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September 16, 23, 30 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock, 10 to noon. On Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/635273935Meeting ID: 635 273 935

September 17 (Thursday evening), Insight Meditation Tucson (meditation, talk, and discussion).  6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Pacific. Theme: On the connection of the Buddha’s teaching on “dukkha and the end of dukkha” and the nonviolent action of Dr. King and others. Information: https://www.insightmeditationtucson.org/classes On Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/629871753pwd=TTVkVzAycXRpQkVDSWVJUTFVSTAvQT09
Meeting ID: 629 871 753, Passcode: sangha. 

September 19-20 (Saturday, Sunday), Reno, Nevada: Dharma Zephyr Sangha: Cultivating Compassion and Equanimity in a Time of Crisis." 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. In our challenging times, compassion and equanimity are central--both to our inner work and to our outer responses. Compassion includes both the receptive capacity of bringing the awakened heart to be with what is painful and difficult and the active response to such pain and difficulty. We cultivate compassion both in our practice of insight meditation and through the cultivation of “heart practices,” particularly those of the brahmavihara or “divine abodes.” Equanimity brings forth balance, non-reactivity, spaciousness, and unshakability, as well a firm response, all based on understanding and wisdom. As with compassion, we cultivate equanimity both in insight practice and through “heart practices.” In this two-day “at home” retreat, we will, through meditation, short talks, and discussion, focus on how to cultivate these two beautiful qualities, in the midst of grief and loss, fear and anxiety, anger, confusion, and political polarization, as well as much that is healing, creative, and transformative. This is truly a time to train further in compassion and equanimity, and to step up! For further informationhttps://dharmazephyr.org/event/retreats-with-donald-rothberg/2020-09-19/On Zoom.

POSTPONED TO MARCH 15-21, 2021: September 22-27 (Tuesday to Sunday): Insight LA, formerly at Big Bear Retreat Center (withKaira Jewel Lingo): Cultivating the Wise Heart on the Cushion and in the World: Practicing Mindfulness and the “Divine Abodes” (Lovingkindness, Compassion, Joy, Equanimity). The Divine Abodes (Brahmaviharas) of lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity, are the places of the open, awakened heart. In this retreat, on the foundation of insight meditation and the development of mindfulness, we will learn the formal practices of lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. We will also offer guidance for bringing these practices into daily life, including in challenging situations—whether in our relationships, our work and community lives, our being present in the pandemic, or in our efforts at social change. All of these practices strengthen clear seeing and wisdom, self-confidence, self-acceptance, generosity of spirit, steadiness of mind and heart, and skillful action, revealing our fundamental kindness and wisdom, in a culture in which heart and mind are often disconnected. 

Core instructions in the different practices will be offered in periods of sitting meditation, complemented by talks, discussion, meetings with the teachers, walking meditation, and brief daily guided movement sessions. This retreat is suitable both for those wanting a dedicated at-home retreat, much like a residential retreat, and for those with some responsibilities wanting a home retreat with many hours of formal practice but also time for other activities. For all, there will be an emphasis on bringing practice both into our time together and our time away from the group. We have designed this retreat so that it can work well for those in the Pacific time zone as well as the Eastern time zone, and time zones in between. For further informationhttps://insightla.org/event/wise-heart-online/2020-09-22-16-30/On Zoom.

October 2 (Friday), Oakland: East Bay Meditation Center, 7to 8.30 p.m., with Syra Smith. Meditation, talks, and discussion. 285 17th St., Oakland (near 19thSt. Oakland BART), 510-268-0696, no fee, support for center and teacher on a dana (generosity or donation) basis. Info:http://www.eastbaymeditation.org/On Zoom.

October 7 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock, 10 to noon. On Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/635273935Meeting ID: 635 273 935

October 11 (Sunday): Marin Sangha, 6 to 7:40 or so. Meditation, short break, talk, and discussion. For further information, go to http://marinsangha.org. On a dana (generosity) basis. On Zoom.  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5446494268If you are asked for a Meeting ID, enter 544 649 4268.

October 16 – 22 (Friday to Thursday), Heartwood Refuge and Retreat Center: Walking “The Path of Insight” (with Ronya Banks). In the midst of troubling times, it is more imperative than ever to orient yourself to walk on the “Path of Insight” – a spiritual awakening journey that turns your challenges into fuel for wisdom and freedom. During this online Zoom retreat and from the comfort of your own home, you will be able to receive the expert guidance of Vipassana teachers Donald Rothberg and Ronya Banks, wherein you will be directed to delve deeper into the many gifts these troubling times have to offer as well as the opportunity to immerse yourself in the mindfulness and Buddhist practices that bring you on the “Path of Insight” and set your heart and mind free. This meditation retreat’s schedule will include formal sitting meditation, walking meditation, daily dharma talks, specific instructions, Q&A periods, group meetings, and chanting. This retreat is appropriate for those who have attended a previous silent meditation retreat, as well as experienced daily meditation practitioners. For further informationhttps://www.heartwoodrefuge.org/retreats/396/walking-the-path-of-insight-zoom-retreat-scholarship-eligible/On Zoom.

October 25 - November 1 (Sunday to Sunday), Southern Dharma Retreat Center: Transforming the Judgmental Mind: At Home Retreat (with Eve Decker). Judgments of a reactive nature are very strong in most of our lives, and in the dominant culture. They can distort our perceptions, make relationships difficult, and undermine our work in the world. In this retreat, we will explore such judgments (and their difference from non-reactive discernment) and how to transform them. We will cultivate mindfulness of judgments; inquiry into the deep roots of judgments (often in long-held “limiting beliefs”); and heart practices such as lovingkindness, forgiveness, joy, and compassion. We will also explore the somatic and social dimensions of judgments and, near the end of the retreat, how to cultivate skill in speech and interaction in the midst of judgments. These tools will help us to preserve the intelligence and energy often found in judgments, using them for discernment and compassionate action, while working through judgments’ destructive, compulsive aspects. The retreat sessions will be held mostly in silence, with a number of guided meditations, along with group and individual practice discussions. Those attending the retreat will have the option of continuing with follow-up sessions after the retreat. This retreat is suitable both for those wanting a dedicated at-home retreat, much like a residential retreat, and for those with some responsibilities wanting a home retreat with many hours of formal practice and instruction but also some time for other activities. For all, there will be an emphasis on practice both in our sessions together and in our time away from the group, our “home practice.” Prerequisite: One four-day or longer mindfulness retreat or permission of the instructor. The main aim of the prerequisite is to ensure that everyone has received and practiced for some time basic mindfulness instructions; if you meet the spirit of the prerequisite and are interested, but haven’t done a four-day or longer retreat, please inquire. For further information, go to: https://www.southerndharma.org/retreat-schedule/720/at-home-retreat-transforming-the-judgmental-mind/

November 4 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock, 10 to noon. On Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/635273935Meeting ID: 635 273 935

November 21 (Saturday): California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco: Daylong workshop: Navigating Through Your Dark Night of the Soul (with Marisa Handler), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific. At some point in many of our lives, we pass through a “dark night of the soul,” or an extended encounter with the darkness. In this time, it may feel as though we have utterly lost ourselves, and our lives have been drained of joy and hope. This may manifest as depression, anxiety, or a breakdown, affecting our ability to function in the world and baffling ourselves and our loved ones.  In the Western world, we have little framework for these kinds of experiences, and they are often hidden and regarded with shame. But in many other cultures, dark times are viewed as key to the evolution of an individual’s psyche. When we are open to their gifts, these experiences can be times of powerful transformation and purification, leaving us altogether changed for the better. 

Join meditation teachers Marisa Handler and Donald Rothberg for a supportive experiential workshop exploring the dark night of the soul phenomenon both personally and collectively. Marisa and Donald offer a map of this terrain and of the dark night as a component of the awakening process. They share perspectives and practices that help participants move through these challenging periods and become more open to a greater perspective. This workshop offers periods of both silent and guided meditation, and reflective writing, as well as small and large group sharing.   

We live in challenging times, and many are going through individual periods of darkness. When we are prepared as individuals to navigate these experiences, we can then provide space for others to grow and heal, and ultimately support us all passing through the dark night. Understand the role such experiences play in the awakening process and discover an array of tools for navigating through these times. For further information:https://www.ciis.edu/public-programs/event-calendar/rothberg-handler-november-21-2020.On Zoom.

November 28-29 (Saturday and Sunday): Spirit Rock:Awakening the Heart: Practicing the “Divine Abodes” (Lovingkindness, Compassion, Joy, Equanimity), Two-day online retreat, 10 a.m. 5 p.m. each day. The Divine Abodes (Brahmaviharas) of lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity, are the places of the open, awakened heart. In this online retreat, we will learn the formal practices for each of these four qualities, and offer guidance for bringing these practices into daily life. All of these practices strengthen self-confidence, self-acceptance, generosity of spirit, and steadiness of mind and heart, revealing our fundamental kindness. The retreat will be held in the context of silence, alternating sitting meditation and walking meditation. Core instructions in the different practices will be offered, along with short talks and discussion.On Zoom. 

November 30 (Monday evening): Spirit Rock, 7:15 to 9:15 p.m. On Zoom. 

December 19-22 (Saturday to Wednesday): Spirit Rock. Winter Solstice Insight Retreat: Embracing the Dark, Inviting the Light (with Oren Jay Sofer and Tuere Sala). On Zoom.  For further information: https://calendar.spiritrock.org/events/winter-solstice-insight-retreat-embracing-the-dark-inviting-the-light/.

Ongoing Wednesdays Class, Spirit Rock, Woodacre, CA: 10 a.m. to noon morning class: Share teaching with Sylvia Boorstein (most Wednesdays, either Sylvia or I will teach): 45 minute meditation, talk and discussion. Donald will be teaching September 16, 23, 30; October 7; November 4; further dates TBD.

Donald’s Talks At: Dharma Seed (www.dharmaseed.org/), Audio Dharma (www.audiodharma.org/).