September 23, 30 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock. 9 to 11 a.m. (see class description at end).
September 27, October 4 (Sunday): Marin Sunday Sangha, San Rafael, 5:45 to 8 p.m.: Meditation, talk, discussion, meditation. 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/sangha/.
October 5-6, Spirit Rock: Awakening the Heart: Practicing the “Divine Abodes” (Lovingkindness, Compassion, Joy, Equanimity): A Two-Day Non-Residential Retreat (with Heather Sundberg), 9:30 to 4:30 p.m. both days (recommended to attend both days, first day attendance only is possible).The “Divine Abodes” (brahmavihara) of lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity, are the places of the awakened heart. Practicing to cultivate these four abodes helps us to access these wonderful and transformative qualities of the open heart.
- Lovingkindness (or metta): We practice cultivating a warm, open heart towards ourselves and others, as a basic way of being in the world. It is also a path to wisdom.
- Compassion: The wise heart becomes compassion when it encounters pain or suffering.
- Joy: The friendly heart becomes joy when it encounters happiness or beauty.
- Equanimity: We develop a balanced heart that can increasingly hold all the joys and sorrows of life with care and wisdom.
In this non-residential retreat, we will learn the formal practices of lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity, 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, with periods of sitting meditation alternating with periods of walking meditation. Core instructions in the different practices will be offered, along with dharma talks, question and answer periods, and several short optional sessions of guided movement. Participants are asked to bring their lunches each day so that there can be two uninterrupted days of practice that include instructions in mindful eating.
Teachings and practices are appropriate for individuals and health care professionals. Continuing Education (CE) credit available. Young Adults (18-26) and Seniors (65+ with limited and fixed income) are invited to attend these daylongs at a rate of $35.
October 7 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock. 9 to 11 a.m. (see class description at end). Talk on "The Urgency of Now—Connecting Inner and Outer Transformation” (for Earth Care Week).
October 12 (Monday), Louisville, Kentucky, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Meditation, talk, and discussion. Location: Clifton Unitarian Church, 2231 Payne Street. Further information: www.louisville-vipassana-community.org.
October 13 (Tuesday), Lexington, Kentucky (evening). Talk and discussion. Location: Shambhala Center.
October 14 (Wednesday), Asheville, North Carolina (evening). Talk and discussion. Location: Suite 200, 29 Ravenscroft Drive, Asheville, NC 28801. For further information: http://www.ashevillemeditation.com/.
October 16-23, Southern Dharma (North Carolina): From the Breath to Spacious Awareness. In this retreat, we will explore, both through teachings and through silent meditation practice, a sequence of training that has three main parts, connecting our foundational mindfulness practice with opening to deeper awareness and greater freedom: (1) Stabilizing attention and cultivating concentration, particularly through mindfulness of breathing; (2) Developing insights into where and how the mind fixates or grasps, leading to suffering and a lack of a sense of the flow of experience, particularly related to our sense of self and our habitual patterns, and learning to deconstruct and release such fixations; (3) Opening to awareness beyond fixation and grasping, to moments of freedom, through a number of specific steps and practices, informed by teachings from the Buddha as well as the Thai Forest tradition and other Buddhist traditions.
We will explore several practices for each of these three training areas, and ways to bring such practices into daily life, as our awareness, compassion, and responsiveness deepen. There will be ongoing emphasis on and attention to the embodiment of our practice through Qigong, guided meditations, and instructions, allowing us to more easily carry the practices into our daily lives.
Prerequisite: One retreat in mindfulness practice or permission of the coordinating teacher. Waiting list only.
November 4, 11 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock. 9 to 11 a.m. (see class description at end).
December 2, 9 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock. 9 to 11 a.m. (see class description at end).
December 4, 11 (Friday evenings), Oakland: East Bay Meditation Center, 6.30 to 8.30 p.m.: Movement, meditation, and talk. 285 17th St., Oakland (near 19th St. Oakland BART), 510-268-0696, http://www.eastbaymeditation.org/, no fee, support for center and teachers all on a dana (generosity or donation) basis.
December 5 (Saturday): Marin Sangha Daylong, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Theme: Practicing with Thoughts and Emotions. 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/sangha/. Open to anyone who has attended the Marin Sangha Sunday gathering at least once.
December 6, 13 (Sunday): Marin Sunday Sangha, San Rafael, 5:45 to 8 p.m.: Meditation, talk, discussion, meditation. 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/sangha/.
December 17-23 (Thursday to Wednesday), Spirit Rock: Insight Meditation Winter Solstice Retreat (with Heather Sundberg, John Travis). In this retreat, we will emphasize centering ourselves at the time of the holidays and the New Year, quieting our minds, grounding in our bodies, opening up our hearts, and using inquiry to help give energy to our practice. There will be a special emphasis on opening to the darkness, including to our difficulties and challenges, as well as to the coming light--such as beauty, joy and love. We will have a winter solstice ceremony. The retreat will include complete meditation instructions, sitting and walking meditation, daily lovingkindness practice, evening talks, and interviews.
December 30 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock. 9 to 11 a.m. (see class description at end).
January 11-18 (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.
April 3-10 (Sunday to Sunday), Spirit Rock, Settling, Seeing, and Spacious Awareness, 7-day retreat (with Brian Lesage). In the context of a small and intimate retreat, we will train in three inter-related modes of practice over the course of a week. First, we will settle and stabilize our minds and bodies, becoming more concentrated, through both sitting and moving forms of meditation, including regular Qigong. As we settle, we then become better able to examine closely both the different dimensions of our experience—our bodies, thoughts, and emotions—and the general patterns of experience, both more personal and more universal. We “see” more clearly where we are reactive, where we suffer, where there is a “thick” sense of self, and learn to be more with the impermanent flow of experience, transforming our reactivity and habits. We can also tune in more, as we settle and see, to an increasingly unconfined and luminous awareness beyond reactivity, that is a source of freedom, wisdom, and compassion, both in retreat practice and daily life. Prerequisite: Retreatants must have completed at least 2 5-day or longer silent insight meditation retreats or have permission of the Coordinating Teacher.
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 September 23, 30; October 7; November 4, 11; December 2, 9, 30.
Information for Spirit Rock Retreats and Daylongs: Registration: For more information, call 415-488-0164 or go to www.spiritrock.org/. Daylongs cost $50-108 sliding scale, plus a donation (dana) for the teacher. Volunteer opportunities are available; contact the Spirit Rock volunteer coordinator, at 415-488-0164, x224.
Donald’s Talks Are Available At:
Dharma Seed (www.dharmaseed.org /)
Audio Dharma (www.audiodharma.org/)
Benicia Sangha (www.bsangha.net/)
and other sites.