Basics of Mindfulness Meditation and Lovingkindness Course

January 19 & 26, February 9 & 16, 2017
Led by Paloma Cain
7 – 8:30 p.m., Healing Well Yoga, 3808 Park Avenue Nashville
Sponsored by One Dharma Nashville

This four session course is appropriate for beginners as well as more experienced meditators who would like to nurture a continuity of mindfulness in a group setting. In a step by step process you will learn the basics of insight meditation and lovingkindness practices. You will learn to be more in touch with your body and emotions and develop a healthier relationship with your thoughts. You will leave the class with tools to establish an effective, ongoing practice. These practices will help you expand your capacity for well-being and self compassion. This class will provide a supportive environment with ample time for discussion and Q&A.

Course fee is $120. It can be paid by Paypal here. If paying by check, instructions are at this link. Please include your email address. A reduced fee option is available in the case of financial need. Please inquire to onedharmaretreat@gmail.com

Paloma Cain, MA, has been studying and practicing meditation since 1997. Her work is informed by her studies in Insight Meditation, Tibetan Buddhism, clinical and depth psychology, religious studies and the visual arts. She has trained staff at Los Angeles area hospitals, and is currently working on a professional mindfulness training program at the Osher Center at Vanderbilt. She also leads retreat at St Mary’s Sewanee and teaches classes in mindfulness meditation, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindful Parenting. Paloma lives with her family in Nashville.

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Clear Mind and Open Awareness

“When your mind feels tight and constricted, you can make more space.” You’ve probably heard this before about meditation practice, but what specifically are we talking about here? The problem isn’t that there’s a lack of space, but the way our minds perceive space, which is related to our identity.

Most people think of the boundary of the body as a point of identity. That is, my thoughts, feelings, perceptions, heart, personality, all reside within my body. So the body is home and herein lies myself. This is who I am and where I exist. Everything I’m made of is inside is me, what’s outside is not me, or it may be related to me but still separate.

This boundary is useful and necessary living in the world. But it also has limitations when we only perceive ourselves through this narrow lens.

At times we may know that our hearts, our love, extend beyond the body. We may also feel compassion for the suffering of others and sense the boundary melting a bit. True lovingkindness and compassion function as a relative expression of emptiness or not-self. They are like a river that flows from a reservoir within our heart. But the reservoir doesn’t dry up – it has an infinite source because it isn’t limited to our body.

When we meditate we begin to see this perceived boundary of the body dissolve, we see that what we think of as “me” doesn’t have a distinct beginning and ending point. This is a liberating insight and is often an early aspect of understanding not-self. At times, we may feel less compelled to put so much energy into simply solving our own problems and “fixing myself.” This brings to mind Lenoard Cohen’s famous poem:

“Ring the bells that can still ring
Forget your perfect offering
There’s a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”

If we only view difficult thoughts and emotions and as existing inside “me” there is often a feeling of tightness, a lack of space and confusion about what we should do. When the focus is mainly on myself, other conditions seem to disappear. Yet, as we sit, as our concentration deepens, the mental focus on self loosens up. The sensations of anger, sadness and fear are seen as conditions that arise and pass away and are not “myself,” even though we experience them in our bodies. As this happens, gradually, or perhaps quickly, a feeling of space opens.

When we understand that our minds are not simply in our physical bodies, our mental boundaries open and our awareness feels less constricted. From this perspective, our challenges and pain may still exist, but now the great sky of mind has room to include them all. We have access to our wise heart that sees conditions for what they are, without the limits of “inside and outside,” and our path becomes clearer.

“If you attain your true self, then if you die in one hour, in one day, or in one month, it is no problem. If you only do “fixing-your-body” meditation, you will mostly be concerned with your body. But some day, when it’s time for your body to die, this meditation will not help, so you will not believe in it. This means it is not correct meditation. If you do correct meditation, being sick sometimes is OK; suffering sometimes is OK; dying someday is OK. The Buddha said, “If you keep a clear mind moment to moment, then you will get happiness everywhere.” ― Zen Master Seung Sahn

To open your awareness to this clear mind, try my guided “Mind Like Sky” meditation here.

Half Day Meditation Retreat: Touching the Boundless Heart

Saturday, March 26, 9:00 a.m. – Noon
Nashville Friends Meeting
Led by Lisa Ernst

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Please join us for a half day of sitting and walking meditation. In this silent retreat we will stabilize attention and deepen concentration through the breath and body, then gradually open our awareness to the boundless space of mind and heart. The morning will include mindfulness, lovingkindness and compassion practices. These practices help us touch moments of freedom from our habitual patterns and find compassion and equanimity in our present moment experience.

Led by meditation teacher Lisa Ernst, this retreat is suitable for newer as well as more experienced meditators. The retreat will include periods of sitting and walking meditation, instructions and dharma talk. Cost is $40. A reduced fee spot is available in the case of financial need. Please inquire for details.

Paypal is available here. If paying by check, instructions are here.  Please include your email address. For questions email onedharmaretreat@gmail.com

Basics of Mindfulness Meditation and Lovingkindness Course

Sponsored by One Dharma Nashville
Thursdays, 9/10 9/17, 10/1 10/8, 7- 8:30 p.m.
Led by Lisa Ernst

This 4 session course is appropriate for beginners as well as more experienced meditators who would like to nurture a continuity of mindfulness in a group setting. In a step-by-step process you will learn the basics of insight meditation and lovingkindness practices. You will learn to be more in touch with your body and emotions and develop a healthier relationship with your thoughts. You will leave the class with tools to establish an effective, ongoing practice. These practices will help you reduce stress and expand your capacity for well-being and self-compassion. The class will provide a supportive environment with ample time for discussion and Q&A.

Led by One Dharma’s founding teacher Lisa Ernst, who has been meditating for over 25 years in the Zen and Vipassana traditions. In her teaching, Lisa emphasizes both transformational insight and everyday awakening as an invitation to embrace all of the path’s possibilities.

Course fee is $100. It can be paid through Paypal here. To confirm space availability email onedharmaretreat@gmail.com.

Mindfulness Meditation Workshop for Adults with ADD/ADHD

Saturday, August 29, 9 a.m. – Noon
Nashville Friends House

Lisa Ernst, meditation teacher and founder of One Dharma Nashville, and Terry Huff, LCSW, psychotherapist specializing in adults with ADHD, will offer a meditation workshop for adults with the diagnosis of ADD/ADHD. The workshop will include lecture, practice, and discussion and will address the following:

1. How does meditation help with ADD/ADHD?
2. Basics of practice
3. Different practices for
a. selective attention (focusing)
b. open awareness (expanding)
c. compassion (for self and other)

Research shows that mindfulness practice improves concentration, attention regulation (as in disengaging from one task and starting another), self-observation (of mental activity), working memory, and emotion regulation.

The workshop will be held at The Nashville Friends House, 530 26th Ave N. Cost is $50. Payment can be made by check or paypal. For paypal, go here, or write a check to One Dharma Nashville, and mail to One Dharma Nashville, 2301 12th Avenue South, Suite 202, Nashville, TN 37204. Please include your email address. A reduced fee is available to anyone who can’t afford the full fee.

Contact ernst.lisa@gmail.com or tmhuff@comcast.net to inquire.

June 13 Daylong Meditation Retreat

There’s still time to register for our daylong meditation retreat focusing on cultivating calm presence and lovingkindness. Held at the Nashville Friends House, the cost is $50. Please see full information here.

Flowering Lotus Lovingkindness Retreat Recap

Last weekend I led a lovingkindness retreat at a beautiful retreat center in Magnolia Mississippi, a place I’d never been before. Magnolia is a small town aptly named – the minute we entered the city, blooming magnolias were everywhere. Founded by Dolores Watson about 5 years ago, Flowering Lotus Retreat Center has grown considerably and has hosted teachers such as Phillip Moffitt, David Loy and John Orr. Dolores is a remarkable and energetic woman who so obviously loves the dharma. I first met her last November when she attended my seven day residential retreat here in Middle Tennessee. I wasn’t at all surprised that the care and thought she has put into the center shines through in every detail. She has her own bold and unique style, which I loved.

Dolores Watson Meditation Hall The experience level for this retreat ranged from four or five people who had never meditated before to several with extensive retreat experience, and everything in between. We focused on lovingkindness (metta) practice for the weekend, which I always appreciate teaching. Watching hearts open and barriers dissolve, seeing people finally realize its ok to offer kindness and love to themselves, is a deeply fulfilling experience for me. I remember how hard it was the first time I tried it many years ago, how I felt guilty and even selfish spending so much time giving metta to myself. But when my heart finally cracked open, I was able to receive and extend love to all beings for the first time. That has stayed with me ever since when I practice metta. At this retreat, as we moved our metta outward to loved ones, family friends, indifferent and difficult people, some at the retreat got a taste of the heart that is not separate from all beings, the heart that can love unconditionally. This is the realm of true compassion. Lodge at Flowering Lotus May all beings be free from suffering. May they live in equanimity.

June Daylong Meditation Retreat

Stilling Mind and Heart with Mindfulness and Lovingkindness
Saturday, June 13, 2015
9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Nashville Friends House
Led by Lisa Ernst

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During the busyness and activity that often accompany our daily lives, this meditation retreat will offer a quiet time to slow down, mindfully connect with our bodies and extend kindness and compassion to ourselves and others. Slowly, in the simplicity and silence of the day, we will learn to let go of distractions and touch our experience with a kind and open heart.

Led by meditation teacher Lisa Ernst, this silent retreat is suitable for newer and more experienced meditators. It will include periods of sitting and walking meditation, practice instructions and dharma talk.

Retreat fee is $50. A reduced fee spot is available, please inquire to the email below. Paypal is here. If paying by check, you can find instructions on where to send it at this link. Be sure to include your email address. There will be a separate opportunity at the retreat to make a dana offering (donation) to the teacher.

For questions, contact onedharmaretreat@gmail.com.

Residential Retreat: Awakening a Spacious Heart through Lovingkindness Meditation

I’m excited to be leading this residential retreat at the beautiful Flowering Lotus Retreat Center in Magnolia Mississippi, May 15 – 17. I hope you’ll join me!

With an emphasis on lovingkindness, this silent retreat will focus on cultivating what the Buddha called “the immeasurable states of heart and mind” – the Brahma Viharas or Divine Abodes. These are the qualities of love, compassion, joy and equanimity that reside in us all.

Our innate lovingkindness will be strengthened and enhanced through learning the formal practice of metta, along with brahma vihara instructions, sitting and walking meditation and dharma talks. As our hearts awaken through lovingkindness, we will discover a deeper sense of self-acceptance, self-confidence, openness and interconnection with all of life.

For more information and to register go here.