Tag Archives: mindfulness
Summer Retreat at Southern Dharma
Intimate with All Things: Awakening with Breath, Body, Heart and Mind
July 8 – 12, 2017
Southern Dharma Retreat Center, Hot Springs, NC
Led by Lisa Ernst
Please join me in a beautiful, rural location in the North Carolina Mountains for a four night summer meditation retreat. Southern Dharma is located in Hot Springs, North Carolina, a picturesque four hour drive from Nashville and Atlanta. Full information and registration are here.
Today in Trumpland and Dharmaland
In the days and weeks after the election, I wrote a number of articles and gave several dharma talks that reflected my own response, as well as the ways in which I see the dhrama path as a resource during such uncertain and difficult times.
The holidays came along and my time and attention turned to other commitments and writing went on the back burner. Today I’m back for this article. As the news and actions of our new president have become more and more disturbing to me, I continue to look into my heart for what’s true for me right now and to find the best ways I can respond and to be involved. As many of us know, there’s a fine line between constructive action and emotional overwhelm at this time.
In this era of social media and online information, it’s easy to become inundated with one rattling headline after the other and social media posts loaded with fear and divisive anger. There’s nothing wrong with fear and anger per se, they are human emotions and certainly are not unreasonable responses right now. Channeled constructively, they can even be driving forces for good. A skillful relationship to these emotions and what we do with them counts. This is where dharma practice can make a big difference.
When we allow ourselves to lose touch with the love in our hearts and respond from divisiveness and separation, we become lost ourselves. But how in the world do we maintain an attitude of love and kindness for all while actively resisting dangerous and destructive acts coming from the new administration? On the positive side, social media provides a ready-made resource for organizing and connecting constructively. But if we haven’t also found a source of refuge in our own hearts, burnout and despair can easily take us over. We may slide down the slippery slope of the dark side of social media while also losing touch with our own inner guide.
As dharma practitioners, I believe it is vital we remember in our hearts that this isn’t about “us against them.” This is what we’ve all been practicing for, we’ve cultivated a great resource that can help us not lose ourselves in the frenzy.
If you do fall short and get caught in the whirlwind, as I have at times, just start again with kindness and compassion, let go of the judgment. Remember your heart’s true intention and align yourself with that. Most of us who practice the dharma care deeply about the welfare of all beings, and when we see so many people who are vulnerable and unable to defend themselves being targeted, we feel a strong urge to act. Let’s do it while also remembering to keep our hearts and minds nourished and awake. Lets not turn those we oppose out of our hearts even as we stand against many of their policies and actions. When we personally feel attacked and vulnerable, this is even harder work, but it’s a central element of how dharma path can help us maintain a global awareness of our humanity and interconnection.
For me, this capacity to remember and reconnect means taking time out to meditate and to retreat, to find a home in the great nature of heart/mind, where I access timeless wisdom of interconnection and compassion for all. In fact, I’ll be off grid soon for my own weeklong retreat as my weary heart is much in need of this extended time to repair and restore.
– Lisa Ernst
Spring Renewal Meditation Retreat: Making the Mystery Clear
Thursday Evening, April 20 – Noon, April 23, 2017
Optional extended retreat through noon April 27
Bethany Hills Retreat Center, Kingston Springs, TN
Led by Lisa Ernst
Retreat full, inquire to join waitlist
“Our Practice is not to clear the mystery, it is to make the mystery clear” Robert Aitken
Please join us at a beautiful, wooded retreat site just outside of Nashville for this three or seven night spring renewal retreat. Life is a balance of effort and letting go. Meditation practice gives us tools to be present, to work with our minds and to uncover the heart’s true wisdom. This wisdom also points the way to letting go — remembering that the practice is not only to help us solve problems but to enter deeply into the great mystery of life and death.
Led by meditation teacher Lisa Ernst, this silent retreat is suitable for newer as well as experienced students. It will include periods of sitting and walking meditation, instructions, dharma talks and private meetings with the teacher. Retreat fee includes lodging and all meals.
The 3 night retreat is $225 if paid in full by March 22; after $250. If you wish the stay through the 27th, the retreat fee is $495 if paid by March 22; $525 after. A $100 deposit will reserve your spot. Please indicate if you will be attending the three or seven night option. There will be a separate opportunity at the retreat to make a dana (generosity) offering to the teacher. A reduced fee spot is available in the case of financial need. Please inquire for details.
Lisa Ernst is a meditation teacher in the Thai Forest lineage of Ajahn Chah, Jack Kornfield and Trudy Goodman. 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 leads retreats nationally and is a guest teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center.
To join the waitlist email email@example.com
Daylong Meditation Retreat: Cultivating Clarity Through Living the Questions
Saturday, January 28, 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Birdsong Retreat Center, Ashland City, TN
Led by Lisa Ernst
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
Please join us at a beautiful, rural retreat location for a day of practice. During the winter months it is customary to look inward to clarify our deepest intentions, yet unanswered questions may stand in the way of knowing what our true priorities are. During this day of practice, we will have the opportunity to practice opening our hearts to our unresolved questions and inner dilemmas. These questions contain a rich source of insight; learning to live them brings about a radical shift that opens the door to clarity and equanimity.
This retreat is appropriate for all levels of experience.
Led by Lisa Ernst, the retreat will include sitting and walking meditation, practice instructions, and a dharma talk. Cost is $50 plus dana (donation) to the teacher. A scholarship option is offered. Paypal is available here. Instructions for paying by check are here. Be sure to include your email address. Retreat information and directions will be provided in advance of the retreat. For questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Three Night Residential Retreat – Touching the Boundless Heart: Dharma Wisdom for Difficult Times
Thursday, March 2 – Sunday March 5
Heartwood Refuge Retreat Center
Cultivating clear awareness of our present moment experience reveals insights into the nature of suffering and liberation. Through the practices of mindfulness, open awareness and lovingkindness, we begin to see that everything that arises is not my “self” but a display of impermanent conditions. When the mind sees life through this clarity and is unclouded by confusion, we create the foundation for well-being, joy and equanimity that includes ourselves, our loved ones, all who suffer, and our great earth.
This retreat, conducted mostly in silence, is suitable for both beginning and experienced meditators. It will include periods of sitting and walking meditation, dharma talks, Q&A and meetings with the teacher.
Lisa has been meditating for over 25 years in the Zen and Vipassana traditions. She received teaching authorization in the Thai Forest lineage of Ajahn Chah, Jack Kornfield and Trudy Goodman. In her teaching, Lisa emphasizes both transformational insight and everyday awakening as an invitation to embrace all of the path’s possibilities. Lisa is the founder of One Dharma Nashville and she teaches workshops and retreats nationally. She is a visiting teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, CA.
Registration and more information here.
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 email@example.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.
New Year’s Half Day Retreat
The Power of Intention: Clarifying Your Path for the New Year
Sunday, January 1 2017, 9 a.m. – Noon
Blooma Yoga, 4107 Charlotte Ave.
Led by Lisa Ernst
“One of the Buddha’s most penetrating discoveries is that our intentions are the main factors shaping our lives and that they can be mastered as a skill.” – Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Start your New Year on the cushion by joining us for a half day intention setting retreat. At the beginning of a New Year, it is customary to take stock of our lives and the world we live in, to review the previous year and set our intentions for the upcoming twelve months and beyond. Bringing this evaluation onto the cushion, to look with fresh eyes and an open heart, can help us refine and clarify our direction and to live from the truest part of ourselves.
Led by meditation teacher Lisa Ernst, the retreat will include periods of sitting and walking meditation, dharma talk and discussion. Cost is $40 – $50, sliding scale and is due by Wednesday, December 28. A reduced fee option is available for those who need financial support. Paypal is available here. If paying by check, instructions are here. Be sure to include your email address For questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Compassion For All
This dharma talks explores finding ground in groundlessness and why its important to keep our hearts open to compassion for all. This includes lessons from my own personal experience and from spiritual and civil right leaders such as Thich Nhat Hanh, Martin Luther King, Jr and John Lewis.
You Don’t Have to Get Rid of Your Discomfort
Since the election many people have reported feeling edgy, angry, unsettled and uncomfortable and the feelings are not going away. Most of us have been taught since childhood that these are not good feelings and we should try and get rid of them. Even as meditation practitioners, we may feel that these feelings are something to “meditate away.” But that’s not a skillful outlook.
It’s ok to feel uncomfortable right now, it’s a completely appropriate response that doesn’t need to be assuaged or mitigated. The problem comes when we are at odds with it, when we feel we are “wrong” in some way for these feelings or if we act out in harmful ways to ourselves or others because we don’t know what to do.
Since the election, I have felt acutely uneasy for over a week. I had to avoid the mindset that I should be at peace and at ease. Growing up I experienced a significant amount of trauma and it stayed with me many years into adulthood. My father was an alcoholic and when he drank he was often violent and engaged in bullying, sexual abuse. and body shaming. After the election this trauma reemerged. But having spent years in therapy and with a meditation practice, I have the capacity to recognize and meet old trauma so that it doesn’t engulf me. I spent time with this response until it eased. Some may not have this capacity and discerning that is important. If you are continuing to feel traumatic discomfort, you may need to get help.
The discomfort I feel now is not traumatic but it brings me to an edge where I need to be awake to it, to continue cultivating my willingness to be present in the midst of it and not tell myself I should change the feelings in some way, or that there is something wrong with me. This is all about changing my relationship to what’s arising, not getting rid of it. This discomfort keeps me from feeling complacent; it keeps me awake. It is an edge that I have come to welcome and trust. When I have a welcoming relationship to the discomfort, I am in a better position to discern wise and compassionate action that is in alignment with my values.
I invite you to welcome your discomfort and let it be a teacher to you.