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2017 June – Heart of Mindfulness Practice Retreat
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June 23 Intro to metta – Lynette Monteiro
Lynette examines the intention of the practice of metta. Using the poem, Hsin Shin Ming, she explores the way our preferential mind can lead us astray even when our intentions are good and well-meaning. Through these preferences, we create the conditions of our frustration, misery, and internal darkness. Our fear of the unknown is the motivation to practice metta and a retreat is the perfect time to strengthen our resolve and fortitude by all this space brings to us.
Virtues & skills cultivated through metta – Frank Musten
Frank explores the quality of mind we are cultivating through the practice of metta. He looks at how meeting our needs gives us the ground from which we can meet the needs of others with discernment. He described the qualities of courage and honesty that are embedded in the metta phrases we offer to ourselves and how they are linked to the precepts of respect for life and generosity.
Metta as Relationship – Lynette Monteiro
Lynette describes the intent of metta as the cultivation of a warm, friendliness for ourselves and others, without any preference for things to be different. The subtle aspect of metta is the belief that we all have the capacity and resourcefulness to be healthy, kind, safe, loving, and so on. The importance of metta to relationships is because here is no time when we are NOT in relationship and being in relationship is not easy.
Metta in Challenging Relationships – Frank Musten
Frank examines the reality that when we are in relationships that challenge our love, equanimity, and compassion it is also an opportunity to bear witness to those same challenging aspects within ourselves. The transformation we wish in others is also that which is valuable for ourselves. Out of this insight comes the capacity for compassion.
2016 June – Heart of Mindfulness Practice Retreat
Reclaiming the Attentional Commons – Frank Musten
In this talk, Frank explores how our attention has been conscripted by social media and our need to reclaim the “attentional commons”. The Commons was an area where people could freely access grazing ground for their cattle and sheep; it was accessible on the basis of need and not forced use. He also discusses how, under such duress, we are often motivated by “survival ethics” rather than an ethic of good will and well being.
Antidotes to Fear and Loathing – Lynette Monteiro
Lynette explores how to live with uncertainty in “interesting times”, times that evoke fear for our survival and perhaps even loathing for ourselves for feeling fearful (or loathing for others we target as the cause of our fear). It comes to having a whole-hearted practice and that involves cultivating compassion and equanimity. Using the brahma-viharas (loving-friendliness, compassion, equanimity, resonant joy), she explores how we can face the reality of suffering, its cause, its potential, and its call to practice.
2014 June 13-15 – Heart of Mindfulness Practice Retreat
This is the opening talk of the retreat. Lynette introduces the them for the retreat and that “we are going to be “really practicing. Practicing reality.” Frank introduces the Five Skillful Habits which set the direction of our mindfulness practice and explores the First SH, Respect for Mortality. (The noise of the fan in this recording is a wonderful door to practice too!)
In the first talk on Saturday morning, Frank opens with an exploration of the Second Skillful Habit, Generosity. Lynette uses the writings of Etty Hillesum to guide an exploration of how our hearts resonate with the suffering around us and break open in order to transform that suffering.
In the Saturday afternoon session, Frank explores the Third Skillful Habit, Setting Limits, and how we can do things that are good to us rather than just doing things that are good for us.
Continuing on Saturday afternoon and using a zen teaching story, Lynette examines what happens when we feel the passion in our life has died out and how we can reignite our life.
For the last talk of the retreat on Sunday morning, Frank connects The fourth and fifth Skillful Habits, Mindful Speech and Mindful Consumption. Using current authors (economists) who have written on the reasons why we are depleted, he describes the cycles of demands that throw us back to autopilot and reactivity.
In the closing talk, Lynette draws from the Chinese folk tale and Zen teaching story of Sen-jo and how that reflects the challenges we face in figuring out which is our “real life.”
2014 April 05
Interview with Ted Meissner, the host of the podcast Present Moment: Mindfulness Practice and Science.