All times are Pacific unless otherwise indicated.
November 26 (Sunday):San Rafael:Marin Sunday Sangha, 6 to 7:30 p.m. or so: Meditation, talk, and discussion. For further information: www.marinsangha.org. By Zoom.
November 29 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock, 10 to noon. Meditation, talk, and discussion. Go to: https://www.spiritrock.org/programs/wednesday-morning.On Zoom.
December 2 (Saturday), Benicia Insight Meditation Community: Wise Speech for the Holidays (in-person daylong): 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Connecting our meditation practice with our speech and communication is one of the main ways to bring our deeply-held values and our spiritual practice into our everyday lives and our actions in the world. In this daylong, we will support this intention by integrating periods of sitting and walking meditation with talks, communication exercises, and discussion. We will focus on (1) the basic teachings of the Buddha on wise speech, (2) cultivating mindfulness during speaking and listening, (3) developing empathy as a practice aiming to connect with and understand another (and oneself), and (4) learning how to practice wise and compassionate speech in difficult conditions—that may come up in the holiday times!--such as when there are difficult emotions, when there are differences or conflicts, or when there are challenging interpersonal or group dynamics. At St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 120 East J Street in Benicia. For further information:https://beniciainsightmeditation.com.
December 3 (Sunday):San Rafael:Marin Sunday Sangha, 6 to 7:30 p.m. or so: Meditation, talk, and discussion. For further information: www.marinsangha.org. By Zoom.
December 15 (Friday), Oakland: East Bay Meditation Center, 6.30 to 8.30 p.m., with Arisika Razak: Meditation, talk, and discussion. Support for center and teacher on a dana (generosity or donation) basis. For further information: http://www.eastbaymeditation.org/. On Zoom.
December 20 (Wednesday morning class), Spirit Rock, 10 to noon. Meditation, talk, and discussion. Go to: https://www.spiritrock.org/programs/wednesday-morning. On Zoom.
January 10-17 (Tuesday to Tuesday): Metta Retreat: Cultivating the Wise, Awakened, and Responsive Heart (with Kaira Jewel Lingo, Sylvia Boorstein, Jonathan Relucio, Gullu Singh, and Beth Sternlieb). For further information: https://calendar.spiritrock.org/events/metta-retreat-teachings-and-practices-to-cultivate-a-wise-compassionate-and-responsive-heart/. In person.
January 21, 28 (Sunday):San Rafael:Marin Sunday Sangha, 6 to 7:30 p.m. or so: Meditation, talk, and discussion. For further information: www.marinsangha.org. By Zoom.
January 27 (Saturday): Developing and Deepening Inquiry and Investigation in Formal Meditation and Daily Life, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Marin Sangha). Inquiry (or investigation) is one of the Seven Factors of Awakening, a quality that both leads to and expresses awakening! Inquiry can be a crucial factor in our practice, leading to greater aliveness, energy, interest, and learning. Yet we may believe that meditation should be about "not thinking.” We'll see how we need to be able initially not to be ruled by thinking; this can make it possible then to use thinking and questioning fruitfully in inquiry. We’ll explore five modes of inquiry: (1) bringing inquiry into our mindfulness practice in several ways; (2) listening deeply, particularly through the body and emotions, when there are repetitive thoughts and narratives, as well as difficult experiences; (3) using a core teaching to guide one's practice; (4) radical questioning; and (5) uncovering and transforming limiting beliefs. The daylong will combine short talks, guided inquiry practices, and discussion. For further information:www.marinsangha.org.
February 2-4 (Friday to Sunday): Navigating The Dark Night of the Soul (with Marisa Handler, and supported by Gavin Milne): Gaia House. At some point in our lives, many of us pass through a “dark night of the soul,” or an extended encounter with the darkness. It may feel as though we have utterly lost ourselves, and our lives have been drained of joy and hope. It may feel like our spiritual tools and practices no longer work and our spiritual teachings don’t seem to help. This can manifest as depression, anxiety, or a breakdown, affecting our ability to function in the world and baffling ourselves and our loved ones. In the modern 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 and in earlier Western traditions, such 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. On the path of Dharma practice, they can be an important part of our unfolding.
Join Marisa Handler, Donald Rothberg and Gavin Milne, for a supportive experiential weekend workshop exploring the Dark Night of the soul phenomenon as it manifests both personally and collectively. We will offer a map of this terrain, and of the dark night as a common component of the awakening process, occurring at times in Buddhist practice. We will share perspectives and practices to help participants move through these challenging periods, and open to a greater perspective.
We live in challenging times, and many are going through individual periods of darkness; many as well have a sense of a collective Dark Night as humanity navigates multiple crises. When we are prepared as individuals to navigate these experiences, we can provide space for others to grow and heal, and ultimately support our collective passing through this portal. Such a perspective can further help us to meet our own Dark Night, understand the role this experience plays in the awakening process, and open to an array of tools and perspectives for navigating these times. For further information: https://gaiahouse.co.uk/programme-2024/navigating-the-soul/
February 6-11 (Tuesday to Sunday): Berkeley, CA: Transforming the Judgmental Mind (with Eve Decker): An in-person non-residential retreat, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. 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; and heart practices such as lovingkindness, forgiveness, and compassion. We will also explore the somatic and social dimensions of judgments and 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 will be held mostly in silence, including 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. Prerequisite: Recommended: A background in mindfulness practice and a regular mindfulness practice. Location: Sacred Stream (2149 Byron St., Berkeley, CA (walk from BART). For further information and to register: https://donaldrothberg.com/register
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 also been teaching for much of 2020 – 2023): 45 minute meditation, talk and discussion. Donald will be teaching November 29; December 20. Further dates to be determined.