This four week series reviews many key components of Buddhist meditation practice. Beginning with intention and attitude, we cover the strategies that help us arrive in presence, the key elements of mindfulness, working with difficult emotional states and the practices that awaken our heart. Each week will include guided meditations and reflections.
Reflection on what we seek to remember in practice, developing the capacity to see which stories serve to develop wholesome qualities and reduce suffering. The center of the talk is a tour through the Jewish year, interpreting each holiday as a form of retreat practice and the opportunity to awaken and develop heart qualities.
One interpretation of Jewish mindfulness connects mindfulness with the Jewish prophetic tradition. This suggests an understanding of spiritual practice as involving both "inner" transformation toward liberation and "outer" transformation toward a liberated society; actually, the two are intimately connected. We first explore, partly through music, the prophetic tradition. We then examine how both our inner and outer practice can be understood in similar ways, following the core principles, in terms of development in wisdom and mindfulness (the mind), compassion and love (the heart), and courage and skillful action (the body).
In contemporary Jewish meditation the Divine is a reference to the interconnected unity of all being. This talk unfolds this metaphor and points out obstacles that occur in "small mind" that aggrandizes the self and cuts one off from unity, compassion and loving-kindness. A set of practice instructions proposes processes to turn the obstacles into compost for spiritual growth.