Archive for January 2012

Many wonderful and strange animals.

From Steve:

(compassion: exploring with tender curiosity)

A teaching we often hear is “be compassionate toward yourself. Only then can you offer peace and love.” And often self-compassion is framed as acceptance and non-judgmental letting go of expectations. Cultivating an opening of the heart has been a nourishing and freeing gift of committed practice.

There is another aspect of compassion which is energetic and turns the mind from a tendency towards passivity. During moments of focus on the breath and stillness, clear and strong emotions can arise. In ourselves or we notice them in our friend. If I can use the breath practice to set aside reacting/ignoring and let the emotion be, then there is a space to observe and explore.

Working with clear and strong emotions helps to build the skill of compassion. Then we enter the lush forest of fuzzy and more subtle feelings and habits of mind. Ajahn Chah observed “As you meditate, your mind will get quieter and quieter, like a still forest pool. Many wonderful and rare animals will come to drink at the pool, but you will be still. This is the happiness of mindfulness.”

Thursday, Barry will lead, with the topic “Ice on the Sidewalk”. A great time and place to practice concentration and mindfulness of where the feet are stepping.


Beginners welcome Cushions & chairs provided

Siting Meditation Walking Meditation

Deep Listening/Mindful Speaking Sharing the Merit of Our Practice


Upcoming Day of Mindfulness and other news…

Please join us for a Day of Mindfulness:
10AM-4PM Saturday, January 14, 2012.  Chapel Gathering Space at St. Ambrose University.  Register via  Dave Haskin, long time mindfulness retreat leader, is coming from Madison to facilitate.  $15   bring your lunch.
We continue to practice together on Thursday and Fridays at 7 pm. Fridays we have a new location.  See below.  Thursdays we still meet at the Davenport School of Yoga, 421 Brady Street in downtown Davenport.  This is our 7th year of sitting, walking and sharing together, establishing the practice of mindfulness. And we have a new 4 pm Friday meditation at Prairie Oaks, a 20 acre tree farm.
 The Friday 7 pm meditation group will meet at the Yoga School’s Bettendorf location.  3420 Towne Point Drive, Bettendorf,  IA. 
Take Devil’s Glen north from Middle Road, past the HyVee.  Proceed on Devil’s Glen past the stoplight at Belmont.  Go north one more block and turn right.  The School is located just west and north of the Fareway Grocery.  Look for our Meditation banner!
Some cushions and chairs will be available.  
Prairie Oaks is meditation and retreat center on a 20 acre tree farm.  Mindfulness meditation is offered at 4 pm on Fridays.  This is out in the country behind LeClaire, west of Territorial Road.  You will need directions.  Call Joyce at 289-3292.  
From Steve:

Mindfulness is described as the quality of undistorted awareness.
Lofty language.  With the Zen-like qualities of precision and obscurity.  It points the conditions we cultivate and the circumstances we face – loads of distorted awareness out there.
 We could go down the list, but you know it by heart.  We are all aware that expectations, the hard lessons of past experience and misperceptions from reading other people’s minds color how we see things.  What we may fail to grasp is just how complete and common these distortions are.  The windows we look out are primarily mirrrors that reflect back our own stuff.  As Pogo said so succinctly: “We have looked at the enemy, and it is us.”
Recall a dark evening, sitting in a well lit room, beside a large pane glass window.  Peering outside through the glass, you do not see the lawn and woods you know to be there.  Rather, you see your reflection and that of the room surrounding you, imposed on the black beyond the window.  What we perceive as a window is really a mirror.
Our mindfulness practice, including our time together in sitting and walking meditation, is a gathering and cultivating of the light of awareness.  We are energizing a flood light to illuminate the darkness, so as we gaze out the window, we can see the lawn and woods, rather than our reflection in a mirror.
What is a mirror in the normal course of life becomes a window with a beautiful and refreshing view.