Liberation

Liberations is instantaneous.

Liberation is in the moment when one sets down a burden and before picking up another.

Liberation is when the search stops.

Liberation is when the search, and what is sought are experienced as having no independent inherent essence. 

Liberation is when the mind rests in the understanding and experience of the emptiness of all things that arise as a result of a cause.

Liberation is the freedom of spontaneous, unconditional forbearance toward all beings and oneself.

Liberation is the dropping of the concept that one is not liberated. 

It has always been challenging for me to reconcile the luxury and ease of having the time and opportunity to be able to contemplate these things, and the awareness of other people, whose birth into genetic streams of generational trauma and whose lives and thoughts are consumed with just surviving, and not conducive to contemplation without a heroic amount of effort. In my life the experience of liberation is the freedom from habits of mind and conditioning that lead me to attachment or aversion. It is freedom from the mental gymnastics of doubt and judgment of self and others. What is liberation for the starving masses in war, flooded, and drought stricken lands? What is liberation for the deeply impoverished rural populations of the Western societies, who have been led into the addictions of alcohol, pain relievers, 24 hour hate media, and spiritual charlatans promising liberation? What is liberation for the urban destitute who don’t even have the respite of nature and its solace, but are born into canyons of empty, concrete and glass promises and unscalable and soul crushing mountains of the Wealthy’s law and order?

As I hold these disparate worlds in the crucible of contemplation, I notice that, by opening my experience to the images and thoughts that arise from seeing the lives of the folks who do not live in the luxury of having time and opportunities to contemplate, the incessant habit stream of conditioned thinking dissolves. I am no longer a cloud of lofty aspirations mulling the nature of reality. I experience being grounded in humanness and thisness. The non conceptual qualities of loving kindness, compassion, gratitude/joy and equanimity are unveiled as manifestations of true nature, not merely concepts. Fears of losing my place in the hierarchy of materialism and intellectualism drop away and I am left with the prayer that I will have the capacities and be presented with opportunities to bring ease to those who are suffering however, whenever and wherever that suffering occurs. 

That is all that is left.

I experience liberation.

In the teachings of the boddhisatva path to liberation, the buddhas and enlightened ones appear endlessly, without hesitation, wherever there is suffering. They rarely show up as pulpit bangers or cushion sitters or miracle workers, but dressed in the garb, the desires, the attachments, the lostness of those who are suffering, regardless of social class, spiritual lineage, or past deeds. They are relentlessly residing within the caves of the suffering, living as companions to those who are suffering, no matter how it manifests. In some of the teachings it is pointed out that those of us who live lives of material ease ultimately suffer immensely when we realize our ignorance of how we may have perpetuated suffering in the world because of our ignorance and desires to hold onto our luxury. While the sages immerse themselves into these caves of ignorance, greed and hatred they are shining lights on on the path to liberation that originates from each individual’s, unique, inherent manifestation of goodness. Like Jesus and all the wisdom teachers, these buddhas descend into hell, not to battle with the lost souls but to invite them without conditions into the heaven of their own true nature.

When I am able in a moment of presence to willingly and without expectation to offer all that I am, and am not, to bring about an end to suffering, I experience liberation. I practice and study the dharma, however it shows up, to be always ready to step into the cave and don the garb wherever and whenever the call comes. I often cannot hear or am ignorant of the call because it is drowned out by the cacophony of my own mind stream of conditioned greed and aversion. But there are moments, more and more with practice, that this willingness to show up, presents opportunities to apply the lessons of buddha, dharma and sangha, in the world. It is not like when, in my younger years, I would barrel into the barrios with my arrogance and righteousness to save those “lesser” folks from their lives. Riding in on my white horse into save the lives that I assumed were insufficient without what I had. The experience is merely waiting for the invitation to walk a path with another without any objective but to relive suffering, whatever that means to them.  

With the practice, the path, that I have the skills and experience and humility to travel, steps into me, meets me, and shows me where and how I can do this work without causing more suffering. When I slow down enough and listen without ambition or agendas, what is needed offers itself as a gift for deeper practice and understanding of the path. Liberation is the result of the acts of selfless/egoless serving and dedication to the end of suffering for all beings throughout all times and in all directions. Liberation is the result of finally being willing to be unconditionally, essentially human.

These words are dedicated to all wisdom elders and wisdom teachings and to bringing about the end of suffering for all beings throughout all times and in all directions.

May it be so.

-William

Practice

The Sangha of the Pandemic offers several opportunities for a safe, inclusive, free, virtual community contemplative practice. Everyone is welcome regardless of meditation experience or spiritual lineage.

The Zoom link is:  

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89989680789

Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays: 6 AM PacificTime

Monday: calm abiding, Samatha, Tuesday: body awareness, Thursday: Tonglen

Sunday at 7 AM Pacific Time: Four Brahmaviharas

and

Monday and Wednesday evenings at 5:30 PM Pacific Time : Practice and Inquiry       

Please feel free to forward this email and any posts form our website at:

Sangha of the Pandemic                   

Working with Karma

The first few paragraphs of this post are my attempt to wind through the mental and emotional knots of how the three poisons work to create karma. For a real life, non conceptual reflection on work ing with karma skip right down to Chuck Fondue’s story. 

Karma is the activity, experienced and observed, of the perpetual engine of cause and effect. Karma is not the cause of suffering. Suffering manifests as a result of how I relate to karma. Release from suffering is not an effect of karma. Release of suffering comes about as a result of how I relate to karma.

Karma is the beginningless activity of cause and effect. Being beginningless it is also endless. Being endless it is beginingless. Mental and emotional suffering and release from this suffering are effects and causes in the infinite expanse of karma. The effects of grasping clinging, lust, and greed of passion that come about are effects.  These effects are caused by the conceptualizing mind wanting to hold fast to, or make definitive, to know for sure, an ultimate cause of karma. Aversion, hatred and violence as expressions of aggression are the effects of the mind wanting to push away anything that reminds me of the reality that the causes and effects of karma are unknowable. These passions and aggressions are the effects of the ignorance of the true nature of Karma as being beginingless, endless and empty of true nature. 

In the cases when I experience suffering as aggression, I am relating to karma by trying to avoid, push away, destroy; i.e. act aggressively toward karmic activity that I believe threatens my well being and/or survival. It is also when who and what I think myself to be, or what I want to be, is brought into question. 

In cases when I experience the suffering of passion I am relating to karmic activity by trying to grasp and cling to, the experience of freedom from suffering. It is the suffering of the mind trying to make something permanent.

The suffering of ignorance manifests when I forget that the activity of the karma that I experience is merely a perpetual engine of cause and effect.  This engine of activity has no intrinsic nature and no form. It is a habit of a conditioned mind and therefore cannot be pushed away or clung to. Ignorance is when I believe that karma, its activity, and the resulting suffering is the absolute nature of reality; when I believe that Karma is more than merely habitual, conditioned activity in the infinite field of beingness. 

The suffering of ignorance arises when my habits of thinking and conditioned reactivity to karma draw my perception of reality away from the experiential knowledge of the true nature of being. This true nature arises to awareness when I experience a pause in the mind’s incessant activity and see reality just as it is: unconditional, universal goodness.

So how is it possible to work with something so omnipresent and and intrinsically non-existent?

From Chuck Fondse.

First things first: I am writing down my experience with mindful concern. Writing it down gives is a permanence that is not part of the experience. In fact, after I share my experience, I will tell the “rest of the story” that shows just how impermanent it was. 

November 11 to 14, 2022 

My surgery for a right knee replacement is scheduled for Monday morning, early. Arrival time is to be 6:15am at the surgery center. Today is Saturday. I have spent the past days on the beach in Oregon with my spouse. Today we spent the windy, chilly, mostly cloudy day on the beach with my children and grandchildren, with a photographer capturing the day for photos to be shared at Christmas and beyond. We are having a laughing good time. If I shared photos, you could see it. My granddaughter Alice is an angel, and Marjke is being her normal naughty self. 

Jan and I leave to pack up our room and meet the rest at a breakfast place that Alice is so excited about. The food is good, I have Buckwheat pancakes, a treat I can rarely find. Then, my body starts to cramp and off to the restroom I go. I have a history of such stomach occurrences ever since my extreme dysentery incident in the 70’s in the middle east. I have learned to live with it and for the most part control it. What happened next took me by surprise. I had extreme vertigo. Jan needed to help me to the car. I rested for the rest of the afternoon, and it seemed to go away. 

Sunday was spent at home relaxing, getting the house ready for my recuperation. Sunday evening we ordered our favorite Chinese food and I was wolfing it down as usual. And then it hit again. The whole world started to spin. I was scared. I closed my eyes, opened them and still the same. I am worried about not being able to do the surgery. After an hour, it subsides a bit and I do my pre-surgery shower and sleep in a bed with clean linens on them, following instructions of the surgery center. 

Monday morning alarm goes off at 5:15am. I get up thankful that the vertigo was gone. We were heading for the door when I almost fell. It hit again, powerfully telling me that I was not in control. I had to use my walker, intended for post surgery, to get to the car. As Jan drove me in the dark rainy morning, it did not get better. I hobbled into the center to the reception desk and was checked in. The nurse comes to get me and helps me to my room. The world is still spinning. I tell her about it. She asks me to stand before she leaves me to change into those wonderful challenging hospital robes with no back. I almost fall. She is alarmed, tells me to sit and leaves to consult with the anethesiologist. I beg her to let me be for a bit but she is not going to just let me into surgery. She leaves. I look for a spot in the floor that can stop spinning and bow my head. 

Suddenly I feel a cry come from my gut, tears flowing from my eyes and I say, from the gut I—Am— SCARRED. I AM REALLY SCARED. There is no one in the room to comfort me with “It will be ok Chuck. Don’t worry.” No I sit with my fear, tasting it, seeing it, embracing it as I had just learned to do in our Sangha. William had been helping us just sit with our discomfort we SAW in each of our own versions of the three poisons. And as I sat with it, the power of the spinning dissipated. It did not go away but I could stand and function without falling. No one was in the room yet. Then the Dr and nurses and administrator come in to “talk to me.” I was more afraid of postponing the surgery than of having it at that moment, but I was also SEEing that my body had memory that I was not aware of from the last knee surgery. That one went poorly. I was in the hospital for 3 nights and went home in extreme pain. 

As the doctor talked to me about why we should not proceed and the risks of ambulances and emergency rooms in these COVID/FLU times I forcefully asked him to be quiet and let me do their pre-op proof of walking with my walker all through the hallways, the prescribed test they gave me. I passed with flying colors. Yes, I was still not cognitively “all there” but the debilitating vertigo was gone. 

Surgery went very well. Only 1 ½ hours for a total knee replacement. Post surgery went very well and I have been walking from the first day out. Today, I can walk without a cane but use one for safety and stability. I am about 1 to 2 weeks ahead of the schedule that I was on with my last knee. 

Why do I share this? 

1. I realize that my body had a memory that I had pushed down below cognizant awareness. It was not letting it go until I heard it. 

2. I learned to embrace the fear, truly embrace it, and in so doing, the fear became manageable and my body responded. 

3. This would not have been possible had I not been practicing. Practice is what we do each morning we gather and the in between times when we “remember.” 

4. SO, thank you to the Sangh of the Pandemic. 

The rest of the story: I have had several major vertigo incidents since surgery, the last one being after our wonderful Thanksgiving meal at our house. I almost fell in the bathroom. This one has not left me 3 days later. I can function, sometimes slow the spinning down, but it is still there. I see my PCP on Friday to see if we can find out why. I grieve the impermanence of the solution that appeared to find me in the surgery center. I am scared that this might last and define my life going on. I am mad. I am trying to embrace each of those. IMPERMENANCE sucks. BUT, permanence is hell, the hell of expectations of perfection, happiness, the way it is supposed to be. 

So there you have it. Today I can write on the computer, I can read for short periods of time. I can do my exercises, I am much more pain free than the last knee, and I may even be able to play with my model trains. My greatest attachment is to my biking. That is one of my greatest fears, to lose that. This vertigo thing is a teacher that I did not ask for. NOT IN THE LEAST!!!! My oh my. What will a person do? – Chuck Fondse

_____________

These words are dedicated to all wisdom elders and wisdom teachings and to bringing about the end of suffering for all beings throughout all times and in all directions.

May it be so.

-William

Practice

The Sangha of the Pandemic offers several opportunities for a safe, inclusive, free, virtual community contemplative practice. Everyone is welcome regardless of meditation experience or spiritual lineage.

The Zoom link is:  

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89989680789

Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays: 6 AM PacificTime

Monday: calm abiding, Samatha, Tuesday: body awareness, Thursday: Tonglen

Sunday at 7 AM Pacific Time: Four Brahmaviharas

and

Monday and Wednesday evenings at 5:30 PM Pacific Time : Practice and Inquiry       

Please feel free to forward this email and any posts form our website at:

Sangha of the Pandemic                                           

Karma

“I have good parking karma.”

“They must have bad karma.”

“Your karma’s showing.”

“What goes around comes around.”

“If you do good you get good.”

 The pop karma that permeates Western culture is rooted in the reward/punishment theologies of materialistic spirituality and egocentricity. It is centered on a “me” getting or losing as a result of actions or speech, or payback for the “other” who has taken something from or given something to a “me”. There is a thread that runs through it, spun out of reward and punishment, that if the “me”cannot get, or does get, what it wants or thinks that it needs, some unseen, all knowing force will come in and impose reward or punishment in the future upon the “me” the “other”. And that the current experience is a reward or punishment for actions taken in the near or distant past.

In my earliest exposures to the concept of karma, I could only grasp it in relation to my upbringing in the Catholic church. Like the pop culture of karma, it was dependent on doing good to get a reward or if I did something bad, I would receive penance in this life or the next. There was a little taste of practicing being in the present, but it was mostly about what happened in the past and how I need to pay for my bad actions, how can I prevent those actions from happening again, so that my future will be better. Somewhere in there was the idea that doing good for others would get me to a better place in the future. i.e. it was all about me. 

I have used this understanding of karma to promote the inner-critic and the self-justifier. When I do something wrong I should be punished and until I am punished appropriately, I am a bad person. Or I did something right and I should receive a reward or acknowledgment and until I do, I experience a sense of superiority in my altruism. This all can get really convoluted triggering a torrent of shame, blame, arrogance and self righteousness.

My understanding of karma as taught in the Eastern wisdom traditions is much more straightforward and scientific. It is simply action and reaction, cause and effect; action of body, emotion, and thought and the effect of those actions. It is the unconscious engine of temporal reality. There is no moral judgment, as such, because it just is. Karma is merely cause and effect ,and then effect becoming cause for further effects… endlessly. There are some elements of accurate perception of karma in the pop culture perspective in so far as they point to this cause and effect reality, but the popular conception of karma of doing something to get something only shows up in the Eastern teachings as a simile for the mechanics of karma or an inducement to not be a mean person.

From the Eastern perspective, karma is a perpetual circular track of suffering that runs on the fuel of the three poisons; passion, aggression and ignorance. It is like an infinitely long snake feeding on its own tail. It has no independent origin, it is beginningless and endless. When inquiring carefully into the fuels and the structure of karma, it becomes apparent that it is a compound of mental concepts that have no actual substance or inherent nature. Empty concepts that arise from an infinite chain of cause and effect with no initial or terminal moment.

Seeing this and experiencing the quality of this understanding, stills the habitual mind stream for a moment. In this moment that is out of time there is an experience of what Edgar Casey called the ultimate Is-ness. I think that might be what is referred to in buddhism as thusness, and in Taoism as the eternal Tao, and perhaps it is the Rapture in Christian teachings.

In the moment-less moment, there is the experience of freedom, spaciousness, unburdenedness. The perpetual habit stream of karma and the resulting suffering is seen as void of reality. It is like the experience of waking up from an all consuming nightmare and seeing that it wasn’t real. In a sense, one steps out of the endless cycle of cause and effect, karma, and steps into the reality of true nature; though there really is no stepping off or on. It is more like a final knowing that the experience of deep ease, unconditioned love and joy, and the knowing that everything including one’s experience of self as whole, holy, goodness, is just the way things are. That the grasping, clinging, greed, hatred, aversion, fear, doubt are the shadows created by the ignorance of the way things are. These shadows are a result of trying to fix or change or undo karma; cause and effect, when in reality there is nothing really there to be undone or fixed. 

When I put my hand in fire I get burned. When I drop a stone in gravity, it falls. I cannot unburn my hand or unstop the fall. I can only not put my hand in the fire or not drop the stone in gravity. I cannot stop the immediate effect of an action. If I move in anger or hatred, either in thought or deed, I cannot undo that moment of action or thought. It will have some effect regardless of what I do, think, or say subsequently. When this realization spreads into the marrow of my being, the aspiration to stop the cycle, arises in the empty space of that realization. In the space of that awareness there is the opportunity and time to look around, find the key to the engine of karma, turn it off, and get off the track.

The goodness of karmic activity is in its capacity to point, urge and cajole us to be alert to suffering and the endless causes and effects of suffering. As awareness of how habit and conditioning contributes to suffering grows, the awareness of the nature of reality as goodness expands. It is as if karmic activity is a headlamp on a path that is shrouded in ignorance; shining the light of understanding on the obstacles of cause and conditioning, and showing a way through to the experience of reality as the intrinsic goodness of being.

In this reality there is only the substance-less, causeless, absolute goodness perpetuating and being perpetuated, reflecting and re-reflecting itself. It is in the eyes of a child discovering snow, and a guardian seeing the child discovering snow. It is in the awe of infinitely different sunsets and the blinding explosions of a lightning strike. It is in the first breath of life and the last sigh of death. It is here and now. No need to search or strive or do anything to get it. Just lay back in the arms of your own goodness and in that, allowing all beings to lay back in your embrace of goodness. 

_____________

These words are dedicated to all wisdom elders and wisdom teachings and to bringing about the end of suffering for all beings throughout all times and in all directions.

May it be so.

-William

The Three Poisons: Ignorance

From the beginning of life the body is constantly striving to survive. It does this by finding nutrients from outside of itself and transforming them into usable forms to promote and sustain itself. In this process it also learns to discern what is not usable and either avoids or rejects it. Internally it is also discerning, transforming, attacking, and expelling. The body develops habits and conditioning that simplifies the process and makes it efficient. In my utterly layperson’s understanding, the brain is the storehouse for the information gathered from these body experiences and directs this process through the nervous system. 

Somewhere along the line, this natural, efficient and necessary process bleeds over into the learned experiences of pleasure and displeasure and the consciousness of those experiences. We begin to link survival of the body with pleasure, and death of the body with displeasure. As infants, especially in the preverbal stage, we only have our physical being to communicate this pleasure and displeasure, or to grasp for comfort and push away discomfort. As a result of the memory of these experiences the developing consciousness also becomes conditioned to maximize the efficiency of getting what we sense/think/feel will sustain us and keeping away what we sense/think/feel will harm us. We learn that crying, pooping, crawling, talking etc. will all get a response or not; give us pleasure or not. As this capacity of consciousness matures and a sense of self and other begins to crystallize, the habits and conditioning of this early developmental stage, as well as the continuing developmental processes of coming to adulthood, continue to function and calcify throughout our lives. The efficiency of the processes of physical survival are imprinted in our consciousness and we are able to skip the conscious, linear process developing unconscious habits of thinking and feeling associated, correctly and incorrectly with survival.

Over time and through repetition, these unconscious habits of sensing, reacting, feeling and thinking stimulate the development of conditioned reactions of passion with its expressions of grasping, clinging, craving and greed as well as aggression with its expressions of aversion, hatred, anger and violence. The lack of awareness of the origin and function of these habits is one part of the poison of ignorance. 

A few of the most apparent expressions of this behavior out of ignorance for me are when I have an aversion to being around someone or some situation for no obvious reason, or when I am spontaneously yelling at a driver who won’t drive the way I want them to, or judging another or myself for not doing “it” right. This is unconscious aggression. Using concentration and insight in contemplation, leads to bringing to light the hidden conditioning or habit that runs the engine of the aggression. Upon deeper inquiry, I am able to see how my unconscious grasping or clinging or lust (passion) for something is the sparkplug igniting the start up of the engine engine of aggression. More aggression leads to more intense and unconscious passions, and the endless cycle of suffering. The process of shining a light of awareness on unconscious habits and conditioning allows me to be able to then make choices and offer responses out of understanding the reality in the present moment, rather than out of ignorant, conditioned habit.

For example I may discover that the behavior or speech patterns or dress of the person that I have an aversion to, are the same expressions that I have been trying to eliminate in my own behavior; expressions that have caused some kind of suffering for me or others or have been detrimental to my craving or holding on to friendship, position, acceptance etc. 

Over time with consistent, regular, contemplative practice and open ended inquiry (inquiry without expectation of results)into what is happening in these instances, the light of awareness reveals the unconscious knots of aggression and passion that cause so much suffering in our lives and the lives of others. This awareness liberates thinking, feeling and acting from the prison of ignorant reactivity, allowing true freedom of choice in the present moment. Shining a light on conditioning and unconscious, habitual thought patterns, reveals our ignorance of the reality of the causes of suffering, slows down the process and opens up space for clarity.

This open, spacious, clarity reveals the other part of ignorance; the ignorance of our intrinsic  nature. 

As the clutter of unconscious habits dissolves, the spacious freedom of present reality opens up and there is an awakening to the realization that we and all those we share the cosmos with are intrinsically good, generous, kind, compassionate, joyful and non-judgmental beings. The more that we are able to cultivate this knowledge through practice, the lighter our experience of reality is. This lightness is generative and the boundaries between self and other also begin to dissolve.  The resulting space expands to include not only personal suffering and freedom from that suffering but also opens space for the understanding of the suffering of others regardless of how it manifests; in hatred, clinging, anxiety, despair, or violence. It also clears a space for mutual joy, kindness, and ease of being. The capacity of strength that comes with this experiential knowledge slows the conditional processes down enough that there is time to respond appropriately rather than react habitually in the face of suffering or joy. 

As Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche taught: “Everything is working working.” The three poisons that cause so much suffering are also the medicines that initiate the healing of awareness of the suffering. The suffering of the three poisons cause us to seek out the end of suffering because it is the intrinsic nature of all beings, not only to be free of self suffering, but to long for for all beings throughout all times and in all directions to  be free from suffering.

May it be so.

These thoughts and practices are dedicated to all wisdom elders in all traditions, and to all beings throughout all times in all directions, with the intention that they may ignite the flame of self awareness and provide a little solace and ease.

-William
 

Practice

The Sangha of the Pandemic offers several opportunities for a safe, inclusive, free, virtual community contemplative practice. Everyone is welcome regardless of meditation experience or spiritual lineage.

The Zoom link is:  

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89989680789

Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays: 7 AM CR Time

Monday: calm abiding, Samatha, Tuesday: body awareness, Thursday: Tonglen

Sunday at 7 AM CR Time: Four Brahmaviharas

and

Monday and Wednesday evenings at 5:30 PM CR Time : Practice and Inquiry                                                   

The Three Poisons: Aggression

The three poisons of passion, aggression and ignorance are inextricably linked and interdependent and are the causes of the conditioned and habitual whirl of what is referred to, in eastern traditions, as samsara. When these habits of thinking and being are explored it becomes apparent that they are the primary causes of mental and emotional suffering. When inquiring into the nature of each one, individually, there is an awareness of how they arise from and give rise to the other two in an endless cycle. Noticing this, an understanding becomes apparent that, because they rely solely on each other for activation and sustainment, they are empty of independent, inherent substance and when one of them dissolves as a result of this understanding, the whole conditioned, habitual, cycle of suffering dissolves with it. 

Aggression

When I was first introduced to the teachings of the three poisons in Shambhala Warrior* training, it seemed obvious that aggression was a poison; unlike passion and ignorance, which I thought could be seen as either a gift or blameless (respectively) and therefore not really poisonous. I associated aggression with intentional violence, hatred, meanness, anger, rage etc. I was ignorant of the more subtle expressions of aggression that arise out of aversion. Aversion is a more insidious form of aggression and violence that I have often cloaked with spiritual, social or political, superiority. Whereas passion, as a poison, is any action, feeling or thought that tries to attract, grasp and cling, aversion is any action, feeling or thought that tries to push away or avoid. (It is understood here that there are some of these movements that are necessary in moments when our existence is threatened.)

Aversion is the surreptitious form of aggression that is seeded in the grasping of, and clinging to what is thought of as the good and the beautiful and pushing away everything else. Aversion often shows up as micro aggressions in speech and action. It is mostly unconscious until it is pointed out to us by someone who has been on the receiving end of it, or we discover it in the contemplation of suffering. For me these aversions are so deeply rooted and pervasive, that the process of uncovering them and weeding them out has been filled with shame and pain and I found myself redirecting  the aggression and aversion, that I had manifested toward the other, back on myself. And as a result perpetuating the cycle of violence.

With careful and gentle guidance from teachers, spiritual friends and the sangha of compassionate beings, as well as faith in universal goodness, I have been able to sit with this aggression in gentle observation. Like a guardian sitting with a young child who is in the heart of an emotional explosion; present, allowing, and soothing but not stopping or changing the experience. Working in this way, I began to see the conditioned nature of aversion and aggression. I began to understand that most of the aggression and aversion manifested as a result of habitual and conditioned responses that were imprinted in childhood and cultivated over time in the search for pleasure and avoidance of displeasure. With aversion it was less the outward expression of aggression that I recalled but the subtle looks, gestures and speech filled with hidden meaning. Like the times when, driving to baseball games, my mom insisting that we not go through the part of town where black folk lived to get there because “it’s dangerous”.  Or the unwillingness of adults to talk openly about sexuality while giving the impression that it was evil. 

In perceiving the conditionality of aggression, aversion and all the reactivity that manifests out of them, I began to understand that they were void of their own substance or form and only existed as a result of my unconscious habits of clinging, grasping and attachment. My anger, aversion, fear and aggression were a result of a fear of loss, or of a memory of the past, or anxiety about the future. i.e not really real in this moment.

Over time and through persistent practice of presencing, and insight into the nature of my aggressions and aversions as well as my passions, the incessant cycle of elevation and diminishment of self and others has begun to dissolve. As a result, little by little, I have been more able to respond to situations out of the experience and awareness of the present reality, instead of reacting out of an unconscious habitual thought stream. Awareness of the causes and conditions of the suffering that occurs because of these poisons an important step on the path to freedom from that suffering. This capacity also supports the skill  to be able to see through the aggression and aversion of others and into the heart of their suffering, so that we can respond out of compassion instead of passion.

This description of the process sounds a lot more complicated than it is. Begin by looking closely at the most obvious expressions of aversion or aggression and asking a simple question like “Where did that come from?” or noticing how the body changes in the midst of the expression. This slows the reaction time down enough that the connections to memory, fear or habits of thought can be observed.  In the moment that the aggressions happen it may not be possible to do this, so when there is time to reflect, in a safe environment, one can recreate the experience  in the imagination and begin the inquiry. This leads to a clearer understanding of the origins of the poisons and our suffering. The more that we understand our own suffering and how it develops, the more skill we have when we engage with others who are suffering and expressing that suffering through aggression or aversion.

Ultimately we begin to see that all passion and aggression and the resulting suffering is seeded in the ignorance of how these things work. We might also begin to notice that at the core of these passions is the deep longing for the expression and experience of our inherent goodness and the inherent goodness of all beings.

May it be so.

– William

* A system of practice and insight developed by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to whom I dedicate all these words and this practice.

Practice

The Sangha of the Pandemic offers several opportunities for a safe, inclusive, free, virtual community contemplative practice. Everyone is welcome regardless of meditation experience or spiritual lineage.

The Zoom link is:  

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89989680789

Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays: 7 AM CR Time

Monday: calm abiding, Samatha, Tuesday: body awareness, Thursday: Tonglen

Sunday at 7 AM CR Time: Four Brahmaviharas

and

Monday and Wednesday evenings at 5:30 PM CR Time : Practice and Inquiry                                                   

The website for the sangha is: gratefulroadwarrior.org

Please feel free to share this or any post from the Sangha

The Three Poisons: Passion,  Aggression, Ignorance

When I study the laws, practices, commandments, and aspirations of wisdom traditions, they all seem to dedicate a good deal or time to the causes and conditions of suffering and what to avoid or what to cultivate in order to prevent or bring and end to that suffering. 

In the buddhist teachings these are refined down to three primary causes and conditions for suffering; passion (attachment, grasping, clinging, greed), aggression (hatred, aversion, anger) and ignorance (bewilderment, delusion, folly). Over the next few weeks the sangha will be exploring how these three are present in our lives and how they contribute to our suffering and the suffering of others. We will also explore how , in the same way that poisons can be helpful on the path to healing, these three point to the path of freedom from suffering.

Passion

When I first heard that passion was a poison according to buddhist teaching, I was in my mid thirties, filled with a passion for acting, sexual exploration, and finding the perfect relationship. I had bottled up my passion for living free of my family history, religious oppression, and societal pressures for most of my life and I scoffed at the idea that passion was a poison. It was the fire of a fully engaged life! I thought the other two causes made sense but was resistant to looking at my understanding and experience of passion as a detriment to an awakened life. 

As I delved more deeply into the buddhist dharma, I understood that what it was pointing to was not the belly fire of loving and fully engaging in life, but the activity of searching and moving out of my centered, present experience of life, toward something other, in an attempt to get it and own it. I began to see that passion in this sense is any thought, feeling or action that prevents the experience, perception, or understanding of things as they are, and a grasping for something other than that. Or a clinging to something to prevent an experience from disappearing or changing. This passion moves my awareness out of present time and tries to draw in or attract something that exists only in my thought stream. This is something that is derived from a construct of “good” memories or ideas, and experiences that I have been conditioned to believe are better than my experience now. In the ten commandments this would be covetousness. In the buddhist teaching, it goes beyond the “inordinate desire for another’s possessions” (def. Mer. Webster) to include the craving for or attachment to any physical, emotional or mental experience that arises out of conditioned or habitual patterns. i.e I Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda had it or I Wanna, Gotta have it. 

The key words for me are “habitual” and “conditioned”. As The practice of meditation or any other form of contemplation, develops, it allows for on objective perspective on the thought stream (or what was a torrential waterfall in my case.). When inquiring, during the relative stillness of contemplation, into what drives or motivates any action, feeling or thought, there is an opportunity to see how most dissatisfaction and resulting covetousness or greed has its origin in a memory or a promise. This is a memory that gives rise to an habitual idea of happiness or pleasure that seems better than what is being experienced in the moment. Dissatisfaction might also be observed as a conditioned state of being that has been imprinted in our unconscious while seeking and achieving a promised result, or gaining approval from childhood guardians, peers or teachers. 

At the core of this inquiry I become more aware that this passion for getting and keeping something, is a striving for freedom from suffering and  a grasping for the experience and knowledge of true nature as easeful and good. I see that my passionate activity is looking for my true nature everywhere other than where it is, here and now. In other words the passionate search for peace outside of myself is a primary cause of my suffering and ultimately the suffering of those around me.

When we spend hours scrolling screens, or self medicating, or pushing our physical body to extremes, or endlessly spending resources on trying to mold ourselves into a better looking person, habitually looking for that experience of something more than this, it seems that we are just looking for that which is already present in our essential being.

In these times of polarization, paranoia, addiction, and the barrage of input that is always reminding us that what we are and what we possess is not good enough, it seems impossible to find that place of ease and goodness that we know, in the core of our being, is here already. In the quiet of contemplation and the still open space that arises, even if just for a second, there is an opportunity to know and experience reality as it is. From this place we are more able to respond to what is from the true belly fire of passion for an engaged life rather than reacting from a conditioned, habitual, thought stream. From a quiet place of self awareness we are able to know and experience that the spark of that fire is our inherent goodness. In these moments, striving for otherness diminishes and we, very naturally and without effort, stop the search and experience a respite from suffering, resting at ease in our truest nature.

May all beings throughout all times and in all directions know and experience their true goodness and an end to suffering.

I would enjoy and appreciate hearing your insights and questions. Feel free to respond to this email. –William

Practice

The Sangha of the Pandemic offers several opportunities for a safe, inclusive, free, virtual community contemplative practice. Everyone is welcome regardless of meditation experience or spiritual lineage.

The Zoom link is:  

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89989680789

Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays: 7 AM CR Time

Monday: calm abiding, Samatha, Tuesday: body awareness, Thursday: Tonglen

Sunday at 7 AM CR Time: Four Brahmaviharas

and

Monday and Wednesday evenings at 5:30 PM CR Time : Practice and Inquiry                                                   

The website for the sangha is: gratefulroadwarrior.org

Please feel free to share this or any post from the Sangha

Suffering and the Causes

When Siddhartha Gautama left the sheltered garden of his father’s palace, he was ignorant of the day-to-day realities of life and the myriad ways of human suffering. Having seen, for the first time, the pain of the body expressed in birth, sickness, old age and death, he made a decision to leave his life of royal privilege and wander in search of answers. There are many theories about what the exact motivation that spurred Siddhartha  to leave his life of infinite privilege. I wonder if it was because of the inner turmoil that he experienced for the first time in his young life. All of his life he had experienced  and had been led to believe that life was only easeful, joyful and revolved totally around promoting his own happiness. He had been conditioned to believe that there were no obstacles to his happiness or anyone else’s. Imagine the experience of seeing the pain of a mother giving birth, the sore covered body of a leper, an aged one stumbling along in pain or the grey rotting corpse of a dead person, for the first time and all in one day! The feelings of shock, dismay, doubt perhaps even mistrust of his beloved family and community must have shattered reality for him. For me, I think it would have been deeply, wrenchingly painful. Experiencing an inner anguish and torment never experienced before, I imagine that I would have rushed back to the royal compound, run up to my rooms and begged for some distraction to take away the overwhelming feelings. I am afraid that I would have spent the rest of my days trying to suppress the memories and recreate the ignorance that allowed me to live a life of mindless ease.

I experienced a small taste of what that might have been like in the fall of 2019 when I saw the film “The Color of Fear” by Lee Mun Wah. I had a realization that I had been living life believing that I was beyond racism as a liberal, well educated man and that being gay gave me insight to the suffering of non-white folk. For the first time I heard my liberal cliches about racism as a person of color might hear them and I was literally nauseous with shame. Soon after, George Floyd was murdered.

Siddhartha left his royal privileges in search of the cause of the experiences of inner conflict and dis-ease that he was experiencing as a result of seeing suffering for the first time. In the beginning of his journey I wonder if it was not an altruistic seeking for the causes and relief of suffering for all beings, but for an understanding and relief from his own personal anguish and deep shame for having lived a life in ignorance.

In the months after George Floyd’s murder and the subsequent revelations of the hundreds or thousands of murders and incarcerations of innocent people of color just in my lifetime, not to mention the centuries of enslavement and oppression of non-white, folk that came before, I could no longer listen to the progressive white leaders talk about working to fix racism in America. I left my royal family of liberal white male theorists and sought out teachers and authors of color who could help me delve into the habits of racist thought and actions that were ingrained in the marrow of my being. James Baldwin led the way with his eloquent, true mirroring of white privilege. In the following autumn, I began a six month road journey to bow before and give thanks to teachers that pointed me to the way out of ignorance. The beginning of that journey was set in the reddest of red country in the Western USA. And once again I was brought to shame and nausea in seeing the ignorance I was holding onto about rural, predominately white Americans, whose depth of suffering due to the  broken promises, lies and abandonment by the political, religious and social elites, was heart rending.

Siddhartha traveled in search of teachers from his own lineage as well as those of the traditional spiritual lineages of his land, and only found teachings that always, in some way, mirrored the narrowness of understanding of his royal upbringing. There was always someone left out, someone better than, someone judged and someone elevated in these lineages. He saw how these ways of spiritual endeavor only perpetuated people’s suffering and as long as he knew that there was someone suffering he would re-experience his own anguish that resulted from his conditioned ignorance. 

Time after time throughout my road and wilderness journey, my conditioned habitual ideas and perceptions were shaken till I felt unmoored. Nothing was solid or definitive, even the daily routine of practice, movement and study changed moment to moment, in quality and depth. The expansiveness of awakened experiences would be contracted into self doubt from one day to the next. White men with with full MAGA gear would offer unconditional help when I was in need and share with me a wilderness sunset with exuberance for life, while a long life liberal friend would claim that all those folks deserved to die. Suffering was universal and any attempt to weigh and judge who deserved compassion was impossible.  The only thing that was reliable was that there was no reliability and that everyone was experiencing a suffering that seemed almost congenital and few would sit still long enough to inquire into the cause.

Siddhartha is said to have found a place to sit and inquire. I wonder if the inquiry was something like what was missing in all of these lineages, or in his own blessed life that, no matter how gratifying, easeful, mind-blowing, they still allowed suffering to exist. He was a scientist of human reality and could not stop until he experienced the truth of things first hand. In the sutras it is said that the Buddha of this Land of Endurance, Siddhartha, while sitting under the body tree, saw that suffering is the obstacle to the knowledge of the true nature of all things, including the truth of all beings’ inherent goodness. That our ignorance of this inherency is perpetuated by habitual conditioned thoughts, feelings and actions and that the fuel for this perpetual engine of ignorance is unquenchable passion and unrelenting aggression, that there is experience without suffering, and that there is a way to realize that experience and live life without suffering or causing suffering.

So, inspired by Siddhartha, Jesus, LaoTzu and all of the teachers who have pointed to the moon’s silent light of wisdom that there will always be suffering as long as there is suffering, I sit and practice, in hopes of seeing how I contribute to this suffering and how I unconsciously set up obstacles for sentient beings and myself to the realization of inherent goodness. I sit and practice and study in hopes of realizing ways that I might be able to contribute to the end of suffering and the universal realization of goodness. I sit and inquire and practice and study and be human and do human things and fall down and get back up and pray and pray and pray for the end of suffering for all beings throughout all times and in all directions.

______________

There are as many ways to the inevitable awakening to the true nature of reality and experiencing things just as they are, as there are atoms in the entire cosmos. Ways that bring about an end to suffering. In the Sangha of the Pandemic we practice and explore by meditating together and sharing insights from our unique paths. We invite you to join us whenever you can.

PRACTICE

The Sangha of the Pandemic offers several opportunities for safe, inclusive, free, virtual community contemplative practice. Everyone is welcome regardless of meditation experience or spiritual lineage.

The Zoom link is:  

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89989680789

Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays: 6 AM Pacific Time

Sunday at 7 AM Pacific Time

and

Monday and Wednesday evenings at 4:30 PM Pacific Time                                                    

We look forward to sitting with you!     

Please feel free to share this or any post from the Sangha

Unconditioned Insight

This week in the sangha we have been inquiring into Insight in relationship to the practice of concentration. 

Damien Quartz shared the process of finding the bug in a computer program as a simile for the process of concentration/observation and insight:

When thinking about what it means to have insight, I thought about one of the processes I use when trying to determine why a computer program that I’ve written isn’t working the way I intended it to. We’re used to experiencing programs as interactive graphical interfaces, but what they actually are is a set of instructions for manipulating the state of a bunch of bits of memory. When a program has a “bug,” where it produces an incorrect result, or behaves strangely, or stops working entirely, I use another program called a debugger to freeze the buggy program at the place where I think the error might be occurring. The debugger allows me to inspect the state of all the bits of memory relevant to that portion of the program, which can give me insight into why the program is behaving incorrectly. I might see that a number in memory is negative that should never be negative, or that a piece of important text has become garbled, and I can begin to reason about how that might have happened. I can run the program again and freeze it at an earlier point in time, stepping through the instructions one by one until I discover what’s causing the error. Without a debugger it can be extremely difficult to reason about the internal state of a program because so much of the inner workings are hidden by the interface. Programs are opaque in this way, unknowable almost. A debugger allows for close, careful inspection. And, sometimes, in the course of investigating a bug, I discover that while the behavior may be unexpected, it may be that it is a legitimate outcome I did not foresee when writing the program. In these cases, it’s often OK to stop debugging and say, “Ah, it’s a feature, not a bug!”

(From William)

Folks are often drawn to meditation practice because of the experience of suffering or when a thought or action “produces an incorrect result”, or our emotional body, thinking or physical body “behaves strangely, or stops working entirely”. Meditation practice is like having a “debugger” to “freeze” the habit stream and conditioned thoughts so that we can closely observe the causes and conditions that lead to the habitual behavior or thinking causing suffering. In the stillness of open ended concentration/observation, there is an opportunity to see and experience the reality of the present moment without the interference of the “bug” of conditioned habits. This is a rich culture for unconditioned insight that leads to healing and clarity. It may even lead to the understanding that what we assumed was an aberration or obstacle is rather, a doorway to freedom from suffering. “In these cases, it’s often OK to stop debugging and say, “Ah, it’s a feature, not a bug!”

PRACTICE

The Sangha of the Pandemic offers several opportunities for safe, inclusive, free, virtual community contemplative practice. Everyone is welcome regardless of meditation experience or spiritual lineage.

The Zoom link is:  

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89989680789

Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays: 6 AM Pacific Time

Sunday at 7 AM Pacific Time

and

Monday and Wednesday evenings at 4:30 PM Pacific Time                                                    

We look forward to sitting with you!     

Please feel free to share this or any post from the Sangha

The Sangha of the Pandemic site For more information about virtual meetings throughout the week, both mornings and evenings see:

Concentration/Observation and Insight/Wisdom

During the practice sessions this week the sangha has been reflecting on the meditative practice of Concentration or focused Observation that, when practiced without desire for attainment, clears a space for Insight and Wisdom as revelations of essential nature.

Mark Demmel shares his own experience of this unfolding.

Historically, the idea of Concentration has led to painful thoughts and feelings for me because I was concentrating on what I was not that I needed to become. To focus & work toward a goal, to increase one’s resilience, to grow, to build, to become better, to do it the way a leader/parent/guide does it, to allow shifts in direction & motivation, to not miss the moment when it comes to you. The ways I looked at concentration often led me to be thinking about a better, future state of my life, which took hard work and great effort to arrive in this future me. I found myself often not embodied, unable to connect deeply & healthfully to the people and life around me in ways I craved nourishment. Concentrating on that which I wasn’t yet, led me to believe the state I currently found myself in was not good enough, or wrong, or bad. This left a door to shame open and that door let all kinds of things in. How could I ever become that which I wanted to be and feel?

The future state of me which could never come into the present reality efforted and worked so hard to become that which it thought it needed to be….to be okay, again. A scared little kid, who had gotten some slams (of various kinds) became that which it deeply resented. I recently took a morning walk in nature on a beautiful land painted with oaks, pines, valleys holding signs of deer and coyotes, and a refreshing morning joy that had me moving slowly and feeling open to the day. On my return, I sensed my 4 year old self high upon my shoulders, taking in the hike with an elder, parent, and trusted friend. I physically put my arms around the 4 year old’s legs straddling my neck. It felt really good. I was a bit surprised by the experience as much as I was over-joyed. Why was my 4 year old trusting me? I wasn’t concentrating on fixing anything, healing my broken parts, working hard to glean some great wisdom from nature. I was just present, enjoying the moment, giving the least amount of effort to the effortlessness of a simple morning walk.

Later that night, caught up in some emotions of sadness and grief to be leaving good friends and the land I was enjoying, I forgot about my 4 year old and I pushed my body in places it did not want to be pushed. I took my hammock high in a tree and tried to sleep with the many coyotes howling every 15-20 minutes. Trying to milk every last drop of “growth” out of the day & night, even at the cost of losing sleep, with a long drive the next day. My body did not settle. My goal to sleep in a tree failed. I even felt the skin itch, which I had not experienced for several months. The coyotes were loud, yipping, hollering, going all night. Finally at 3am, I climbed down the tree and went back to the place that invited me to sleep before setting off into the dark night. My body immediately settled and a peaceful rest fell upon me.

The next morning I remembered my 4 year old. I apologized. I acknowledged the pattern of pushing myself hard, working to be better, urgent to get to that improved future state, at all costs. I’m grateful for the gift from my younger self, inviting me into the present moment, where everything is as I should be, no heavy effort needed, trusting myself, all the parts, working together to allow a needed sense of ease back into the way I concentrate. The serious one was invited to be kind. The strong handed & stubborn adult was invited back to gentleness. I invited myself (all parts) to the conversation where I listen more than I speak. Patience, real honoring and tender patience is returning. The 4 year old enjoys adventures, but they are trusting me to honor their voice in the matter, for me to trust a renewed idea of Concentration. All of us will be “better” for it.

Click here for more Perceptions from the Sangha

PRACTICE

The Sangha of the Pandemic offers several opportunities for safe, inclusive, virtual community contemplative practice.

The Zoom link is:  

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89989680789 

Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays: 6 AM Pacific Time

Sunday at 7 AM Pacific Time

and

Monday and Wednesday evenings at 4:30 PM Pacific Time                                                    

We look forward to sitting with you!     

Please feel free to share this or any post from the Sangha blog with other folks.

Faith

Catholicism was the air that I breathed in early childhood. My mother was basically raised by nuns. My father was agnostic but converted to Catholicism so that he could marry my mother. We went to mass every Sunday and all holy days, said grace at every meal and prayed on our knees before going to bed. Catholicism, the Church, Mary, God and Jesus (in that order) were what we were taught to put our faith in. As I reflect on that time, I realize I had two experiences of faith. This exoteric one was centered around obedience to the Church and  the Ten Commandments, the promise of heaven and the threat of hell. These were all thoughts imprinted on my consciousness and reinforced by fear and reward. That faith was based on fear and loss and was purely conceptual. The other faith was more magical and esoteric, like praying for and receiving guidance for very specific ways to stop my father’s rage, or to relieve my parents’ fear of having no food to put on the table, or dreams about who I should be when I grew up. While the first, which was learned faith, feels now like it was following orders in order to get something that I was told that I needed, the second was spontaneous and always about practical, real life situations that were causing suffering or fear and my exercise of faith resulted in actual results or knowledge that eased the suffering or relieved the fear. The religious faith had a type of deductive logic to it that made sense if you believed in the initial premise that there was a god rewards and punishes and the church was the adjudicator of that process. This second, more personal faith, and the its manifestations, had no logic to it and lived in a realm of experience that was ungraspable and inexplicable. It was an interior experience that had no discernible origin or direction. The faithful prayers that led to the results often rose up in me out of desperation about my suffering or the suffering of those close to me. The results were magical and nonlinear; a roast falling off the back of a delivery truck after my parents told us we wouldn’t have supper that night, a voice telling me  a precise way to stop the beatings from my father, deja vu as a warning that he was about to rage. Other times and over this lifetime there were experiences of soothing without a source and spontaneous experiences of fearlessness that eradicated all doubt and stabilized the knowledge that goodness was the inherent nature of every human being. 

The faith that was imprinted by the church and society through threat and reward and all of the objects of the faith that it promoted, became baseless, senseless, and brittle, eventually fading into an empty, useless thought. The faith that was grounded in experience, though illogical and ungraspable by thought or desire, metastasized into a systemic way of being that flowed like an underground river bubbling up into consciousness periodically, and shaking loose the false idols of conceptual faith. ( money, sex, the perfect relationship, approval, authority, and other gods) This faith manifested whenever I was still enough and awake enough to recognize and experience it. Often when these bubbling-ups occur, I’d pull out my flask of grasping and try to bottle-up the experience. I’d look for the steps that got me there and try to construct a damn of clinging to keep it in a safe reservoir for the future. These attempts to cling to the experience lead to the inevitable dissipation of the presence of faith as such. (See Failure for a humorous rendition of this.) But I noticed and still notice now when springs of faith come to the surface and retreat, that as the experience slowly dissolves and the ache of “losing” something precious eases, there remains a knowing that resonates throughout my being, and like the sound of the bell at Cloud Mountain, that rings throughout the day, calling practitioners to practice, it is reliantly there/here but ungraspable, non conceptual, unreproducible by will or thought, yet not separate from, not other than just this-ness. 

The invitation, in the practices with the Sangha of the Pandemic this week, was to explore faith and inquire into its nature and expression in our lives and practice. I experienced, in the practices and wisdom sharings, a sense that no matter what we have faith in, whether material, relational, spiritual or anything else, the essential quality that is labeled “Faith”, is an inherent quality that is discernible but not definable, experiential but not conceptual. It is ever-mutable, not containable, bubbling up into consciousness in times of suffering and stillness. Its roots are in our inherent knowledge of truth, and like Earth’s network of mycelia that break down matter to be used for promoting life, this faith patiently and persistently breaks down the obstacles to experiencing our true nature. And like the mycelia, it is active and ever-present, carrying knowledge and sustenance surreptitiously from one being to another; a reliant web of interconnectedness and interdependence.

It seems to me that all forms of contemplative practice, scientific inquiry, justice action, and acts of goodness, are drawn into being by the essential human quality of faith. Faith in the truth that goodness is the intrinsic nature of all beings, the ineffable faith in the capacity of all beings to be good, and that all beings deserve to be free from suffering.

I hope that these words and anything that arises as a result of reading them do not cause distress or doubt and that they might contribute to the awakening to goodness and the end of suffering for all beings, throughout all times and in all directions. – William

PRACTICE

The Sangha of the Pandemic offers several opportunities for safe, inclusive, virtual community contemplative practice.

The Zoom link is:  

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89989680789 

Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays: 6 AM Pacific Time

Sunday at 7 AM Pacific Time

and

Monday and Wednesday evenings at 4:30 PM Pacific Time                                                    

We look forward to sitting with you!