Battle to Win Ourselves

Jeff: I love pop music. My friends play me some hip electro banger I’m like ‘ya ok,’ but when I hear Carlye Rae Jepsen Cut to the Feeling my inner teenage girl goes mental (never mind when Selena Gomez samplesthe Talking-Heads – sick!) I love these songs because they make me feel free. They make me realize that at anytime I can actually kick off my leg warmers and do cartwheels down the sidewalk. That in a million different ways I imagine I’m limited and constrained and that I must act or be a certain way but really, really, at anytime I can just … step off. Step off the ride. And the world will hold me. I won’t fall off into outer space, or lose my work, or my friends, although I may slightly damage my credibility when I do Freddy Mercury impressions. So: what is this freedom exactly, and what does it means to step off the ride when we have not  history and responsibilities and all the rest of it? I’m not actually sure – maybe you know.

Welcome to the Party

Jeff: OK, for this weekly instalment of devotion month, we are going to explore what it means to be goo goo ga ga in love with the hottest sexiest meanest and most ass-kicking ENTITY in the whole universe – that is, the Universe itself. Aka, reality, aka the existential wrapper thing that you, me, and everyone seems to find themselves inside, now and always, for reality just keeps on being real. What could it mean not just to love this beastie, but also to treat “it” as both intelligent and in constant communication with us? Can one have such a view without being committed to an asylum, or being roundly mocked by your boring social scientist friends? What might a discerning version of this understanding look like, and can we expand our minds to accommodate it, like a pair of stretchy lycra yoga pants?

Cosmic Lovefest

Jeff: Wow, lots of caveats around action this month, I guess we are a tender bunch – learning about self-care, about boundaries, about humility. But let’s not let our humanist realism trump our contemplative hearts, because, as everybody knows, love and service are still the only real games in town. Is there a place for this kind of idealism in our mangled modern world? What might it look like, and how can we help each other come to it in our own ways? The night before Halloween, we spook the hipsters with the only thing they truly fear: earnestness. Bring on the loving kindness!

Being There for Others

DATE: October 16
TEACHER: Jeff Warren
THEME: Being There for Others
MEDITATION: This is Me with Good Boundaries
INTERACTIVE: This is Me Swamped and Bleeding Sideways Into Your Eyeball

Jeff: I know what being there for others means: it means secretly imagining I am personally responsible for the happiness of each person I meet and making sure to get helplessly entangled in their psychic dramas so I can get overwhelmed and leave them confused and worse off than they were before. Or at least, that’s how I used to do it, when I wasn’t drunk. Then I learned about b-o-u-n-d-a-r-i-e-s. Apparently they have these in some countries. This Monday, we practice healthy action in relationship – ie, how to NOT merge into a flabby sea of oneness.

The Story of Enlightenment

DATE: September 18
TEACHERAvi Craimer
THEME:  Enlightenment
MEDITATION: The Adept
INTERACTIVE: Stories of enlightenment

Avi: Stories of enlightened masters,  sages, saints, and adepts, can be a form of spiritual transmission. For some, these narratives are a barrier as well, raising skepticism or triggering a painful sense of never being good enough. In this meditation, we’ll explore how a story of enlightenment affects our experience of silent sitting. In the second half, we’ll engage with texts by contemporary meditation teachers about enlightenment and each of us will have the opportunity to write our own version of the story.