Many of us are at war with ourselves. We’re divided, we have mixed feelings. We’re of two minds, of four minds, of eight minds. How many minds do we have in there? Every time we say “I’m torn” it tells us that being human means dealing with a certain amount of inner tension and contradiction. And that’s fine, to a degree. It makes us interesting. It keeps us humble, and complicated, and artistically screwed-up in a good way. Except, minute after minute, day after day, week after week, the battle can get also get exhausting. Torn between conflicting loyalties, conflicting goals, conflicting relationships. That’s a lot of conflict. It can lead to serious confusion and stress and pain. As Freddy Mercury once put it, “We Want to Break Free.”
Location: Mosaic Yoga Studio - 225 Sterling Rd, Unit 23
Date: Monday, January 8, 2018, 7:30pm
Location: Mosaic Yoga Studio, 225 Sterling Rd Unit 23
Date: Jan 15, 7:30pm
Featured Guided Meditations
Battle to Win Ourselves
the comfort of a poem
The Story of Enlightenment
“A wise teacher, and a wise centre, needs to offer a whole range of skillful practices, because people come along at different stages of their inner development, with different temperaments, and with different sets of problems.” -Jack Kornfield
JAMES: So we decided December is about rock’n’roll? JEFF: It's the perfect way to end the year ERIN: Can we smash guitars?
At CEC, we’ve been working towards developing and embodying a pluralistic and inclusive model of spiritual practice. Our grand vision is to offer a place where all spiritual practices are welcomed in a big tent of exploration, dialogue and cross-pollination. Yet, we’ve struggled to integrate one prominent feature of many spiritual traditions: namely God. For secular spiritual types, just saying the word God in a non-ironic way can trigger major defences. For many, “God” evokes everything bad about old fashioned religion: blind faith, anti-scientific superstition, misogyny, sex negativity, homophobia, and intolerance. It’s a pretty bad rap sheet. If God represents all those things, then what clear-minded, compassionate person wouldn’t reject the concept?
In mindfulness practice, we find ourselves noticing the habitual stories that play in our heads on a loop, often causing us great misery and pain. By noticing and getting some distance from these stories we can start to break free from their unconscious pull over us. As we start to loosen our attachments to those those old unhelpful stories, our minds become free to tell new ones.
It takes practice to give a fuck. As Shunryu Suzuki said, “there is no such thing as enlightenment, only enlightened activity”. The insights we’ve gleaned on the cushion, or in play and exploration, find traction as they latch onto all parts of our day.
Emotional complexity can arise out of a relatively ordinary situation. Our human capacity to feel and track emotions is somewhat ridiculous in its scope and power. It’s all part of our nature as intensely social creatures. The social world is our habitat, and emotion is the intelligence of social existence.
Art, like meditation, illuminates the ineffable. Painting, literature, poetry, music, dance, theatre, film…these have incredible capacity to comfort, heal, inspire, incite, ignite. Bring us face to face with our own humanity and all of its terrible beauty. We'll be making art of this next month at CEC. We’ll extol our community’s artists and teachers to introduce practices that breed creativity, feed artistic souls, and illustrate how art can enrich and inspire the contemplative path.
This primer is about the broadest possible classes of meditation and spiritual experience. It’s a work-in-progress. Every time I come back, I find myself cutting more details, for they seem like technique-specific effects, and not the human universals I once imagined. So it goes. In a couple years there may be nothing here at all.
Almost any domain or activity in life can be approached as an intentional practice, and the people who specialize in these domains have learned important things about being human. How can we draw this wisdom out? Introducing the Consciousness Explorers Club's new pluralistic practice paradigm :)
I wonder if our civilization is about to enter a New Age of Exploration. Except this time, since all the physical real estate has been chewed up, the terrain is internal. Not just our individual minds, but the mind of nature – the mother-sea mind, the great oceanic source of awareness that all contemplative traditions speak to in different ways.