Day-long meditation retreat/workshop: registration open!

Hi Sangha (aka community)

I’m very pleased to say you can now register for the retreat with Frank Jude Boccio on Sept 13th! Details below… It’s a max 40 people to register.. and Frank Jude is a popular guy well known to our Moksha family. (Registration is via Moksha Yoga London – i.e. at the front desk)

The Yoga Teachings of the Buddha

One of the earliest formulations of yoga practice as a coherent, integrated and comprehensive model, the Buddha’s yoga teachings still continue today to offer guidance and support in living an authentic relational life of freedom, wisdom and compassion. The eight limbs of the Noble Eightfold Path (wise understanding; wise intention; wise speech; wise action; wise livelihood; wise effort; wise mindfulness; wise concentration) are perhaps better approached as the Buddha presented them in his Threefold Training of ethics (sila), meditation (samadhi), and wisdom (prajña).

This Day of Mindfulness (a day-long urban retreat) offers the opportunity to learn about these teachings while practicing asana, pranayama, meditation and dharma discussion. Poep Sa Frank Jude presents these teachings in such a way as to make them accessible and relevant to the full, busy and often tumultuous life of contemporary practitioners.

We will learn and then apply the Buddha’s teachings on conscious breathing and the Four Foundations of Mindfulness (body,feelings, mind, dharmas) so that we can enter into the stillness at the heart of movement; integrating body, mind, and spirit, cultivating deeper self-awareness and freedom.

Through the application of the Buddha’s mindfulness meditation instruction to asana practice, Hatha-Yoga becomes a complete, comprehensive, and fully integrated ‘moving meditation.’ If we truly seek to end the cycle of aversion, craving, and stress, we must look within. Stopping and looking, the twin wings of mindfulness meditation, allow us to break the cycle of conditioned reactivity and learn ways to respond creatively and freely to our lived experience.

 Schedule

9 – 11:30 AM: Orientation; Dharma Talk; Meditation; Dharma Discussion (including questions and responses)

11:30 – 12:30: Lunch and Free Time Break

12:30 – 2 PM: Dharma Talk; Meditation; Questions and Responses

2 – 3:30 PM: Asana Practice

3:30 – 4 PM: Closing the Retreat

  Registration Dues

The workshop is being run in support of the New Leaf Yoga Foundation. They’re pretty fabulous folks. A registration fee of 20$ will go 100% to New Leaf.
(If there is a cost barrier, please let us know. Taking a day off work is hard enough!)

One thing to note! Unlike Ian and myself, who hold additional jobs, running workshops, teaching yoga and meditation are Poep Sa Frank Jude’s full time job.  So how does he get paid?  .. read on… in his words this is how it works…

The Sanskrit and Pali word, dana, is often translated as “generosity” or “sharing,” and is the word from which the English “donation” is derived.

The teachings are shared as an act of dana, an act of generosity, and not as a ‘fee for service.’ Students are invited to share with the teacher as a kind of ‘paying it forward.’ What one gives the teacher is not for what one has received, but to enable the teacher to continue offering teachings to others!

Poep Sa Frank Jude does not charge a fee for his dharma work, and is gratefully supported by his students and all those with whom he shares the teachings and practices. In the true spirit of dana, there is not even a “suggested donation,” as this would be counter to the intention of the practice of dana. The opportunity of offering dana to the teachers allows us to practice wisdom and compassion, and to consider what we truly can afford. The suggestion is that one not give too much, or more than one can comfortably afford, lest one end up cultivating pride; and neither too little, so that one can truly practice selflessness and destabilize any possible ‘poverty mentality’ one may harbor.

In the end, with the ‘perfection of dana’ (dana-paramita), one comes to see that there is no separation between the one who gives and the one who receives. That in fact, in giving one truly does receive the opportunity to give joyfully, and in receiving, one is also giving the opportunity to practice generosity – the highest spiritual value.

“Thoughts without a thinker”

Here’s a quote I came across today that is relevant to some of our discussion last Sunday:

“Because of our craving, The Buddha is saying, we want things to be understandable. We reduce, concretize, or substantialize experiences or feelings, which are, in their very nature, fleeting or evanescent. In so doing, we define ourselves by our moods and by our thoughts. We do not just let ourselves be happy or sad, for instance; we must become a happy person or a sad one. This is the chronic tendency of the ignorant or deluded mind, to make “things” out of that which is no thing. Seeing craving shatters this predisposition; it becomes preposterous to try to see substance where there is none.” ~ Mark Epstein, Thoughts Without a Thinker

Sunday, August 24, 2014: Community Building

Hi Sangha,

This Sunday is going to be all about building community. As we mentioned last week, Ian and I are feeling discouraged about the lack of ‘engagement’ in so far as people doing preparation and practice on their own.

Emily is going to facilitate a community building conversation during our evening discussion.

And well timed –  the Yoga Studio is having their annual cleaning weekend. On Sunday they will be working from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm.  Moksha Yoga London generously gives us free access to  their space and resources (all those blankets we sit on, all that A/C we enjoy, etc).   Please consider volunteering an hour (or more! or less!) of your time to giving back to them. Ian and I will be there in the late afternoon, too.

For your ‘homework’ this week, please journal about:

  • If you’re participating in book club – complete a few at home mediations using Chapter 2 as your reference . Note your experiences or questions.
  • Think about the value of community, (pulling in reference from beyond LMC)
    • Gratitude practice might pop up for you! Journal this.
    •  Ideas of things LMC could add or change might pop up! Journal this.

We are really looking forward to talking together about LMC next week.
Please make a special effort to make it out! We need to hear from all of you!

Sincerely

Annamarie

 

Sunday, August 17, 2014: Gratitude Practice (and not resting on your laurels)

Dear Sangha,

We are feeling discouraged and dismayed from the lack of participation in the book club and the other resources we hunt up for you. The fact that we try to keep most of the conversations accessible regardless of experience or preparation is not us encouraging you to slack off. A lack of preparation should be the exception, not the rule. We do put a significant amount of time into preparing discussion for the sangha each Sunday. The general lack of participation has made us think about strategies to help increase engagement with the material. We’d like to share some of our thoughts, here.

First and foremost, a reminder and a call to action. The results of this practice are directly tied to the efforts made in the practice. Beware (be aware) that for most of us, the intellectual mind speaks the loudest and often if the intellectual mind “gets it,” we feel the work is done. We encourage you to look underneath your intellectual understanding to something deeper–an understanding that unifies intellect with body and unconscious intuition. Can you live your understanding fully, in each moment of your life?
In short, you will get out of this what you put into it.

Secondly, and more explicitly, we are going to start moving in the direction of offering exercises that you can investigate on your own in preparation for the Sunday meeting. We will encourage you to write down what you thought about for two reasons. 1) Writing helps memory. 2) Writing helps deepen engagement.  So in the next week or two, please find yourself a journal–a physical one, a virtual one, or even a simple word processing document that you can print or read off your phone. And before you roll your eyes all the way back please note that both of us have a distinct distaste for journaling about practice, but in the course of our training has found it invaluable for engaging with group practice.

Related to that point, if you find it hard to find time, make time. Does that sound ironic? What we mean is, actually schedule the time to do the work. Maybe Tuesday and Thursday from 10am – 10:10am is all you’ve got. Great! Use it well. It can be so easy to get tied up in distraction. Remember that this is your one and only chance to live this moment. And even whether you believe in life after death or not, the Zen slogan still rings true: “Do not SQUANDER your life!” Perhaps that sounds overdramatic to you and that’s fine. We ardently wish that you make the most of your time doing the things that are meaningful to you. To us, your continued involvement in LMC suggests that this is meaningful to you. We want to encourage you to break through any complacency, laziness, fear, or unnecessary busyness.

That brings us to this week. Please read and reflect on this very short and entertaining article about changing your “perspectacles” to see the ordinary things in your life as things you are grateful for. Then, take some time to investigate what things in your own life you might be able to look at in a different way. Make note of your reflections in your journals as you ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Am I taking anything in my life for granted?
  2. What happens if I try to look at the world outside of my official living space with new eyes?
  3. Is there any emotional reaction to this way of seeing, e.g., do I feel happy, sad, overwhelmed, etc.?
  4. Is there any sense of guilt for not looking this way previously or all the time?
  5. Do I find this exercise useless and, if so, why?
  6. Does this help me to be more mindful in my life?
  7. Is there anything else I could share with the sangha?

Finally, although the tone of this post is stern, we want you to understand that we are doing our best to be encouraging. We are so wide open to suggestions, criticisms, applause, and any other type of feedback. Please help us build a strong and vibrant community. We really want this to be a community of practitioners rather than a community of parishioners!

 

 

Sunday, August 10, 2014: Chapter 2 Discussion

Hi Sangha,

This Sunday we’ll reconnect with the Book – Three Steps to Awakening – and discuss Chapter 2: Breath as Anchor.

These first few chapters are focused a lot on your meditation practice. Later on, we make the connection to daily life. Please read and practice in advance if at all possible!

See you Sunday.

Annamarie

 

PS. Enjoy the comic on “a lot” .. a little humor… that constantly saves me from writing alot.