On this summer solstice evening out under the trees at Gaia House, Martin reflects on the importance of trees in the Buddhas life, the disingenuousness of the term mindfulness and what it means to be embodied.
Here, Martin looks at the dichotomy we easily make between the retreat situation and the rest of life, and explores the skilful integration of our practice, as well as looking at some of the forces that tend to shape our into our personal, relational and cultural lives.
Using the zen image of first there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is, Martin charts the evolution of relating to form and emptiness, exploring the fundamental duality of conventional experience, and the natural pull towards its dismantling, transcendance and integration.
Rather than the meditator trying to become present, this talk emphasises the way life is always immediate and available, always and only present. And how attuning to that invites us into presence, not as a property of mind, not as a state we create, but as the formless ground into which mind can rest, allowing presence to reveal what arises.
Dharma practice points us towards liberation; boundless freedom of being, great depths of love and joy, and a graceful participation in life’s unfolding.
What is liberation?
What seems to be in the way, right now, of living freely?
What is your deepest knowing, and how can it liberate you, here and now?
The day will be led by Martin Aylward, and is open to both committed dharma students, and those who may be totally new to practice, but feel themselves drawn to freedom of being. There will include silent and guided meditation practice, teachings and discussion, and some dialog exercises. The day will emphasize a direct exploration of freeing up our life, right in the midst of living it.
When we hold tightly to our views and positions, we feel like we are right. In this talk Martin explores then tendency to cling to views, to see life through the dichotomies of rational mind that obscure what is outside of our own view. He invites us in to to abiding with life's ambiguity, the inclusion of all opposites, the infinite breadth of the Middle Way.
Martin explores the indivisible nature of life, the mystery of an existence that is constantly slipping away from us, and love as the true heart's response to the inevitability of death. This talk stands alone, yet also builds on the themes of the previous two teachings from the same retreat.
Avoiding fixed positions and judgements about desire, Martin encourages an open inquiry into wanting. He examines the root of all desire; wanting things to be different, and explores how we can use wanting as a mirror to learn from our reflected experience. The talk points towards the deep desire to give up our endless interventions and manipulation of our experience, and discusses the freedom of undemanding, undefended, undistracted awareness.