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Retreat Dharma Talks

Monday and Wednesday Talks

Regular weekly talks given at the lower Spirit Rock meditation hall

Spirit Rock Meditation Center

  
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2022-10-05 Guided Meditation Exploring Ways of Practicing with Reactivity 38:26
Donald Rothberg
After some brief initial instructions in posture, setting intentions, cultivating stability of mind, and basic mindfulness, there is a period of settling, followed by brief instructions on being mindful of any moments of reactivity, and then, some time later, on being mindful of any moderate or greater (while still workable) moments of pleasant or unpleasant experiences, noticing any tendencies to move from pleasant to craving and grasping (one form of reactivity), and to move from unpleasant to not wanting to pushing away in some way (the other main form of reactivity).
2022-10-05 Ten Ways of Practicing with Reactivity 68:23
Donald Rothberg
We start with a brief review of the last three Wednesday sessions on "Dukkha and the End of Dukkha," including briefly summarizing the teachings of "The Two Arrows" and "Dependent Origination" (going from pleasant/unpleasant to grasping/pushing away); grasping and pushing away are interpreted as the most important meaning of dukkha as reactivity. Then there is an acknowledgment of Yom Kippur occurring on this day and its relationship to our practice. The core of the talk is exploring ten fundamental ways of practicing with reactivity (a pdf of the ten ways will be posted linked with the talk). The talk is followed by discussion.
Attached Files:
  • Ten Ways of Practicing with Reactivity by Donald Rothberg (Word File)
2022-10-19 Being a 21st century Western Buddhist 1:49:45
Sylvia Boorstein
2022-10-26 Helping is Happening in the World 1:50:21
Sylvia Boorstein
2022-11-02 Building a Mind One Story at a Time 1:50:25
Sylvia Boorstein
Dharma talk interspersed with group discussion
2022-11-14 Waves of Experience Meditation | Monday Night 2:24:19
Jack Kornfield
Inviting listeners to breathe softly and naturally amidst it all, Jack helps us flow through waves of thoughts, emotions, and sensations in order to come to rest in loving awareness, the timeless witness dwelling in each of us—who we truly are. “When you notice that a wave has pulled your attention from the breath, receive it. Let go of the attention to the breath, and receive it with the same loving awareness, as if to bow to it gently.”
2022-11-16 Taking All Experiences as Opportunities for Learning 63:16
Donald Rothberg
One of the central intentions of our practice is to learn from all experiences. This is not easy, both with difficult experiences or with wonderful experiences; we might in both cases revert to habitual forms of consciousness and behavior. We explore ways that we might "turn all obstacles into the path of practice" (as is said in the Tibetan Lojong teachings), or see "the obstacle as the path" (as in Zen). Central is our practice particularly with unpleasant or difficult experiences, studying and transforming our reactivity. We also see how sometimes there are important gifts that come from painful and/or difficult experiences; we share together in the group some of these kinds of experiences. We end with an invitation to practice with this basic intention to learn from everything in the next week!
2022-11-23 Guided Meditation: Taking Everything As An Opportunity for Learning 37:28
Donald Rothberg
After foundational mindfulness instructions, there is guidance, just after the core instructions and then briefly twice more during the session, on approaching the silent sitting in the spirit of our talk theme, taking every moment as practice, as an opportunity for learning.
2022-11-23 Talk: Taking Everything As An Opportunity for Learning 2 66:18
Donald Rothberg
We explore how to practice with the intention to take everything as the opportunity for learning--an approach which is named in different ways in Buddhist and other traditions, including the Zen saying, "The obstacle is the path," and the Tibetan Lojong teaching, "Turn all obstacles into the path of practice." How do we follow this intention as individuals, groups or communities, or whole societies? We look particularly at ways to take everything as practice as individuals and some of the challenges of such an approach. A key is opening to challenging or difficult experiences when they are in the "workable" range and not overwhelming, with mindfulness, wisdom, and compassion. Out of such a process may come gifts and the "cleaning up" of our residues of compulsive greed, aversion, and delusion!
2022-12-14 Lightly Guided Meditation: Practicing with Views and Beliefs 35:59
Donald Rothberg
After some foundational mindfulness instructions, there's an invitation to track for views and beliefs when they appear, whether just for a few moments or in a more sustained way, linked perhaps with reviewing an interaction with someone or something that happened. Near the end, there's guidance to bring to mind a situation in the last few days in which there was a strong sense of a view taken and then explore the experience of holding a strong view.
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