Fall Alumni Series 1 Resources
"Relating to the Mind with an Attitude of Kindness" resources will be added here to compliment our weekly group sessions. This content will stay up through Dec. 31, 2017.
Week 1: Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Relating to the Mind with an Attitude of Kindness How might we practice in a way we can treat the mind as a friend?
"Would you like to go out for a cup of coffee with someone who tells you where to go, what to eat and drink, where to sit, and what to discuss? No way!" (Ajahn Brahm)
Giving the Mind a Break
Our meditation progressed in stages, starting with an attitude of giving the mind a break.
Arriving, settling, intention, focus or concentration, awareness of the activity of the mind as well as sensory clarity (hearing, seeing, feeling), mental states coming and going.
We accept the wandering mind, as well as the activity of our minds (not a problem.)
This can be returned to again and again.
Let go of judging the meditation as good or bad. During the entire practice, the mind may have wandered a good part of the time (not a problem.)
If there was any settling, quieting or calming - acknowledge that it occurred, that it is possible to experience this, even during a meditation where the mind is quite busy.
If there was no awareness of settling or calm, congratulating yourself for giving yourself this gift of time to give your mind a break.
Keep in mind that the biggest effects of meditation are cumulative. There may be more and more awareness of how the seemingly "busy mind" practice has led to positive changes in your day to day life.
Query for the Week: What would you most like to fit into your life that you are not currently doing? What would you like to make more of a priority?
Awake Awareness is our Home (19:57) Tara Brach
This meditation guides us in awakening our awareness by opening to all our senses and recognizing the alert presence that is always, already here. By relaxing back into the presence over and over, we become familiar with the reality that is truly our home. (May be streamed or downloaded)
The irrepressible monk, Ajahn Brahm, gently challenges our conventional views, giving us a fresh perspective imbued with wisdom and compassion, says Author Toni Berhard (of Davis), who wrote How to Be Sick.
Week 2: Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Mindfulness is not enough... kindness for ourselves as we bear with what is difficult (pain, struggle, fear, worry, sadness...) is a way we can treat the mind as a friend.
"Life is only difficult to the extent that we have difficulty with our emotions." John Welwood
How to Practice
Our meditation starts with reminding ourselves that by becoming at home with our difficult emotional experiences, we can be a friend to our mind.
As we practice, we observe our own mind; We note the arising and passing of emotions. They come into being, and pass away.
"Emotions feel so real, it is as though they will go on forever, as if they are permanent. They are not permanent. They do change." Oren J. Sofer
Check in and notice how you are feeling.
Ask yourself if your perspective related to any struggles or challenges has changed in any way. If there is greater spaciousness, - acknowledge its presence.
If there is no sense of any re-orientation, trust that sometimes it is the most difficult or dry meditation sessions that build "credit" toward the biggest transformation.
Note the possibility to keep practicing with a kind and spacious attitude toward emotions, even while not meditating.
Query for the Week: Which emotions might you be resisting this week? Is there any way you might create more kindness or spaciousness around what is difficult for you?
Oren J. Sofer
Naming thought as thought.... we acknowledge the reality of what is happening. Thought is fleeting. Evanescent, it just vanishes... As do emotions...
Oren J. Sofer
Video of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) trainers sharing their insights into the nature of empathy. Taped May 22, 2009 at the BayNVC offices in Oakland CA. Some questions asked: What is Empathy? What does it feel like? What is a metaphor for empathy? What are benefits of sharing empathy? And personal stories of having learned an insight into the nature of empathy.
Week 3: Tuesday, October 10, 2017
The invitation of meditation Our minds are just doing their thing, when here we come with this plan that thoughts will remain still. Where are they going to go? Amidst all the electrical energy of the nervous system, all the reactions and synergies, lies consciousness. While scientists don't understand it or where it comes from, we do have an aspect of ourselves that is able to process and even reflect on our own thoughts. It is this aspect of ourselves that is a friend to our mind. We may not be able to influence every aspect of our physiologies to make the molecule all come into alignment and "quiet," but we can enter into relationship with our inner world. This is meditation. Reckoning and connecting with what is here, we engage consciously with our inner life: thoughts, passing moods, ephemeral emotions. From this place we may find ourselves, whole and complete, regardless of what the world is doing around us.
Query of the week: Is there anything causing you stress, that is beyond your control? What would it be like to let go of putting mental energy toward this?
Nominated for an Academy Award, this 36-minute IMAX production offers a state of the art, computer generated journey through the universe, and tries to pinpoint the role of human beings cohabitating within its vastness.
I recorded two new meditation to use this week, or whenever you'd like. Eventually they will be added to the meditations page, but for right now, they are just for our grads group. The theme is coming into conscious relationship with our inner and outer worlds in a way that we can find our own center and perhaps also some peace and perspective.
Meanwhile the World Goes On (6:19) Denise Dempsey
Residing at the Center of Our Own Being (9:08) Denise Dempsey
Week 4: Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Interacting with Judging Mind, Comparing Mind and Fixing Mind How we set our intention before practice can support us both within the period of meditation and then extend beyond it into everyday life.
This week, our theme is noting the predilection of our mind to compare, judge or fix. Much of this is unconscious and is part of longstanding patterns, probably developed over the course of our lifetime. Because of this - and to be kind to the mind - there is no need to suppress what is occurring, but simply to note it. We can ask our mind, "Does this serve you right now?" If yes, honor it. If no - invite your mind to let it go. Remember, the attitude we have been cultivating is one of friendliness for the mind. This means that we can invite our mind to participate, but we do not force or try to control the process.
How to Practice:
As you begin, set an intention to be attuned to when the mind is in judging, comparing or fixing mode. If you know you tend strongly toward one of these, choose it as your focus.
Be kind to the mind - there is no need to suppress what is occurring, but simply to identify, acknowledge and note it.
We can ask our mind, "Does this serve you right now?" If yes, honor it. If no - invite your mind to let it go.
Remember, the attitude we have been cultivating is one of friendliness for the mind. This means that we can invite our mind to participate, but we do not force or try to control the process.
Query of the week: How might you be relating to life with a narrow view? Is there any way that widening your view to be more inclusive of new information, possibilities, option or the presence of resources, may create more spaciousness? How about within meditation - letting awareness be more inclusive of thoughts without trying to suppress any aspect of them.
Are You a Judging, Comparing, or Fixing Type? by Phillip Moffitt
Knowing whether you are a judging, comparing or fixing type can free you from compulsive behavior.
Receiving Mind Meditation by Phillip Moffitt (37:38)
If this is longer than what you'd like for meditation, consider just doing however many minutes feels right.
Our second fall grad series begins:
Finding Ease in our Practice
You can easily send message to Denise using this form.