Refining Strong Emotion
Passion, our energetic connection to this world and this life, is the source of our most inspired creativity and our noblest access. From this wellspring flows the energy of our life and in our deepest clearest moments, we can access our finest moments. But as we see in the flow of water, our passion, when constricted, often becomes rough and turbulent, with waves and rapids which can overwhelm us in our journey. Within our body this can take the form of Anxiety, Rage, Depression, and Fear. In this six week workshop, we will roll up our sleeves and take a Zen approach toward working directly with strong emotion, getting past the stories and developing a set of practical skills to create a sense of flow as the water of life moves through us.
A basic toolset
We begin with the the simple skills to recognize how emotions arise in the body, the shapes they take, and the choices we have in our relationship to them. We’ll be expecting a little weather in our lives over the coming week and we will be ready to observe where the rain comes from and where the troubles arise. When the water gets high, we’ll have a raft.
Practical Skills: Zen Meditation, Loving Kindness Meditation, Three Breath Meditation.
ABC and Gratitude
Having paid close attention over the first week of our journey, we will have observed how the phenomenon of constriction, trying to move a lot of passion through a tight or blocked space, produces noise and vibration and potentially danger. With our new knowledge, we will learn how we can create some openness where it is needed with two time tested techniques, one to address the immediacy of constriction and another to maintain a constant flow.
Practical Skills: Building A Bigger Container, Intentional Gratitude
Samskaras: Mind States
We will settle into week three ready to gain a deeper understanding of the workings of the mind and who we really are. We’ll notice that there are times when intense anger arises and in that state of mind when we look at the situation in front us, our sense of truth makes the need for powerful action clear. And yet, we often arise the next morning in a profound state of remorse, having no idea of how we arrived at the conclusions we found. It is time to examine the phenomenon of who we are, how it changes, and develop the ability to recognize the intoxicating states of mind that arise. In these states of mind, we notice that the mind, the body, and the emotions, all shift together – presenting us with an array of possibilities for change. Becoming familiar with the self in all it’s forms, we can gain the exquisite talent it takes to let things go.
Practical Skills: Embodiment
The Flow of Compassion
Strong emotion arises within empathetic beings. Somehow, we feel the emotions of others, the movement of objects around us, and even the actions of people in distant lands, through a mysterious gateway that we call empathy. Thus we are subject to emotional overwhelm and empathetic burnout. To become emotionally adept, we must learn the virtuosity of compassion. In week four we will delve into the nature of compassion, not as a characteristic, but as a learnable skill by which we can open ourselves to every moment and feel it move through us and leave us free to arrive without hindrance into the next moment as it arrives.
Practical Zen: Cultivating altruistic compassion
Finding silence wherever you are
Having learned a great deal, week five is a time to let the knowledge go and simply refine the skill of being where we are. Here, we will take stock of the value of silence, and the fact that all noise travels through silence and so it can only be that the water of life is always with us. In silence we will the restorative power of silence.
Practical Zen: Stop – Look – Go
Over the course of these six weeks, we arrive at the shore with a set of tools in our hands and the work of a lifetime ahead. The possibilities of what we can create with the gifts of this journey are wholly unknown. So, before we leave, we will sit down and talk about what it means to integrate what we have discovered and how to build a personal practice in the context of our individual lives.
Practical Zen: Designing New Life.