The series of 5 talks from this retreat explore a central feature of Dharma practice and teachings: How we get uptight and reactive (Upadana / Clinging) around our experience, and the transformational possibility of letting go. The talks cover the Buddhas teachings on the 3 main realms of experience that we cling most tightly to, as well as exploring and pointing towards the nature of the heart that is free from clinging. This introductory talk looks at the broad 3-fold field of our experience corresponding to the experience of body, heart and mind; Sensation, Feeling and Thought. Martin explores the differences in meditative approach to working with the different elements of experience, and invokes the teaching of the Middle Way in avoiding the extremes of on the one hand obsessing / wallowing in our experience, and on the other rejecting / denying / shutting down to what is happening.
Learning to bring a mindful presence to fear is an intrinsic part of spiritual awakening. In this talk we look at the ways we get caught in the trance of fear, and how the two wings of presence--clear recognition and openheartedness--can free us. This process of facing unmet fears is necessary not only for our own healing, but for any possibility of peace and the healing of our planet.
Guided by several key teachings, particularly how we might bring together wisdom, compassion, and courage, we explore some of the issues raised in reflection on the last ten years. A focus is the parallel between personal practice and responding to larger social issues.