Meditation: Monday Evenings

 

5:30 – 7:00 PM
Guiding Teacher: Karen Summer

The sit consists of meditation and discussion of various topics and is appropriate for beginning and experienced meditators.

All Valley Insight sits are being held on Zoom until further notice. Each week, Karen will email you the Zoom login and sit discussion topic. If you are not already receiving these emails or if you’d like to sign-up, please email Karen at karen.summer2@gmail.com.

To offer dana to Karen, please visit our Giving web page for options.


Noting our moment-to-moment experience  is grounding. Curiosity about this inner experience can brighten the mind and allow us to “step back” into a healthy, detached observing stance. Consciously evoking metta for oneself and all beings warms the heart and inspires hope. With metta and a deep bow, ~karen~

We welcome all levels of meditators, whether novice or experienced. Karen Summer leads the weekly sit. We usually start with a 35 to 40-minute meditation, followed by group discussion.
If you are wholly new to meditation or wish to discuss your practice one-on-one, feel free to email Karen to schedule a meeting.  karen.summer2@gmail.com.

We hope to return to our home of more than 10 years:
Friends Meeting House, 43 Lebanon Street, Hanover, NH
(map and directions)    (directly adjacent to Hanover High School)

As of September, 2020, we are starting a series on “mindful living” using the paramis as our structure. We are discussing a different parami every week. Gil Fronsdal’s talks on the paramis and Aj. Sucitto’s Parami Ways to Cross Life’s Floods are excellent resources.  It is not necessary to have reviewed the material to participate in the discussions.

Aj. Sucitto’s book can be read as an ebook, available here in several formats. It is not commercially available.
If you would like to read Parami on a Kindle, follow these steps: (1) Download the book in .mobi format, (2) Plug your Kindle into your computer with a USB cable, (3) open the ‘Kindle’ drive on My Computer (Windows) or Finder (Mac), (4) and then drag/drop or copy/paste the downloaded .mobi file from where you downloaded it to the ‘documents’ folder on your Kindle. Now, unplug your Kindle, and the book should appear.

Since the pandemic shut-down, we have focused on Gil Fronsdal’s superb talks, including the Four Noble Truths, the Brahmaviharas, refuge, and fear.

VIMS Teacher Karen Summer Reflects on Lessons Learned from a Recent Accident  “I like my mind,” a friend recently said during a casual conversation. Can I say the same for myself ?  After reflection, the answer is a hearty Yes. Since I fell on April 28 during an encounter with a dog, my mind, with its virtuous quality of mindfulness, has been an essential support through the pain and now into the recuperation cycle.

Another crucial support has been the well-wishes of many in our sangha and the fabulous meals delivered by members of the Support Sangha Team. I write with tears in my eyes as I think of the love that continues to flow my way. I am much, much better with markedly decreasing pain and increasing ambulatory agility.
A few suggestions arising from this traumatic accident: (a) Train your mind now! When misfortune strikes, it may be too late to develop the qualities and the capacity you need to be strong, kind, and steady in the midst of a rocky stream. (b) Our friend sati––mindfulness––is crucial. Remember the practice of “whole body awareness” (both internally and externally) as you move throughout the day. There can be an interesting balance between present mindfulness, priming the mind and body for what is coming next, and the teaching of the Two Arrows. (c) Practice “situational creativity” as Bhikku Analayo suggests. The process of mind training and meditation can be quite creative as we match what we need at a particular moment with practices we know. So, when you are not stressed, experiment with many practices, including some for pain management. In times of stress, you want to have a broad, easily-accessible repertoire. (d) Self-compassion and the brahma viharas (metta, compassion, joy, and equanimity) are crucial. Metta, the foundation of the other three, is the most important quality to practice according to Bhikkhu Analayo.(e) Develop a formal, daily gratitude practice that includes intentions of altruism. We train our mind for our and others’ well-being. I recently took an 18-week course that included a gratitude practice done at bedtime and before arising in the morning. My mind is different because of that. These days, every pain-free movement contains a song of gratitude.For many of you, these ideas are not new. I encourage you to deeply assimilate them! Doreen, Peg, and I just completed a BCBS online course on resilience. We were taught that increasing resilience requires cultivating our strengths. In my experience, these ideas surely do that. 
I wish you much happiness and a steady, supple mind, so that you too can wholeheartedly say, “I like my mind.”
With metta, Karen

During the latter part of ’18, and into ’19, we enjoyed discussing metta, compassion, joy, and equanimity, using excerpts from Christine Feldman’s Boundless Heart, then the paramis using Sylvia Boostein’s Pay Attention for Goodness Sake.

During the summer and fall of ’18, we used Bante Gunaratana’s Mindfulness in Plain English as a resource for our ongoing practice and discussions about meditation. This is an excellent book for beginning and experienced meditators. The book is available as a free download here.

On Monday, June 25, 2018 nationally-known dharma teacher Ruth King gave a dharma talk and book signing of her new book “Being Mindful of Race“. Her website with many dharma talks and articles is here.  As a follow-up to her inspiring talk, Doreen and Peg offered a 3-session book club to read her book. Currently, an ongoing group led by Doreen is enrolled in Ruth’s nation-wide consciousness-raising network.  (This group was formed in early summer ’20 and is not open to new members.) 

On March 20, 2017 there was a special presentation on the story of ordained women in the Buddhist Insight tradition and the current campaign for full ordination of Buddhist nuns.  Doreen describes the program here in her March ’17 essay.

 

 

 

 

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