Mindful Speech and Deep Listening Workshop

Saturday, October 25, 1 – 4 p.m., 12 South Dharma Center

Cost: $35

Led by Lisa Ernst


Learning to integrate our meditation practice with speech and communication is a vital step to bring mindfulness, compassion and realization into our daily lives. In this half day retreat we will extend deep listening and mindfulness from our sitting meditation into relational practices. These practices will help us listen and communicate from the heart as well as stay fully present in both silence and speech.

The workshop will include sitting meditation, mindful dialogue and group interaction.  Cost is $35. Payment may be made through paypal here. If paying by check, make it out to One Dharma Nashville and send to: 12 South Dharma Center, 2301 12th Avenue South, Suite 202, Nashville, TN 37024. Be sure to include your email address.

Lisa Ernst is a Buddhist Meditation teacher in the Thai Forest lineage of Ajahn Chah. She is the founder of One Dharma Nashville. In her teaching, Lisa emphasizes both transformational insight and everyday awakening as an invitation to embrace all of the path’s possibilities. She regularly leads classes, daylong and residential meditation retreats.

For information, email onedharmaretreat@gmail.com

An Owl’s Perfect Song

This moment of joy is an owl’s perfect song

Again and again each time the same

How does it know to sing just this way?

The thought like the owl can’t be caught and held

It drifts on its way but the joy remains.

An open heart leaves nothing outside

receives all yet holds none

so owls can sing and then fly away.

– Lisa Ernst

Use What You’ve Been Given to Wake Up

A good reminder for anyone who feels disadvantaged in some way:

“Our life’s work is to use what we have been given to wake up. If there were two people exactly the same-same body, same speech, same mind, same mother, same father, same house, same food, everything the same- one of them could use what he has to wake up and the other could use it to become more resentful, bitter, and sour. It doesn’t matter what you are given, whether it’s a physical deformity or enormous wealth or poverty, beauty or ugliness, mental stability or mental instability, life in the middle of a mad house or life in the middle of a peaceful silent desert. Whatever you’re given can wake you up or put you to sleep. That’s the challenge of now: what are you going to do with what you have already-your body, your speech, your mind?”

From Pema Chodron’s book, Awakening Lovingkindness


Maintenance for the Mind

Sometimes meditation students ask me if taking time out for retreats is truly worthwhile. In my own experience, I have found retreats to be one of the most important things I do to refuel and replenish my mind. Often in the West, we understand how to take care of our key possessions such as our cars, yet many of us put less emphasis on deep maintenance for our minds.

In caring for our cars we perform routine practices such as cleaning the windshield, keeping enough gas in the tank, checking tire pressure.  For dharma students, daily meditation is a basic, routine maintenance for the mind along with sangha practice once or twice per week.  Daylong sits are akin to getting the oil and filter changed – we’re taking the time to fuel and replenish parts of ourselves that might be running on low. Longer retreats are mind and heart tune ups, going much deeper into the workings of our being and getting the parts functioning harmoniously and smoothly.

If you’re on the dharma path and meditation is an important part of your life, all of these steps, from daily sitting to weekend retreats and longer, will lead to a fuller, more complete practice. They help to insure your mind and heart are running optimally and you’re better equipped to meet the challenges of everyday life.