Greetings from Jonathan Foust: Transforming Your Relationship with Fear, Upcoming Events... Fresh Photos and More



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  Fear brings out the worst in all of us.

It's helpful to remember that your heart, when not afraid, is naturally at ease, collected, clear and luminous.

When we are not afraid, we experience life through a different lens. Empathy and compassion flow. We see ourselves in others and others in ourselves.

In this time of such social turmoil I think it's more important than ever to reflect on how each person, without exception, has inside them this fearless, collected and luminous heart.

It's helpful to imagine - if just for a few moments - a world with each person living without fear, safe from inner and outer harm, free from suffering and it's causes.    

Upcoming Events


December 5:

Evening Class at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington Learn More

December 10:

YLM8 Half-Day Retreat Learn More

December 12:

Evening Class at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington Learn More

December 14:

YLM8 Evening Session Learn More

December 19:

Evening Class at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington Learn More

December 26:

Evening Class at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington Learn More

December 28:

IMCW New Year's Retreat (5 Days) Learn More      

Transforming Your Relationship with Fear

  Last month I offered a talk entitled "How to Keep Your Heart Open during the Election."

I left town right after and was on the road for several weeks leading a retreat and then on to a teacher training at Kripalu Center.

I had no idea how prescient my next talk would be when I arrive back in DC: "Transforming Your Relationship with Fear."

Our IMCW Fall retreat spanned the election and as we knew the news would get out, we felt it better to address what was going on directly. We took half a day to break silence and create space for the community to process the news.

I was moved by the depth of raw emotion among many on the retreat. What touched me even more was how, as we named what was happening and listened to each other without judgment, a certain quality of spaciousness and resiliency begin to emerge.

These are the two wings of the practice: wisdom, which is the capacity to see clearly what is true and compassion, the capacity to be with and hold what is here.

When you are overcome with fear, you automatically move into "threat mode" and lose access to wisdom and compassion. In this state, you lose access to the prefrontal cortex and you find yourself shutting down in self-protection and reactivity. The survival response is flight, flight or freeze.

The trick seems to be how quickly you can move from "threat mode" to "opportunity mode." In the latter mode, you have access again to the prefrontal cortex and you can think long-term, with more clarity, intuition and resiliency. You can respond to what is happening in your life with creativity.

Transforming Your Relationship with Fear, Part 1

Transforming Your Relationship with Fear, Part 2      

Fresh Photos From This Month

  I have daily visits with our local Bald Eagles eagles and the nest is a bit bigger. They’'ve disappeared from time to time, but I hope they stick around to lay their eggs in a few months.   1a spacer-25 I’'m getting to know my neighbors. One of our local fox posing for a shot.   2a spacer-25 Another neighbor. A hawk hunting in the woods.   3a spacer-25 The frozen edges of the Stockbridge Bowl in Western Massachussets.   4a spacer-25 A few more migrating birds are sticking around and easily spooked.   5a spacer-25 Great Blue Heron launches from a tree top against the sunrise.   6a spacer-25    

Video: 3 Minute Meditation on the Witness

  Meditating on 'Witness Consciousness' with a Bald Eagle.        

High Tech Meditation

  Meditation has been around for a long time but it's only in the last decades that science has been able to quantify and clarify specific benefits that arise from these practices of paying attention.

There is a lot of high-tech gadgetry out there but I thought I would share with you two products that might be helpful. One is tried-and-true and the other is just coming on the market via kickstarter.

The App: BrainWave: 32 Binaural Programs

Many years ago I bought a sound/light machine to help me understand more fully the subjective experience of brainwave states. That was an expensive item.

The same programming, if not better, is now available for a $3.99 app. When I want to get really focused and not distracted I'll dial in a beta program. Sometimes I use it for taking a power nap, using a theta and delta program, and I use it for meditation as well at times.

Dual binaural beat technology has been around for many years. You listen to different frequencies in each ear, which forces the brain to function as a whole. The difference in frequencies can entrain the brain into specific brainwave states.

You can customize your experience with different soundtracks, the length of time and the binaural beats. From what I can tell, this is the best app out there.

Try the Brainwave App here.      

Latest from the Blog

Transforming Your Relationship with Fear, Part 2

Retreat Instructions and Q&A: Working with Physical Pain and Boredom

Open Focus and Loving Kindness: Short Talk and Guided Meditation

Forgiveness: Short Talk and Guided Meditation

The Weather Systems of the Mind (Fall Retreat Talk)

Transforming Your Relationship with Fear, Part 1



Lief: A Smart Patch That Gives You Direct Feedback Using Heart-Rate Variability.

  There are a number of ways to get neural feedback on your internal experience. Galvanic skin response was popular for awhile, but perhaps the most reliable form of feedback is through heart-rate variability.

This product is just coming on through kick starter and promises to give you clinical grade accuracy and direct feedback from your sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous system.

The system was developed in Harvard and Stanford neuroscience labs studying meditations effect on the human brain. To learn more, click here.   Click the pic to visit Lief.   monks spacer-25    

Open Focus and Loving Kindness.

  A few decades ago Jean Houston spoke of the discovery of 'ancient future technologies.' I think of this as science corroborating techniques that have been around for eons.

A pioneering brain-wave researcher by the name of Dr. Les Fehmi was exploring techniques that could reliably cultivate a shift in brainwaves. When he explored 'imagining the space between his eyes,' he noticed a discernible shift, and went on to develop "Open Focus" techniques for meditation and working with pain.

I've adapted the Open Focus meditation with a metta (loving kindness) meditation. In the IMCW Fall Retreat I gave a short talk and led an experience that explores not only the ‘space' inside and around the body, but the immeasurable qualities of kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity.

You can listen to it here on my podcast and here on youtube.

You can learn more about Open Focus, here.      

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