Technology and Attention

TEACHER: Jeff Warren
THEME: Technology and Attention
MEDITATION: Getting Still
INTERACTIVE PRACTICE: Addicted to Dopamine

OK so for this evening and for this evening only everyone is encouraged to have their technology switched on, we are figuratively sponsored by Apple here, by all the great tech providers in the sky. We’ll start the evening by getting relatively still in meditation – working with space and stillness – and then for part two, our inner resolution boosted, we’re going to continue our monthly exploration of trance, this time with our own personal hypnosis devices aka oursmartphones. Have you ever really paid attention to inside experience of texting and emailing and surfing? That’s what we’ll do here. Surf the dopamine hits. And maybe get a little insight about the compulsive nature of our collective tech-habit.

Harmony and Connection

TEACHER: Jeff Warren and Kevin Lacroix
THEME: Harmony and Connection
MEDITATION: A Heart so Wide and Soft
INTERACTIVE PRACTICE: The Mindful Math of Overtones and Polyrhythm

“Hearing is basically a specialized form of touch. If you are standing by the road and a large truck goes by, do you hear or feel the vibration?” – Dame Evelyn Glennie, percussionist. Everything is an Oscillator, from violin string to hydrogen atom to … you. Or at least you’ll become one this Monday. Overtone singing is a technique whereby we ‘mask’ the fundamental note and amplify the higher harmonics. In doing so, we not only get to hear the natural math of the harmonic series, we may also get to observe how different frequencies vibrate different parts of our bodies in different ways (sinuses, ears, cheekbones, skulls). All this while creating a crazy-huge group swirly alien-cicada song. Ka-pow! Then, once we’re high on oxytocin and endorphins from the singing, we’ll ground and groove ourselves in rhythm and polyrhythm. As with the other basic musical elements of melody and harmony, there is a math to rhythm. But the math is just a matrix… and we all know how trippy things get in the Matrix.

And We Will All Be Fools Together

THEME: And We Will All Be Fools Together
MEDITATION: The Parable of Eddie
INTERACTIVE PRACTICE: Embarrassing Moment Teaching Stories

For the meditation we will internalize, literally, the parable of Eddie – little Eddie in a stream, who learned to become free by unseizuring his guts and allowing the water of life (life is a river!) to come flowing through. Then, in the interactive piece, we’ll each attempt to write an embarrassing personal story parable, where, at some point in our life, a glorious ass of ourselves we didst make. A few of us will then share our parables, in grand oratory style, turning our misfortune into a comic teaching story for all.

Always Negotiating

TEACHER: Jeff Warren
THEME: Always Negotiating
MEDITATION: Noticing the Push and Pull

Buddhist call it vedana. The subtle push or pull on sensations, on our general lack of neutrality. We are always negotiating: ‘I like this, I don’t like that,’ etc, ad infinitum. Gumming up the machinery with our preferences, our biases. So much energy expended to maintain our version of things. For this meditation, we’ll try to sneak up on our tireless vedana and explore what happens when we risk living, for a short period, without preference. Then for the interactive practice, we continue with our monthly series ‘WTF: Exploring Meditation Questions and Challenges.’ This week our topic is what it means to maintain a safe and inclusive community space. Not hilarious – it’s true – but important.

Empathy vs Compassion

TEACHER: Jeff Warren
THEME: Empathy vs Compassion
MEDITATION: Loving-kindness, Remixed

In the mid-90-s the American photographer Robert Bergman travelled through America’s Rust Belt and took a series of stunning photos of ordinary people in extraordinary states of openness and suffering. Bergman’s book – A Kind of Rapture – will be our departure point for exploring the experiential differences between empathy and compassion.

Shake ‘n Bake

TEACHER: Jeff Warren
THEME: Shake ‘n Bake
MEDITATION: Special Secret Surprise
INTERACTIVE PRACTICE: WTF: Exploring Meditation Questions and Challenges.

Fresh from our CEC retreat (happening this coming weekend – last chance!), our first practice of the month will be decided extemporaneously, something exactly suited to the moment to prepare the whole giddy posse for our monthly salon-slash-exploration of all the ways meditation makes us, breaks us, and Kraft Shake ‘n Bake’s™ us, to use an exactly unsuitable metaphor.

The Open

TEACHER: Jeff Warren
THEME: The Open
MEDITATION: Open Awareness
GROUP PRACTICE: Open Intelligence
For this meditation, the open container of our awareness – expressed in our open posture – is both our starting point and our final destination. “Short moments of awareness repeated many times become continuous,” says the nondual teacher Candice O’Denver. We work from this insight in our meditation, and then we’ll explore how to apply it in life. How is this open knowing any different from our more familiar thinking process? IS it different? Let’s see what we see.

The Mind

TEACHER: Jeff Warren
THEME: The Mind
MEDITATION: Samskara Party
GROUP PRACTICE: Partner Noting
For this practice you have 100% permission to ruminate and agonize and daydream and make compulsive to-do lists – the only condition is you will also follow this thinking pattern, like a detective, like a meditative gumshoe. Where is this thought-train going, and what exactly is it made of? Then for the group practice we’ll meditate in pairs, ping-ponging back-and-forth, sharing our discoveries, our large ungainly neurotic we.

The Body, The View

TEACHER: Jeff Warren
THEME: The Body, The View
MEDITATION: Our Somatic Unconscious
GROUP PRACTICE: Metaphors We Live By
Some Buddhists believe our body is the repository of all our conditioning, that as we move our consciousness into its dark spaces we facilitate a process of expression and catharsis. Let’s investigate. Then for the Group Practice, we’ll consider the idea of exploration itself, and examine how the metaphors we use for practice may shape our experience.

The Ground

TEACHER: Jeff Warren
THEME: The Ground
MEDITATION: Earth-Breathing
GROUP PRACTICE: WTF: Exploring Meditation Questions and Challenges.
Our first meditation comes by way of Reggie Ray, Vajrayana bad-boy in the tradition of his teacher, Chogyam Trungpa. This practice will turn you into a mountain, a hunk of breathing earth, like the way soil breathes when it’s aerated. From this solid ground we move into our regular monthly group practice of sharing meditation experiences and challenges, pooling wisdom and insight and continuing on with the ongoing adventure of being an awesome community.