Saturday, July 14, 2012

Day of Mindfulness Saturday July 21, 2012

Dear Friends,

In our Day of Mindfulness Saturday July 21 we develop our 'skillful means' in meditation practice, by experimenting with several meditations at the beginning of the Day and then choosing one to focus on for the rest of the Day.  We will begin together cultivating stopping, calming, ease, joy and concentration.  After establishing this through mindfulness of breathing and calming the body, we will practice a guided meditation on impermanence and interbeing.

Then there will be a round of dharma sharing and each of us will choose which 'theme' to practice with and focus on for the rest of the Day:
    a. stopping/calming/resting/joy through awareness of the whole body.

    b. Impermanence
    c. Interbeing 

The meditations and schedule are elaborated below.  


“What do you think, bhikkhus [Monks], is material form permanent or impermanent?”“Impermanent, venerable sir.”“Is that which is impermanent satisfying or unsatisfying?”“Unsatisfying, venerable sir.”“Is that which is impermanent, unsatisfying and subject to change fit to be regarded thus: ‘This is mine, this is what I am, this is my self.’“No, venerable sir.” 
[The Island: An Anthology of the Buddha's Teachings on NibbanaAjahn Pasanno and Ajahn Amaro, page 89]

"All phenomena, whether physiological, psychological, or physical, without exception, are impermanent....all things are in endless transformation and all things are without a separate self...Impermanence also means interdependence, that there is no independent individual becuase everything is changing all the time.  A flower is always receiving non-flower elements like water, air, and sunshine, and it is always giving something to the universe.  A flower is a stream of change, and a person is also a stream of change." [Breath! You are Alive.]

 As sensations arise, the practitioner pauses to observe the rise and fall of the activities of the eyes, the ears, the nose, and the sense of touch.  As feelings arise, they are observed.  As thoughts arise, they are recognized…all without repressing on the one hand, or fabricating or adding to the experience…Phenomena arise and fall, in constant change.  The practitioner observes the changes and returns to the breath.” [Friends on the Path, Jack Lawlor, p. 56-8]

"Whose hand is this that has never died?
Who is it who was born in the past?  Who is it who will die in the future?"

"Looking at your hand: If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see you parents and all generations of your ancestors.  All of them are alive in this moment.  Each is present in your body.  You are the continuation of each of this people....Your hand proves that you have never been born and will never die.  The thread of life has never been interrupted from time without beginning until now.  Previous generations, all the way back to single-celled organisms, are present in your hand at this moment.  You can experience this....When we have a tangible experience of non-birth and non-death, we know ourselves beyond duality....Your hand is always available as a subject for meditation."  
[Present Moment, Wonderful Moment, Thich Nhat Hanh, 13-14.]

Mindfulness of the Body and Calming/ease
 “Breathing in, I am aware of whole body.  Breathing out, I am aware of my whole body.”
With this second subject, we embrace our body with mindfulness rather than just embracing our breathing…. We recognize the presence of our body and “return home” to be one with it…. If we do not come back to our home and care for it, who will?  When we come home to it, our body breathes a sigh of relief and says, “She has come back at last.”
“During [this] period of meditation, we can observe our whole body without discriminating between the parts…. At this point allow your breathing, your body, and your observing mind become one.”
If you practice this way for ten or twenty minutes, the flow of your breathing and of your bodily functions will become very calm, and your mind will feel quite released… It is like drinking a glass of cool lemonade on a hot day and feeling your body becoming cool inside.  When you breathe in, the air enters your body and calms all the cells of your body.  At the same time, each “cell” of your breathing becomes more peaceful and each “cell” of your mind also becomes more peaceful.  The three are one, and each one is all three.  This is the key to meditation.  Breathing brings the sweet joy of meditation to you.  It is food.  If you are nourished by the sweet joy of meditation, you become joyful, fresh, and tolerant, and everyone around you will benefit from your joy.”


9:4510:00 Arrive 
Sitting Meditation/Walking Meditation/ Mindful Movements:  stopping/calming/resting/ease

Sitting Meditation: Impermanence of body/mind; looking deeply into my hand.

11:20-11:40: Dharma Sharing: choose which of the meditation themes to focus on for rest of Day.  Each person chooses their own.

11:45  Walking meditation/Mindful Movements

Sitting Meditation and Walking Meditation

12:50-1:10: Sitting Meditation

1:15-2pm: Mindful Lunch in Silence [bring your own vegetarian lunch]

2:15--Walking Meditation and Mindful Movements

2:50-3:30 Sitting and Walking Meditation

3:35 Sitting Meditation

3:50-4:30pm Dharma sharing and Closing

Come for all or part of the Day.  In the Wellness Center at Riverside Church, 91 Claremont Avenue, 10-4:30pm.  Chairs and cushions available.  Bring your own vegetarian lunch.  Please do not wear fragrances.