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. Go to https://spirit-rock.secure.retreat.guru/program/awakening-the-heart-practicing-the-divine-abodes-dr2m20/. On Zoom.
November 30 (Monday evening): Spirit Rock, 7:15 to 9:15 p.m. Go to: https://spirit-rock.secure.retreat.guru/program/spirit-rock-live-48ml20/?lang=en. On Zoom.
December 2 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock, 10 to noon. On Zoom: https://www.spiritrock.org/programs/wednesday-morning.
December 4 (Friday), Oakland: East Bay Meditation Center, 7to 8.30 p.m., with Chinh Nguyen. 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.
December 9 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock, 10 to noon. On Zoom: https://www.spiritrock.org/programs/wednesday-morning.
December 19-23 (Saturday to Wednesday): Spirit Rock. Winter Solstice Insight Retreat: Embracing the Dark, Inviting the Light (with Oren Jay Sofer and Tuere Sala). 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 the unknown, to the creative and generative dimensions of darkness, and to our difficulties and challenges, as well as to the coming light–to our beauty, joy, wisdom, and love. The retreat will include complete meditation instructions, sitting and walking meditation, daily lovingkindness practice, daily Qigong practice, late afternoon talks, practice discussions, and a Winter Solstice ceremony. For further information: https://spirit-rock.secure.retreat.guru/program/winter-solstice-insight-retreat-embracing-the-dark-inviting-the-light-224r20/?lang=en. On Zoom.
January 10-16, 2021: Metta (Lovingkindness Retreat): Spirit Rock (with Melvin Escobar, Jeff Haozous, Kaira Jewel Lingo, and Konda Mason). Metta, or lovingkindness, practice is the cultivation of the intention of benevolence as the orientation of our heart and mind. It is also a path to wisdom. We develop our capacity for metta through meditation (which is 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. For further information: https://spirit-rock.secure.retreat.guru/program/january-metta-retreat-232r21/?lang=en. On Zoom.
March 15-21, 2021: Insight LA, formerly at Big Bear Retreat Center (with Kaira 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 information: https://insightla.org/event/wise-heart-online/2020-09-21-16-30/. On Zoom. Full, with waitlist.
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; Heidi Bourne has been subbing for Sylvia the last few months of 2020): 45 minute meditation, talk and discussion. Donald will be teaching December 2, 9; further dates TBD.