Jeff: The template for our relationship with others is the one we’re engaged in already with ourselves. There is no escaping that truth: friendly or critical, neglectful or curious, the longer someone’s with us and the closer they get, the more we end up treating them as we treat ourselves. Among other things, that means the greatest kindness we can do for others is the one we begin doing for ourselves. In this meditation, we explore the life-changing magic of self-compassion. We’ll proceed in stages: first we create a bit of metaphorical space between our witnessing awareness and our seething minds and bodies. Then we kick back and watch our wiggly bits wiggle, always curious, on the lookout for subtle patterns. Halfway through we move into a deliberate self-compassion practice, the simple but profound orientation of caring for what we find inside. Thus primed, for our grand finale we’ll send the compassion outward in a breezy gust of microscopic cinnamon hearts, sandblasting all acquaintances with loving exfoliating goodness. If nothing else, it will be good for everyone’s complexion.
Avi: A number of times at CEC, we’ve explored a compassion practice where we open to the many circles of our friends, relations, and ancestors, drawing on their lineage and support. Tonight we’ll begin with this connecting to the strength in our network of relationships past and present. Then we’ll go a step further, extending our awareness to those areas where the culture is contracted or knotted up. Our goal is not to unravel these knots, but to bring a fierce compassionate consciousness to them.
Steph: How can we foster connection to all of Earth’s beings, human or otherwise, so visibly different from ourselves? In this exploration we will work with the relationship between our most dominant of the five senses, sight, the mind, and the heart. We’ll explore this relationship between visual input — > thought — > emotion, and see if we can begin to change hardwired patterns and perhaps even our worldview, in the hopes of beginning to see our similarities over our differences.
James: On one of his last transmissions, instead of speaking, the Buddha held up a white flower. Many of the monks in attendance were smitten, and understood the metaphor. Only one, however, smiled. The Buddha called him forward and said, “Is there something you would like to share with the class?” Sure, the monk said. Everything. “Great,” the Buddha answered. “You’re in charge from now on. I need a nap.”
While it is important to know the causes and conditions necessary for our own flourishing, as it gives us joy, we recognize it as our one true home. For the sit, we are going to find the centre around which all falls away, and see if in its gushing, we can taste a true love.
Pamela: What are the parts of us we deem “unfit”, “uncomfortable”, “unhealthy”, “not-right”, “resistible”? How can we integrate those parts of ourselves, for ourselves, for each other? If we can, I invite you to explore, dive into—walk into, creep into—those sticky places and see what we can unearth. We will play with sunshine light and dark and stormy weather.