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InterMindful Weekly - Newsletter for the Sangha - Dallas, Texas
InterMindful Weekly
Week of December 14, 2008

Meditation Dear mindful friends of "Awakening Heart" --

Please join us for one of these upcoming mindful events and read part 1 of Br. ChiSing's meditation tips.

DECEMBER 2008 Theme:
"Facing the Darkness, Being the Light...Together"

Thursday, December 11, 7:00 pm:

1)  Diving Deeper mini-sangha (in North Dallas)
(for those who are regular attendees of "Awakening Heart" on Sundays,
OR those who are unable to attend Sundays but can attend Thursdays)
Facilitated by Monica Lecrone & Cornell Kinderknecht
@ Monica Blossom's "Casa Ziba" house
(includes 20 min. Walking Meditation, 40 min. Sitting Meditation, Teaching & Discussion)

2)  Metamorphosis: Midweek Mindfulness Meditation in the Midcities (in Grapevine)
Facilitated by Br. ChiSing
@ Unity Church of Grapevine

Sunday, December 14, 5:30 pm:
AWAKENING HEART (Community of Mindful Living)
@ Unity Church of Dallas
4:00 Mindful Yoga w/ Mimi
5:00 Brief meditation instruction for beginners
5:30 MEDITATION & MORE with Br. ChiSing & guest musician: Michael Gott

Thursday, December 18, 7:00 pm:

1)  Diving Deeper mini-sangha (in North Dallas)
(for those who are regular attendees of "Awakening Heart" on Sundays,
OR those who are unable to attend Sundays but can attend Thursdays)
Facilitated by Monica Lecrone & Cornell Kinderknecht
@ Monica Blossom's "Casa Ziba" house
(includes 20 min. Walking Meditation, 40 min. Sitting Meditation, Teaching & Discussion)

2)  Metamorphosis: Midweek Mindfulness Meditation in the Midcities (in Grapevine)
Facilitated by Br. ChiSing
@ Unity Church of Grapevine

Friday, December 19, 7:00 pm:
Annual Winter SolstiCelebration
(more than 1,000 persons attending)
Presented by MoonLady & Earth Rhythms
@ Cathedral of Hope (Dallas, TX)

Saturday, December 20, 7-11 pm:
First "ChriSolstiKwanzukkaH" Party!
@ Liz, ChiSing & Dan's house (Allen, TX)

Sunday, December 21, 5:30 pm:
AWAKENING HEART (Community of Mindful Living)
@ Unity Church of Dallas
4:00 Mindful Yoga w/ Susan
5:00 Brief meditation instruction for beginners
5:30 MEDITATION & MORE with Br. ChiSing & guest musician: Gary Floyd
7:30 Winter Solstice Potluck Dinner Celebration

Address of each event and details can be found at the Awakening Heart calendar

MEDITATION TIPS (part 1)
-- by Br. ChiSing

Meditation is not just about Focus (Concentration).

A common by-product of prolonged intensive Focus is peace, joy, bliss… also known as "Samadhi" or Oneness Consciousness. But this is not the goal of Meditation, not an end in and of itself. We need to be careful, or we may end up as "Samadhi junkies" only meditating to get the next spiritual high or the next spiritual fix.

Of course, peace, joy and bliss are nice, and they have their place, and they are inevitable in the course of meditation practice, but to cling solely to this by-product is to stunt spiritual progress and stop short of true enlightenment.

Meditation is not just composed of Focus. It is also comprised of Awareness (Mindfulness). So, if you are not feeling particularly focused (on the breath/body or mantra/gatha or here/now reality), yet you are aware that you are not particularly focused, that is still Meditation, for you have Awareness. So you can smile and feel encouraged. It's not all about Focus.

And let's say you aren't feeling very focused or aware, but you persist patiently in the practice of meditation and commit to the amount of time you have allotted to yourself. This diligent effort or Patience is another aspect of Meditation which, as you continue to cultivate it, will bring great power to your practice and life, sometimes in very unexpected ways. This is also Meditation, even if it isn't feeling always focused or aware, blissful or insghtful. Just doing it anyway, regularly, is very powerful, as you will see later.

But perhaps you have skipped a day or even a week of Meditation (or even more!). Simply take a deep breath and start over. Begin anew. Commit to regular practice once again. Every moment is a fresh start. So, forgive yourself, love yourself, give kindness to yourself and simply just start over again. For Lovingkindness is the fourth and perhaps greatest component of Meditation. Love is the foundation and the heart of our true life and practice.

To summarize:

MEDITATION =

  1. Focus (Concentration)
  2. Awareness (Mindfulness)
  3. Patience (Diligence/Effort/Discipline)
  4. Lovingkindness (Forgiveness)
Another way of labeling these four qualities (the 4 C's) =
  1. Calm Concentration
  2. Cognitive Clarity
  3. Commitment
  4. Compassion
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

COMMENTS from Cornell & Monica --

I have some thoughts about some points or illustrations that might be useful (perhaps in this section or in later sections):

  • A point that you make frequently and did last Sunday… even if, in your sitting of 20 minutes, you just experience concentration for a few seconds, that is something to be joyful for.

  • Simply finding and offering gratitude in any situation, no matter how stressful the situation, is mindfulness and is meditation.

  • Many come to meditation to find peace and joy, as you mention. But to know peace and joy, you also need to know suffering and pain.

  • Perhaps illustrate how meditation or patience can help you in life in unexpected ways. For example, practicing meditation and finding that one moment of quiet may be the same skill that allows you to step back for a second in a contentious situation and allow you to choose to act in a skillful manner.

-- Cornell Kinderknecht
 

Very simple and straightforward.

Something about Cornell's 4th point below triggered additional thought for me that has something to do with detachment. It's what Michael Gott also calls "the 3 seconds"… The very act of cultivating awareness, even if just for those brief moments at a time, produces a detachment. We become less and less consumed by our emotional/thought stream and when we are less and less consumed, we can stand back and say "Ahhhh, look at that" without being hooked in the contentious situation that Cornell speaks of.

Detachment.

Practice recently has really really shown me (as we all already know) that detachment doesn't mean we don't *feel* what is going on or anything like that. The storm may still rage (positive or negative), but we allow it to simply be what it is without allowing it to direct our actions.

It's very interesting to me that there really is no way to explain these types of things so that someone can go "Ahhhh, yes I see exactly what you mean"… You have to just DO it. Manage, in one moment of 10 minutes of being angry to notice that you're angry and you begin to taste freedom. In one moment of 10 minutes of weeping out of a sense of loss or separation notice what loss feels like and where it is located and spaciousness is found.

Who
Am
I

?

-- Monica Lecrone

 

:-)

[to be continued]