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Monday Night Explorations for June 2017
Start time 7:25pm; address is 967 College, just past Dovercourt at Octopus Garden Yoga.
DATE: June 5
TEACHER: Jeff Warren
THEME: Mindfulness of Emotions
MEDITATION: RAIN on me
INTERACTIVE: Something Wondrous the Likes of Which I’ve Yet to Know
Jeff: So I’ve been digging into Insight Meditation Society style mindfulness teaching methods for this new book I’m working on, and one of the acronyms they use a lot is RAIN. Recognize – Accept – Investigate – Non-Identification. It’s a way of remembering the basic moves of mindfulness, and it works very well with emotions. Then for Part Two something wondrous will happen the likes of which I’ve yet to know.
DATE: June 12, 2017
TEACHER: Avi Craimer
Avi: The other day Erin and I were talking about how it seems that anytime we focus on emotions in practice, we tend to dig into the heavy or darker stuff. Well, this week we’ll deliberately thwart that bias. In the mudita meditation we’ll focus on appreciating and encouraging moments of joy in our lives, and in the second half we’ll see what happens when we try to laugh and meditate at the same time.
DATE: June 19, 2017
TEACHER: Avi Craimer and Michelle Leybman
INTERACTIVE: Inner Parts Dialogue
Avi: This week I’m joined by psychologist and psychonaut Michelle Leybman. In the first half, we’ll be bringing loving-kindness to different strands of our personality. For the interactive, Michelle will be help us bring all those voices swirling around inside of us, into productive dialogue with each other.
DATE: June 26
TEACHER: Stephanie DeBou
THEME: Spectrum of Emotions
MEDITATION: Diving In
INTERACTIVE: It’s not you, it’s me
Stephanie: Contrary to the belief we are what we eat, we really are what we feel! From fear to faith, guilt to self-love, shame to power, and grief to joy, in this sit we will move through the spectrum of emotions by diving right into them. In part two, we increase the complexity of emotional navigation by adding other’s emotions into the mix (aghast!).
Once More with Feeling
Essay by Avi Craimer
“Our feelings are not there to be cast out or conquered. They’re there to be engaged and expressed with imagination and intelligence.”
– T.K. Coleman
The other night, my wife Kate and I tried to have a romantic dinner out. The dinner was delicious, but it came with a challenging accompaniment. We were sitting within earshot of another diner who was likely carrying a lot of pain and a litany of loud, angry complaints soon surrounded us. It was hard not to tune into the broadcast.
Kate and I gripped each other’s hands across the table, reading the emotional struggle unfolding on each other’s faces. Annoyance and frustration wrestled with our longing to respond to the person’s pain with loving-kindness and compassion. It was difficult not to judge the person for being rude in a public space, and when I found myself making such judgments, I also felt shame about my own self-righteousness. Disappointment blossomed on Kate’s face as she realized that our romantic night out would not be the pleasant experience we had both been fondly anticipating.
Looking back on the experience, I marvel at how all this emotional complexity could arise out of a relatively ordinary situation. Our human capacity to feel and track emotions is somewhat ridiculous in its scope and power. It’s all part of our nature as intensely social creatures. The social world is our habitat, and emotion is the intelligence of social existence.
When I teach about practicing mindfulness of emotions, I emphasize the importance of developing mindful awareness and loving accepting emotions rather than trying to control them or shutting them down. That’s not to say we’re being passive. Awareness and acceptance are not the same as just going with the flow of our usual emotional habits (unless you’re already an enlightened Buddha!). Practices that helps us to see emotions with more perspective can serve to reduce our melodrama and restore proportion to our inner world. Practices that bring compassion and acceptance to our emotions help us get unstuck and allow feelings to resolve themselves into healthier patterns.
This month at CEC we’ll be diving into the thicket of emotion. Come explore the depths in a safe, fun space through innovative meditation and social practices.