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It’s Spring in the mid-Atlantic!
Geese are pairing off and claiming their turf on the islands. The eaglets are a few weeks old and being served up fresh food from doting parents. Our lactating fox comes by more often to search for uncracked sunflower seeds under the bird feeder.
And there’s pollen. Lots of it. And mud. And baby snakes everywhere. And vicious little fast-moving mosquitos.
Good news? Bad news? Who knows?
I wish you well into this new season of change.
Summer Residential Programs
If you’re looking for powerful retreats where you can get away and and take a deep dive, here are a few programs I’m offering at Kripalu Center:
The Energy Intensive: Meditation, Yoga and Breathwork (three days)
This is a "blow out the tubes" intensive where you’ll explore a range of practices and a powerful form of transformational breathwork, all in the context of social silence and a great community.
The Still, Small Voice Within: Meditation, Focusing and Intuition Training (five days)
What is the most reliable and direct way to tap into inner knowing? It has a lot to do with the kinesthetic intuition - how your body holds information. This five day immersion takes you through practices that help you calm and clear your mind, formulate the questions most important to you and powerfully develop your capacity to both listen and interpret what arises.
Guiding Meditation for Transformational Yoga Teaching (nine days)
For yoga teachers working toward their 500-hour professional training certification, this is an immersion into using meditative language in asana as well as an experiential training in simple and profound meditation techniques.
For more information and to register, click the banner to learn more:
Desire Leads to Attachment
Attachment leads to suffering.
But are all desires 'bad?'
In a recent talk on Desire and Addiction, I explore this phenomenon through the lens of the four essential principles that inform Buddhist psychology:
1. The fact of stress and suffering.
2. The cause of stress and suffering.
3. The cessation of stress and suffering.
4. The path - practices, observations and restraints - that lead to the release of stress and suffering.
Anything you do that reliably takes you away from the ‘here and now' could be described as an addiction. That includes substances as well as the subtlety of thoughts and stories.
What is the antidote?
Wisdom is your capacity to see clearly and recognize when you are less than fully alive.
Compassion is your capacity to hold your experience with empathy and kindness.
One of my go-to addictive patterns is worry.
As far back as I recall, I worried. A lot.
One particular memory stands out. I think I was about six or seven.
My aunt and uncle were visiting our farm in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country for the holidays. They were both English professors, as was my father. During the meal the conversation moved toward esoteric Phd dissertation topics.
After dinner I remember sitting on the smoke house roof feeling sick and desperate.
"What am I going to do my dissertation on? All the good topics will be taken by the time I get there! What am I going to do to be successful? If there are no good dissertation topics, should I be a doctor or a lawyer?"
But then another thought popped in.
"What if I helped people? Could I be someone who helped people and survive?"
That question kicked off a new set of possibilities. Maybe I could be someone who helped.
That new 'desire' fueled my interest in service and set the stage for an amazing life journey.
So perhaps not all desires are bad. 'Wholesome' desires can be expansive and heart-opening.
We are ruled by desire, and some of them are wonderful.
You desire inner peace. You desire to provide for your family. To be more compassionate. To be more awake and kind.
In my second talk, Desire and Liberation, I take a closer look at 'wholesome desires.'
There is still a 'self' desiring wholesome states. Ultimately, one could argue, that 'self' evolves and/or perhaps dissolves.
But until then, it can be helpful to reflect on what you desire that opens your heart, expands your consciousness and opens up new possibilities.
Fresh Photos From This Month
Frisbee, anyone? Hunting for the family. Momma Fox 40 Arctic Tundra Swans stopped by for a week or so. Heading north for breeding season. The eaglets have hatched! Geese are pairing off on the islands. Warm weather coaxed the Blue Bells out, then froze them pretty solid. Preening at dawn.
Seven Breaths: Scenes from the Potomac River in March, 2017
If you’d like explore two minutes of Coherent Breathing, this video guides you through seven long, slow deep breaths with some scenes from the Potomac this month.
If you want to establish or revitalize your mindfulness practice, Tara and Jack Kornfield have created a a wonderful program to get you into action. Called Mindfulness Dailyit is a 40 day, 15 minute a day course, that will systematically deepen your practice of mindfulness and compassion.
It’s low cost and effective... here's the link.
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