Schedule

 

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December 28-January 3, 2017 (Wednesday to Tuesday), Cloud Mountain (north of Portland, OR): Cultivating Clear Seeing, Opening the Heart (with Heather Sundberg), 6-Day Retreat: In this New Year's retreat we will emphasize the development of wisdom and the awakened heart through practices that help us to quiet our minds, ground in our bodies, open our hearts, and strengthen mindfulness leading to insight. For further info, go to http://cloudmountain.org. Info: http://cloudmountain.orgFull, with waiting list. 

January 9-16 (Monday to Monday), Spirit Rock, Metta Retreat, 7-day retreat (with Sylvia Boorstein, Konda Mason [yoga], Heather Sundberg, and Larry Yang). Metta, or lovingkindness, practice is the cultivation of the intention of benevolence as the orientation of our heart and minds. It is also a path to wisdom. We develop in our capacity for metta through meditation (practiced steadfastly on retreat) in order for it to manifest in an ongoing way in our daily lives. In this retreat, we will learn the formal practice of metta along with its companion practices of compassion, joy, and equanimity. All four of these practices—known as the Brahma Viharas or Divine Abodes—strengthen self-confidence, self-acceptance, and steadiness of mind and heart, revealing our fundamental disposition toward kindness. Full, with waiting list. 

January 22, 29 (Sundays), San Rafael: Marin Sunday Sangha, 5:45 to 8 p.m.: Meditation, movement, talk, discussion. Sangha founded by Phillip Moffitt and held at St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church, 10 Bayview Drive, San Rafael, CA 94901. For further info, go to www.marinsangha.org.

January 23-25 (Monday to Wednesday), Spirit Rock, 9:30 to 4:30 p.m. each day: The Three Ways of Seeing That Bring Liberation (with Anna Douglas), 3-day Non-Residential Retreat. From an initial basis in settling and stabilizing our minds and bodies, we will focus, for the three days of our retreat, on the three main forms of what the British teacher, Rob Burbea, calls “seeing that frees.” This is the heart of insight meditation! As we settle and are mindful of our bodies and sense experiences, emotions, and thoughts, we become better able to examine closely three general, universal patterns of experience. We learn to notice more fully and be more with the impermanent flow of experience. We see more clearly how we are reactive, how we suffer. And we track increasingly when and how there is a “thick” sense of self, tuning in more to an open and spacious awareness beyond reactivity and the thick self.

Within our exploration of these three modes of seeing that liberate, we will have three further themes. Related to beginning the New Year, we will be asking how we can “lighten our load” and focus on our priorities, letting go of any burdens, both inner and outer. We will also balance our emphasis on clear seeing with a resting in the heart of kindness and compassion. Thirdly, we will have an emphasis on how to bring these three modes of seeing into daily life, including in the evenings of our retreat.

January 28 (Saturday), San Rafael: Marin Sangha Daylong, 9:30 to 4:30 p.m.: The “Thinning” of the Self: Exploring and Practicing Anattā (“Not-Self”). The teaching of anattā (“not-self”) points to one of the three fundamental areas of liberating insight taught by the Buddha (along with the teachings on impermanence and on suffering or dukkha). Yet anattā can very challenging and confusing for contemporary practitioners. How do we make sense of our feelings of individuality, identity, ancestry, and vocation? How do we address our own personal experiences of woundedness, trauma, and oppression? In this daylong, we will explore these vital questions primarily in a practical way. Using the metaphors of “thinning the self” and working with a “thick” sense of self, we will cover four aspects of practice: (1) cultivating the “thinning” of the self, both in meditation and in everyday life; (2) tracking and working with different manifestations of a “thick” sense of self; (3) opening to experiencing beyond a fixed sense of self, as awareness, compassion, and responsiveness deepen; and (4) developing in interpersonal empathy, which helps to cultivate a deepened sense of interdependence and further cut through the thick, independent self. Location: St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church, 10 Bayview Drive, San Rafael, CA 94901. Open to those who have attended at least one Marin Sangha Sunday gathering. For further info, go to www.marinsangha.org.

February 18 (Saturday), Sacramento, Daylong, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.: The “Thinning” of the Self: Exploring and Practicing Anattā (“Not-Self”). The teaching of anattā (“not-self”) points to one of the three fundamental areas of liberating insight taught by the Buddha (along with the teachings on impermanence and on suffering or dukkha). Yet anattā can very challenging and confusing for contemporary practitioners. How do we make sense of our feelings of individuality, identity, ancestry, and vocation? How do we address our own personal experiences of woundedness, trauma, and oppression? In this daylong, we will explore these vital questions primarily in a practical way. Using the metaphors of “thinning the self” and working with a “thick” sense of self, we will cover three aspects of practice: (1) cultivating the “thinning” of the self, both in meditation and in everyday life; (2) tracking and working with different manifestations of a “thick” sense of self; and (3) opening to experiencing beyond a fixed sense of self, as awareness, compassion, and responsiveness deepen. Location3111 Wisseman Drive, Sacramento, CA 95826. For info, go tohttp://www.sbmg.org/.

February 19 (Sunday), Spirit Rock, 9:30 to 4:30 p.m.: Cultivating Wise Speech: Becoming More Skillful in Your Speech Practice. Connecting our meditation practice with our speech and communication is one of the main ways to bring spiritual values into our everyday lives and our action in the world, and can help enliven and energize our practice, since we have so many chances for practice! This daylong retreat will integrate periods of sitting and walking meditation with talks, interactive exercises, and discussion. It will cover three main areas. In the morning, we will focus on (1) the basic teachings of the Buddha on wise speech and (2) foundational mindfulness practices for our speech. In the afternoon, we will apply these perspectives and tools to (3) learning how to practice wise and compassionate speech in difficult conditions--such as when there are difficult emotions, when there is conflict, or when there are challenging interpersonal or group dynamics.

Further Daylongs and Retreats in 2017:

April 8, Spirit Rock: Dharma Practice and Kingian Nonviolence (with Kazu Haga): 9:30 to 4:30.

April 17-18, Spirit Rock: Metta (Lovingkindness) Practice (2-day non-residential retreat): 9:30 to 4:30 each day.

April 30, Spirit Rock: Working with Judgments (daylong): 9:30 to 4:30.

May 4-22, Santa Fe, NM: Residency (classes, talks, one retreat).

May 27, Benicia: Daylong.

May 29-June 4: Spirit Rock (Angela Center): Transforming the Judgmental Mind (6-day residential retreat).

June 16-July 1: Israel (retreats and talks).

July 29-30, San Luis Obispo (weekend retreat).

August 1-6, Berkeley: Mindful Communication (with Oren Sofer) (6-day non-residential retreat): 9 to 5 p.m. each day. Go to https://goo.gl/forms/8NFmlNgWOEbvfrQy2 to sign up for email about registration information in 2017.

August 11-13: Bozeman, Montana (weekend retreat)

September 2-4, Spirit Rock: Labor Day (3-day non-residential retreat)

September 17, Nevada City, CA: Mountain Stream (daylong).

September 22-24, San Diego (Friday evening talk and 2-day study retreat)

October 2-9, Spirit Rock: Settling, Seeing, and Spacious Awareness (7-day residential retreat, with Susie Harrington).

October 14-15: Reno/Carson City, NV (two daylongs).

October 21-28, Southern Dharma (near Asheville, NC): The Three Ways of Seeing That Liberate (7-day residential retreat).

December 18-23, Spirit Rock: Winter Solstice Retreat: Embracing the Dark, Inviting the Light (with Heather Sundberg and John Travis) (5-day residential retreat).

Ongoing Wednesdays Class, Spirit Rock, Woodacre, CA: 9 to 11 a.m. morning class: Co-teach with Sylvia Boorstein (most Wednesdays, either Sylvia or I will teach): 45 minute meditation, talk and discussion. Class cost $8-10, teaching is by donation (dana). Donald will be teaching December 7, 14; January 11, 18; February 1, 22; March 29; further dates TBD.

Donald’s Talks Are Available At:

Dharma Seed (www.dharmaseed.org /)

Audio Dharma (www.audiodharma.org/)

Benicia Sangha (www.bsangha.net/)

and other sites.