Recently I was invited to participate in another Huffington Post Live segment, “Be More Miserable.” Interesting name for a webcast…..I was there to represent the perspective of artists, but all of us on the panel had Buddhist and meditation backgrounds so my dharma experience influenced my comments as well. You can click on the photo to see the full segment or on the link here.
The Joy of Interconnection
Saturday, August 3, 2013, 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Led by Lisa Ernst
Please join us in Nashville for a day of sitting and walking meditation. According to the Buddha, the greatest suffering arises from a sense of separation. Through the practice of sitting and walking meditation we begin to access insight, which allows us to pierce the illusion of separateness and taste the joy of interconnectedness to all things.
Led by meditation teacher Lisa Ernst, this silent retreat is suitable for both beginning and experienced meditators; it will include periods of sitting and walking meditation, practice instructions, optional private interview and a dharma talk. Please bring a sack lunch. Refreshments will be provided at the end of the retreat.
Cost: $50, plus dana (donation) to the teacher. A deposit of $50 will reserve your space.. Paypal is available at this link. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to confirm your spot.
On a cool, sunny June afternoon I started one of my frequent hikes at Radnor Lake. There’s a steep paved road just past the parking lot that leads to the lake. In one area, damaged by a major flood, the road is all gravel and a bit bumpy to traverse. As I approached the graveled area, I saw a young man in a wheelchair suddenly grab his wheels and try to turn back toward the parking lot. He protested loudly about riding over the gravel and appeared quite frightened. One of his companions calmly encouraged him not to be afraid, reminding him that the lake was just past the gravel so he needed to go through it to enjoy the scenery. This seemed to calm him down a bit and he let go of his efforts to escape the gravel. At that point he had already ridden halfway through anyway, so either going or returning meant equal contact with the gravel.
As I walked past, he appeared more relaxed as one of his companions moved him forward in the chair. Suddenly he opened his mouth and allowed the sound of his voice to reflect the bumpiness of the gravel. It was as if his whole body had become one with the gravel, completely connected with the experience of going over the rocks. I realized he was giving a wonderful dharma talk – directly reflecting how he had let go of aversion and was allowing himself to experience the moment fully. There was no fear in his voice, just a manifestation of the moment’s bumpiness.
I smiled as a deep gratitude arose in my heart for the inherent wisdom we can all access through the simple, yet often challenging act of letting go. This young man was intellectually disabled in a way that kept him from communicating as freely and easily as most of us. Yet in facing his fear and releasing his efforts to escape the gravel, he relaxed into the moment and allowed the bumpiness to penetrate his whole body. Soon he was back on the smooth pavement and had the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful lake just ahead.
May we all find the wisdom to let our whole hearts and bodies meet the gravel when it comes and to enjoy the serene, deep lake that follows.
by Lisa Ernst
1. Choose one meditation practice and stick with it. If you want to progress in meditation stay with one technique.
2. Meditate every day. Practice now. Don’t think you will do more later.
3. Any situation is workable. Each of us has enormous power. It can be used to help ourselves and help others.
4. Practice patience. Patience is one of the most important virtues for developing mindfulness and concentration.
5. Free your mind. Your mind is all stories.
6. Cool the fire of emotions. Anger is a fire.
7. Have fun along the way. I am quite happy. If you come to meditate you will also be happy.
8. Simplify. Live simply. A very simple life is good for every thing. Too much luxury is a hindrance to practice.
9. Cultivate the spirit of blessing. If you bless those around you this will inspire you to be attentive in every moment.
10. It’s a circular journey. Meditation integrates the whole person.