Kevin: One retreat, someone asked Shinzen his thoughts on how it was that some people ‘wake up’ without any practice*. While the most of us seem to need hours, days, years, decades of consistent dedicated practice, others don’t! It’s just naturally there, or spontaneously occurs without any practice whatsoever. Shinzen answered that, if he were to guess at a common denominator, it would be: living a simple life. Maybe this tracks with why we typically create simplified conditions (silence, stillness) when we meditate; why we willingly give up the complications and distractions of daily life in order to Retreat into our practice for weeks at a time; Or why renunciation and asceticism have traditionally been so central to monastic life. Tonight we will explore letting go of the ways in which we needlessly complicate and obscure the joy and peace of living in and from simplicity!
Jeff: Let’s do … nothing. But stay aware. Let’s watch self and world happen: sounds lead to thoughts, memories lead to emotions, the process of just trying to exist leads to a million tiny urges to check out, lash out, upgrade, freak out, divert, isolate, give up etc etc. Castles of neurotic complexity that build over time – and then we live in them! In the middle of an earthquake called 2023! And it’s fine. It’s life, it’s interesting. And … we can also practice deep life – that is, staying simple in the middle of everything. Now when complexity and intensity happen, there’s less to push against. We’re more centred and available for more kinds of situations. The simpler we are in our positioning, the more of life – and it’s complexities and intensities – we’re able to appreciate. And that’s interesting too.
Alex: How big is one’s mind? Is it the same size as your brain, as some scientists suggest? Or is it much bigger, as suggested by psychiatrists like Daniel Siegel, author of Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human, encompassing the bodily processes that allow us to feel what’s going on inside ourselves? We’re going to look at the limits of the mind and whether it has any limits in this meditation that explores the mind’s space, awareness, and simplicity.
Jude: What does it mean to celebrate? Well in my 20s I had a very particular idea of how to celebrate. It definitely wasn’t healthy. My body wasn’t happy. But now I’m opening up to a more fundamental form of celebration, simply through an appreciative presence, and acknowledging what’s meaningful. Join us in a quiet and intimate celebration of our lives, inner and outer.