Below is a letter from Doug, the program for Tuesday's Sangha meeting, and a few messages from the Sangha.
Do We Have a Mind? or Does Mind Hold Us?
In sangha this week we talked about the nature of the mind. Mind is fundamentally different from any other experience. Indeed, it is the container of all we experience.
It’s been said that mind is like the sky and our experiences are like clouds. On a clear day, the sky is empty. Well, it may appear to be blue, but the color is not the sky itself. The hue is refracted sunlight. The sky contains the air and blue color. But it extends beyond that atmosphere into the endless expanse.
Space contains everything — blue light, clouds, flying birds, the pencil in my hand, the page I write upon. Like empty space, the mind contains all these but is not any of them. It is shunyata — emptiness. Without the empty space of mind, we could know nothing. Without it, we can’t experience anything.
As the mind quiets in meditation, we can see how attention tends to stick to objects — perceptions, people, ideas, feelings, and more. It shrink-wraps around stuff. As the mind relaxes, it becomes less sticky. We begin to notice the empty spaces around our perceptions. Awareness may shift from what we perceive to the awareness itself.
The hand that holds this pencil will disintegrate someday. A hundred years from now there won’t be a trace of it. But the empty space that held it will still be here.
Is awareness like a pencil or hand that comes and goes? Or is it like the sky/mind that goes on forever? Do each of us have our own minds? Or is there one empty mind (shunyata) that we all tap into?
Figuring out answers to these questions is not important. But relaxing into them with clarity and gentle heartfulness may reveal peace and contentment that has been waiting there all along.
An Evening of Inquiry: The Change Triangle with Prashant Billore
The Change Triangle is a map, a guide to carry you from a place of disconnection back to your more authentic self. Come hear how Prashant has used Hilary Jacobs Hendel’s exploration of this step-by-step process of getting reacquainted with core emotions to deepen his own meditation practice.
In preparation for Prashant’s talk, you might want to consider some of these questions: What defenses have you used in the past that helped block your core emotions? How do you work with anxiety, shame or guilt? Have you recently opened up to one of your core emotions? How did it make you feel? Host: Eli Kramer Zoom Host: Claudia Carey
Mindful Check-in: Looking at our Meditation Practices with Doug KraftApril 27
The Mindful Check-In is an opportunity to talk with others about our own meditation practice and life experience. What was your best meditation in the last several weeks? What happened? What was your worst sitting? How do you regard both of these kinds of sittings? What would it be like to look at these with the same kindness and peacefulness? Please bring your responses and thoughts to our small and large group discussions.
Living Dhammā: The Spectrum of Awareness with Doug KraftMay 4
Awareness is central to the Buddha’s teaching and practice. This evening Doug will lead a discussion based on Chapter 4, “Fluidity of Awareness” of his latest book, Resting in the Waves. A pdf of the chapter is made available in advance.
Your Response Requested Easing Awake's 501(c)(3) status
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