done to us or for us for our benefit. If we do not know that something has been gifted to or benefited us, we cannot generate gratefulness.

 GRATITUDE POETRY

MESSENGER – Mary Oliver
 
My work is loving the world. 
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird — 
equal seekers of sweetness. 
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums. 
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
 
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn? 
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect?

Let me keep my mind on what matters, 
which is my work,
 
which is mostly standing still and learning to be 
astonished. 
the phoebe, the delphinium. 
the sheep in the pasture, and the pasture. 
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,
 
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart 
and these body-clothes, 
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy 
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam, 
telling them all, over and over, how it is 
that we live forever.

 

 

GRATITUDE--Mary Oliver

What did you notice?

The dew-snail;
the low-flying sparrow;
the bat, on the wind, in the dark;
big-chested geese, in the V of sleekest performance;
the soft toad, patient in the hot sand;
the sweet-hungry ants;
the uproar of mice in the empty house;
the tin music of the cricket’s body;
the blouse of the goldenrod.

What did you hear?

The thrush greeting the morning;
the little bluebirds in their hot box;
the salty talk of the wren,
then the deep cup of the hour of silence.

When did you admire?

The oaks, letting down their dark and hairy fruit;
the carrot, rising in its elongated waist;
the onion, sheet after sheet, curved inward to the pale green wand;
at the end of summer the brassy dust, the almost liquid beauty of the flowers;
then the ferns, scrawned black by the frost.

What astonished you?

The swallows making their dip and turn over the water.

What would you like to see again?

My dog: her energy and exuberance, her willingness,
her language beyond all nimbleness of tongue,
her recklessness, her loyalty, her sweetness,
her strong legs, her curled black lip, her snap.

What was most tender?

Queen Anne’s lace, with its parsnip root;
the everlasting in its bonnets of wool;
the kinks and turns of the tupelo’s body;
the tall, blank banks of sand;
the clam, clamped down.

What was most wonderful?

The sea, and its wide shoulders;
the sea and its triangles;
the sea lying back on its long athlete’s spine.

What did you think was happening?

The green beast of the hummingbird;
the eye of the pond;
the wet face of the lily;
the bright, puckered knee of the broken oak;
the red tulip of the fox’s mouth;
the up-swing, the down-pour, the frayed sleeve of the first snow—

so the gods shake us from our sleep.

WALK SLOWLY-DANNA FAULDS
It only takes a reminder to breathe,
a moment to be still and just like that,
something in me settles, softens,
makes space for imperfection. The harsh
voice of judgment drops to a whisper
and I remember again that life isn’t a relay race;
that we will all cross the finish line;
that waking up to life is what we were born for.
As many times as I forget, catch myself charging forward
without even knowing where I am going,
that many times I can make the choice
to stop, to breathe, to be and walk
slowly into the mystery, GRATEFUL!


Sabbaths 1999, VII

Again I resume the long
lesson: how small a thing
can be pleasing, how little
in this hard world it takes
to satisfy the mind
and bring it to its rest. 

With the ongoing havoc
the wood this morning is
almost unnaturally still.
Through stalled air, unshadowed
light, a few leaves fall
of their own weight. 

The sky
is gray. It begins in mist
almost at the ground
and rises forever. The trees
rise in silence almost
natural, but not quite,
almost eternal, but
not quite. 

What more did I
think I wanted? Here is
what has always been.
Here is what will always
be. Even in me,
the Maker of all this
returns in rest, even
to the slightest of His works,
a yellow leaf slowly
falling, and is pleased.
WENDELL BERRY
  

 Meditation on Gratitude and Joy

Let yourself sit in a relaxed and supported posture. Allow the body to relax, your breath flowing naturally, your heart open. Begin the practice of gratitude by feeling the truth of how your life has been carried forth, cared for by infinite beings, causes and conditions, all of which have benefitted you…. Now let yourself begin to recollect, remember and acknowledge all that has contributed to your welfare and benefit throughout all time:

 With gratitude, I thank the uncountable people, animals, plants, insects, creatures of the sky and sea, air and water, fire and earth; all whose joyful interconnection blesses my life every day. THANK YOU.
With gratitude, I remember the care, labor and intentioned effort of the thousand generations of benefactors, elders and ancestors who came before me. THANK YOU.
I offer gratitude for my safety and well-being. THANK YOU.
I offer gratitude for the blessing of this earth, our mother. THANK YOU.
I offer gratitude for the health I have been gifted. THANK YOU.
I offer gratitude for the family and friends I have been privileged to love and be loved by.
I offer gratitude for the belonging and community I have been gifted.
I offer gratitude for the opportunities to learn, grow, heal and change from teachings and lessons I have been gifted. THANK YOU.
I offer gratitude for this precious human life accorded to few. THANK YOU.
I offer gratitude to the myriad things that are not yet seen, heard, known or understood that have contributed to my wellbeing, happiness, ease and freedom. THANK YOU.

Just as we are grateful for our blessings, so we can be grateful for the blessings of others.

Bring to mind someone you care about, someone it is easy to rejoice for. Offer them the blessings that you have received in this lifetime, that they too may be happy and free.

“May you be joyful.
May your happiness increase.
May you not be separated from great happiness.
May your good fortune and the causes for your joy and happiness increase.”

 Sense the shared joy and caring in each phrase. When you feel some degree of natural gratitude for the happiness of this loved one, extend this practice to another person you care about. Recite the same simple phrases that express your heart’s intention.

You can then continue to open the heart to include neutral people, difficult people, and even those with whom we have pain and wounds until you extend shared joy to all beings everywhere, young and old, near and far.

Practice dwelling in joy until the effort of practice drops away and the intentions of joy merge into the natural joy of your own wise, awakened heart.

AWAKENING JOY CLASS #4
BOUNDLESS GRATITUDE

AWAKENING JOY CLASS #4
GRATITUDE (2/19/19)

Class 4:  Gratitude Quotes

  1. "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." William Ward

  2. "I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." G.K. Chesterton

  3. "Enough is a feast.”  Buddhist proverb

  4. "If you count all your assets, you always show a profit." Robert Quillen

  5. "Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." R. Brault

  6. "Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some." Charles Dickens

  7. "Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance." E. Tolle

  8. "Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity...it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." Melody Beattie

  9. "The world has enough beautiful mountains and meadows, spectacular skies and serene lakes. It has enough lush forests, flowered fields, and sandy beaches. It has plenty of stars and the promise of a new sunrise and sunset every day. What the world needs more of is people to appreciate and enjoy it." Michael Josephson

  10. "Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy." Fred De Witt Van Amburgh

  11. "He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has." Epictetus

  12. "At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." Albert Schweitzer

  13. "Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough." Oprah Winfrey

  14. "Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful." Buddha

  15. "Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts." Henri Frederic Amiel

  16. "When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around." Willie Nelson

  17. "No one who achieves success does so without the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude." Alfred North Whitehead

  18. "Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude." A.A. Milne

  19. "Forget yesterday--it has already forgotten you. Don't sweat tomorrow--you haven't even met. Instead, open your eyes and your heart to a truly precious gift--today." Steve Maraboli

  20. "In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich." Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  21. "Gratitude also opens your eyes to the limitless potential of the universe, while dissatisfaction closes your eyes to it." Stephen Richards

  22. "Gratitude and attitude are not challenges; they are choices."  Braathe

  23. "In life, one has a choice to take one of two paths: to wait for some special day--or to celebrate each special day." Rasheed Ogunlaru

  24. "This a wonderful day. I've never seen this one before." Maya Angelou

WEEKLY PRACTICES: GRATITUDE

Set an Intention for Gratitude this week.
Choose a practice that will bring more GRATITUDE and well being into your life.

FORMAL PRACTICE: Practice the meditation included in this video/audio at least 3-4 times this week.

INFORMAL PRACTICE:
1.) Soaking in the Good:
Placing your attention on a moment, take 10-20 seconds to drink in, savor, immerse yourself in the bloom of the present moment. Use your 5 senses to breathe in the moment and the experience as best you can. Then, say out loud, what in that moment you are grateful for:
”I AM GRATEFUL FOR THE PRIVILEGE OF HAVING EYES TO SEE AND EARS TO HEAR.”
”FOR THIS BLUE INFINITE SKY ABOVE, I AM GRATEFUL.”
”KNOWING ANGER AS ANGER, I AM GRATEFUL.”
”I AM GRATEFUL FOR YOU.”

2.) Recognizing a moment of reactivity—STOP, PAUSE, BREATHE, OPEN AND THEN NAME THE EXPERIENCE/OBJECTS/BEINGS/CAPACITIES FOR WHICH YOU ARE GRATEFUL. “I AM GRATEFUL FOR THE ABILITY TO PERCEIVE REACTIVITY AND THE ABILITY TO DISCERN SKILLFUL FROM UNSKILLFUL ACTIONS.”

3.) CHANGE YOUR LANGUAGE: Instead of making “have to” statements”- “I have to go to work.”, “I have to pick up the kids.”, translate those believed thoughts into “get to, choose to, privileged to….” statements and see the result. What do you notice about the change in perception, feeling, knowing as it relates to gratitude?

3.) Continue to inquire into moments of gratitude and non-gratitude throughout the day. Can you identify what hindrances are present in your moments of reactivity that prevent you from opening in gratitude right now? What are they?

4.) Identify a person for whom you would like to write and deliver a letter of gratitude. We will be writing this letter next week.

THOUGHTS ON GRATITUDE

Gratitude is one of the sweet shortcuts to finding peace of mind and happiness inside. No matter what is going on outside of us, there’s always something we can be grateful for.

You have no cause for anything but gratitude and joy. -Buddha.

Often we're told to remember to be grateful for blessings or good fortune. But Mindfulness teaches us to be grateful no matter the conditions of the present moment. It is awareness of the present moment itself that is cause for gratitude and joy.  Gratitude is cultivated as an inclination or attitude of mind not dependent on conditions. In the quote below, we see that the Buddha himself taught that gratitude is necessary for joy, wisdom and integrity.

"The Blessed One said, 'Now what is the level of a person of no integrity? A person of no integrity is ungrateful and unthankful. This ingratitude, this lack of thankfulness, is advocated by rude people. It is entirely on the level of people of no skill, wisdom or integrity. A person of integrity is grateful and thankful. This gratitude, this thankfulness, is advocated by those who live happily, skillfully and wisely. It is entirely on the level of people of integrity.'" Katannu Sutta, 

Gratitude Develops Patience

For one thing, gratitude helps develop patience. Ksanti—patience or forbearance—is one of the paramitas or perfections that Buddhists cultivate. Ksanti paramita, the perfection of patience, is the third of the Mahayana paramitas and the sixth of the Theravada paramitas.

Psychologists have corroborated the gratitude-patience link. People with a strong sense of gratitude are more likely to be able to delay gratification, passing on a small reward now in favor of a greater reward later. Developing a sense of gratitude can help stop impulsive, immediate gratification behavior in favor of the long view.

This reveals that gratitude is also an antidote to greed. Greed often comes from a sense of not having enough, or at least not having as much as we “think” everyone else has. Gratitude assures us that what we have is enough; greed and gratitude cannot peacefully coexist. The same goes for jealousy, regret, resentment, and many other negative emotions.

Gratitude for Difficulties

Jack Kornfield, advises us to be grateful for difficulties. “It's really the difficult times that teach us the most.”

Di: And it is all the wise ones who came before, parents and teachers in life - beginning with the earth, for whom we are to offer our greatest honor, appreciation, gratitude and love.

In certain temples there is actually a prayer that one offers asking for difficulties, "May I be given the appropriate difficulties so that my heart can truly open with compassion. “

Gratitude is intimately tied to mindfulness. To be mindful, is to see the world as it is without judgments and bias. It is responding to the world rather than reacting to it. Gratitude helps us be fully present and attentive to our experience and surroundings, and open to the benefits that are present this moment.

Within An Awakened Heart

A lack of gratitude means we are not paying attention and are taking this human existence for granted. "We take our life, and existence, for granted. We take it as a given, and then we complain that it isn't working out as we wanted it to.

When we see ourselves and everyone else as separate atomized individuals with needs to be filled, we can become overwhelmed by all the unfilled needs-the grasping and wanting can be consuming.

Instead, we can see the world as a place of belonging and connection.  Then we are not weighed down. A mind of gratitude helps us see more clearly.  Seeing  more clearly helps us cultivate gratitude.

We are sitting within the awakened heart, releasing ourselves to the pristine awareness that deeply belongs to the universe and is grateful for it.

Cultivating Gratitude

To cultivate a mind of gratitude, the most important element is maintaining a daily mindfulness practice. Remembering to be grateful for the practice, the awakening to the truth, to the sangha and all that contributes.

Moment-to-moment mindfulness and gratitude go hand in hand. A good way to strengthen mindfulness is to set aside some time every day to fully engage in mindfulness.  HOW MUCH TIME ARE YOU WILLING TO COMMIT TO AWAKENING JOY AND GRATITUDE?

Keeping the mind open to continuous gratitude, and/or a gratefulness diary, or at least regularly reflecting on being grateful is necessary to cultivating joy and being mindful.

DAILY RECITATION EACH DAY THIS WEEK:
For all benefit offered to me throughout all time, I am grateful.
May this gratitude be continually expressed through my body, speech, and mind.
With infinite GRATITUDE to the past,
Infinite BENEFIT to the present,
Infinite CONTRIBUTION to the future.

How to apply the teachings on gratitude in your everyday life

Gratitude is cultivated through clear seeing, comprehension and knowing, NOT dependent on conditions, preferences and wants.

DI:
This means that you have the capacity to be grateful not just because you get what you want or as a result of particular conditions of good fortune.  Rather, as we are mindful we become aware of every little thing that is dependent on every other thing and come to see our lives as the complete reflection of the whole of life in its beauty and mystery, rather than some deficiency due to our wanting nature’s insatiable appetite for permanence, self-cherishing gratification and pleasure.

The Grateful are Awakened

It is been written that following his enlightenment, Buddha stood without moving his eyes as he meditated under the Bodhi tree as a sign of gratitude and thanks to the tree that had sheltered him during his struggles.

In Buddha’s teachings, gratitude plays an important role especially when talking about a person’s integrity.  According to the Kataññu Suttas: Gratitude , Buddha said:

”A person of integrity is grateful & thankful. This gratitude, this thankfulness, is advocated by those that are skillful and clear-seeing. Gratitude rests entirely on the reality of interdependence.

Additionally, gratitude is also found in the Pali Canon which states that gratitude is one of the auspicious signs that one is making spiritual progress.

So how can you practice gratitude in your everyday life for it to have a positive impact on AWAKENING JOY?  Here are some simple practices.

Say thank you every morning

--Monastics begin their day with a chant of gratitude for their precious human life and the opportunity to awaken.

--When you wake up, before doing anything else, practice gratitude meditation.  This is a simple act of taking a few minutes of counting being thankful for the new day ahead.  Recognizing the basics such as having fresh air to breathe, a shelter above your head and a body to get you through the day can actually provide you a better perspective and kick start the gratitude of the reality of your life.

Thank your loved ones, especially your parents

Showing gratitude to the people who have contributed to your life and presence may be something we know we need to do more often, but this is usually something we take for granted.

According to the teachings, there are two people who are not easy to repay,  those are your mother and father.

"I tell you, monks, there are two people who are not easy to repay.  Which two? Your mother & father…Mother & father do much for their children.  They care for them, they nourish them, they introduced them to this world."

When was the last time you had a meaningful conversation with your parents or showed your gratitude to them?  Saying the words “Thank you” is a start but doing thoughtful actions they would appreciate would be much better.  The gestures do not need to be grand or expensive.  Simple actions that can make them feel that you’re thankful like spending more time with them, calling them more often or bringing them needed items, goes a long way.

Stop rushing through life

How many times have you found yourself rushing from one task to the next, jam-packing your schedule with one activity after another in a mindless pursuit of your goals?  There is nothing wrong with trying to achieve a lot of things, in fact Buddha himself said in the Bhaddekaratta Sutta:

“Ardently do today what must be done. Who knows? Tomorrow, death comes.”

However, being passionate with what you do today is different from carelessly and habitually going through the motions as you forget the value and benefit of doing what is most needed. 

Letting go

When you try to cling on to something that is not meant to be, that can hinder your path to happiness.  Na Tumhaka Sutta:

“Whatever is not yours: let go of it. Your letting go of it will be for your long-term happiness & benefit.”

Letting go of attachments is a must to experience happiness.  In life, you are attached to many things: people, material things, your work, your ideas, opinions, goals, and desires.  These attachments can lead to frustrations because you are continually clinging to them, afraid of loss.

Letting go means letting things be and realizing that nothing is permanent.  This does not equate to not caring about anyone or anything instead, you must learn to accept things for what they are.

One good example is distressing about a past mistake or a relationship, which can usually cause serious feelings of grief.  Instead of wallowing on past actions that you cannot change, let go and be thankful that what you have gained from the KNOWING OF that experience. 

Avoid comparing yourself to people on social media

 ‘Destroy those envying roots and enjoy lasting peace.’ Buddha

When you entertain your feelings of envy and start focusing on other people’s successes, you are more likely to resent theirs and your own life and forget about the valuable things you actually have which invites gratitude.

Recognize the benefit of your own life and you will be grateful.

Selfless Gratitude

THE PRACTICE OF CULTIVATING GRATITUDE LEADS TO THE DIRECT EXPERIENCE OF THE INTERCONNECTEDNESS OF ALL LIFE.

Students leaving a meditation retreat will sometimes ask me to recommend a mindfulness practice they can incorporate into their daily routine that will keep them in touch with the experiences they've had during the retreat. There are many such practices, but occasionally I suggest one that almost always surprises them and sometimes draws skepticism-the mindful cultivation of gratitude. Gratitude is the sweetest of all the practices for living the dharma in daily life and the most easily cultivated, requiring the least sacrifice for what is gained in return. It is a very powerful form of mindfulness practice, particularly for students who have depressive or self-defeating feelings, those who have access to wonder as an ecstatic state, and those with a reactive personality who habitually notice everything that's wrong in a situation.

The Buddha taught that every human birth is precious and worthy of gratitude. In one of his well-known analogies, he said that receiving a human birth is more rare than the chance that a blind turtle floating in the ocean would stick its head through a small hoop. He would often instruct a monk to take his ground cloth into the forest, sit at the base of a tree, and begin "gladdening the heart" by reflecting on the series of fortunate circumstances that had given the monk the motivation and ability to seek freedom through understanding the dharma.

Practicing mindfulness of gratitude consistently leads to a direct experience of being connected to life and the realization that there is a larger context in which your personal story is unfolding. Being relieved of the endless wants and worries of your life's drama, even temporarily, is liberating. Cultivating thankfulness for being part of life blossoms into a feeling of being blessed, not in the sense of winning the lottery, but in a more refined appreciation for the interdependent nature of life. It also elicits feelings of generosity, which create further joy. Gratitude can soften a heart that has become too guarded, and it builds the capacity for forgiveness, which creates the clarity of mind that is ideal for spiritual development.

Let me be clear: The practice of gratitude is not in any way a denial of life's difficulties. We live in troubling times, and no doubt you've experienced many challenges, uncertainties, and disappointments in your own life. Nor does the practice of gratitude deny the Buddha's teaching on death: Death is certain; your death is certain; the time of death is unknown; the time of your death is unknown. Rather, gratitude practice is useful because it turns the mind in such a way that it enables you to live into life or, more accurately, to die into life. Having access to the joy and wonderment of life is the antidote to feelings of scarcity and loss. It allows you to meet life's difficulties with an open heart. The understanding you gain from practicing gratitude frees you from being lost or identified with either the negative or the positive aspects of life, letting you simply meet life in each moment as it rises.

In the Bible the disciple Paul instructs, "In everything give thanks." What he means is that from your limited perspective it is not possible to know the outcome of any event. What can seem unfortunate at first may turn out to be an unforeseen blessing.

There is a very old Sufi story about a man whose son captured a strong, beautiful, wild horse, and all the neighbors told the man how fortunate he was. The man patiently replied, "We will see." One day the horse threw the son who broke his leg, and all the neighbors told the man how cursed he was that the son had ever found the horse. Again the man answered, "We will see." Soon after the son broke his leg, soldiers came to the village and took away all the able-bodied young men, but the son was spared. When the man's friends told him how lucky the broken leg was, the man would only say, "We will see."Gratitude for participating in the mystery of life is like this.

The Sufi poet Rumi speaks of the mystery of life in "The Guest House".

 "This being human is a guest house / Every morning a new arrival / A joy, a depression, a meanness / some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. / Welcome and entertain them all! / Even if they're a crowd of sorrows / who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture. / Still, treat each guest honorably. / He may be clearing you out for some new delight."

Gratitude practiced in this manner brings delight, balances out your tendency to focus on the negative, and can even lift a dark mood.

Counting This Life as Your Blessing - Exactly as it is!

There are numerous ways to use mindfulness to cultivate gratitude. Of course you acknowledge your appreciation when things are going well. But even more helpful is to notice those things for which you are grateful when you are contracted physically or emotionally.

"Yes, this is (painful, confusing, scary) and I am grateful for the KNOWING"

PRACTICE also encourages us to focus on the wonderment of nature and the human capacity for learning and creating. It is easy to only notice the “negative” aspects of human beings so that wonderment is often forgotten.

You can also practice being consciously grateful to your family, friends, teachers, benefactors, and all those who have come before you who have made it possible for your existence to be comfortable, informed, and empowered. Take a few minutes at the end of each day to mentally note the many beings who have invisibly served you by providing medicine, shelter, safety, food, and education.

If you were asked to make a list of things for which you are grateful, how long would this list be-20 items, 100, 500? Most likely you would include your health, your mind's ability to function well, family, friends, and freedom. But would it include the basics, like a safe place to sleep, clean air and water, food, and medicine? What about for Earth itself, blue skies, a child's laughter, a warm touch, the smell of spring, the tang of salt, the sweetness of sugar, or that morning cup of coffee?  Even further, what about sensations-pleasant and unpleasant; tastes – bitter, sweet, salty and tangy; life – like we want it and like we don’t want it?

The making of such a list is not meant to make you feel indebted but is intended to clarify your understanding of how life really is. It is a reflective meditation that uses mindfulness to carry you beyond the superficial to a deeper experience of your life unfolding moment by moment. You learn to throw off the blinders of habitual assumptions that prevent you from perceiving the miracle of life.

The next step in gratitude practice is to actively notice things you are grateful for throughout your regular day.

In other words, there is a level of well-being and community cooperation that is supporting you even in the midst of your bad day.

You might ask yourself about your "gratitude ratio." Do you experience the good things in your life in true proportion to the bad things? Or do the bad things receive a disproportionate amount of your attention, such that you have a distorted sense of your life?

The purpose of this inquiry is not to judge yourself but rather to motivate yourself to find a truer perspective. Why would you want to go around with a distorted view of your life, particularly when it makes you miserable?

Without instruction, reflecting on gratitude can seem boring or sentimental, evoking memories of your mother admonishing you to eat all the food on your plate. Part of the confusion is that many people have come to equate gratitude with obligation.

Real gratitude begins as clear-seeing for that which has come into your life. Out of this appreciation, a natural, spontaneity arises that feeds gratitude, which is often followed by generosity.

There is a shadow side to gratitude, in which reality gets distorted in yet another way. It manifests as a hopeless or helpless attitude disguised as gratitude, and it expresses itself in a self-defeating, passive voice-"Yes, these things are wrong and unfair, but I should be grateful for what I have," or "At least we have this," or "Compared to these people, look how much better off we are." This voice, whether it is an inner voice or comes from someone else, is not to be trusted. Gratitude is not an excuse for being passive in the face of personal or societal need or injustice. You are not excused from working to become a caring person, creating a better life for your loved ones, or protecting the innocent. Acknowledging the great gift of a human life through gratitude is just the opposite; it is a call to action to be a caring human being while acknowledging the folly of basing your happiness on the outcome of your actions.

HABIT MIND:  IT is easy for the mind to get stuck in problem-solving mode; it only notices what isn't working and sets about trying to resolve it. This might seem desirable, but in fact there will always be things wrong in your life. So you reduce your experience of being alive if you are only responding to the negative. Is that what you want out of life?

The mind tends to take for granted whatever is both desirable and present. This happens because the mind wants constant stimulation, and whatever is present and pleasant tends not to create that stimulation. You can see this for yourself around eating a favorite food: Notice how the first few bites taste so delicious, then how quickly the mind ceases to register the pleasant sensations. It is like this with everything-a cool breeze on a hot day, the sound of a stream as it flows over rocks, the freshness of the morning air after a rain. They all simply disappear from consciousness in the untrained mind.

A mind trained in mindfulness will stay attuned far longer and note more details of that which is good. The phenomenon of comparing mind is another hindrance to practicing gratitude. It is the aspect of your mind that notices, "She has a nicer car than I do," "He is stronger than I am," or "She is a better _____than I am." Understand that there is a difference between discernment, the factor of mind that sees things clearly, and comparing mind, which exercises judgment and hides a belief system that says, "If only I have more of the right things, I will be happy." This is a false belief, of course, a mental habit really, but because it is unacknowledged and seldom examined, it can hold enormous power in your life.

Unrecognized arrogance arising from a hidden sense of entitlement can also be an obstacle to practicing gratitude. When you have a strong feeling of entitlement, you don't notice what is going well, but rather what is not right. It can stem from a sense of either having suffered unfairly or having been deprived. It can also arise from feeling special because you are smart, a hard worker, or successful. At the subtle level of mindfulness, this arrogance is a form of ignorance where these two truths of life are mixed together.

Gratitude for the grace of conscious embodiment evolves into the practice of selfless gratitude, in which your concerns slowly but surely shift from being mostly about yourself and those close to you to being about all living beings. As this occurs, you need less and less in the way of good fortune. It becomes enough that there are those who are happy, who are receiving love, who are safe, and who have a promising future. It is not that you would not prefer good things for yourself, but your sense of well-being is no longer contingent on external circumstances. You are able to rejoice that amidst all life's suffering there exists joy. You realize that pain and joy are part of a mysterious whole. When this state of selfless gratitude starts to blossom, your mind becomes more spacious, quieter, and your heart receives its first taste of the long-sought release from fear and wanting. This is grace.

Check-In Inquiry for Next Week’s class: GRATITUDE II

1. Intention to bring more GRATITUDE into your life.  State an intention.
2. Have you been meditating, singing, exercising‚ dancing or writing in a journal?
3. What did you experience as you intentioned to be more grateful?
4. What did you notice about gratitude while being in the present moment?

QUOTES FROM CHAPTER #3 on Gratitude:

"Each day of your life, you have many opportunities to develop a grateful heart by paying attention to the reality of life, big and small, that are YOU and is all around you."   Pg, 61

"Negative states like anger, bitterness, and resentment dissolve in the presence of gratitude."   Pg.61

"When we feel grateful‚ our receptors are wide open to receive the abundance available to us.  The very act of appreciating someone or something instantly calls forth joy."   Pg. 62

 “Gratitude grounds us in the present.  Having a positive vision of the future is healthy, but in order to get there‚ it helps to appreciate and build on what's good in our life right now."   Pg. 64

“Scattering gratitude spreads a joy that encompasses us as well as those to whom we are grateful.  Expressing our appreciation and gratitude to others not only feels good, but it helps make the world a friendlier place."   Pg.78

Discussion Questions to Explore the Topic of Gratitude:
1. Who do you feel grateful for in your life?
2. What are the things you feel grateful for?
3. How do you notice gratitude in your daily life?
4. What can you commit to as a gratitude practice each day?
5. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO CONSIDER writing a letter of gratitude?

Support Practices that Strengthen Gratitude

1.     Exercise:  “Have To" to “Get To".  Choose a particular task or situation in your life that feels like a burden. Try changing "have to" - to - ”get to" or “choose to” and see if you get a different perspective.  Pg. 70

2.     Exercise:  “And this is a blessing.”  Each time you find yourself reactively worrying or complaining‚ try adding on that little phrase. Pg. 74

3. Exercise: “Deepen Your Happiness Groove.”  Spend a few minutes each day writing down what you are grateful for.  You can do this in your private journal or set up an email exchange with a Joy Buddy.  Pg. 76

4. Exercise: Gratitude Letter.  “Psychologist Martin Seligman reports that of all the exercises he has developed for his Positive Psychology classes‚—writing a gratitude letter is the most powerful.”  Pg. 77

AFFIRMATION:  SAY ALOUD.
May I practice gratitude by NOTICING the blessings that are PRESENT RIGHT NOW.
May I express my appreciation and gratitude to others each day.
May I take a few moments each day to open to THE BLESSING THAT this human life is to me and others.

POEM: Otherwise
I got out of bed on two strong legs. It might have been otherwise. I ate cereal, sweet milk, ripe, flawless peach. It might have been otherwise. I took the dog uphill to the birch wood. All morning I did the work I love.  At noon I lay down with my mate. It might have been otherwise. We ate dinner together at a table with silver candlesticks. It might have been otherwise. I slept in a bed in a room with paintings on the walls, and planned another day just like this day. But one day, I know, it will be otherwise.    —Jane Kenyon

 

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AWAKENING JOY CLASS #3
MINDFULNESS II
(2/12/19)

PLEASE START VIDEO AT 8:30 MINUTES……THANK YOU!

AWAKENING JOY: MINDFULNESS, PART II - 2/12/19

DAILY ASPIRATION PRACTICE:

May I be conscious, calm, contented, caring and compassionate.
May I ACCEPT all that is arising this present moment.
May I honor life and be a contribution.
May I live in joy, love and peace.

May you be conscious, calm, contented, caring and compassionate.
May you ACCEPT all that is arising this present moment.
May you honor life and be a contribution.
May you live in joy, love and peace.

May we all be conscious, calm, contented, caring and compassionate.
May we all ACCEPT all that is arising this present moment.
May we all honor life and be a contribution.
May all beings live in joy, love and peace.

The focus of this class was on the first foundation of mindfulness, awareness of the body as the body. We practiced the weekly formal practice of the body scan which is available through the audio and video portion of this class. You may also go to MEDITATIONS to hear the 33 minute version of the body scan that is used in the MINDFULNESS BASED STRESS REDUCTION 8-week course that will be offered beginning on March 20 at 6:15 PM. All are welcome to come to the orientation and Class #1 to explore, investigate and discover the direct benefits of mindfulness for yourself.

INFORMAL PRACTICES:

In addition to the practice of the body scan, the group is being asked to continue to notice where and how mindfulness arises and how it passes or fades in their daily lives. NOTICE that without mindfulness there can be no presence, awareness in which to experience joy. We are continuing to inquire into noticing what hindrances obscure and block our ever-available reality of joy.

SUPPORT PRACTICES:

1.) INTENTIONING JOY EACH DAY - calling to mind your three words first thing in the AM and recollecting your intention throughout the day.

2.) NOURISHMENT LIST - to be available when reactivity has us caught in the cloud of negativity, judgment, fear and delusion. “WHAT CAN I BE JOYFUL ABOUT IN THE KNOWING OF THIS MOMENT?”

3.) CONTACT WITH JOY BUDDY.

4.) SOAKING IN THE GOOD - Finding moments of presence, non-reactivity, openness, ease, happiness and PAUSING -> PLACING attention in awareness of the body and body sensations -> holding attention in the five sense doors that are opening to joy -> breathing in and with the experience for 10 - 20 seconds.

AWAKENING JOY CLASS #2
MINDFULNESS
(2/5/19)

Class #2: Mindfulness

 Opening Words: 
"This is the only way, O awakened ones, for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the destruction of suffering and grief, for reaching the right path, for the attainment of Nibbana, namely, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness."

THE FOUR FOUNDATIONS OF MINDFULNESS
"What are the four?

"Here, mindful ones, a mindful one lives contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending and mindful, having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief; they live contemplating feelings as feelings, ardent, clearly comprehending and mindful, having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief; they live contemplating consciousness as consciousness, ardent, clearly comprehending and mindful having overcome in this world covetousness and grief; they live contemplating mental objects as mental objects, ardent, clearly comprehending and mindful having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief."

”There is a most wonderful way to help living beings overcome grief and sorrow‚ end pain and anxiety and realize the highest happiness.  That way is the establishment of mindfulness."  Buddha

 CHECKING-IN
1. What 3-4 things have you done to nourish yourself this week?
2. Have you been joyfully meditating, singing‚ exercising, dancing, or writing in your journal?
3. Have you set an intention every morning?
4. Do you make choices throughout your day based on your intention?
5. How's it going?

 Quotes on Awakening Joy - Chapter #2: Mindfulness
“The secret to awakening joy is being present with whatever part of life we're tasting right now.  The key to this secret is the practice of mindfulness, and it is the underpinning of all the other practices .  With mindfulness we live in the present moment.  The habit of being a little (or a lot) separate and disconnected from ourselves, living in the past or lost in fantasy exacts an enormous price:  We miss out on our life." Pg. 31

 "Mindfulness has many benefits but for our purposes the most important is that it can help you live a happier life.  You can't make joy or well-being happen‚ but you can help create the conditions in which the boundless contact more naturally arises.  This starts with allowing yourself to be right where you are. Mindfulness is a tool that helps you learn to do that." Pg. 32

“ To set up what you like against what you don’t like is the disease of the mind.”

“Although mindfulness is non-judgmental awareness‚ this doesn't mean that we abandon the faculty of discrimination. (discernment).   In fact, when we are aware of what we're actually thinking and feeling, we can clearly discern the difference between those thoughts and actions that are harmful and those that are beneficial. Becoming aware of our habits and the automatic ways we react when we're confused or upset is the first step to freeing ourselves from their power.” Pg. 34

 "The present moment is always changing.  Mindfulness directly reveals this truth of impermanence.  When we see this truth of change for ourselves, our relationship to experience dramatically shifts.  We learn to enjoy pleasant experiences without holding on to them when they pass (which they will) and we are able to remain present with unpleasant experiences without fearing they will always be this way (which they won't).” Pg. 37

 “Once the emotional behavior trap is set off, a refractory period begins in which…we cannot perceive anything in the external world that is inconsistent with the emotion we are currently feeling….we cannot access the knowledge that would disconfirm the emotion.”  Pg. 38

 “We are creatures of habit.  The practice of mindfulness interrupts the habits that put your mind on automatic pilot or reactivity.    With mindfulness you begin to develop the freedom to make choices that lead to greater happiness and well-being instead of suffering and regret." Pg. 39

 "Changing negative habits depends upon paying mindful attention to what is happening inside us when they arise.  The mind and body are interconnected‚ each affecting the other." Pg. 47

 “The Buddha was a preeminent mind-researcher 2,500 years ago.   As he investigated his mind in meditation‚ he noticed different categories of thoughts: those that Iead to suffering and those that led to happiness.  The first group included thoughts connected with blind desire, ill will and cruelty which led, as he put it‚ ‘to my own affliction and the affliction of others.’  The other set of thoughts—those of contentment, kindness and compassion-had just the opposite effect.  Not only are they harmless to oneself and others, but they actually Iead to happiness." Pg. 49

FROM DIANA: “The Buddha said to his son, Rahula: "When you see that you've acted, spoken, or thought in a skillful way — conducive to happiness while causing no harm to yourself or others — take joy in that fact, and keep training."

"While what arises in our mind is somewhat random and out of control, we do have control over which thoughts we choose to dwell on and respond to.   By training ourselves to pay attention to what is happening in our mind and body in any situation, we make it more likely that we will empower those thoughts that support our well-being.” Pg. 49

 “We strengthen habits of thought through repetition.  If you often think unkind‚ negative, or depressing thoughts, you'll tend to continue thinking in that way.  If you choose thoughts that uplift‚ nourish and bring kindness to yourself and others, your mind will increasingly lean in that direction." Pg. 50

 “Mindfulness teaches us to incline our mind toward joy by helping us wisely choose our thoughts and actions.  And the more we do this, the more readily it happens.  Research psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky says in her book‚ The How of Happiness, that ‘an unhappy person spends more than twice as much time thinking about unpleasant events in their lives‚ while happy people tend to seek and rely upon information that brightens their personal outlook.’" Pg. 51

 The refuge from our fears—the present moment—is always available to us.  And with practice we learn to more easily return to it, even in the midst of distress, anger, confusion and reactivity.  Pg. 53

 

Discussion Questions for Mindfulness
1. How do you define mindfulness? Reviewed several definitions in class #2.
2. Are you aware of being mindful throughout the day? When do you notice that you are mindful? When do you notice that you are NOT mindful? Take mental notes to share in Class #3.
3. Did any of the readings resonate with you? What quotes that were offered from Chapter #2 had special meaning for you. Identify at least one quote and share with your Joy Buddy in your contacts.
4. Which of your habits serve you well? Identified restlessness, sluggishness/laziness, doubt, distraction and perseveration as common hindrances. Which are familiar for you? Share with Joy Buddy.
5. Which of your habits don’t serve? Which habits have auto-pilot tendencies??
6. When you notice yourself in a contracted state (reactive), what do you notice in your body and mind?
7. When you're feeling expansive (open, receptive, spacious) what do you notice in your body and mind?

 Practices that Strengthen Mindfulness: “THAT WHICH WE PRACTICE GROWS STRONGER.”

1. Mindfulness Meditation-begins with breath awareness practice and its characteristics. Page 46.

 2. Taking in the Good.
Whenever you're experiencing a moment of joy or contentment‚ pause and take in the good.  Dr. Rick Hanson says that if you take in the good for 15-30 seconds, six times a day. you will notice greater well-being and notice a real difference within a couple of weeks. 

 3. Practice being in the present moment.
“Just As It Is”.  pg. 34.
—Wherever you are, notice how your body is feeling - name sensations and hold attention on them until they pass away. Notice the next sensation that is arising now. Note the sensation, as you sense its appearance and disappearance. Repeat and continue.
—Notice sounds and sights. Note “hearing” when a sound arises and “seeing” when a sight arises.
—Observe the thoughts going through your mind. Note “thought arising” as the thought is arising.
—Notice when you feel contracted or expanded in your body and mind. Note contracted, distracted, expansive, open, receptive, liberated, spacious, blocked, ruminating, etc. as it is arising and passing. Notice that whatever arises, also passes. Everything is changing each moment.

 Setting Intentions

State what practice will bring more joy and well-being into your life this week. (For example, "I plan to meditate every day for five minutes‚" “I'm going to take a walk in nature this weekend.”) Set your intention and then commitment to a specific behavior that you are willing to joyfully explore.

PHRASES OF LOVING-KINDNESS FOR DAILY RECITATION:
”May I be awake to all of life, just as it is, right now.
May I be aware of my thoughts as thoughts, and feelings as feelings, so I can clearly discern between those that are harmful and those that are beneficial.
May I honor and support all thoughts, words and deeds that support my well-being.
May I choose that which uplifts, nourishes and brings kindness to myself and all beings.”

AWAKENING JOY CLASS #1
INTENTION
(1/29/19)

AWAKENING JOY CLASS #1:  1/29/19

PLEASE RECITE ONCE PER DAY:

May I be conscious, calm, contented, caring and compassionate.
May I ACCEPT all that is arising this present moment.
May I honor life and be a contribution.
May I live in joy, love and peace.

May you be conscious, calm, contented, caring and compassionate.
May you ACCEPT all that is arising this present moment.
May you honor life and be a contribution.
May you live in joy, love and peace.

May we all be conscious, calm, contented, caring and compassionate.
May we all ACCEPT all that is arising this present moment.
May we all honor life and be a contribution.
May all beings live in joy, love and peace.

CLASS #1 OVERVIEW

- What Joy means to each of us and the exploration of our personal Intentions.

- “The feeling of well-being we are calling “joy” comes in many different flavors.

????? If unconditioned joy does not come from objects, achievements or experiences, then where can it be found?

????? Think of a time when you felt real joy. How does it feel in your body and mind?Instructions: Make notes in your Joy Journal and we’ll share your experience in Class #2.

????? WHAT WERE SOME OF THE WORDS THAT RESONATE FOR YOU RELATED TO THE INTENTION AND EXPERIENCE OF JOY?”  See joy words as samples below:

 “We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”

 “All experiences are preceded by mind, having mind as their master, created by mind.”

JOY WORDS 
•fulfillment• gratification• pleasure• satisfaction• serenity•content•contentedness• ease• confidence• cool• detachment• imperturbability• patience• peace• placidity• poised• grace, equanimous, tranquil, settled, complete, well, possession• steadiness• equability• presence of mind• sangfroid, amusement• bliss• charm• cheer comfort• delight• elation• glee• humor• pride•delight, well-being, fun, satisfied, light-hearted, satisfaction• wonder• alleviation• animation• delectation• rapture• ecstasy• exultation• exulting• felicity• festivity• frolic• fruition• gaiety, dispassionate, non-reactive, • gem• gladness• gratification•hilarity• open-hearted, to the moon, free, unbound, untethered, indulgence• jewel• jubilance• liveliness• luxury• merriment•  mirth• prize• rapture•ravishment•  refreshment• rejoicing• revelry• solace• treasure• treat• good humor• pride and joy• fanciful, cheerful• contented• delighted• ecstatic• elated•glad•joyful•joyous• jubilant• spunky, well, lively•merry•overjoyed• peaceful•pleasant• pleased•thrilled• upbeat•blessed• blessed• blissful•blithe• can't complain•captivated• chipper• chirpy• content•convivial•exultant•flying high• gay•gleeful• gratified• intoxicated• jolly• laughing• light• looking good• mirthful• on cloud nine• peppy• perky• playful• sparkling• sunny•tickled• tickled pink• up• walking on air, boundless, abiding, present, loving, compassionate, caring, resonant, connected, belonging, coming home,

INTRODUCTION: CLASS #1 

Main thrust of Awakening Joy – We have a choice of how we incline the mind.

Awakening joy begins with setting a clear intention—daily and repeatedly.

MYTH:  Do you believe the circumstances in your life have to change first?

When we consciously intention happiness, saying it aloud, writing it, speaking it to another and enacting it….joy naturally increases. 

MOMENTUM of positive change grows as we learn to choose actions, and situations that align with our intention for joy.

REPEAT AFTER ME:  “I WANT TO BE HAPPY.  I CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY.  I AM DESERVING OF HAPPINESS. I WANT JOY TO BE A PART OF MY EVERY DAY LIFE. I BELIEVE JOY IS POSSIBLE IN EVERY DAY AND IN EVERY WAY.”

 SCIENCE:
Doing any action repeatedly changes the structure and function of the brain.    By actively imagining feelings of happiness or recalling happy experiences, you can incline the mind towards greater joy and ease.

Dan Siegel:  Intentions create an integrated state of priming, a gearing up of our neural system to be in the mode of that specific intention:  we can be readying to receive, to sense, to focus to behave in a certain specific manner.”

 CLASS #1 PRACTICES:

***PRACTICE #1:

WRITING YOUR INTENTION:  Write an intention for the course.  Please put it on a piece of paper and bring to class #2.

EXAMPLES:
“I WANT TO EXPERIENCE MORE JOY IN MY LIFE.”
“MAY I LIVE WITH GREATER JOY AND EASE.”
“I WILL ALLOW MORE JOY IN MY LIFE.

****PRACTICE #2:

HEART-CARD REMINDER:  FIND AN IMAGE, WORD, QUOTE or POEM THAT REMINDS YOU THAT JOY IS POSSIBLE EACH MOMENT AND RIGHT NOW. 
Include on your HEART CARD-LOVE LETTER OF JOY and bring to Class #2 next week!!!

 ****PRACTICE #3:

IDENTIFYING OBSTACLES AND HINDRANCES: 
“WHAT GETS IN THE WAY OF YOUR JOY?”  What do we believe are requirements for joy that we are lacking? What are our believed thoughts about ourselves, life and others that get in the way of joy?

RECOLLECT JOY IN THE MOMENT.  NOTICE WHERE YOU PERCEIVE IT IS NOT PRESENT?  WHAT IS THE OBSTACLE TO JOY IN THIS MOMENT?   (For discussion in class #2.) Identify at least four obstacles that you recognize and identify a caring and compassionate response.   EXAMPLE: “When I feel that I am not deserving of joy, I will……”

BUDDY SHARE: We will share this with your buddy this week.

 ****DAILY PRACTICE REMINDERS #4:
Daily entry  in your JOY JOURNAL,
MOVE JOYFULLY 5-8 MIN. EVERY DAY.
MEDITATE SIT QUIETLY FOR 10 MIN OR MORE EACH DAY.
RECITE YOUR 3 WORDS OF INTENTION EACH MORNING.
CONTINUE TO ADD TO YOUR NOURISHMENT LIST- activities that you find offer you sustenance

*****WEEKLY PRACTICE #5:

Joy Buddy Assignment-check in with your buddy at least two times this week.  FOCUS ON THE POSIVITE, SHARE HOW THAT FEELS, FOCUS ON SUCCESSES YOU HAVE MADE, EVEN IF THEY SEEM SMALL. 

PRACTICE REFLECTIONS:

THE INNER VOICE COMMITTEE:
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE INNER VOICES THAT GET IN THE WAY OF YOUR JOY?   Can you name them? 

CAN YOU ALIGN YOUR INTENTIONS FOR JOY WITH THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE DEEPEST PURPOSE OF YOUR LIFE?  CAN YOU SEE HOW JOY WILL SUPPORT, ENCOURAGE AND CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR DEEPEST DESIRES?

The more inspiring and far-reaching your motivation, the more energy, enthusiasm, effort and intention you will bring to cultivating joy in your life.

“WHO WAS IMAGINING THAT YOU WOULD NOT HAVE TO WORK TO EXPERIENCE JOY MORE ACTIVELY IN YOUR LIFE?” What are the core believed thoughts that feed your resistance to applying effort towards joy?

*******NOTICE JOY-where it is and where you would like it to be? 

AWAKENING JOY ORIENTATION 1/22/19

AWAKENING JOY COURSE MATERIALS

AWAKENING JOY ORIENTATION NOTES

JAN. 22nd,  7:00-8:30 AM

******Welcome

Diana Shimkus, Founding teacher of EMC, our non-profit organization that supports these teachings and service projects.   We are going on our 10th year and each year we cover mindfulness topics with the primary aspiration of supporting our mindfulness, kindness, compassion and connection with each other and the world through our daily practice, lives and caring action.

 AWAKENING JOY contributes to our mission.  It will be conducted over 17-weeks, which will go from Jan. 29-May 21 and include a 4-day residential or commuter retreat at Questhaven Retreat Center, in San Marcos, CA. 

 During the week of April 3-6, while in retreat, I will be offering a ZOOM on-line class on Tuesday, April 2nd, from 7:00-8:30 AM for all AWAKENING JOY PARTICIPANTS. There will be no live class at SOUL OF YOGA on 4/2/19. It is our aspiration to sustain the momentum for awakening joy that is being built throughout the course.

*****JOY as a word has many meanings and invites unlimited experiences.  It can look different from person to person and experience to experience, whether quiet contentment or ebullient enthusiasm.  It can be triggered by a sense of truth, love, connection, purpose, and beauty.  For our purposes, we will use JOY as the primary word for the moment-to-moment possibility of connecting with that which is true, good and of benefit to you and others, whether it is a moment of capturing the spectacular coastal sunsets or spontaneously remembering and connecting with the truth of your own vast, infinite nature.   

 The JOY we will be making contact with is a JOY not limited by any external circumstance.  It is a joy of connecting with the preciousness and the possibilities alive in this present moment, even when things are not always going OUR WAY. 

 We will be discovering throughout these 17 weeks, JOY that is boundless, unlimited by preference, bias or circumstance and is always available.  We will learn mindfulness practices that support this joy and the science and psychology that supports our experience of joy,  with concrete and observable evidence

There is no ONE FLAVOR of JOY in you and others. Joy like all other experience is continuously shifting, changing and fluctuating. Too often we limit our ideas of joy to a narrow image/definition and then do not recognize it when it does not appear in our limited and preferred disguise.

****FEARS ABOUT JOY
WHAT IF I AM NOT A JOYFUL PERSON?  JOY is the INHERENT REALITY of our HUMAN NATURE.
HOW CAN THERE BE JOY WITH DIFFICULTIES? Difficulties are opinions about our experience, but are not in themselves the experience. We can see the good, the truth and the beauty in each moment offered to us, even moments that include sadness, grief, loss and the FULL CATASTROPHE, as Jon Kabat-Zinn proclaims.

****WHAT IF I’M NOT A BUDDHIST?   JOY IS NOT A religion or tied to any one religious or philosophical belief system. Joy is a privilege accorded ALL human beings.

 ****PRACTICE INTENTION and JOY MEDITATION

 WHAT WORDS COME TO MIND AS YOU REFLECT ON YOUR INTENTION TOWARDS AWAKENING JOY IN YOUR LIFE?

TAKE A FEW MOMENTS TO REFLECT ON THE WORD…”JOY” AND WHAT IT EVOKES FOR YOU.

WHAT IMAGES COME TO MIND?

HOW IS JOY EXPRESSED IN YOUR BODY?  WHERE DO YOU NOTICE IT MOST?

HOW IS JOY EXPRESSED THROUGH YOU? FACIAL FEATURES, BODY MOVEMENTS, ETC.

WHAT SUPPORTS DO YOU NEED TO CULTIVATE A JOYFUL LIFE?

WHAT OBSTACLES DO YOU IMAGINE?  WHAT NEGATIVE AND NON-REINFORCING VOICES ARE LURKING IN YOUR HABIT MIND?

WHAT WORDS MIGHT YOU COME UP WITH TO EXPRESS YOUR DIRECT EXPERIENCE OF JOY?

 THIS WEEK WE WILL BEGIN TO PAY PARTICULAR ATTENTION TO HOW, WHERE AND WHEN YOU NOTICE JOY IN YOUR LIFE.

 ****BUDDHIST CONCEPTS:

1.)INCLINING THE MIND TOWARDS JOY

2.) WHOLESOME STATES are that which experiences the moment from a holistic and responsive perspective, seeking the benefit and good for all beings.

3.) GLADNESS THAT ARISES THROUGH WHOLESOME ENDEAVORS is the most unconditional and boundless joy possible.

 ****ORIENTATION WEEK’S INTENTION AND PRACTICE:
YOUR INTENTION TO AWAKEN JOY IS AT FIRST VULNERABLE AND NEEDS EXTRA SUPPORT AND CARE.  1.) CALL TO MIND THE FIRST **THREE WORDS OF INCLINING THE MIND TOWARDS JOY AND THE ASPIRATION TO CONTACT JOY IN EACH MOMENT.  WHAT WORDS MIGHT YOU CALL TO MIND FIRST THING IN THE AM. THIS WEEK, IDENTIFY THREE WORDS, INCLUDING THE WORD JOY AND SEE IF YOU CAN SET THE INTENTION FOR CALLING THEM TO MIND FIRST THING IN THE AM. PLEASE WRITE THE WORDS ON YOUR BLANK PAPER AND CARRY THEM WITH YOU THROUGHOUT THE DAY. GLANCE AT THE PAPER 2-5 TIMES EACH DAY, RECOLLECTING THE JOY IN THIS PRESENT MOMENT.

2.) PLEASE WRITE AND REVIEW A WRITTEN STATEMENT IDENTIFYING YOUR WISH, DESIRE AND COMMITMENT TO PRACTICE AWAKENING JOY IN YOUR LIFE OVER THESE NEXT 17 WEEKS.

 SUPPORTS and WEEKLY PRACTICES TO BE STARTED THIS WEEK:

 3.) MOVE THE BODY JOYFULLY EVERY DAY FOR 5-8 MINUTES. THIS IS NOT EXERCISE THOUGH IT COULD INCLUDE VIGOROUS MOVEMENT. DANCING, STRETCHING, TWISTING, SKIPPING—DO WHATEVER FEELS INSPIRED AND INVIGORATING FOR YOUR JOYFUL HEART/MIND.

 4.) CREATE A NOURISHMENT LIST

 5.) MEDITATE OR TAKE QUIET TIME EVERY DAY 10 MINUTES- SIPPING TEA, LOOKING AT SUNSET, OCEAN, ETC.

 6.) CONSIDER KEEPING A “JOY JOURNAL” IN WHICH TO KEEP TRACK OF YOUR EXPERIENCES OF JOY.

 7.) IN CLASS #1 YOU WILL SECURE A JOY BUDDY - and exchange emails and phone numbers.  Please make a commitment to check in for 5 minutes with your joy buddy at least 2 times per week the first four weeks of the AWAKENING JOY COURSE.

Those online will be assigned a joy buddy.  An email will be offered to you in which to make contact within the next two days to set up your twice per week support connection. 

SCIENCE:

THROUGH INTENTIONED ATTENTION TO THE GOOD, YOU CAN BEGIN TO BUILD UP A STOREHOUSE OF POSITIVE, WHOLESOME EXPERIENCES THAT YOU CAN THEN RELY ON IN TIMES OF DISTRESS TO NEUTRALIZE THE PERCEIVED NEGATIVE EVENTS IN LIFE.

 NEGATIVE LIKE VELCRO, POSITIVE LIKE TEFLON.   NEGATIVITY BIAS BASED UPON BRAIN STEM AND SURVIVAL.

THE MIND TAKES THE SHAPE OF THAT WHICH WE PLACE THE MIND UPON.

SOAKING IN THE GOOD IS REQUIRED FOR 20 SECONDS TO BE ABLE TO STORE AND BUILD UPON.

 ***DANA: In-person, online at: or through EMC website

 *****DEDICATION: REPEAT 3 X’S AT END OF SITTING PERIOD.

“MAY I/WE BE HAPPY AND HAVE THE CAUSES FOR HAPPINESS.

MAY I/WE BE FREE FROM SUFFERING AND HAVE THE CAUSES FOR ITS END.

MAY I/WE KNOW BOUNDLESS JOY, FREE FROM SUFFERING.

MAY I/WE DWELL IN THE AWAKENED HEART OF JOY, EASE,  LOVE AND WELL BEING.”

AWAKENING JOY: MINDFULNESS, PART II - 2/12/19

The focus of this class was on the first foundation of mindfulness, awareness of the body as the body. We practiced the weekly formal practice of the body scan which is available through the audio and video portion of this class. You may also go to MEDITATIONS to hear the 33 minute version of the body scan that is used in the MINDFULNESS BASED STRESS REDUCTION 8-week course that will be offered beginning on March 20 at 6:15 PM. All are welcome to come to the orientation and Class #1 to explore, investigate and discover the direct benefits of mindfulness for yourself.

INFORMAL PRACTICES:

In addition to the practice of the body scan, the group is being asked to continue to notice where and how mindfulness arises and how it passes or fades in their daily lives. NOTICE that without mindfulness there can be no presence, awareness in which to experience joy. We are continuing to inquire into noticing what hindrances obscure and block our ever-available reality of joy.

SUPPORT PRACTICES:

1.) INTENTIONING JOY EACH DAY - calling to mind your three words first thing in the AM and recollecting your intention throughout the day.

2.) NOURISHMENT LIST - to be available when reactivity has us caught in the cloud of negativity, judgment, fear and delusion. “WHAT CAN I BE JOYFUL ABOUT IN THE KNOWING OF THIS MOMENT?”

3.) CONTACT WITH JOY BUDDY.

4.) SOAKING IN THE GOOD - Finding moments of presence, non-reactivity, openness, ease, happiness and PAUSING -> PLACING attention in awareness of the body and body sensations -> holding attention in the five sense doors that are opening to joy -> breathing in and with the experience for 10 - 20 seconds.