Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Peg and Joko

Peg and Joko
Originally uploaded by Jiki Syverson.

Joko was a real delight, as always, to be with. I was so happy to see her in Brenda's beautiful home, and to meet the members of her new sitting group. The zendo below is coming along beautifully, and should be a warm and inviting place for zazen. Joko's wing has spectacular views of boulders and trees, and the clear, crisp Arizona sky. She told me that when the December sesshin was announced it filled within five minutes. No surprise there! But she is planning future sesshins as well, so stay tuned if you think you might be able to travel there. Prescott is very beautiful: click on this image to see some of the landscape and other pictures from our trip.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Learning together

Yesterday we experimented with a new format for our reading/discussion time. I offered a topic (this week it was anger) and we sat in mindfulness for a few minutes, thinking about our background and practice with this topic, its challenges, and questions we have about practicing with it. Then each person in turn spoke while everyone else listened with wholehearted, compassionate attention. It was very moving to hear the struggles and the wisdom each person contributed. Once each person had spoken, we had a more general discussion. We have more wisdom and compassion together than any of us has alone. It was a very heartening experience. My intention is to do this once a month to start with, and see how it supports our practice and our sangha. Having a topic helps focus the discussion, and the brief period of mindfulness helps each person sort out his or her thoughts in order to be able to listen to others without being distracted by planning what to say.

Next weekend I will be out of town visiting Joko in Prescott, Arizona. The Sunday after I return (October 22) I will report about my visit, and we will also be hosting a one-day sitting here at Ordinary Mind. If you are planning to attend, please let me know, and bring a bag lunch for the day.