Understanding Distractions

Jude: A basic concentration practice with an emphasis on getting curious about which of the three tricky layers are subtly interfering with our moment-to-moment experience of potential / ideal ease and clarity: resistance / aversion to unpleasant, fixation / gripping on pleasurable experiences or thoughts, or unconsciousness / dullness.

Confounding Questions

Erin: The Zen tradition of practicing with koans can make allies of our confusion, doubt and uncertainty and tap into something creative, unexpected, beautiful and wise. For tonight’s sit, we’ll each work with a classic koan, trying to “not know” our way into spontaneous discoveries and maybe even jolt ourselves more awake in the process.

Befriending Wisdom

Avi: Philosophy was my first contemplative practice, long before I’d ever heard about mindfulness. A philosopher is somebody who seeks philos (deep friendship) with sophia (wisdom). The philosopher’s method is to ask questions and develop reasoned explanations about things like, what am I? What should we do? What is true and how do we know it? The philosopher is somebody who stubbornly keeps engaging with these questions long after most people grow bored of them. The original English meaning of “meditation” was, to think deeply about a topic, as in the title of Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy. For tonight’s sit we’ll experiment with meditation as a focused inner reflection on a topic of deep importance.

The Factory Settings

Jeff: What actually wants to emerge in each moment, before thinking jumps in? Inquiring minds want to know! As the saying goes, thinking is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. Many traditions argue that our actual default conditions – the factory settings, as it were – are wise and caring, but that we cover them up with our maddening stresses and schemes and agendas. In this meditation, we see what emerges when we practice not knowing.