I would like to share news about an upcoming webinar, ‘Begin with Wholeness, End with Joy’, presented by Maria Hamilton Abegunde, Visiting Lecturer, Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington. This webinar focuses on how Ms. Abegunde, a poet, priest, and healer, uses contemplative and ritual practices in her courses on Black Feminisms to help students navigate through emotionally-charged material without being overwhelmed by feelings of personal crisis and injustices past and current.
The live webinar will be Nov. 30, 11 am, and is free. If you can’t watch at that time, you can watch a recording of the webinar by going to the host organization’s (Assoc. for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education) web site. More information about the webinar topic, the presenter, and links to past webinar offerings are available online at the ACMHE web page.
The Psychology Department has informed me of an upcoming seminar that should interest anyone who pays attention to the inner workings of their mind, and, naturally, all meditators. The lecture is called “Consciousness and Its Place in Nature” and will be offered by Christof Koch, Ph.D on Wed, Nov. 14, 7 pm, Psych 105.
Full details about this event as provided by the Psychology Department follow:
Did you know that Reed College celebrates a special once-a-year holiday called Health-O-Ween? H-O-Ween is sponsored by Reed’s Wellness Committee, a Reed community group that highlights a spectrum of wellness activities for the Reed community.
Health-O-Ween activities announced by the Wellness Committee for next week include:
I would like to share information about a meditation-related event that is taking place on campus this Thurs (October 4), 5-6 pm, in the Aspen Multicultural Room.
The free event, “Be a Spiritual Warrior”, features a talk/workshop presented by longtime Kundalini Yoga master, Stuart Perrin.
Back in the 1960′s, a Trappist monk named Thomas Merton wrote,
Douglas Steere remarks very perceptively that there is a pervasive form of contemporary violence to which the idealist fighting for peace by nonviolent methods most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence.
He went on,
To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone and everything is to succumb to violence. More than that, it is cooperation in violence. The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his work for peace. It destroys his own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of his own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.
‘Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander’ by Thomas Merton*
I have spent most of my 60+ years being ‘carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns.’ If the internet and email and work haven’t been enough, there has also been my natural desire to be valued by my peers and my unshakeable belief that my ‘value’ is rooted in my accomplishments, real and imagined.
Nearly all meditation practices involve a point of focus: the breath, sounds, body sensations, mantras. For me this often means finding that focal point and watching and watching until … I notice that I’m no longer watching. One, perhaps unfortunate, by-product of this approach is it reinforces my sense of “I”. I’m watching. I’m watching. Whoops. I’m not watching any more. I should be watching!
I just read an interview with the publisher of a new online magazine, The Disconnect. The interview’s title pretty much says it all, “The Online Magazine You Can’t Read Online” (Nautilus, 16 Aug 2018). Wait, what?
Weekly silent meditation sessions will continue each Tuesday, noon-1 pm, this Fall-Winter in the Reed chapel. See Our Schedule for dates and alternative rooms.
Our sessions are open to everyone in the Reed community and to all campus visitors. The sessions are marked formally by bells rung periodically from 12:10 (start) to 12:40 pm (end). However, you are welcome to drop-in/leave anytime as your schedule requires.
Summer is when everything should go right with the world. I think I first developed this attitude the summer after my 2nd grade. It has stayed with me ever since. So this summer’s troubles — pains in my back and shoulder, the ache in my ankle, even the grievances in my heart — just seem very inappropriate for this time of year. But there they are and they require a response.
Ezra Bayda, author of Being Zen says, “on experiencing pain, we almost always immediately resist. On top of the physical discomfort we quickly add a layer of negative judgments: “Why is this happening to me?” “I can’t bear this,” and so on.” My knee-jerk, all-too-human response just doesn’t help.
Bayda then asks, “How do we live the practice life when we’re in pain? To apply such phrases as “Be one with the pain” or “There is no self” (and therefore no one to suffer) is neither comforting nor helpful. We must first understand that both our pain and our suffering are truly our path, our teacher. While this understanding doesn’t necessarily entail liking our pain or our suffering, it does liberate us from regarding them as enemies we have to conquer.”
Bayda has more insights on this topic which you can find in “When It Happens to Us” (Tricycle, Winter 2002).
Summer is the perfect time for that special activity you’ve been putting off all year. Vacation, trip home, the early morning climb to the top of Mt. Hood, or that meditation retreat to finally get your “head straight.”
Maybe. Or maybe not. Because it seems like nothing in life, least of all our heads, can ever be put completely and permanently straight.
On the topic of head-straightening meditation retreats, Brent Oliver writing in Trike Daily (31 May 2018) says retreats are “not all calm and cosmic-flavored bubble gum.” I wouldn’t know. I’ve never been. But if you’re considering your first retreat this summer you might appreciate some of Brent’s observations. Or, you might just go with no preconceptions and an open mind.
See 5 Things That Might Surprise You about Meditation Retreats, Brent Oliver (Trike Daily, 31 May 2018)