In the early days of InsightLA, we always practiced mindful sitting and walking meditation together. Our practice group was small and we all got to know each other and feel we belonged together. Now we’ve grown into a real organization; it’s clear that InsightLA’s community is born of the work of many hands. InsightLA belongs to many hearts, including yours.
It didn’t happen all at once. We went through an organic process of learning together — learning how to be responsible for ourselves and how to BE together. Any progress we’ve made is a result of all of us gathering to practice, teach, love and support others who seek a generous, fulfilling way to live.
Now our teacher group is growing, too. Our hope is that you can get to know our teachers and each other better — in the quietly friendly, bonding way that happens naturally when people can go to retreats. Our intention is to establish a model and precedent for simple, intimate practice together as a community of teachers, students, staff, friends, where everybody belongs. In this spirit, you’re invited to our very first monthly gathering, beginning this Saturday, 8:30-11AM (Click here for the Community Sit).
Also, Monday June 1st, [...]
Change and Gratitude
Impermanance. With practice we find ease with the daily changes. The milk’s gone sour. We’re out of eggs. OK – so no pancakes today. It was only ever a thought anyway. Then our partner says something like, “How do you feel about moving across the country?”
Where is the mind now?
This was not in my plan. What about my friends? What about my work? Who will I be without them? Will I be lonely?
As we prepare to move, it is a poignant time for me that includes a great sense of loss. Trudy reveals the beauty hidden in this–I have truly been here, deeply engaged. This feeling of loss is paradoxically a reflection of great abundance. Gratitude blooms forth. The deep gift of spiritual friendship is everywhere apparent in these days.
And the blessing of having friends on the path continues: friends here connect me with friends there and in finding beautiful new friendships waiting for me I see that our community is even larger than I knew. The warmth of this welcome teaches me again that where ever people gather to practice together, I am home.
Barn’s burnt down
Now I can see the moon
~ Mizuta Masahide
Gratitude. A Love Note [...]
Thursday morning I read a poem to our Deepening Your Practice class, a great meeting place for folks who’ve done some retreat practice and want to extend their practical understanding of the teachings in daily life. Norman Fischer’s book on the lojong practice, “Training in Compassion”, is our guide, so I thought the poem fit right in. See if you agree.
I love the light-hearted, intimate, and poignant way the poet speaks to our human longings; the hunger for beauty and wish-fulfilling money, the desire to have our dreams of love and immortality come true. When we bring some self-compassion and appreciation to both the tragic and comic dimensions of this human realm, the hard times are easier to bear, the joyful ones to share.
WHY I OPTED FOR THE MORE EXPENSIVE OIL AT JIFFY LUBE
by Julie Price Pinkerton
This one is better for a car as old as yours, he says.
It won’t glob up, he says. And spring is almost here,
so of course you need a thicker oil.
And I say, So with this good oil my car will run better
and it’ll be washed and waxed every time I get in it?
Yes, he says. And you’ll never have to put another drop [...]
Okay, everybody sing along to the tune of Happy Birthday: “Happy earthday to you! Happy earthday to you! Happy earth day every- body — (Hold this note) — regardless of kingdom, phyla, class, order, family, genus or species — regardless of color of skin, fur, feathers, scales, leaves or bark – (Resume singing) — Happy earthday to you!”
And yes, the earth gave birth to all of us: the microbes and the macrobes, the ferns, frogs, fish, finches, four-leggeds, you and me and we are all together. And earthday is everybody’s mother’s day.
And the earth continues to suckle us all, with air and water, food and shelter. And even though we are spinning through space at many thousands of miles an hour, we don’t even have to hold on — because the earth is holding on to us with her strong arms of gravity. She is the mother, the nurture of our being, our rock of ages.
My earthling friends, our bones are made out of phosphates, silicates, carbon — the actual clay of earth molded into this human shape. And most of our bodies are liquid, and most of that liquid has the chemical consistency of the oceans. We literally sweat [...]
The sun was setting this evening as I was taking a walk on my narrow street in Venice. The star jasmine was in full bloom and I was caught up by the fragrance, when a woman called, “Trudy.” She had come to meditations in the early days of InsightLA, and lives nearby.
We talked about how we love this neighborhood. I said, “I hope I can rent the house I’m in forever – I hope my landlady will let me.” She laughed and waved her arm, saying, “Don’t worry, if need be, you’ll find another place. Because you have spread so much love around here.”
My hand went to my heart, instinctively. It felt sweet and reassuring; it was clear she meant it. And that prompted me to think about how important it is to express appreciation and gratitude as often as we can. And how it’s also important for us to take it in when love or thanks are offered. Sometimes we don’t, or it makes us squirm a little.
But right now I’d like to invite you to share stories of your experience with meditation, mindfulness practice, and InsightLA. How has meditation changed things in your life? What does your practice [...]