Please come together for our monthly open dharma sharing and tea. We will practice mindfulness together, in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, in guided, walking, and silent meditations. We take time to slow ourselves down, stop, enjoying the freshness of the present moment. Stopping is the first step that allows us to look deeply, develop concentration leading to understanding and transformation of obstacles in our path. We practice together, supporting each other and ourselves in this process.
Dharma sharing and discussion is a special time to share the experiences of our practice. We quiet ourselves with three breaths, settle into ourselves, and we speak deeply from our heart.
· We bow to the Sangha when we are ready to share what arises or is deeply present for us: insights we have gained, obstacles that have arisen, the fruits of our practice, touching calmness, compassion, joy, or the ongoing struggles.
· We speak to the whole group—not to a particular person, focusing simply on what is present within us at this moment. When questions arise, we may sit with them, not needing anyone to give us their answer.
· We also do our best to be concise and limit the time we speak so that everyone has an opportunity to share, also knowing that anyone is free not to share. We avoid speaking a second time until everyone has had a turn.
· We keep our focus on our practice. We do not intellectualize, nor do we promote favorite causes, or urge others to use our personal way of doing things. We bow to let others know we are finished.
Deep listening is the complementary attention to the speaker, the words and what's between the words. As we listen to our dharma sisters and brothers, we diligently remain present with the person who is sharing. We keep our hearts open with loving-kindness. We give our deep respect to the one sharing by keeping confidentiality. We do not cross talk by giving advice, questioning, negating, or putting down what another has said. We do our best to understand deeply, to be able to quietly share in the other’s suffering and joy. We listen so that the speaker feels heard though we have not spoken.
All are welcome, new, old, returning, all spiritual traditions are honored and respected. Please bring something to share (a reading from a favorite book or author, a poem or story that helps us see clearly. This is a happy time we value as our spiritual friendships deepen and grow as we listen and/or share together. We feel the powerful support of the sangha as we travel our paths and join together as a river, a cell in the great buddha=body we all have within.
Ken will lead and bring fresh peppermint tea from our garden and cookies for a treat.