I find teaching to be a very deep and powerful "no self" practice. When I connect with others during Dharma talks--in the intimacy of small groups, and while holding meditation practice interviews--I am continually reminded to know, and be, in a place of clarity, spaciousness and immediate presence. Being able to offer students such a place of connection is my greatest pleasure and inspiration, as well as the most appreciated challenge in my teaching practice.
For me, the real fruit of the teaching is seeing the beauty of a gradual, and sometimes sudden, unfolding of a heartmind into its true self; seeing the variety of ways a person's essential, creative energy of being flows into the world.
On one end of the teaching, I am excited and inspired by students who are deeply committed to long-term, intensive practice. On the other end (and of course they're connected), I find that working closely with people at the grass roots level--in a co-creative process of developing and sustaining Dharma practice, study and community opportunitiies on a day-to-day basis--is equally exciting and inspiring.
From the immediacy of presence flows a wisdom that naturally connects us to the way of things. This amazing gift of mindfulness provides us with a spaciousness where we can make appropriate, healthy and creative life choices. Rather than being caught up in our old, conditioned habits, mindfulness provides us with the gift of engagement at its best. This is the Gift of the Dharma that we offer to all beings.
It's a heavy load to carry our 'self' around…the myriad permutations of our thoughts (all the hopes and fears),
the feelings, opinions, perceptions and beliefs…believing that they are 'mine, 'me, 'myself. When we begin to
taste the truth of 'not-self' , often there is a feeling of great relief. Therein lies the potential for peace of
mind. This Dhamma talk includes two short guided meditations.
Equanimity is the equipoise…the balance or equilibrium between the opposing forces in the mind of the desired and the undesired. It is that point of balance in the middle of the see-saw of life and is based on a clear presence of mind. Two insights that are the basis of equanimity are the understanding of karma and insight into the nature of not-self.
Both of these understandings are explored in this talk in relationship to equanimity.
There is a great release of the contractions of the heart... the past pains, hurts and anguish that we've taken in and taken on as "mine", "me", as"I am". It it's not so easy to relinquish these habituated patterns of our-self. Our commitment to our practice and willingness to take the journey is what affords the transformation. Not so easy at times, but well worth it.
Exploring the purifying and beautiful current of concentration/Samatha...the teachings current of concentration/Samatha...the teachings and the practice. ...the basis, the process and the fruits of concentration.
Through the looking-glass of the Dharma – looking in the mirror at myself, looking at myself looking in the mirror at myself…seeing the truth of ‘self’ – looking at myself in the mirror. Only by training oneself again and again in sensing, seeing and knowing the presently arisen thoughts, sense door experiences, feelings, mind states and perceptions as mere impersonal processes, can the power of deeply-rooted egocentric thoughts, habits and self-centered inclinations be loosened and relinquished. It’s through the actual direct experiential confrontation with the fact of ‘impersonality’ that we come to know ‘not-self’…’no-self’. And then for a moment or two, it’s not all about ME. For a moment the heart/the mind is free.
We experience compassion as the trembling, the quivering of the heart in response to suffering…ours or that of another being.
The aim of compassion practice is to gently turn the heart/mind towards suffering and then with understanding and courage open to and move
towards the alleviation of suffering…with recognition, acceptance and respect in relationship to our limitations at any given time. This talk
explores compassion through many different stories.
What brings us to spiritual practice? What has moved, inspired and urged you to find a clear and wholesome ‘other way’ than feeling overrun with old reactive habit patterns of sadness, fear, attachment, anger, and confusion.? Samvega is the movement of the heart/an inner response towards an urgency to practice and an urgency to awaken.
Exploring a few of the difficult or afflictive states of mind that arise in our human experience...fear, anger, unwholesome desire and attachment; also exploring some of the ways the Buddha encourages us to work with them in our practice, in the light of purification and the liberation of the mind and heart.