More and more, the teaching practice takes me into the community where I engage directly with students. My focus right now is on bringing the continuity of the Dharma into the market place. Although retreating is an important form for self-knowledge, I find myself less interested in the immediate results of a retreat and more interested in helping students investigate their relationship to the ups and downs of their everyday life.
Nature, death and spontaneous freedom continually interweave themselves into my teaching. From the forest of Thailand, where I spent several years, I bring a deep awareness of the healing quality of nature into my teachings. Relaxing into our true nature allows us to realize what it means to be a human being. It is here we find a resting point, a counterbalance to the speed and turbulence of our culture.
My work in hospice brings a sense of urgency into my teaching. Working with the theme of death and dying reveals the here and now of life to us, how important it is to open to each loss, change and transition that marks our path. Life is precious. We need to awaken without hesitation.
Many of us crave to be more calm and centered. We know that life has more to offer than this fleeting material world. For each of us, the Dharma offers an immediacy of freedom for which we do not have to strive or wait. In practice, we can learn to relax deeply into the moment and rediscover spontaneous freedom.
Notice how frequently you second-guess your generosity. You may have the desire to be generous but you let it pass without acting. This week act upon any impulse to be generous: if you have the thought to give something to someone, do not delay or second-guess the impulse. Give.
Each time you open the Internet this week begin by going to thehungersite.com and offer a free donation to all the similar sites listed on that web page. Say metta phrases to each disadvantaged group as you make the offering. May all being have sufficient food; may all beings be free of breast cancer.... Feel the pain associated with each category of people and wish them well. Explore the relationship between feeling pain for another and generosity. Does the pain motivate you to move towards or away from giving?
Notice your meditative posture and see if the chest and shoulders are fully open when you sit. How does your posture affect your mind? As you move through the day notice your posture when you feel selfish or irritable. Notice it when you feel generous and confident. When you feel selfish and closed down to generosity adjust your posture to a more open stance and see if that has any effect on your state of mind.