January 30 – Finding the Heart of Wisdom

By | January 30, 2022

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 is training ourselves to notice little delights that are around us, to help overcome the negativity bias.
  • Working with thoughts, emotions, moods, and mind states – I appreciated Jill’s three questions in exploring these more subtle and sticky areas of experience:
    • What’s happening in the body?
    • What’s happening in the heart mind?
    • How am I relating to the experience?
  • The practice of equanimity, which Jill described as a “hinge” between the wings of wisdom and compassion.
    • The wisdom side of equanimity helps us relate more skillfully to the fact that things are not permanent, not perfect, and not personal. We can remember “ABC” (A Bigger Container) to create more space when we notice we are in reactivity.
    • The compassion/heart side of equanimity helps us maintain our sense of care and concern, to plant the seeds for change and growth, and still recognize that we can’t force the outcome.
  • Equanimity brings up many questions for me, so I enjoyed digging more into the distinction between doubt as a hindrance compared to skillful inquiry or investigation.
  • The word equanimity can sometimes convey a sense of flatness or disconnect, so I appreciated listening to both DaRa and Jill describe that one can use the support of equanimity, kindness, compassion, and joy in skillfully responding to the urgent needs in our world.
  • A few examples that art in many dimensions can be wonderful ways to support our practice and express our insights – with some examples of poems and chants and songs.
  • Practices included:
    • Appreciative joy using phrases, or radiating in all directions
    • Mindfulness of emotions – noticing in the body or labelling them
    • Equanimity practices – resting in the “eye of the storm”, inviting spaciousness, using phrases with a sticky person, or using reflective questions (dyads or journaling)
    • Chanting or song

(The January 16 post recapped the first couple of weeks of material, and everything continues to be available on the under the January 2022 category too.)

What were some highlights for you during this month?
Did you have a favorite practice?
What will you take going forward into the rest of the year?

With appreciation for your participation and interest,