Full Contact Enlightenment
Because I am so far behind with everything and anything, I’d been meaning to share this news with you from ahem – September…
Wisdom Publications released a brand new website several months ago which I’m hoping you have seen by now. Perhaps you haven’t and then I will feel validated in posting this so late by your not knowing and then we will both derive some satisfaction. Yay us.
Isn’t the site gorgeous? They’ve really spiffed it up (and I’m in the nerdy world of web so I trust me, I know spiff). It’s easier to browse their large selection, have a catalog that is well-organized and they now offer deeper information on their books and authors. On top of this, they offer DRM-free ebooks for purchase.
If that isn’t enough, they now have a blog which is well worth following.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and peruse their website a bit further.
You are cordially invited to the ANNUAL TIBETAN CULTURAL FAIR
Saturday, November 30th – 10 am to 6 pm and Sunday, December 1st – 10 am to 5 pm
Santa Cruz Church Hall 60 Rachel West (corner St. Urbain), Montreal, Mont-Royal Metro
The 25th annual Tibetan Cultural Fair features a handicrafts bazaar, live music and dance performances, as well as traditional cuisine.
The handicrafts bazaar showcases traditional arts and crafts such as clothing, jewelry, sculptures, carpets, dharma-ware, ritual objects, books, cards, CDs, and more.
Live music and dance will be performed by the Tibetan Cultural Association of Québec, offering a unique opportunity to witness the beauty of Tibetan musical instruments, songs and dances. Dhondup the Yak – always a favourite for young children – will make a special appearance!
The Tibetan kitchen features the very popular « momos » – traditional dumplings with hot sauce, made on the premises.
The Canada Tibet Committee (CTC) is an independent non-governmental organization promoting human rights and freedom for the Tibetan people. The CTC is funded entirely by individual donations and special events such as this annual fair.
The Tibetan Cultural Association of Québec preserves Tibetan cultural traditions, including performing arts, within the diaspora community in Québec.
Admission: $5.00; Seniors and students: $3.00; Under 12: free
More information about the Fair: Montreal’s Tibetan Bazaar Facebook page
Here we are. Week Six of the real-life review of ‘Mindfulness Starts Here’ and I’m creeping along with it much like meeting a good friend for coffee when I’m able to. Admittedly, I’d love to be able to ‘stay regular’ with my regular weekly reading and practice, but sadly with work-life balance, practice and study that I’m already committed to and the life of a householder and all those glorious distractions that come my way, it’s ambitious and I must give myself some credit (read – cut myself some slack) in making it his far.
So. Week Six. Awareness of Thoughts. As you can read here, I’m pretty aware of my thoughts around not finishing the reading and review of this book in a more timely manner but I digress…
The intention set out of this chapter is for readers to bring attention and mindfulness to their thought patterns and in doing so, delves into the science behind thoughts. It’s one of the more geekier chapters of the book and does a great job of getting into the brainy, biologogical, physiological, thinky, neuroinic, syanpsey, HEY REACT TO THIS STIMULI stuff.
Overall the chapter delves into thought patterns, experiences, responses and examines how mindfulness can help to create a space around these thoughts, allowing us to either discover new ways to react to what’s in front of us or equips us to better examine our habitual ways of reacting (fight, flight and you know the drill).
Sometimes it feels like my head is being crushed..
As was previously employed in previous chapters of the book, the antidotes of the Five Skillful Habits are mentioned as means to help snap out of reactive patterns. There is a layer of compassion that is recommended within these 5 Habits as well as with most of what is presented in the book and for someone who is consistently hard on themselves, having this reminder replayed for me within the book is like a warm hug.
All in all, this chapter was one of the core ones that I enjoyed given it’s emphasis on the mind in the mindfulness equation. I’m noting how I enjoy the interplay of this book within my life and my Buddhist studies and practice. More on that in my summary. Two weeks left of this mindfulness and then you’ll get to read my conclusion, likely titled “Mindfulness Went Where?”
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Are you feeling funny folks? After the chuckles your little round Buddhabelly had after reading of the “Buddhism and comedy connection” over at the Shambhala Sun, you fancy yourself a pretty funny no-self.
Well here’s your chance to submit a story to an upcoming collection to be compiled in “The Little Book of Buddhist Humor”. Edited by Sumeru Books‘ John Negru and notable Buddhist scholar and author Charles Prebish, it will be published via the aforementioned Sumeru Books and is now seeking submissions.
In difficult times, we feel that the Buddhist world has the opportunity to contribute to and inject some happy, Buddhist-inspired humor into our everyday lives.
As such, we’re inviting any of you who have clever, funny, silly, and laughable stories that you have experienced in your personal and/or professional work and practice in Buddhism to submit these short episodes to us for possible inclusion. We are looking for stories from Buddhist teachers, scholars and sangha members. Maybe something really funny happened to you at a Buddhist center, or something humorous occurred while attending a professional conference, or a personal communication involving Buddhism brought a silly smile to your face. We’ll collect the best of those stories submitted and publish them in our book.
We truly hope to make this a FUN project that will bring smiles to people worldwide, and we’ll be so grateful for any stories you may provide that will help us achieve our goal.
Please submit your stores (no more than three pages long and must be tasteful and something you are willing to share publicly) to Charles at charles.prebish at usu.edu or John at [email protected] by Wesak 2014 (May 14).
Now let’s all laugh a bit more shall we? The benefits are clear – but if you don’t believe me, listen to funnymaster John Cleese.
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Well that was a bit of a gap from the last post several weeks ago. I’m now on Chapter 5/ Week 5 of ‘Mindfulness Starts Here’ and can blame the delay of post solely on pain. Coincidentally enough this chapter is titled ‘Awareness of Sensations’ so it’s totally apropos.
I won’t bore you with stories of my pain and body decrepitude but needless to say the past few weeks have been rough. Heap onto this health issues for my older dog and well, we’re all working with the situations that have arisen.
Back to the book. This chapter is really about the body-mind connection and how mindfulness can help take us out of the past storylines into a new way of relating and working with sensations.
Rather than feeling the sensations that are upon us, we humans can get caught up in the conceptual thinking around the experience. This chapter really gets at this loop and helps readers deconstruct the habitual nature of the main sensation that we grapple with, that of pain. It speaks to the power of meditation to bring one’s wandering mind back and to cut through the usual mind chatter.
There is a deeply profound sentence within this chapter that has really resonated with me. It is quite frankly, what budding Bodhisattvas and burnt out caregivers should come back to as a reminder of why we are on this path.
All we can do is practice and allow that practice to become part of a world-wide group of people who are willing to face what is in front of them and not look away.
Oh that’s good stuff right there.
As is done within previous chapters, there’s some homework to be done for the week relating to, in this instance, the five skillful habits that allow us to listen to our sensations without engaging or amplifying them. I have have to say that this ‘homework’ couldn’t come at a better time as I work with an aching back that is causing me the most physical and mental discomfort
Here’s my storyline. Welcome to the party.
Do I need to wear a corset?
Do I need to order one of these?
Why am I afraid of chiropractors?
Booked appointment with physiotherapist.
Now Googling everything I can find on the physiotherapist to see if he checks out.
Time to do the homework presented in Chapter 5.
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This is a delayed blog post for ‘Week 4/ Should be Week 5 going on Week 6′ as part of my continuing book review / life practice of ‘Mindfulness Starts Here’. We’re all householders here so we can cut me a little slack for not being able to keep up with it all, right?
So here we are. Week 4 and the title of the chapter is ‘Awareness of Emotions’ and the intention of this section is for the reader to learn to get in touch with what is occurring in each moment and develop the capacity ‘to be’. The book isn’t afraid to dive into the sticky areas of emotions and serves to dispel the common misconception many have that Buddhists or meditators function in some kind of zombie state affected by nothing both on and off the cushion.Surely emotions play a large part in MBSR given that much of the stress we encounter comes out of our emotional reactions. This chapter digs into the common ways we react to situations that may trigger us (resulting passion, aggression or confusion sound familiar my Buddhist friends?) This chapter features a lovely poem from Rumi which I have to say was like a warm nourishing bowl of soup. Really this poem was the perfect side-dish for the self-soothing recommendations that the authors presented. What I was left with most from this section of the book was the need to be less judgmental of my emotions and to listen to how I talk to myself in the run of a day. The practices recommended in this chapter were very much appreciated, especially the one on mindful consumption given that the news these days is making me bonkers. Little by little, I’m seeing how making some changes can really result in a calmer mind that isn’t as reactionary, or better yet, that is appropriately reactionary. Onwards to Week 5. Stay tuned.
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Adam K? Shin Tebbe (smiling fellow in the photo above), editor of Sweeping Zen is currently seeking funds for a documentary film titled ‘Zen in America’ and all of the details can be found on this website which offers up everything you could want to know about the project and more.
ZEN IN AMERICA is the first documentary series of its kind to thoroughly examine the history and practices of Zen in North America. The series will take us to Zen temples throughout North America to show how Zen Buddhism is being expressed in our modern culture – gathering intimate accounts and insights from the teachers, practitioners and scholars of the tradition today.
There are many ways that individuals, centers and organizations can get involved in the project so do check out the website to see how you can lend a hand.
Furthermore, do check out the Kickstarter page for Zen in America’ to find out more about backing this project and to follow Adam’s progress.
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I’m Canadian and being a Canadian, I admit to being a hockey fan.
When I was a kid, I remember watching games with my family and eating egg salad sandwiches, plain salty crispy chips and soda while ‘Hockey Night in Canada’ blared through the house. I’m really not sure why I associate this specific meal with my hockey-watching upbringing, but I’ll leave that for my parents to answer. Strange now that I think about it.
Anyways, to the here and now. My husband is a HUGE hockey maniac. I mean huge. When we first met, I think he was weirded out by all of the woo-woo Buddhisty stuff around me as was I getting nervous about being a hockey widow and counting the games through out the season much like one would count down mala beads.
Add onto this, well - we support teams that are mortal rivals. Bruins (me) vs. Habs (him), although, I have to say that I am a weird hybrid of a Bruins/Habs fan since living here in Montreal and being swept up in the fervor of the passion this city has for the venerable Montreal Canadians.
All of this to set up the weird Kevin Bacon-esque connection that took place over the weekend when I was checking my Twitter feed and saw this.
Now I did not know of this Bobby Robins until Fat Mike of NOFX retweeted the aforementioned tweet in his stream so I had to go down the rabbit hole of ‘Who is Bobby Robins?’ I ended up on his blog and found writing that was evocative, raw, beautiful and that carries the mark of someone who is on the path of self discovery and realization.
Ding Ding Ding. A post titled ‘Zen and the Art of Reinventing Yourself’ and no, it wasn’t an athlete misusing the ‘Zen and the art of’ theme…
At first you learn to listen to the breath, to observe it, and get to know it. You pay homage to it, and feel it, and welcome it. Instantly my mind would drift off to my To-Do list, or ingredients I needed to pick up at the grocery store, but every time, I returned to the breath. After a while, I began to feel the ebb and flow of the breath, and it took on an aquatic property, a wave-like drifting mechanism. After some time. I felt my consciousness flash in and out of some kind of room. It was my sanctuary. There was a pool of water there and exposed wood beams and pillars. That’s where my breath was. Every time I would lose my grasp on it, and think about an email I had to get out, I would return to the breath and to my sanctuary; the wooden room with the pool of blue water.
Then there’s this post on this blog titled ‘Good Vibrations’ about a visit he had with a young cancer patient in the hospital and the realizations that followed from his experience.
If you are excellent every single day, eventually you become that person. You become excellent. The same thing applies to altruism and spreading positivity in the world. If you do one thing every single day to spread positivity or one thing to make someone else’s life better, you become that brush stroke that paints a better world for me, and for you, and for Logan. We are all connected in some strange way, and we all have the power to send ripples and currents of love out into the world.
I’m a new fan of Bobby’s – both on ice and on his blog.
So much to speak of so let’s get started….
- Gorguts’ Luc Lemay Gives Track-by-Track Breakdown of the Tibetan-Inspired ‘Colored Sands’ via Exclaim.ca
- Freeing the Human Spirit have a call out for volunteers to help write letters to prison-bound individuals who are looking for spiritual friends or to facilitate yoga or mediation sessions.
- What’s your take on “A ‘conflict guide’ from The Plum Village Lineage North American Dharma Teachers Sangha” via 108 Zen Books?
- Seeking Heartwood created a lovely little video recap of the 2013 Buddhist Geeks Conference. (Doesn’t that song by Pablo Das just get you right in the heart?)
- And now for something completely different….
The post Random Linkage: Gorguts, FTHS, Buddhist Conflict Guides, Geeks and NO FEAR appeared first on Full Contact Enlightenment.
English screening - 6:30pm – FREE – Special guest: Carole Samdup, Executive Director, Canada Tibet Committee.
French screening - 8:30pm – FREE- Special guest: Sushil Handa, Coordinator – China, Amnesty International Canada Francophone.
‘The Tibet Within’ is an independent Canadian documentary dedicated to the struggle for the preservation of the Tibetan culture and identity, outside Tibet. It was filmed in India as well as several locations within Canada, namely – Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto.
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Confession for this week : The book may be titled ‘Mindfulness Starts Here’, but I wasn’t very mindful when I mistakenly started reading the chapter ahead instead of the one for week three. Ahem. Offering some gentleness to my gaffe and letting go.
This week, week number THREE of the book review in action brings me to a chapter titled ‘Awareness of the Body’, so I don’t feel so bad about it not being a chapter on being mindful of what chapter one is on. The intention for this chapter as stated by the authors is to bring awareness back to the body.
With the Body Scan that was introduced in earlier chapters, I’m noticing my body more than ever and credit the chill of Fall for helping me to be even more aware to ancient pains re-emerging. My funky, busted up ankle had been howling all weekend and a past toe injury became a screaming voice in my head while scanning my foot. All these sensations not tuned into during the run of a day.
This chapter reminds me gently ‘Perhaps you’re living in your head little one.’
Another theme that emerged from the readings this week was that of the body’s limitations and how it is deteriorating – daily, with every minute that passes. The need for gentleness in recognizing and resting with this reality is expressed and was comforting.
This chapter really gave me a lot to reflect upon when it comes to the SR (Stress Reduction) aspect of MBSR as the book cites how much stress, wear and tear we put our bodies through. We allow ourselves to carry and hold so much. We put ourselves through so much.
What can we rely upon to help us? Breathing and mindfulness.
At this point in the book and the practice program, breath work is a large part of what is practiced daily, however it’s now that mention to the remaining awareness work is introduced, namely the cultivation of 5 Skillful Habits. The authors cite the 5 Precepts found within Buddhism as a basis for the 5 Skillful Habits they are introducing within “Mindfulness Starts Here” and roll their own version for the MBSR program they have developed.
As a hunchback, 9-5 pixel shifter with multiple body twerks, this chapter is both comforting in helping me to work with accepting my multiple broken spots, but also encourages me to discover a gentle body-work practice and it is some coincidence that I was speaking with my neighbor last week about Tai Chi classes in the neighborhood.
Tai Chi vs Qi Gong vs Gentle Yoga – What’s your vote?
The post An 8 Week Long Book Review : Week 3 – Mindfulness Starts Here appeared first on Full Contact Enlightenment.
A few items that hit my synapses and made them say ho – hey, wassat?
- Do you ever have one of those moments when you know someone from the online realm of Twitter but not aware that they are a FREAKING AWESOME BLOGGER? Well thanks to the power of technology (and her mentioning my blog on her blog), here’s Invocatio. Religion. Esotericism. Magic. Freakery. You’ll find it here… and now I have a buncha old blog posts to pour through.
- Check out this trailer for Berni’s Journey in Wanderland, and check out Berni’s blog if you are interested in her journey. Oh I sympathize about the recovering perfectionist writing on this blog. Oh do I ever.
- Joseph Goldstein will be speaking in Montreal on March 14 and 15, 2014. Sign me up and thanks True North Insight for making this happen.
If you have anything you want to share, drop me a line. If you have a blog and I’m not following you (see the blogroll), then send me a link.
The post Random Linkage: Gateless Gate T, Invocatio, Berni’s Journey & Joseph Goldstein in Montreal appeared first on Full Contact Enlightenment.
I just finished my first week with ‘Mindfulness Starts Here: An Eight Week Guide to Skillful Living‘ and am reacquainting myself with the power of the Body Scan. Dear Reader. I don’t want you to think that’s all I’ve been obsessing with all this time, but in my case, it has been the most profound of all of the practices that I’ve been personally engaging with during my first week of this Mindfulness Based Stress Relief (MBSR) program within the pages of this book.
I have to admit that I was a bit resistant to the body scan and in Chapter Two that I’m currently starting to work with, there is mention to the obstacles that folks encounter in their experience of mindfulness training. My main obstacle has been grief mixed with guilt and silliness (yeah strange mix I know) when doing these body scans as it takes me back to memories of a dear friend and teacher who used the body scan technique as part of a program I helped co-facilitate with him. The attendees in the class LOVED J’s body scan work and found it so soothing however I was focused on being an arsehole. Unintentionally.
You see. During the body scan, J would really give a deep scan. I mean we were scanning tissues, muscles and sinew and well.. he led us to focus our attention on our anus and to loosen it and that did it for me. My infantile giggle mind took over and I was left with my body scanner on the fritz while the rest of my body tried to stifle laughter from the others who were much more adult in their body scan work than me.
So I’m left with this legacy of grief for missing my old friend, guilt at laughing at hearing his voice telling us to relax our ass muscles and shame at being a big doo-doo idiot for laughing at the idea of relaxing my ass muscles to begin with. Body scans are now tinged with that perspective and here’s hoping that after this book and scanning myself for the full eight weeks, I’ll be able to break the tendency to hear a laugh track behind any soothing voice encouraging me to do this kind of guided meditation. Please don’t send me mp3′s punking me with soothing pan flute music only to mention ass muscles.
But I digress. Week two is upon me and yes, more body scanning. This chapter gets into the obstacles behind the practice so it was essential given my, ahem, blockage. Some of my old old friends appear in this chapter too. Lack of time. Doubts about the practice. Oh I know you well.
This chapter titled ‘Meeting the Difficult and Unwanted’ really resonated with the negative self concepts that can emerge about when one starts to see the chatter of the monkey mind. It’s amazing how hard we can be when we are engaging in working with our minds. This was a gentle chapter that helped me feel like less of a doofus. Well, a bit less I have several lifetimes of doofusness to work through
One item that stuck with me from this chapter was the mention that the body scan isn’t intended to make one feel better. It’s more about getting in touch with what’s going on and to help bring awareness to our experience. Letting go of the experience of giggling of over a relaxed butt. Letting go of missing a dear friend and teacher. Letting go of feeling like a jerk for laughing about this in the first place.
So this week it’s back to more body scanning and this time with an intention to apply a bit more gentleness to the practice and be with what comes up.
The post An 8 Week Long Book Review : Week 2 – Mindfulness Starts Here appeared first on Full Contact Enlightenment.
- Prison yoga, meditation classes to expand across Canada via WildMind.org and see how you can volunteer with ‘Freeing the Mind’ here
- Capitalist Dharma and the Social Ecology of Buddhist Sanghas via the important Buddhist Peace Fellowship
- A little video interview to get you going. Bill Viola and Ponlop Rinpoche Talk About Nothing
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As recently mentioned, I’m currently reading ‘Mindfulness Starts Here’ by Lynette Monteiro and Frank Musten but rather than do a regular old, one off review of this book, I’d rather LIVE IT OUT! You heard me right. I’m going to be a guinea pig for the 8 week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program as described in their book.
So I picked up the book from my pile yesterday and dug right in. With a foreword by notable Buddhist teacher, Zen priest and author Joan Halifax Roshi we’re already off to a good start already here folks. The authors are therapists and meditation teachers so they are grounded in their work in helping individuals sort through and heal from their suffering. They’re in the trenches and doing the work.
The book’s introduction delivers a taste of the book’s tone which has a poetic flavour about it. Snippets of poems run throughout and serve as accents to the material covered in each section. My first observation is that it is a very friendly piece of writing that offers guidance to readers in a way that is clear and easy to read and rather than getting caught up in extolling the scientific virtues of mindfulness practice, it gets right to the point as to how it helps individuals work with physical and mental pain and suffering.
The concept of mindfulness is explored in the introduction and each of the authors provide their story on how they came to mindfulness practice which are not unlike the many patients that seek out this program for their own needs. The main points of each chapter are alluded to in the introduction and the authors reference that there are practices involved so that each week builds upon the techniques from the previous week.
So I dove in. Week One started last night. Chapter One delivers teachings on how we can get off track from our true, pristine nature yet have the capacity to return with a little bit of effort and energy. Becoming mindful. Aware. Present. Several practices are encouraged for this week that relate to analytical meditation and getting back to understanding oneself.
The end of each chapter features a practice sheet which is used to track the suggestions posed by the authors to help readers connect, reconnect and be mindful. As part of ‘my homework’, I did a body scan last night and realized that it had been a LONG time since I did this practice. Allergy-clouded head. Asthmatic lungs. Numb foot. Numb arse. Breathing. Breathing. Come back to the breathing. Blocked nose. Breathe.
It was very helpful and reminded me that I need to scan myself more often. Is it just me or does anyone else visualize this when they do a body scan?
Verdict – Week One. Day One… So far so good.
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