January 30 – Finding the Heart of Wisdom

Dear Friends, Here we are, near the end of the month, and we have covered all the recordings from the retreat with Jill and DaRa. Some highlights from the last couple of weeks: The practice of appreciative joy (mudita), and that gratitude (wow thanks) is a supportive ally in cultivating this joy in the joy of others, as… Read More »

January 29 – May we abide in well-being

Dear Friends, The last track in the retreat recordings, Reflection on Universal Well-Being Chant, is a traditional Buddhist chant, translated to English. Historically, teachings across many traditions were transmitted orally, and being able to chant the teachings in unison was a way to help the practitioners learn and memorize the teaching. You might have chants, hymns, or songs… Read More »

January 28 – Poetry of Awakening

Dear Friends, In the penultimate track from this retreat, The Awakening Poem, DaRa reads a reflection which is sometimes attributed to by Sonny Carroll, although the wording on various websites isn’t always consistent. You can read a version fairly close to DaRa’s recitation here:https://www.michaelppowers.com/wisdom/awakening2.html The poem didn’t really resonate with me, though there are some useful life lessons… Read More »

January 26 – Doubt vs questioning

Dear Friends, In Questions and Answers, Jill and DaRa respond to some of the questions that participants had written. Today and tomorrow, I’ll pick out a couple of their responses that have resonated with some of my own questions about the practice. One question was about the hindrance of doubt: Confusion is at times, natural. For example, not… Read More »

January 25 – Exploring equanimity

Dear Friends, In Equanimity Practice, Jill invites the retreat participants into another relational practice related to equanimity. First she brings in an interesting question, as this was the penultimate day of the retreat – inviting the participants to notice how they are responding to the ending of the retreat as that can highlight the habitual tendency we might… Read More »

January 24 – The heart of equanimity

Dear Friends, In Morning Instructions – Working with Equanimity, Jill sets the stage for practicing with equanimity as a heart quality. One of the ways to cultivate equanimity in practice is with the use of phrases. Jill summarizes some from various teachers that relate to cultivating equanimity with the truth of impermanence:Jack Kornfield: May I learn to see… Read More »

January 20 – Thoughts, emotions, moods, and mind states

Dear Friends, In Afternoon Instructions – Mindfulness of Mind, Jill looks at different mental processes and leads a reflective practice for the participants. Jill speaks again about the “wheel” model of how body and breath are related to getting lost in proliferation. It might look something like this: Here’s how Jill explains this: To continue exploring the model… Read More »

January 19 – Practice to cultivate an unobstructed heart

Dear Friends, In Guided Meditation – Mudita, DaRa offers some opening comments, then sparks some generosity and gratitude through a story and reflection, and leads an appreciative joy practice that radiates joy to beings in all directions. She says we’re up to something radical here by intentionally cultivating joy, gladdening the heart. There are many joyful moments in… Read More »

January 18 – Wow. Thanks.

Dear Friends, In the latter part of the talk on Sympathetic Joy, Mudita, DaRa describes some of the impediments and allies of mudita, appreciative joy. The impediments include judgment, comparing, prejudice, demeaning, envy, avarice, selfishness, boredom. Thinking about boredom as an impediment to mudita is interesting! When we stop paying attention to the little things in life, and… Read More »

January 17 – Appreciative joy

Dear Friends, Today and tomorrow, I’ll turn to DaRa’s talk on Sympathetic Joy, Mudita. Mudita is a way of cultivating joy. It’s sometimes translated as sympathetic joy, appreciative joy, altruistic joy, empathetic joy. It’s a joy that arises when we can resonate with someone’s happiness and success. Here’s a little story that wakes up this quality of joy… Read More »