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Riding Free

New blog post by Lisa Ernst on how to ride the waves of emptiness: Riding Free.

Meditation Tonight

Yes, we’re meeting for meditation tonight, May 25, at 7 p.m. at the 12 South Dharma Center. Join us for meditation, dharma talk and discussion. We’ll focus on Wesak — “Buddha Day,” with a special emphasis on gratitude.

Last weekend I led a retreat at a beautiful retreat center in Magnolia Mississippi, a place I’d never been before. Magnolia is a small town aptly named – the minute we entered the city, blooming magnolias were everywhere. Founded by Dolores Watson about 5 years ago, the retreat center has grown considerably and has hosted teachers such as Phillip Moffitt, David Loy and John Orr. Dolores is a remarkable and energetic woman who so obviously loves the dharma. The care and thought she has put into the center shines through in every detail. She has her own bold and unique style, which I loved.

Dolores Watson

Dolores Watson

Meditation Hall

Meditation Hall

The experience level for this retreat ranged from four or five people who had never meditated before to several with extensive retreat experience, and everything in between. We focused on lovingkindness (metta) practice for the weekend, which I always enjoy teaching. Watching hearts open and barriers dissolve, seeing people finally realize its ok to offer kindness and love to themselves, is always a fulfilling experience for me. I remember how hard it was the first time I tried it many years ago, how I felt guilty and even selfish spending so much time giving metta to myself. But when my heart finally cracked open, I was able to receive and extend love to all beings for the first time. That has stayed with me ever since when I practice metta. At this retreat, as we moved our metta outward to loved ones, family friends, indifferent and difficult people, some at the retreat got a taste of the heart that is not separate from all beings, the heart that can love unconditionally. This is the realm of true compassion.

Lodge at Flowering Lotus

Lodge at Flowering Lotus

May all beings be free from suffering. May they live in equanimity.

May sound simple, but not so easily done. Here are some practice tips:

You Don’t Have to Believe Your Thoughts.

5 Session Course Starting June 18, 2015
Thursdays, 7 – 8:30 p.m. at 12 South Dharma Center
Led by Lisa Ernst

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This five week practice and study course is designed for committed practitioners and will allow for deeper exploration of the process and practices of meditation and awakening. Patterned on Sprit Rock’s Dedicated Practitioner Program and led by Lisa Ernst, the class will offer specific teaching and practice approaches based on the Noble Eightfold Path. There will be plenty of time for group discussion and interaction. The basic requirements are that everyone attending has an established daily meditation practice, or will re-commit to one, and has attended at least one daylong or longer meditation retreat. Meetings will be held Thursday evenings at the 12 South Dharma Center, 7 – 8:30 p.m.
The class fee is offered on a sliding scale of $125 – $150. Anything you pay above $125 will help toward our scholarship fund. Two reduced fee spots are available in the case of financial need. A deposit of $35 reserves your spot with the balance due by June 11. To pay by paypal go here. Instructions on paying by check are available at this link. Please include your email address. Please note that we will not meet on Thursday, July 2 due to the 4th of July Holiday. For additional information contact ernst.lisa@gmail.com.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Nashville Friends House Led by Lisa Ernst

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During the busyness and activity that often accompany our daily lives, this meditation retreat will offer a quiet time to slow down, mindfully connect with our bodies and extend kindness and compassion to ourselves and others. Slowly, in the simplicity and silence of the day, we will learn to let go of distractions and touch our experience with a kind and open heart.

Led by meditation teacher Lisa Ernst, this silent retreat is suitable for newer and more experienced meditators. It will include periods of sitting and walking meditation, practice instructions and dharma talk. Retreat fee is $50 and is due by Friday, June 5. A reduced fee spot is available, please inquire to the email below. Paypal is available here. If paying by check, you can find instructions at this link. Be sure to include your email address. There will be a separate opportunity at the retreat to make a dana offering (donation) to the teacher. For questions, contact onedharmaretreat@gmail.com.

I’m excited to be leading this residential retreat at the beautiful Flowering Lotus Retreat Center in Magnolia Mississippi, May 15 – 17. I hope you’ll join me! Its driving distance from many southeastern cities.

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With an emphasis on lovingkindness, this silent retreat will focus on cultivating what the Buddha called “the immeasurable states of heart and mind” – the Brahma Viharas or Divine Abodes. These are the qualities of love, compassion, joy and equanimity that reside in us all.

Our innate lovingkindness will be strengthened and enhanced through learning the formal practice of metta, along with brahma vihara instructions, sitting and walking meditation and dharma talks. As our hearts awaken through lovingkindness, we will discover a deeper sense of self-acceptance, self-confidence, openness and interconnection with all of life.

This is a moderately prices retreat offering affordable options for all. For more information and to register go here.

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