May 16th – June 6th, Thursday evenings 6:30 – 8:00pm
Location: Ames (or by remote access, please inquire)
In this next series we’ll look at humanistic Buddhism and the writings of Chinese Master Jiqun in his book, “The Return to the Real Life.”
What is Mindfulness?
April 4th – 25th, 2019, Thursday evenings, 6:30 – 8:00pm
Mindfulness is the cornerstone of Buddhist practice. It keeps our meditation grounded in the here and now. By focusing on what the Buddha called the Four Foundations of Mindfulness – body, feelings, mind, objects of mind – we can obtain deep concentration which then leads to insight into the nature of reality.
In this four week class we will explore Jan Chozen Bays book, How to Train a Wild Elephant.
Week 1: What is Mindfulness?
Reading: pages 1-18 in How to Train a Wild Elephant.
Practice #1: Use your non-dominant hand for some ordinary tasks each day. These could include brushing your teeth, combing your hair, or eating with the non-dominant hand for at least part of each meal.
“Be in the body.” – Dai-En Bennage Roshi
Week 2: How do we practice it?
Practice #2: Notice touch. Become more sensitive to both what you touch and what touches you, both physically and emotionally. When you hold something in your hands, you could practice using both of your hands to hold it. How does it feel to use both hands? What textures do you notice? Can we see the connection between what we touch on the outside and our self?
“Washing the dishes is not just washing the dishes [like an object], but washing your own heart.” – Dai-En Bennage Roshi
Week 3: Focusing attention.
Practice #3: Notice the bottoms of your feet. When walking or sitting down, place your attention on the sensations in the muscles of your feet. Anytime you notice anxiety, consider redirecting your focus to your feet. You may wish to notice your feet with your eyes. As you become aware of your feet, do you notice any changes or shifts in how you feel? If so, can you describe them?
“Our feet are our world.” – Dai-En Bennage Roshi
Week 4: Mindful Eating
Practice #4: Chew each mouthful completely. When sitting down to eat, fully chew and swallow each mouthful of food prior to taking in the next mouthful. Practice putting your utensils down between bites. Bring your attention into your mouth and actually taste what you are eating. Enjoy it. This practice helps us to become more patient as we take our time with our food.