Sally Clough Armstrong began practicing vipassana meditation in India in 1981. She moved to the Bay Area in 1988, and worked at Spirit Rock until 1994 in a number of roles, including executive director. She began teaching in 1996, and is one of the guiding teachers of Spirit Rock's Dedicated Practitioner Program.
Sally has always been inspired by the depth and the breadth of the Buddha’s teaching, as presented in the suttas of the Pali Canon, because the truth and power of the Buddha’s words still speak to us today. Her intention in teaching is to make these ancient texts and practices accessible and relevant to all levels of practitioner, from the very new to the dedicated meditator.
Intensive metta practice can be challenging on many levels - body, heart and mind. One of the most supportive things we can do to deepen the intention of love and kindness is to consciously and deliberately relax; truly relax in mind and body.
To deepen our meditation practice we need to work skillfully with whatever is a disturbance -- whether it's the gross forms of the hindrances, or the subtlest manifestations of restlessness. This subtle restlessness often comes from a primal anxiety. We need to recognize this and find the stillness in our experience. Then we can truly be with things as they are.
Delusion, one of the three kilesas, is in some ways the fundamental cause of our suffering -- because we don't see clearly the way things truly are. Our experience of ourselves and the world is distorted by our conditioned views and perceptions.
Rather than making New Year’s resolutions that often end in a sense of failure, it is more helpful to look at our life and practice in terms of aspirations, and to ask what do we need to cultivate and what can we let go of in order to support those aspirations? Using mindfulness, we can become more in tune with what really matters to us and also begin to notice the many subtle and even unconscious influences on our choices and behavior.