Individual Consultation: Interactive Reflection, Meditation Practice Support, and Dharma Teacher Mentoring
Jan 22-27 Mindfulness of Body, Heart and Mind: Insight Meditation for the New Year, Spirit Rock, CA with Anushka Fernandopulle, Tempel Smith and Kate Munding
May 17-21, 2017 Kairos House,
Spokane, WA Theme TBD
Aug 7-13 Insight Meditation Retreat for Young Adults, Spirit Rock, CA with Tempel Smith, La Sarmiento, Teja Bell and Joanna Harper
Sept 20-24, 2017 Kairos House, Spokane, WA Theme TBD
Dori's Non-Residential Retreats 2017
June 3 & 4 Reno, NV
June 16 & 17 Richland, WA
welcome to mainstream mindfulness
Mindfulness is a wise and compassionate way of paying attention to
our life…both internally and externally. We recognize what is actually
happening in our moment-to-moment experience and receive it with the
attitude of deep curiosity and unstoppable friendliness. This response to life
creates the conditions for a genuine and reliable happiness and a profound
ability to respond appropriately to the complexities of life.
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 heart-mind and body without being at war with it or wanting it
to be different…without adding aversion or grasping. 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 pleasant…like
tasting chocolate or a ripe strawberry? Like smelling freshly brewed coffee or
something sizzling on the grill or baking in the oven? Like hearing wind chimes
or your favorite music or the sound of silence? Or seeing the beauty of nature in
all Her regalia? Or feeling bliss, excitement, relaxation, sexual communion or contentment?
What happens within you? Perhaps pure gratitude and non-grasping. Perhaps you
feel the desire for more, the urge to control the situation or person to keep
the flow of pleasant sensory experience alive or to avoid unpleasant experience…for
some of us at great cost as addictive patterns take over. 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 the neighbor’s dog barking again
at 2am? Feeling strong unpleasant sensations (aka pain or illness) in your
body? Noticing the unwanted signs of aging? Seeing the destruction of life –
human, animal, plant, mineral, water, earth? Or simply not getting what you
want or believe you deserve? Are you inclined to take offense, feel judgmental towards
others or yourself, act out of strong aversion, even hatred? Most of us are prone to some of
these reactions when faced with fear, pain, rage, helplessness, grief and vulnerability.
However, we need not spend so much time being tangled up in habitual patterns
of reactivity that generate more harm. We can train ourselves to metabolize the
strong emotions with compassionate presence, to “see” differently, and
therefore respond with wisdom.
what is mainstream about mindfulness?
I chose to name this website Mainstream
Mindfulness because I moved from Maryland near Washington, DC to Spokane in
the other Washington in 2007 and wanted to continue sharing Buddhist teachings
and practices (Dharma) albeit in a more conservative location. I did not want
anyone to think they needed to become Buddhist to practice mindfulness
meditation, because this form of meditation is not exclusive to any religion. I
also did not want anyone to think they needed to give up any spiritual practice
or religion to find benefit in mindfulness practice. Waking up to our true
nature of loving awareness and living from that awareness, no matter what you
call it, has been part of human potential and seeking throughout time. I aspired
to honor this diversity by seeing the similarities and the unique aspects of
spiritual teachings and practices. And over the course of recent years,
mindfulness has become more mainstream as its benefits have been experienced in
many streams of society.
Mindfulness meditation connects us to natural wisdom and love that
already exists within each of us — primordial, inherent goodness and awareness
— and allows us to manifest the truth of who we are, living with respect for
ourselves and all beings which is the manifestation of cultivating mindfulness
Perhaps our simple wish is to be happy — to live with contentment
and ease, to be productive and contribute our gifts to others, to feel loved
and loving, to feel profound inter-being and interconnectedness, and our
belonging to this great Web of Life. And with this comes the natural arising of
commitment to non-harming and a deep reverence for all Life. Although living
from this wholehearted presence and sincere wish for the well-being of all Life
is theoretically agreeable to most humans, the path of training to speak and
act from this aspiration requires what I call Fierce Tenderness, and demands deep and honest self-inquiry and humility
and it offers benefits.
One benefit comes when we begin to see how our
struggling to control life inflicts unnecessary stress on ourselves and others.
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. The boundaries of
our comfort zones are the boundaries of our freedom.
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.
These conditions are impermanent, subject to change at any moment, so why bank
on them for our happiness? By not taking the transient comings
and goings of life so personally we also interrupt the tendency to be obsessed
with ourselves. We can feel the truth of how interwoven this web of life is and
that we have a place in it. We have in our hands and heart-minds the power to
cause harm and the power to live with reverence for life, to choose wisdom, peace
and compassionate action. And to begin again when we act from an old pattern.
Progress, not perfection.
This is the dharma of connection. Mindfulness
meditation can cultivate a mind and heart that knows this truth and supports us
to live from it. SANGHA IS THE NEW BUDDHA which means that how we live
our lives, how we awaken with others, how we interact with family, friends,
neighbors, co-workers, "enemies," and the earth Herself is as
important as our individual path of awakening. Both are essential ingredients
in a life of awakening and love.
devotes time to silence and contemplation in formal meditation practice…what I
call “invitro” or in the laboratory practice to cultivate the beautiful wholesome
mind-heart states of generosity, morality, renunciation, wisdom, energy, patience,
truthfulness, determination, loving-kindness and equanimity which are all
expressions of a compassionate heart and are known with mindful awareness. Just
as we want to plant beauty in a garden we also need to weed out un-beauty and
so in our heart-minds we need to recognize and uproot greed, hatred and
delusion to untangle and disable our habits of speaking and acting from those unwholesome
and destructive states of mind and heart. To enable ourselves to enact a
reverence for life in all that we do.
Reaching OUT devotes
time, energy and other resources to the deep listening to suffering of others
and letting that pain deepen our aspiration to understand, protect and support
those in need and to understand, resist, defy and hold accountable those who
oppress and harm other beings – all of which needs to be sourced with wisdom
and compassion, lest we become what we oppose. May we find our ways to make a
difference in the ongoing and noble fight for respect, peace and justice in our
neighborhoods, communities, states and boundary-less widening circles across
this beautiful blue-green planet. “Invivo” practice supports “invitro” practice
supports “in vivo” practice…it is the Dance
of Fierce Tenderness and like all dance requires movement, flow, tempo and
doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the
world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. Margaret
be the change you want to see in the world. Mahatma Gandhi
not the task of fixing the entire world at once, but of stretching out to
mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Clarissa Pinkola Estes