All posts tagged: meditation

compassion in action

Compassion in Action

What does Compassion in Action look like?  How does it feel?  Is it something that we can experience in everyday life?  David Chernikoff helps us to understand the practice of compassion and compassionate exchange in his most recent dharma talk, Compassion in Action. Learn more about: How we can open our hearts in the moment, What “negative negativity” is and how to skillfully work with it, and How the suffering in our lives can become a gateway to deepening our compassion for others. ​David will lead The Path of Service: An Insight Meditation Retreat, July 7 – 10 at Drala Mountain Center.  We warmly invite and encourage you to join us! About the Author:  David Chernikoff David Chernikoff began the study and practice of meditation in 1971 and started teaching insight meditation in 1988. He trained as a yoga teacher at the Integral Yoga Institute and completed the Community Dharma Leader program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. His teaching has been influenced by senior teachers from the Insight Meditation Society and Spirit Rock, Tibetan teachers he studied with during a …

heart of mindfulness

The Heart of Mindfulness   

by: Jon Aaron  For our retreat coming up in June, we were inspired to call it “The Heart of Mindfulness,” which has a nice double meaning.  On one hand, this retreat explores the core teachings which form the basis of most mindfulness practices offered today whether through Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction or other programs. Even shiny new meditation apps are often utilizing these core teachings, which go back 2600 years or so.   The heart of mindfulness also refers to non-judgment—or heartfelt curiosity.  This is a crucial component of mindfulness practice. Without heartfulness, mindfulness is hardly more than paying attention. When this element of compassion is integrated with the mind’s capacity to sustain attention then things start to change. Yet too often, in the rush to develop “productivity” or “focus” in our culture, this dimension gets lost.  The danger of titles is that they reify what they name. We might start to think of mindfulness as a “thing” to obtain (in only 8 weeks! 28 days!) or an instrument we can call into service when needed. In …

slow down

If You’re Tired or Confused, Slow Down and Focus on Feeling Alive & Well*

*Excerpt from the international bestseller You Were Not Born To Suffer, by Blake D. Bauer Each day we are faced with decisions in our personal and professional lives that end up shaping the course of our destiny and the quality of our health, happiness and relationships. If we want to enjoy our life, be well and respect ourselves, it is crucial we each master making choices that are aligned with who we truly are, why we’re really here and how we genuinely feel. A simple but powerful way to achieve this is to look at each moment as a fork in the road on the path to our most joyful and authentic life. In any given scenario, at least one direction will always represent a decision that does not feel good in our heart or in our body. In this same situation, at least one other direction or path will eventually reveal itself, which represents a decision that undoubtedly feels good or necessary. Quite often it can be confusing as to which path is best or …

dream yoga

Dream Yoga as Preparation for the Bardos

by: Andrew Holecek If you are well trained, your first after-death experience will be the luminous bardo of dharmata. If you’re unfamiliar with the subtle states of mind revealed in this bardo, it will flash by in an instant, or be completely missed. Those who have practiced the meditations that facilitate recognition will reap the rewards, and attain liberation at the level of the dharmakaya or sambhogakaya. Without this preparation, most of us will wake up in the karmic bardo of becoming. For nearly everyone, the first experience after regaining consciousness is a sense of being in their own body. Even though the mind is without a body at this point, the habit (karma) of being embodied is so strong that it continues. You feel like your old self, and don’t know you are dead. The first and most important thing to do after death is to recognize that you are dead. This isn’t easy. Many people will not recognize. Without preparation, most of us will black out at the end of the inner dissolution. …

Grounding Into The Four Layers Of Your Being – A guided meditation from Sara Avant Stover

Grounding Into The Four Layers Of Your Being Please click the above link for a gentle meditative practice to begin the start of your day or any time you’re needing to connect more deeply with yourself. Attuning to your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies, you’ll move through all the different dimensions of your being. The result is landing in a place of gratitude, calm, and presence. Join Sara at Drala Mountain   How do we stay inspired, centered, and rooted in our innate wisdom—especially during times of challenge? In this three-day women’s retreat, you’ll replenish your body, heart, and mind through spaciousness, quiet, yogic and dharmic teachings and practices, sisterhood, as well as ample time in nature. Autumn is the season to fill our inner wells with reserves before the onset of winter. Together, we’ll do just this. Each day will include periods of gentle guided yin and slow yoga; seated, walking, standing, and lying-down meditation; silence; dharma teachings and discussions; women’s circle practices; and time in nature. Using the wisdom of the Buddha, the …

On Creativity – an Interview with Kazuaki Tanahashi

by Miguel Mendonça, October 2020 *reprinted with permission from Kazuaki Tanahashi MM: What drew you to your medium? East Asian calligraphy—Chinese, Korean , or Japanese—fascinated me in my youth. There is so much to learn and express. So, I became serious and eventually started exhibiting my artwork. I also studied oil painting and Western drawing at the same time. I started combining these disciplines. For example, calligraphers don’t go off the edge of the paper, but painters do. I did calligraphy in an expressive Western painters’ way.  It was a small town near the city of Nagoya in the central part of Japan where I studied calligraphy. I was tutored but in a class at a local community center. I didn’t want to study with a famous calligrapher or painter, because I would be his or her student for the rest of my life. So, I chose someone who was not well known. MM: Do you feel a connection with the history of your medium? East Asian and Western calligraphers are by large classicists. In …

On Silent Group Meditation Retreats: 10 things I’ve learned along the way

by Janet Solyntjes In 1987 I participated in my first silent group meditation retreat.  It was a month-long program held at what is now called Drala Mountain Center (DMC).  A few friends suggested that it was the next thing for me to do on my meditative journey. For me, going on retreat was an abstract concept, a box to check off on my way to something more important.  Perhaps I had fallen under the spell of spiritual materialism – seeking higher states, an idealized state of peace, and wanting some form of credential from engaging in what seemed like a very long time to spend doing nothing. Would a month of intensive practice make me a “better” spiritual person?   In the days before the retreat began, I sensed my fear and anxiety about participating in the rigors of long disciplined days over a four-week period. I wasn’t sure what triggered the fear, but didn’t worry much about it.  The arrival day came and I got into my car to head up the mountain to DMC …

Reeling from the Pandemic?  There are things YOU can do.

by Rona Wilensky, Senior Faculty, PassageWorks Institute Many educators entered the 21-22 school year with high hopes that it would be a return to normal.  Schools would be open, students would be in schools and they could return to the work they love.  Those high hopes tumbled into deep disappointment as they confronted the challenges waiting for them.   Pandemic surges led to sickness, student and staff absences, and in some cases intermittent returns to remote learning.  The damage done in 20-21 became all too apparent:   learning losses, extraordinary behavior, mental health challenges, and bitter community fights over masking and vaccines.  As if this weren’t enough, many communities were roiled by ugly fights over what is appropriate to teach related to our complex and checkered history as a nation with regard to race, ethnicity, and gender identity.  And all of this took place in the context of economic, political, and now, with the war in Ukraine, global challenges. Teaching has always been stressful.  Too much to do and too little time and support to …

Heart of Mindfulness Retreat

Janet Solyntjes and Jon Aaron are two leading teachers in the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) world.  Drala Mountain Center is delighted to welcome both Janet and Jon to the Land in June for The Heart of Mindfulness 7-Day Silent Meditation Retreat. The Heart of Mindfulness Retreat is a 7-day silent meditation retreat that emphasizes the deep understanding and practice of mindfulness in its most universal expression while respecting and acknowledging its contemplative and spiritual roots. The retreat is open to all experienced meditators who are looking for an enriching silent retreat experience. It is suitable for mindfulness teachers or aspiring teachers, and fulfills the retreat prerequisite for attending MBSR and most other teacher training programs. In the video below, Janet Solyntjes and Jon Aaron invite you to their upcoming week-long retreat, and give you and idea of what you can expect. We also invite you learn more about Janet and Jon’s experience in retreat from their recent creative offerings: The Gift of Silent Retreat – Jon Aaron On Silent Group Meditation Retreats:  10 Things I’ve …

Feeding your Demons: Revealing the Hidden Treasure Within Difficulty

by Charlotte Z. Rotterdam I was first drawn to the Feeding your Demons process and the teachings of Machig Labdrön – the great 11th century Tibetan yogini from whose teachings the process was developed – for the radical invitation to turn towards that which we find most repulsive or frightening. This view seemed so counter-intuitive, so clearly different from the human default response of avoiding or rejecting the ugly and threatening aspects of life. Perhaps it reminded me of my early childhood, when I spent time in the autopsy lab with my mother, a pathologist. There was an odd peacefulness in the autopsy room where the intensely eerie became quite ordinary and sometimes even sacred.  Beyond transforming the morbid into the mundane, however, lies a profound teaching on compassion. Ultimately, these teachings suggest that it is only by meeting and even nurturing whatever we consider threatening or “other” that we can live a fully integrated life, radiant with our own wisdom. Holding our inner and outer demons at bay draws us into a never-ending cycle …