Schedule

 

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December 7(Sunday): Marin Sunday Sangha, San Rafael, 6 to 8 p.m.: Meditation, talk, discussion, meditation. Usually led 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 10 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock. 9 to 11 a.m. (see class description at end).

December 16-23 (Tuesday to Tuesday), Spirit Rock: Insight Meditation at the Solstice: Embracing the Dark, Inviting the Light Solstice, 7-day retreat with Heather Sundberg and 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 29 to January 4 (Monday through Sunday), Cultivating Clear Seeing, Opening the Heart (with Heather Sundberg), 6-day retreat: Cloud Mountain (north of Portland, OR): 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. There will be a special emphasis on both the cultivation of liberating insight into our basic nature and the nature of experience, and lovingkindness practice -- cultivating a warm, open heart toward ourselves and others, as a basic way of being in the world, as well as the integration of these two foundational practices. As we move into the New Year, we'll enjoy a New Year's ritual that supports the general aim of our retreat -- to empower our deeper intentions for the coming year. There will be complete meditation instructions, sitting and walking meditation, evening talks and personal meetings with the teachers, all in the context of a small, supportive practice community. We will also offer simple Qigong movement practice and chanting. The retreat is open to new as well as experienced practitioners. For further info, go to http://cloudmountain.org.

January 7 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock. 9 to 11 a.m. (see class description at end).

January 12-19 (Monday to Monday), Spirit Rock: Metta Retreat (with Konda Mason [yoga], Heather Sundberg and Larry Yang), 7-day retreat. 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. We will be graced for this retreat by two teaching visits by Sylvia Boorstein, who taught this Metta Retreat from its inception in 2001 through 2012.

January 21 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock. 9 to 11 a.m. (see class description at end).

January 25 (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/.

February 3-8, Tucson, Awakening the Heart: Practicing the “Divine Abodes” (Lovingkindness, Compassion, Joy, Equanimity) (with Anna Douglas). The Divine Abodes of loving kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity, are the states of the awakened heart.  Cultivating them through a series of formal practices helps us to access these wonderful and transformative qualities.  In this retreat, we will learn the formal practices and be supported by the collective field of goodwill thus generated.  We will also receive guidance for bringing these practices into daily life.  These qualities work together and strengthen self-confidence, self-acceptance, generosity of spirit, and steadiness of mind and heart, revealing our fundamental kindness. For further info, go to http://tucsonmeditation.org/mambo/content/view/274/50/.

February 11 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock. 9 to 11 a.m. (see class description at end).

February 14, East Bay Meditation Center, Oakland: Working with Judgments (with Shahara Godfrey). Judgments of a reactive and compulsive nature are very strong in most of our lives, and in the dominant culture. They can distort our perceptions, make relationships with others difficult and undermine our work in the world. In this daylong, we will examine what judgments are and how to work with them, using mindfulness and lovingkindness practices (and a number of periods of silent practice), inquiry, dyad work, and role play. These will help us to transform the energy of judgments--preserving the intelligence and discernment often found in judgments, while working through the destructive and compulsive aspects of judgments. We will also include exploration of how we may also internalize the prevailing judgments of our society in a number of ways, particularly related to race and ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, employment status, etc. Those attending the daylong will have an option of continuing with monthly evening follow-up sessions.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. Please register starting on January 14.

February 15 (Sunday), Spirit Rock: Cultivating Wise Speech: Becoming More Skillful in Your Speech Practice, Including in Difficult Situations. 9.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. 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, discussion, and interactive exercises. 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 speech in difficult conditions (when there are difficult emotions, with conflict, etc.). See below for general information about Spirit Rock daylongs and half-day retreats.

February 18 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock. 9 to 11 a.m. (see class description at end).

February 28-March 28, Spirit Rock: March Monthlong Retreat (with Teja Bell [Qigong], Sylvia Boorstein [last two weeks], Winnie Nazarko, Mary Grace Orr [first two weeks], Heather Sundberg, John Travis,). Waiting list only.

April 5 (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/.

April 20-21 (Monday, Tuesday): Spirit Rock: Two-Day Non-residential Lovingkindness Retreat (with Heather Sundberg). Lovingkindness, or Metta, is the practice of 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. We cultivate metta as a meditation practice in order for it to manifest in an ongoing way in our daily lives. We grow in self-acceptance and compassion, work through our harsh judgments of self and others, and become better able to act from our awakened hearts in daily life. 

In this non-residential retreat, we will learn the formal practice of metta along with some of the companion practices of compassion, forgiveness, and gratitude. All of these practices strengthen self-confidence, self-acceptance, and steadiness of mind and heart, revealing our fundamental kindness. 



This meditation intensive is intended for people interested in a period of sustained practice for whom being away from home overnight is not easily possible: people with young families, people with health or mobility challenges, or people with caregiver responsibilities. Of course, the retreat is also open to anyone who simply would prefer to return home in the evening. 

The retreat will be held in the context of silence, with periods of sitting meditation alternating with periods of walking meditation. Full instructions 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 lunch each day so that there can be an uninterrupted day of practice that includes instructions in mindful eating. 

Teachings and practices are appropriate for individuals and health care professionals. Continuing Education (CE) credit available.

May 8 (Friday evening), 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.

May 10 (Sunday): Spirit Rock: Working with Judgments, 9.30 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Judgments of a reactive and compulsive nature are very strong in most of our lives, and in the dominant culture. They can distort our perceptions, make relationships with others difficult and undermine our work in the world. In this daylong, we will examine what judgments are and how to work with them, using mindfulness and lovingkindness practices (and a number of periods of silent practice), inquiry, dyad work, and role play. These will help us to transform the energy of judgments--preserving the intelligence and discernment often found in judgments, while working through the destructive and compulsive aspects of judgments. We will also include exploration of how we may also internalize the prevailing judgments of our society in a number of ways, particularly related to race and ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, employment status, etc. Those attending the daylong will have an option of continuing with monthly evening follow-up sessions. See below for general information about Spirit Rock daylongs.

May 15 (Friday evening), 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.

May 17-22 (Sunday to Friday), Esalen Institute, Big Sur, California: Transforming the Judgmental Mind. Judgments of a reactive and often automatic nature are very strong in most of our lives, and also in the dominant culture. They can distort our perceptions, make relationships with others difficult, and undermine our work in the world. In this workshop, we will explore the nature of such judgments (and their difference from non-reactive discernment) and how to transform them. We will cultivate mindfulness, inquiry, and heart practices such as lovingkindness, forgiveness, gratitude, joy, and compassion. We will also explore the somatic dimension of judgments, the role of cultivating awakened qualities in transforming judgments, and how to cultivate skill in speech and interaction in the midst of situations involving judgments, whether our own or those of others. 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 and compulsive aspects. The workshop will be held partly in silence, with periods of discussion (in small and large groups) and some interactive exercises, as well as optional one-on-one meetings with the instructor. Those attending the workshop will have the option of continuing with monthly follow-up sessions (most likely by phone) after the workshop. For further information, go to http://www.esalen.org/workshop/week-may-17-22/transforming-judgmental-mind.

June 15-21 (Monday to Sunday), Spirit Rock: From the Breath to Spacious Awareness (with Teja Bell [Qigong and other teaching] and Susie Harrington). 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; and

(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. 

Spirit Rock extends a special invitation to young adults (age 18-26) who wish to attend this retreat at a rate of $25 per night, on a first come, first serve basis. A limited number of special rates are available; please apply early. Prerequisite: One retreat (at least a weekend, residential or non-residential) in mindfulness practice or permission of the coordinating teacher.

August 25-30 (Tuesday to Sunday), Vallecitos Retreat Center (New Mexico): Mindful Communication: A Wise Speech Retreat (with Oren Sofer). Integrating meditation practice with our speech and communication is one of the main ways to bring deeply-held values into our daily lives and actions in the world. In this retreat, we will connect mindfulness and loving kindness practice, the Buddha’s teachings on Right Speech, relational awareness practices, and the contemporary discipline of Nonviolent Communication (NVC). Collectively, these practices form a powerful foundation for cultivating insight, awareness, self-understanding, and empathy; developing our capacity to listen and speak from the heart; and strengthening our ability to stay present and be more skillful in challenging situations. The retreat will begin with a day of silent practice; further days will include morning and afternoon sessions of interactive speech practice along with continued silent practice. This retreat is designed both for those who want to bring more attention to speech as a spiritual practice, and for those who have emphasized communication and want further grounding in meditation. NVC will be taught at a basic level; reading Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication is recommended. Further info: http://www.vallecitos.org/events/mindfulcommunicationretreat, 15% discount for registration before December 31.

Further retreats and daylongs in 2015:

June 26-July 2, Berkeley: Mindful Communication (with Oren Sofer, tentative).

July 5, Sacramento: Daylong.

July 20, Nevada City: Daylong.

July 31-August 6, Cloud Mountain (Washington State): Transforming the Judgmental Mind (with Heather Sundberg).

September 14-20, Spirit Rock: Transforming the Judgmental Mind (with Heather Sundberg).

October 16-23, Southern Dharma (North Carolina): From the Breath to Spacious Awareness.

December 17-23, Spirit Rock: Insight Meditation Winter Solstice Retreat (with Heather Sundberg and John Travis).

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 3, 10; January 7, 21; and February 11, 18.

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.