It is good to be back to Seattle. As many of you know, I just returned from a Six Week retreat at Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Mass. I have never done such a long retreat and found it both challenging and rewarding. What ended up being the greatest support to me was the basic instructions given each morning during weeks 1-4. Returning to the basics each morning allowed me to keep the practice simple. It kept me from getting caught in too much expectation and/or frustrated from too little stimulus. Keeping your practicing focused on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness really does allow the mind to open to whatever is arising and heart to release bottled up joy.
I have many, many stories to share and the perfect way to share them is through a discussion around the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. Four Foundations of Mindfulness are the four gateways or objects used to gain mindfulness. They are:
- mindfulness of the body
- mindfulness of feelings (or sensations)
- mindfulness of mind (or consciousness)
- mindfulness of mental phenomena (or mental objects)
Mindfulness is what keeps us centered even if everything around us is chaotic. With the holidays fast approaching bringing with it the emotional roller coaster of desire and aversion, the basic year-end pressures around work and the anxiety/expectations of beginning a new year, there is no better time to strengthen our mindfulness practice. This might also be the perfect time to reengage with your Capitol Hill Sangha.
For the months of November and December we will be discussing these foundations. The best way to do this is through a beginner’s class type format. We will begin November 14th at 7:00 PM. If you know of anyone interested in learning meditation, they are welcome to come. Our Sangha has seen many new faces and most have no meditation experience at all. This beginner’s class will provide basic instructions to them and give the longer practitioners an opportunity to share their experiences around each foundation. I am so happy to be back and hope to see you there.
With deep bows…
Please note: We will not meet on Thanksgiving.