Skip to content

Posts from the ‘community’ Category

Teacher and Sangha

Today a dear student pondered, “Sometimes I wonder why I pay to attend a class where I come to rest”.

She paused for some moments and then shared.

“Community.  I have experienced the importance of sangha”.

She shared that she appreciates sitting with like-minded (hearted) people who aspire to meet themselves in a sincere and profound way.  The support in the room is palpable for her. When her curiosity fades or her attention ruminates, the collective energy of the group catches her and brings her back.  She said that there is something unique about group energy that she does not feel at home.  It strengthens her intention for practice, and she connects to a shared experience, something beyond herself.

A large part of meditation practice is in meeting the workings of the ego.  Ego, as I use it here, is the collective pattern of thinking and perceptions that we take ourselves to be.  This student also described that being able to surrender to the guidance of a trusted teacher helps her ego personality to rest.  She no longer needs to be the one leading, planning and doing.  Instead she can listen and feel her way back to what she “naturally” is and has been.  These last words were beautiful, pointing to something beyond her ego and her person-ness; what many describe as spirit, being, presence, wholeness.

The dialogue continued for some time, and I listened as she uncovered her own answers.  It was sweet to witness.


It is essential that teachers entrusted in these kind of spaces do their own work/practice; that they check their humanity and ego often so that space is held with integrity and clarity.  While the ego can at times make it complicated, the teacher’s work is simple; to point the students back to themselves.

Alongside community, one’s home practice is also important so that practice continues even when circumstances change, as they will.  Most of my practice happens at home, in solitude or amidst my family for now.  And I look forward to retreating with two of my teachers in the new year; being held and guided, ego checked in and heart open.

 

 

An Unexpected Encounter.

I haven’t written for some time.  Writing happens when writing happens.

Today I was walking through my neighborhood Randall’s to get a few items.  I meandered through the aisles with my short list on repeat in my head so that I would not forget.  All of sudden, my eyes fell upon a lady.  She appeared to be in her late 50’s, though truly I don’t know.  More than just the eyes, my whole body was moved by her appearance; a nervous fluttering, and breathing that spontaneously felt heavy.  I walked past her calmly, though my body experienced the opposite.

The following description may be too graphic for some, though I will share it because it was what I saw. 

She had two black and blue eyes, a nose that was swollen and crusted with a significant amount of visible blood.  Her demeanor appeared fragile, though that might have been my own projection.  She was on the phone as I saw her.

I headed to the check out, though my heart felt as if it had stopped in the aisle with the lady.  My heart felt uncomfortably concerned.  Even while I was paying for my groceries, I kept glancing back to where I saw the lady.  Was she still there?  Should I just leave and go on about my evening?  Should I go back and ask her if she is ok or if she needed anything?  Would she tell me even if she needed help?  What would I do if she said yes?

As I grabbed my grocery bag, I turned my head back one more time.  She was still there on the phone.  My legs started walking toward her even while my head continued with its questions.  As I got closer, she was no longer on her phone.

I stood in front of her and looked gently into her eyes.  I asked, “Excuse me, I hope it is ok for me to ask this, are you ok?  Is there anything you need?”.  She looked at me and very quickly said, “Oh thank you, I am ok.  I just fell.  I broke my ribs”.  I had no idea of broken ribs from the surface of her appearance.  “I am just coming from the doctor’s office and he fixed my nose”.  There was a brief pause.  I said, “Ok, I saw you and felt concerned. I wanted to check if you were ok or needed help of any kind”.  Our eyes still meeting, we smiled gently at one another.  I walked out of Randall’s to my car and back home to my family.

Perhaps what she said was true and perhaps it was not.  I wondered, “Would a doctor really let her leave their office without a bandage of some kind?”.  I guess I won’t know for sure.  My gut still felt concerned for her.  

I went back to the safety of my home and my family.  My hope is that this lady is safe and heals.  I will have to be ok with at least letting her know that I saw her and that I offered concern and care, even if for a moment.

 

***  I don’t know that I would have had the courage to walk back to this lady had I not taken SAFE’s advocate training this past year.  I am deeply thankful for those that do this important work daily.

An iRest Donation-Based Benefit Class

I am happy to announce that I will be sharing a donation-based iRest® yoga nidra class at Dharma Yoga on June 2nd, 4-5:15 pmiRest yoga nidra is a trauma informed, healing practice of guided meditation. Individuals can experience a wide range of benefit, from deep relaxation and restoration, alleviation of stress and anxiety, clarity within life situations, to awakening to one’s Essential nature. I have personally experienced profound healing and ease from this practice, and feel grateful to be able to share it.

During this class, I will offer a brief orientation to iRest yoga nidra, and then guide you through a 45 minute practice.  Practitioners often explore in a reclining position, but any posture that sets you at ease will be perfect.  We will have time at the end for questions and discussion.  All of your donations will go directly to support the Integrative Restoration Institute in their efforts to alleviate suffering in the world, and especially for communities that are vulnerable and in need.

I hope you will join me on Saturday, June 2nd to rest and restore, and connect with the Ease that you already are.  Please don’t let the suggested donation amount be a barrier. Anything you can offer will be greatly appreciated. Below is the flyer for this event.  I welcome you to register beforehand at Dharma Yoga’s website, but you can also show up the day of.  Space will be limited.

Registration link here.

DharmaYogaDonationiRest copy

The Light of Meditation

I spent a few hours yesterday immersing in and sharing the practice of meditation with a small circle of people.  We explored through sounds and chanting, breathing and Being breathed, moving and Being moved, guided inquiry, and the home ground of stillness and silence itself.  We explored meeting and welcoming all of the changing objects of life, and likely most also experienced being absorbed within changing realm for periods … beliefs, memories, stories, and emotions.  Along the way there may have been moments or longer where we experienced something fresh, almost without reference to a past or a future.  Perhaps we felt how the changing objects are always arising within an unchanging and unmoving experience.  Many names have been given to this over the course of time: Being, Presence, Awareness … Essence.  Ultimately the words are only pointers to an experience that is exquisite, and at the same time easily missed, yet always here.

To the degree that I have experienced it, in that realm of the unchanging I have felt something that is restful, whole, at ease and not lacking.  I am not defined by that which has felt broken or unworthy.  The urgencies of life seem to fall away, while life itself feels more full than it ever has in the moments of doing and achieving.  Life feels like a gift even in the midst of circumstances that might be challenging or difficult.  In the words of Parker Palmer, there is a hidden beauty and wholeness in all of it.  This unchanging realm brings with it the opportunity to meet all of those accumulated human experiences, the joys and the sadness, the pleasures and the pains.  There is space for all of it to be seen, heard and felt, rather than being denied, avoided, or minimized.  This has been incredibly healing for me.

Meditation is no longer just a thirty minute period of my day.  It is a daylong and lifelong practice of simply paying attention; Being Awake and at times asleep to the myriad movements of life, and in the moments of grace, Being the Awakeness itself.

Coming Home to Ourselves, A Meditation Experience

Have you ever had the feeling of being at Home in yourself? How did it feel in your body? What else became available in those moments? What did you come to know as true?

Perhaps it was in a moment where circumstances or conditions were not necessarily perfect.  It might even have felt a little messy, yet at the same time you experienced the ease or the peacefulness of Being at home in your humanity.  The messy parts were not denied. The ‘put together’ parts were not held close. It was all just allowed to Be.

This ground of Being can feel natural and familiar, almost like we have always known how to Be.  We have just forgotten. The felt sense of Being can reveal an underlying stillness, spaciousness and silence.  This unchanging ground gently embraces the depths of our changing humanity.

How do we get there?  Well, perhaps there is no where to get.  It is already here, and what is needed is pause and rest. The portal is the field of the body itself. 

What do we do when we are there?  Once we are oriented, there is nothing to do.  We can Be, feel and sense what already is.

On April 21st I’ll be offering a meditation event at Yoga Yoga North.  While words can convey understanding, ultimately the jewel is known in experience itself.  With this in mind, I will orient briefly to practices and then guide you toward your direct experience and the wisdom within.

Our time will include gentle and enlivening pranayama and movement.  There will be periods of pause, and quiet sitting or reclining. I will lead you through a longer guided iRest® yoga nidra meditation, and we will also explore the ground of Being through walking meditation.  Our time will close with inquiry, journaling, and sharing as it feels appropriate to you. This will be open to all levels. There are no barriers to Being. All that is needed is the curiosity to explore.

Yoga Yoga North, April 21, 1-4:30pm 

registration: http://www.yogayoga.com/calendar/details?event_id=31914981

be easy. take your time. you are coming home. to yourself.   Nayyirah Waheed