Lovingkindness Meditation Residential Retreat: Friday December 8, 2017 – Sunday December 10, 2017

                                         Loving Oneself and Others                                                    

Lovingkindness Meditation Residential Retreat

730 PM Friday December 8, 2017- Noon Sunday December 10,2017

Saint Leo Abbey, 33601 State Road 52, Saint Leo, Florida 33574

Hosted by Heartland Insight Meditation Group

Saint Leo Abbey will provide a peaceful setting for a weekend of meditation.  Participants will enjoy:

  • Teachings that reverse anger and hatred and bring about compassion for self and others, sympathetic joy and equanimity, with time for questions and answers.
  • Sitting and walking meditation for beginning and experienced meditators.
  • Beautiful outside grounds for walking meditation or contemplation
  • 6 hearty meals provided by the staff at St Leo Abbey.
  • Cost is $205, plus donation to the teacher.

 

Course taught by Peter Carlson

Peter has practiced meditation for more than thirty years and taught Vipassana (Insight) Meditation for more than twenty years. He is the founder of Orlando Insight Meditation Group. His training includes three-month courses at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, MA.      

 

To register: contact Andy Quinn, 863-683-9600 abquinn2010@gmail.com

 

Refund Policy: Cancel greater than one month prior: Full refund

Cancel greater than one week prior:: 50% refund

Cancel less than one week prior to the retreat: no refund

 

 

 

 

Developing Inner Peace: Meditation Retreat, Bok Tower Gardens, Saturday, April 15, 2017

We return to Bok Tower Gardens this Spring, to provide a peaceful setting to develop inner peace and grow in love. Participants will enjoy:

  • Introduction and meditation instruction with time for questions and discussion
  • Sitting and walking meditation for beginning and experienced meditators
  • Easy access to outside garden space for periods of walking meditation
  • Covered dish vegetarian lunch coordinated by members of the Heartland Insight Meditation Group
  • Admission to Bok Tower Gardens, usable on our long lunch break, or before or after the retreat

              

Course Taught by Peter Carlson

Peter has practiced meditation for more than thirty years and taught Vipassana (Insight) Meditation for more than twenty years. His training includes three-month courses at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, MA. Peter is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in private practice in Winter Park, Florida.

When: Saturday, April 15, 2017 | 9 AM – 5 PM

Where: The new Discovery Classroom, Bok Tower Gardens, 1151 Tower Boulevard, Lake Wales, Florida 33853

Please bring: Experienced participants can bring a small vegetarian dish to share with the group. Please contact Darek Smith, 863-537-0133 or by email, if you would like to bring a small vegetarian dish. Bring cushions if you prefer to meditate sitting on the floor. The floor is made of hard tile so you may consider a small carpet square or rug.

To register or more information: Contact Jeanette Johnson 321-303-7607 or by email. To reserve your spot, send a $30 check or money order made to:  “Jeanette Johnson” 10465 Montpelier Circle, Orlando, Florida 32821. To confirm your payment, use email to correspond with Jeanette.

Looks are Deceiving…..the Many Faces of Love

Loook at all these happy faces....a backpack trip I led on Cumberland Island
Look at all these lovely faces….a backpack trip I led on Cumberland Island

Facing our Truth?

Years ago I remember finishing an incredible backpacking trip in the Slickrock Creek Wilderness in North Carolina. Stopping at the first available convenience store so the group of us could stuff our faces with junk, I felt rather greedy and ashamed of our wealth in this sparse country.  As I was making my way back to our van, I was struck by the unsightliness of a woman entering the store. It was as if 1/2 of her face had been blown off. The sight of her face stayed with me, and for a few moments I was dumbfounded, and needed to gather myself. Part of me that was grateful that I did not have to deal with her directly. Now I know that in practicing mindfulness I would have been better equip to understand my feelings at the end of this trip.

In Buddhist psychology we are taught to face the truth of our own experience and be honest with ourselves……what this mind of ours is truly up to. I judge. We judge. And I am skeptical about those who say they do not. I wonder if they lack insight. As human beings we have a tendency to judge others often based on superficial information. We are superimposing our narratives upon the circumstances. Telling a story like that to others would have left me feeling all the more shamed and flawed. One story I sometimes share is about how much of a phony I feel to be sometimes. But being mindful-reflecting on my self- has helped me accept and begin to change those unwholesome parts of myself.

We identify with our face and others faces. I do not recognize my friend Bill as his legs, or introduce myself as my arms. We connect or disconnect with our faces. So when I see Bill, I already have my story of what Bill is about. Although the amount that I truly know about him is minuscule, I have filled in the blanks about who he is. An interesting way to practice is to be mindful of faces…take them all in.

We recognize something in every face that we see. People that we love, family friends, lovers this is a very pleasant feeling. We have very pleasant stories about the ones that we love. This is where we have imposed a perception upon the sensory data. When I see our child Lenora a pleasant sensation arises. A warm, agreeable, and heart felt connection. If I see a child that has caused my daughter some pain an unpleasant sensation arises. This perceptual process can lead to dissonance, a non attractive, not safe feeling. Disconnected, averse, distant, unfriendly. And there are those that we find neither pleasant nor unpleasant, invisible, non remarkable, and we may become indifferent, and the mind will become slothful, lazy. In some of these situations, we may try make some sense of the situation, and we fit some dialogue on top of that.  Age, culture, class, and gender has a lot to do with it. The problem is that the mind is deluded when it is becomes indifferent.  Recent research finds that neglect is worse that sexual abuse. Sometimes it seems as though the more unaware we are, the more checked out we are, and the more indifferent we become.

However all three perceptions are lacking….pleasant towards my daughter, unpleasant towards the alleged enemy, indifference towards the  non remarkable person. We sense that we are jumping to conclusions based on incomplete information, and that we really don’t want to make judgements, or assumptions- we really want to give all a fair shot. But sometimes in this frenetic, grasping society we often go to the default mode which has to do with aversion or checking out entirely.

These relationship impairments often lead to dissatisfaction, angst, and emptiness. We are coming to find in the interpersonal neurobiology of Daniel Siegel, and beginning with the attachment therapy of John Bowlby, that our sense of self is created in relationships.

Attachment research is now holding out that our entire concept of self is formulated through relationships. Those who did not have stable warm attached relationships as infants and toddlers, or were subject to trauma at some point in their life,  are likely to have a non attached worldview. Also subject to attachment issues are folks that have addictions, depression or anxiety. Their brains are not integrated; different parts of the brain, particularly the middle prefrontal cortex,  are not entirely wired together.

Mindfulness practice has been shown to lead to integration, wiring the brains’ different sections back together. This gives validation to the notion that spiritual communities and fellowship aid in developing a more healthy; and complete; mind and body.

“I see Jesus in every human being. I say to myself, this is hungry Jesus, I must feed him. This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene; I must wash him and tend to him. I serve because I love Jesus.”

Mother Teresa

As spiritual or psychological practitioners we need to have some faith and confidence that we are full of love. And that others are full of love also. What gets in the way is our own sense of woundedness, in other words non integration. This is truth for me. I see this when I am consciously connective, warm, intimate, loving. When I feel closed, cold, disconnected, I feel a lack of love, aversion, disgust and there could be a host of other unpleasant descriptors. So when we interact with others, we recognize the disconnect and accept the disconnect with mindfulness. The best place is to accept this within the body. Can I notice the sensations? What are the sensations like? Hard versus soft, hot versus cold, moving versus still etc. Then can I hold this in a space of mindfulness and equanimity? One of the most important tenets of parents who are securely attached is that they are comfortable in their own skin. So what we do is to notice and accept the unpleasant phenomena and create a loving response.

Several years ago I was counseling a young man from a local high school. As is so often the case, I would walk this person to the park and do our session there. My client was aghast when I would freely and happily say hello to anyone who happened in our path. His question was “Why are you doing that”  My response was “to not do that makes no sense!”.

So there is a responsibility with this truth (Dhamma.) How fortunate one is to be exposed to this incredible truth, and have the energy to continue to practice living in this truth. We have the opportunity to have a huge impact on our friends and families, the community and the world through this precious truth.  We can recondition our habitual responses to self and others, and create a more loving world for all.

“Reverence, humility, contentment, gratitude and hearing the good Dhamma, this is the best good luck”

The Buddha