sharing the practice…


In 2008, I began a regular meditation practice after reading the book Calming The Fearful Mind: A Zen Response To Terrorism by Thich Nhat Hanh. It wasn’t that my mind was especially fearful, no more than any other person I suppose, but fear seemed and still seems to be very present in the world. And along with fear, all the other emotions that we either try to avoid, react from, or attach to. I wanted to learn to work with my mind and heart – with all of what is there, the fear, the anger, the sadness, the joy, the attachment. Although the willingness to be with what is – even if uncomfortable – is a courageous act, it also feels like a necessary act. something needed to help foster and maintain a sane balance in a beautiful world that can sometimes seem the opposite.At the beginning of 2016, with so much fear, anger, and negativity, I made a personal vow to work towards that which is healing. Part of this vow was to more fully invest in my meditation practice, devote my art and writing towards this aspiration, and to seek the path of being a teacher of meditation. An opportunity arose with a teacher I had long admired and followed, Susan Piver. Susan is from a lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, called Shambhala, which I deeply admire and respect. Though, to be clear, one does not have to be Buddhist to participate, practice, or teach meditation. The opportunity Susan was offering through her Open Heart Project, was unique and fit within where my life is presently. The practice of Shamatha (Sanskrit for “calm abiding”) has become my core daily practice and the practice I am now authorized to teach.

I cannot adequately express my gratitude or how amazing the past 9 weeks of training have been with Susan, and Jenna Hollenstein who co-taught. Their generosity of heart, the knowledge and wisdom imparted to us, and the gentleness of this practice transmitted to us has been a gift. I made friends from around the world that I will now be connected with and the practice I love and is a refuge has deepened. I am humbled, honored and grateful to share this with others. Bows of gratitude to both Susan and Jenna, along Michele Gare who was the magic behind the scenes at The Open Heart Project.
~j

get in the game…


we must be vigilant and tireless in our commitment. truth, goodness, kindness, compassion, and love require our participation. ~j

#Bodhisattvas #BodhisattvaVow #Service #FierceCompassion #Compassion #Kindness #Courage #Love #OpenHeart #TheLongArc

fear…

  

fear constricts, freezes, suffocates and enslaves life. often expressing itself through aggression and violence. it alienates us, enforcing the illusion of separateness. fear runs counter to life. 
but love, the very ground of our being, opens us. with practice and cultivation it strengthens us, equipping us to take further steps into vulnerability and mystery. love reminds us of our interdependence and interconnection with each other and all life. with love as our foundational practice, we embody understanding, generosity, patience, compassion and kindness. this embodiment of love and recognition of our interdependence and interconnectedness is what gives our lives gratitude and joy. 
it is this life of love that can be our place of refuge in a world filled with change and dramatic events. even as the storms rage and swirl around us, we can be a still beacon of light for all who need it.
~j
#fear #aggression #violence #separateness #illusionofseparateness #life #love #interdependence #interconnectedness #practice #meditation #generosity #understanding #patience #compassion #kindness #vulnerability #openheart #gratitude #joy #JMW #TheMettaGarden

Lighten the load…

  

Lighten the load…
it is good and beneficial to let go, to release the past with any resentments or uncomfortable memories. it is good to be free.
but I’m beginning to understand that there is a freedom even beyond the good memories as well. this is where life is most vibrant and full, I’m beginning to think, in the places where we are completely open and untethered.
what is there to hold on to?
~j

Relinquishing is the ground for practicing ‘beginner’s mind.’ It helps us see things anew, as they really are; to be willing to listen to the thoughts and ideas of others with an open mind. So the relinquishing of thoughts and ideas about which we have been adamant can give us a sense of freedom, joy, and spaciousness. 

~ Allan Lokos
#LetGo #release #freedom #BeginnersMind #OpenHeart #OpenMind #spaciousness #LightenTheLoad #NoBaggage