November 7 (Friday), 7 p.m., Asheville, NC: Talk and discussion. Location: Suite 200, 29 Ravenscroft Drive, Asheville, NC 28801. For further information: http://www.ashevillemeditation.com/.
November 8-14 (Saturday to Friday), Southern Dharma, Hot Springs, NC: Transforming the Judgmental Mind Retreat, 6-day retreat. Retreat is full. Judgments of a reactive and often automatic 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 retreat, 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 retreat will be held mostly in silence (with the first day fully in silence), with some periods of discussion (small and large group) and some interactive exercises (particularly the last full day), along with group and individual interviews. Those attending the retreat will have the option of continuing with monthly follow-up sessions after the retreat. Info at http://www.southerndharma.org/.
November 14-16 (Friday to Sunday), Louisville Vipassana Community, Louisville, KY, Non-residential Weekend Retreat: “Wisdom and Heart Practices in Difficult Times.” Friday, November 14, 7:30 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, November 15, 9 to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 9 to 4 p.m. Retreat is full. One of the great benefits of our practice is to become more responsive and skillful when there are difficulties, whether individual, interpersonal, or related to the wider world. Yet to be relatively centered in mindfulness, awareness, wisdom, the awakened heart, and skillful action when there are difficulties is also a great challenge. A well-known Tibetan saying goes, “When the sun shines and the belly is full, I look like a Dharma practitioner; but when faced with trouble my faults are exposed.”
In this weekend retreat, we’ll look at the importance of the different parts of our practice—developing clear intentions, living ethically (including using speech and communication skillfully), grounding in the body, and cultivating mindfulness, wisdom, and the awakened heart—for responding to difficult situations. There’ll be a particular focus on key wisdom principles and perspectives for being responsive with challenges and conflicts, working with difficult thoughts and emotions, and heart practices such as lovingkindness, compassion, forgiveness and empathy. We’ll combine silent sitting and walking meditation with teaching, discussion, and some interactive practices, particularly looking at the integration of formal meditation practices and our daily life practice in responding to challenges and difficulties.
November 17 (Monday), 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., Louisville, KY: Talk and discussion. Location: Clifton Unitarian Church, 2231 Payne Street, Louisville. For further information: http://www.louisville-vipassana-community.org/index.html.
November 19 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock. 9 to 11 a.m. (see class description at end).
November 21 (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.
November 26 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock. 9 to 11 a.m. (see class description at end).
November 30 (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 3 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock. 9 to 11 a.m. (see class description at end).
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.
Further retreats and daylongs in 2015:
January 12-19, Spirit Rock, Metta Retreat (with Konda Mason [yoga], Heather Sundberg, and Larry Yang).
February 3-8, Tucson, Awakening the Heart: Practicing the “Divine Abodes” (Lovingkindness, Compassion, Joy, Equanimity) (with Anna Douglas).
February 14, East Bay Meditation Center, Oakland: Working with Judgments (with Shahara Godfrey).
February 15, Spirit Rock, Cultivating Wise Speech: Becoming More Skillful in Your Speech Practice, Including in Difficult Situations.
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,).
April 20-21, Spirit Rock: Lovingkindness (with Heather Sundberg).
May 10, Spirit Rock: Working with Judgments.
May 17-22, Esalen: Transforming the Judgmental Mind.
June 15-21, Spirit Rock: From the Breath to Spacious Awareness (with Teja Bell and Susie Harrington).
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 November 19, 26; and December 3, 10.
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.