Thursday, June 21, 2018

Day of Mindfulness with Valerie Brown: Cultivating Mindfulness With Deep Listening on July 21 2018

Cultivating Mindfulness through Deep Listening
with Valerie Brown
A Day of Mindfulness of the
Community of Mindfulness NY/Metro on July 21, 2018
91 Claremont Avenue, room 20-T, The Riverside Church, NY, NY 10025

“You listen not for the purpose of judging, criticizing or analyzing. You listen only to
help the other person to express himself and find some relief from his suffering.”
Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh

“The first duty of love is to listen.”
Paul Tillich

Listening is a vital and overlooked life skill and the cornerstone of building trustworthy
relationships. Listening is an act of love, extending toward collegiality, agreeableness,
understanding, and compassion. It is a mindset of being rather than doing. Strong
listening skills are a critical aspect of cultivating peace within and peace in the world.
At the heart of authentic listening is the courage to be fully human, to take risks, to care deeply, and to take action even in the midst of change and uncertainty.

The basis for cultivating listening skills is mindfulness, and this Day of Mindfulness focuses on basic mindfulness skills to support, greater awareness, understanding and relational trust.

To enhance individual and collective mindful awareness, this Day of Mindfulness will largely be held in silence with the exception of a period of deep listening practice in small and large groups.  

What to Bring/How to Prepare

Please bring a bring a journal for writing, a vegetarian lunch, yoga mat, and blanket for deep relaxation. Meditation cushions and chairs are provided.  Please review these deep listening guidelines by the Center for Courage & Renewal before the Day of Mindfulness:

Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing for mindful movement.  Come for all or part of the Day of Mindfulness, and please do not wear fragrances.

Tentative Schedule  10:00 am to 4:30pm
(The schedule is subject to change.)

10:00-12:30 Opening Circle: Welcome and introductions, guided sitting and walking
meditation, mindful movement, Dharma talk, individual and group reflection

12:30-2:30/3:00 pm Silent lunch-mindful eating (Bring your own veggie lunch), deep
relaxation, outdoor walking-weather permitting

2:30/3:00-4:15 pm Individual and group reflection and sharing

4:15 pm Closing Circle


About Your Facilitator:  Valerie Brown, ‘True Sangha Power,' received Lamp Transmission at Plum Village, June 2018, and is a Dharma Teacher in the Plum Village tradition, and has been a member of the Order of Interbeing since 2003.  She has been practicing in the Plum Village/Thich Nhat Hanh tradition since 1995. Valerie is a member of the Plum Village ARISE sangha [].  

Valerie transformed her high-pressure, twenty-year career as a lawyer-lobbyist, representing educational institutions and nonprofits, to human-scale work with leaders and teams to foster trustworthy and authentic connections. Through her writing, she seeks to foster a more compassionate and peaceful world.

Valerie is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), and as a certified Kundalini yoga teacher, she helps ‘leaders’ discover the wisdom of the body.  She leads an annual transformational pilgrimage to El Camino de Santiago, Spain, to celebrate the power of sacred places.

Visit her website for more information:

Monday, June 18, 2018

Planting Seeds Generations Sangha Riverside Park Gathering [Family Practice]

Dear Friends,           

Our next sangha meeting will occur on July 1, 3:00-5:00.  We invite all our sangha friends to join us, for a nature walk in Riverside Park .

Please email me with any feedback, questions or comments.

Planting Seeds Generations Sangha - Meeting July 1, 2018

Sunday July 13:00-5:00
At Leora’s home
301 W 108th St., Apt. 10D
(NW corner of 108 and Broadway)
Cell phone: 917-477-9627
Subway No. 1 to W 110 St.
Buses  M104, M4, M5, M60

We are honored to host our Riverside Sangha friend and environment educator Jonathan Billig who offered to lead this next meeting.
Here is Jonathan’s description:
Green Friends: In this lightly guided walk we'll (most likely) explore the wonders of the plant world, learning a few plant names and asking a few questions as we connect with our natural neighbors in Riverside Park.

Please let us know if you plan to attend and who will come with you so we can plan accordingly; 
Feel free to forward this invitation to other children who might want to join.

Hoping for nice weather, we will meet at home first and walk to the park (about 600 feet). Please dress appropriately and bring water, or anything you might need.

Proposed agenda:
   Review Practice:
   Mindful Breathing, Walking, Inviting the bell
   A guided walk in the Park
   Reading a story
   Singing and learning a new song

Please aim to arrive at 2:50 so we can start on time. If you cannot stay for the whole duration or you need to arrive later, please come anyway. It’s about the togetherness. If you know in advance we will appreciate if you mention it in your response email.

Please email me, Leora, at
(1) If you are attending and include the names and ages of your children, and arrival and departure time [if needing to arrive later or leave earlier.]
(2) If you cannot make this meeting and want to be informed of next meetings, please let me know.

With metta, 

Leora Amira, Ph.D.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Samsara is Nirvana? A Day of Mindfulness June 16 2018

Community of Mindfulness New York Metro
Inspired by the Teachings and Practice of Thich Nhat Hanh

Samsara is Nirvana?

A Day of Mindfulness June 16, 10:00am-4:30pm.
At The Riverside Church, 20-T

"Nothing is born, nothing dies.
Nothing to hold onto, nothing to release.
Samsara is nirvana.
There is nothing to attain.
When we realize that afflictions are no other than enlightenment,
We can ride the waves of birth and death in peace,
Traveling in the boat of compassion on the ocean of delusion,
Smiling the smile of non-fear."

Thay teaches us that "In the historical dimension, every dharma is a conditioned dharma. In the ultimate dimension, every dharma is an unconditioned dharma." "If we are skillful we can touch Nirvana with our insight into interdependent co-arising, impermanence and non-self. We see that Nirvana lies right here in the present moment: in the table, the chair, the mountain, the cloud and each cell of our body."

In this Day of Mindfulness we allow the 'ordinary' experiences of our breath and body; sensations and mental activities to reveal 'nirvana,' the 'unconditioned,' the 'Silence that is called Great Joy.' We will cultivate mindfulness, concentration and insight through the practices of breath awareness, sitting and walking meditations, mindful eating and we will maintain noble silence throughout the Day.***

[Noble Silence means: we refrain from all talking and "chit-chat"
except during Dharma Sharing.  
Thus we support our Sangha Friends in their practice.  And the 'outer silence' allows us to look more deeply into our own life.  We allow the calmness and silence to penetrate our flesh and bones.]

Date/Time: Saturday June 16, 10:00am-4:30pm. [Come for all or part of the Day.]
Location: The Riverside Church, 91 Claremont Avenue, 20-T, NY, NY 10025.

Schedule: 10:00am-4:30pm. Arrive beginning at 9.50am. [Come for all or part of the Day, at anytime.]
10:00-12:50pm: Sitting and Walking Meditation, Mindful Movements, Personal Practice Time.
1:00-1:50: Lunch. Eaten together in mindfulness and silence. [Bring your own vegetarian lunch.]
2:00-2:40: Total Relaxation.
2:50-3:30: Walking and Sitting Meditation.
3:40-4:25: Dharma Sharing. Close the Day.

Beginners Welcome.  Chairs and Cushions Provided.
Please do not wear fragrances.
Bring your own vegetarian lunch.

The Buddha taught that [instructions to Bahiya].
"Then, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bahiya, there is no you in terms of that. When there is no you in terms of that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."
"Every authentic teaching of the Buddha must bear Three Dharma Seals: impermanence, non-self and nirvana.  The first Dharma Seal is impermanence. Nothing remains the same for two consecutive minutes.... The second Dharma seal is non-self.  If you believe in a permanent self...a separate independent self, your belief cannot be described as Buddhist. Impermanence is from the point of view of time, non-self is from the point of view of space.  The third Dharma Seal is nirvana, which means "extinction," the extinction of afflictions and notions.... We try to grasp the world of our projections and we suffer. Nirvana, the extinction of all afflictions, represents the birth of free" [Thich Nhat Hanh]
The Path of Practice
Meditating on the nature of interdependence
Can transform delusion into enlightenment.
Samsara and suchness are not two.
They are one and the same.
Even while blooming, the flower is already in the compost,
And the compost is already in the flower.
Flower and compost are not two.
Delusion and enlightenment inter-are.
Don't run away from birth and death.
Just look deeply into your mental formations.
When the true nature of interdependence is seen,
The truth of interbeing is realized.
Practice conscious breathing
To Water the seeds of Awakening.
Right view is a flower
Blooming in the field of mind consciousness.
When sunlight shines,
It helps all vegetation grow.
When mindfulness shines,
It transforms all mental formations
We recognize internal knots and latent tendencies
So we can transform them.
When our habit energies dissipate,
Transformation at the base is there.
The present moment
Contains past and future.
The secret of transformation
Is in the way we handle this very moment.
Transformation takes place
In our daily life.
To make the work of transformation easy,
Practice with a Sangha
Nothing is born, nothing dies.
Nothing to hold onto, nothing to release.
Samsara is nirvana.
There is nothing to attain.
When we realize that afflictions are no other than enlightenment,
We can ride the waves of birth and death in peace,
Traveling in the boat of compassion on the ocean of delusion,
Smiling the smile of non-fear."
  [From Transformation at the Base, Thich Nhat Hanh]