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Take the Backward Step: Relaxing into Open Awareness
Four Night Residential Retreat, Wednesday Evening, 10/4 – Sunday Noon, 10/8
Sautee Lodge, Sautee Georgia, Sponsored by Red Clay Sangha
Led by Lisa Ernst

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“Take the backward step that turns the light and shines it inward.”
– Dogen

How we pay attention, both on and off the cushion, determines our experience. When we take the backward step, letting go of grasping and chasing after experience, the body and mind relax and the heart responds with compassion and clarity. We release the limiting stories of who we are and reconnect with our boundless, empty nature. We rest in the vastness and silence of awareness itself.

This residential 4 night retreat, held mostly in silence is recommended for both beginning and experienced meditators. Format will be Vipassana style sitting and walking segments and will include daily instructions, dharma talks and discussions. For additional details and registration, go here.

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Saturday, September 23, 9:00 a.m. – Noon
Nashville Friends Meeting
Led by Lisa Ernst

3moonsunps

Do you often hear messages that fear is bad or wrong and should be eliminated through positive thinking, mindfulness or other methods? In these difficult and challenging times, fear may even overwhelm.

What if we instead began to understand that fear is not wrong, that it is part of our human make up, and that facing it, even embracing it, is a vital part of fostering gratitude, compassion and freedom from suffering. In this workshop we will learn to lean in and make friends with fear by cultivating a courageous heart that embraces all of life without turning away. Through this process we can more readily help ourselves and others; we begin to relax and respond to life through a kind and awakened heart.

The workshop will include discourse on cultivating a courageous heart, experiential instructions in opening to fear, meditation and dharma talk. Cost is $50. A reduced fee option is available in the case of financial needs. Paypal is available here.  Please use the “donate” button. If paying by check, instructions are at the same link. Be sure to include your email address. For questions, email onedharmaretreat@gmail.com.

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In this dharma talk I explore how practice can create an open compassionate container for all of our responses and reactions to our current political and world environment. Then I ask, “how do we infect the world with love?,” and explore some possible answers.

 

 

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At times like this, you may be tempted to let the momentum of anger and outrage pull you away from meditation practice. In fact, sitting still with anger can be very uncomfortable. But don’t let that stop you. Keep sitting – not to get rid of anger, if that’s what you’re feeling, but to become intimate with it. Welcome the discomfort. In the stillness we can allow our awareness, our love, to embrace the anger. What is it telling us at the heart level? Perhaps as we sit, as the dust settles a bit, we become more aware of the fullness of the anger and what accompanies it. For me, right now I encounter sadness and fear for our country. I also encounter a love that can’t be vanquished by hate. Tears flow and I find room in my heart for it all. The beauty and the ugliness – they all serve to awaken my heart and remind me to remain steadfast in love while standing against hate, prejudice and separation, whether in my own heart or in the world.

I’m reminded of these verses from the Shambhala Warrior training:

“In the crucible of meditation, bring forth day by day into your own heart the treasury of compassion, wisdom and courage for which the world longs.

Sit with hatred until you feel the fear beneath it. Sit with fear until you feel the compassion beneath that.

Do not set your heart on particular results. Enjoy positive action for its own sake and rest confident that it will bear fruit.

When you see violence, greed and narrow-mindedness in the fullness of its power, walk straight into the heart of it, remaining open to the sky and in touch with the earth.

Staying open, staying grounded, remember that you are the inheritor of the strengths of thousands of generations of life.

Staying open, staying grounded, recall that the thankful prayers of future generations are silently with you.

Staying open, staying grounded, be confident in the magic and power that arise when people come together in a great cause.

Staying open, staying grounded, know that the deep forces of Nature will emerge to the aid of those who defend the Earth.

Staying open, staying grounded, have faith that the higher forces of wisdom and compassion will manifest through our actions for the healing of the world.

When you see weapons of hate, disarm them with love.
When you see armies of greed, meet them in the spirit of sharing.
When you see fortresses of narrow-mindedness, breach them with truth.
When you find yourself enshrouded in dark clouds of dread, dispel them with fearlessness.

When forces of power seek to isolate us from each other, reach out with joy.

In it all and through it all, holding to your intention, let go into the music of life. Dance!”

 

Saturday, August 26, 2017
Nashville Friends Meeting, 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Led by Lisa Ernst

sunrisemaryhelen

All of our thoughts and feelings arise in a field of awareness that is naturally spacious and open. In this retreat we will explore how open awareness practice creates a wider container to meet all of our thoughts and emotions with kindness and compassion. As we deepen into this practice the boundary between inside and outside dissolves and we experience intimacy and interconnection with all things.

This retreat will include periods of sitting and walking meditation, instructions and dharma talk. We will explore the way focused and open attention in meditation support each other. We will learn how open attention can invigorate and sustain, not only our formal practice, but awareness of our daily activities. The retreat is appropriate for newer and more experience meditators.

Cost is $50 and is due by 8/21. A reduced fee spot is available in the case of financial need. There will be a separate opportunity to practice dana (generosity) toward the teacher to support her time and efforts.

Payment can be made by Paypal here. If paying by check, instructions are here. If paying by check, please include your email address. Additional retreat information will be provided prior to the retreat. For questions, email onedharmaretreat@gmail.com

Saturday, July 29, 2017, 9 a.m. – Noon
Nashville Friends House

Lisa Ernst, meditation teacher and founder of One Dharma Nashville, and Terry Huff, LCSW, psychotherapist and author specializing in adults with ADHD and author of Living Well with ADHD, will offer a workshop on meditation and ADHD and/or anxiety. The workshop will include lecture, practice, and discussion and will address the following:

1. Why meditate for ADHD and/or anxiety?
2. Basics of practice
3. Different practices for
a. selective attention (focusing)
b. open awareness (expanding)
c. compassion (for self and other)

Research shows that mindfulness practice improves concentration, attention regulation, self-observation (of mental activity), working memory, and emotion regulation.

The workshop will be held at The Nashville Friends House, 530 26th Ave N. Cost is $60 and is due by the July 21 registration deadline; after $70. A reduced fee is available to anyone who can’t afford the full fee.

Payment can be made by check or paypal. For paypal, go here and enter the amount due in the “price per item” box. Instructions for paying by check are here. Please include your email address.

Contact ernst.lisa@gmail.com or tmhuff@comcast.net to inquire. Terry’s book is available at terrymhuff.com.

For those interested in joining our tour to India in November, here is a closer look at some of the main places we will be visiting.

Bodh Gaya

Bodh Gaya[1]

After touching down and catching our breath for a day in Delhi, our first stop will be Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha attained nirvana sitting under a Bodhi tree. A descendant of that same tree marks the supposed exact spot, and next to it sits the magnificent Mahabodhi “Great Awakening Temple.” It is a very powerful place for meditation and contemplation.

Bodh Gaya is the holiest site in Buddhism and Bodh Gaya has been the most important pilgrimage place for Buddhists for thousands of years. Most Buddhist nations have built a temple here in their own style, and it is also the site for the Dalai Lama’s annual Kalachakra “Wheel of time” tantric initiations.

Varanasi

Varanasi[1]

From the peace and quiet of Bodh Gaya we will head to the world’s oldest continuously inhabited city, on the banks for the holy river Ganges.

Here we will wander the alleyways of the ancient city, take a boat ride on the Ganges, and witness the aarti prayer ceremonies, where flowers and floating candles are released onto the river.

Varanasi is also the site of the deer park where the Buddha delivered his first sermon, the First Turning of the Wheel of Dharma at Sarnath. Today it is still an important place for Buddhists and a well maintained park centered around the ancient brick stupa, with an excellent museum exhibiting millennia of Buddhist history.

Sikkim

Sikkim[1]

From Varanasi we have a train journey and a drive up to the mountain region of Sikkim in the Himalayan foothills, sandwiched between Tibet, Nepal, and the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan. Buddhism continues to thrive in the Himalayas, and this is where we will spend the final leg of this tour, to experience life in a living Buddhist culture.

We will be staying with families in village homestays, meeting the monks, and meditating in the local monastery temple. There will also be time for contemplation in the peace of the region, as well as visiting nearby temples and ruins with stunning Himalayan scenery.

Full details and registration can be seen on the website here, and please get in touch with either Lisa at ernst.lisa@gmail.com or Soul of India at nathan@soulofindia.com if you have any questions.