May 2017


Monday Night Explorations for May 2017

Start time 7:25pm; address is 967 College, just past Dovercourt at Octopus Garden Yoga.

CEC_MeditateDATE: May 1
THEME: the comfort of a poem
MEDITATION:  Contemplative Poetry
INTERACTIVE: words, words, words


Erin: the words of poets
guide this night’s sit, igniting
our practicing souls



DATE: May 8
TEACHER: Caitlin Colson and Huy Lam
THEME: Focus and release
MEDITATION: Let’s get visual


Caitlin: Concentration and letting go practices are like bacon and eggs – they work well side by side. Concentration builds up our ability to develop and maintain a strong, meditative focus on a chosen point. Letting go enables us to loosen our grip on the reins of our minds, allowing them to roam free. In part 1, we’ll practice these opposing but complementary skills on the cushion. In part 2, guest artist Huy Lam will lead us through visual art practices that illustrate how to put these skills to paper.


CEC_MeditateDATE: May 15
THEME: Spontaneity and Improvisation
MEDITATION:  Getting Bouncy
INTERACTIVE:  Making it up as we go along

Erin: A key element to live performance (and life!) is the ability to respond in the moment, work with what we’re given and go with the flow. Tonight we’ll explore practices that nurture spontaneity and cultivate our “Zen Bounce”, then let loose our inner performers to play some theatre games.


CEC_MeditateDATE: May 22
TEACHER: James Maskalyk
THEME: Between the notes is where music lives
MEDITATION: Sing this body electric
INTERACTIVE: Good Mixtapes Vol 6


James: If a tree falls, does it make a sound?  No.  It makes vibrations.  Sound is made as they meet our buzzing centre.  What about music?  Are its beats and notes only vibrations, or something deeper, an emergent universal language?  For our sit, we will endeavor to let all fall away from our electric middle, and in part two, see how different songs ring it.


CEC_MeditateDATE: May 29
TEACHER: Erin Oke and Priya Thomas, Phd
THEME: Concentrating Energy, Channeling Force
MEDITATION: Body is Power
INTERACTIVE: May the force be with you


Erin and Priya:  Inspired by dance, yoga and martial arts vocabularies of the south Asian sub-continent, we’ll explore stability, concentration, resistance and release in meditation and movement practices. How can we use the incredible power of the body wisely and channel it as a force for good in the world?


Illuminating the Ineffable

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

– Thomas Merton

                                                  Paintings by Huy Lam


Art provided my first experiences of transcendence. Before I had a meditation practice, I could be transported, however briefly, through its creation and consumption. Playing music with others, merging my sound into the larger whole. Laying down layers of paint on canvas, moulding colours in all dimensions. Sitting in a darkened theatre, the audience holding our collective breath as a powerful performance draws to a close. In moments like these, I tapped into the timeless.


Meditation has only made these experiences richer and more remarkable. I’ll never forget the first time I was tasked to meditate on sound.  First, I poured my attention for many minutes into the ambient noise of my urban apartment.  Then I put on music and offered it the same focus.  Now, I’ve been listening to and playing music my whole life, but this was different.  The sounds were more intricate and textured, so vivid and all-encompassing. Mind blown. If paying close attention to the details of ordinary human experience made them more vibrant and poignant, I learned that applying the same mindfulness to creations already infused with beauty and truth made them sensory feasts, deepened their impact.


Art, like meditation, illuminates the ineffable. Painting, literature, poetry, music, dance, theatre, film…these have incredible capacity to comfort, heal, inspire, incite, ignite. Bring us face to face with our own humanity and all of  its terrible beauty.


We’re going to make art of this next month at CEC.  We’ll extol our community’s artists and teachers to introduce practices that breed creativity, feed artistic souls, and illustrate how art can enrich and inspire the contemplative path.  Rumi writes, “Inside you there’s an artist you don’t know about…”. Let’s find them!

Erin Oke – Consciousness Explorers Club