We first review four foundations of wise speech: (1) developing presence in the midst of communication; (2) working with the four guidelines for skillful speech developed by the Buddha; (3) bringing our mindfulness and skillful responses to our thoughts, emotions, and body states into our speech practice; and (4) empathy practice, tuning into others' and our own emotions and sense of "what matters." We then explore the importance of being with challenges and difficulties in our practice generally, and do two exercises exploring a difficult or challenging interaction with another, including working with an "empathy map." Discussion follows. (Materials on emotions [or feelings], needs, and an "empathy map" are given below, under "documents.")
All true meditation guides us back to presence, and the mystery that is our source. In this guided meditation we awaken the senses, collect with the breath, and when lost in thought, practice relaxing back into the aliveness and awareness that is always here. We close with a beautiful poem from poet Danna Faulds.
The Buddha said, “I would not be teaching this (a path of awakening) if genuine happiness and freedom were not possible.” While this is our potential, we each have deep conditioning to get stuck in feelings of fear, deficiency and separation from others. These talks explore the two interdependent pathways of undoing the conditioning that blocks our potential. In Part I we will look at how we can intentionally arouse states of well-being, and with practice, develop them into ongoing traits that bring presence and joy to our lives. In Part II, we will investigate how to cultivate an unconditional presence, and the radical acceptance and love, that are the grounds of true happiness and inner freedom.