Focus and Release

DATE: May 8, 2017
TEACHER: Caitlin Colson and Huy Lam
THEME: Focus and release
MEDITATION: Let’s get visual
INTERACTIVE: Draw the lines

Caitlin: Concentration and letting go practices are like bacon and eggs – they work well side by side. Concentration builds up our ability to develop and maintain a strong, meditative focus on a chosen point. Letting go enables us to loosen our grip on the reins of our minds, allowing them to roam free. In part 1, we’ll practice these opposing but complementary skills on the cushion. In part 2, guest artist Huy Lam will lead us through visual art practices that illustrate how to put these skills to paper.

Why am I alive?

TEACHER: Avi Craimer
THEME: What is this all about anyway?
MEDITATION: Why am I alive?
INTERACTIVE: Good life mandala

Avi: One of the fundamental questions of philosophy is “What is the good life?”. There’s not just one answer. For the Buddha it was the end of suffering, for Sade it was having sex all the time. If we don’t grapple with this question seriously, our meditation and even our lives risk being dominated by somebody else’s idea of what is truly important. In the second half, we’ll creatively map out our personal good life mandalas, seeking greater clarity and perspective to balance all our competing values.

Inquiry as a Process

TEACHER: Avi Craimer
THEME: Inquiry as a Process
MEDITATION:  What is a question?
INTERACTIVE: Group inquiry and reactivity

Avi: To kick off our month of inquiry, I’m going to lead us in a meditation to explore the nature of question asking. How does the act of asking a question impact your inner life? In the second half, we’ll examine our reactive patterns around intellectual discussion. What does it bring up for us: Do we worry about not being smart enough or are we afraid of sounding too smart? Do we get competitive, shut-down, bored, fascinated? What kind of inquirers are we?

Attention

TEACHER: Avi Craimer
THEME: Attention
MEDITATION: Distractions
INTERACTIVE: Continuity

Avi: In the meditation, we’ll pick a focus and then try to noticeall the spectacular and diabolical ways that our busy mind draws us away. Can  clarity about our distractions help keep them at bay and let us stay longer with our focus? In the second half, we’ll roam around the room together trying to maintain continuous unbroken focused attention in the face of some playful attempts to derail our concentration.