Residential Retreats 2014-15
Autumn 2014 Kairos Retreat ~ Metta – Loving Kindness
Thurs Oct 30 – Sun,
Nov 2, 2014 2 places left
May 14-17, 2015 Kairos House, Spokane, WA Theme TBD
welcome to mainstream mindfulness
Mindfulness is a wise and compassionate way of paying attention to our life. We recognize what is actually happening in our moment-to-moment experience and receive it with an attitude of curiosity and friendliness. This response to life creates the conditions for a genuine and reliable happiness.
In mindfulness meditation we practice bringing this interested and kind attention to the changing flow of our inner life — clearly seeing what is happening in the mind and body and not being at war with it or wanting it to be different.
what is mainstream about mindfulness?
Mindfulness meditation can connect us to a natural wisdom and love that already exists within each of us — innate goodness and beauty — and allows us to manifest the truth about who we really are, living with respect for ourselves and all beings.
Our simple wish is to be happy — to live with ease, spontaneously and free. What could be more mainstream, more natural, than this?
Now you might think, “Well, what’s the big deal with this?” Think about it. What happens when you see, touch, taste, smell or hear something pleasing, …like tasting chocolate or smelling a sizzling steak, like hearing wind chimes or a favorite piece of music? Do you ever want more? Do you try to hold on to that pleasantness?
On the flip side, what happens when you experience something unpleasant? Like hearing traffic, or not getting what you deserve, or feeling pain in your body, or noticing the unwanted signs of aging? Are you inclined to be judgmental or take offense and get aggressive towards others or yourself?
Most of us are prone to some of these reactions, at least upon occasion. However, we need not spend so much time being tangled up in them. We can train ourselves to see differently and therefore respond differently, to relate to the 'wanting' or 'not wanting mind' rather than identifying with with them and then relating from these mind states.
One benefit comes when we begin to see how our struggle to control life inflicts unnecessary stress on ourselves. We see how much time we spend trying to get comfortable and how the degree of our stress is related to the narrowness of our comfort zone.
Another benefit comes when we realize all experiences arise due to multiple causes and conditions (some of which we have put into motion through our thoughts, words and deeds, but many of which we have not). We can begin to stop taking the inevitable changes or vicissitudes of life so personally.
We can challenge our belief that our happiness is dependent on experiencing pleasure, gain, fame and praise, because we see that these conditions come and go no matter how hard we work or how good our intentions might be. We see how we set ourselves up for great disappointment by taking refuge in what may bring us temporary happiness and well-being, such as prestige, money, possessions or the right relationship or job or place to live. All of these conditions are impermanent and subject to change at any moment, so why bank on them for our happiness?
By not taking the comings and goings of life so personally we also interrupt the tendency to be obsessed with ourselves. We can feel the truth of how inter-woven this web of life is and that we have a place in it. We have in our hands and hearts the power to cause harm and the power to live with reverence for life, to live a life of peacefulness and wise, compassionate action. This is the dharma (truth) of connection.
Mindfulness meditation can cultivate a mind and heart that knows this truth and supports us to live from it. SANGHA (spiritual community) IS THE NEW BUDDHA (awakened one) which means that how we live our lives, how we awaken with others, how we interact with family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, "enemies," the Earth Herself is as important as individual formal practice.
On a very
practical level, if we cannot find joy in shoveling snow or washing dishes and
sweeping the floor, grocery shopping and cooking, answering emails and paying
bills, cleaning the cat box or walking the dog, brushing our teeth and making
the bed, then we are doomed to unhappiness for much of our lives. I call this the Yoga
of Ordinariness or the Dharma (practice)
of Daily Life.