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Dharma Talks Access for Retreatants

Monday and Wednesday Talks

Regular weekly talks given at the lower Spirit Rock meditation hall

Spirit Rock Meditation Center

2021-07-28 Deepening Daily Life Practice 3: A Guided Meditation: Settling, Practicing with Pleasant and Unpleasant and Tendencies to Reactivity, Practicing with the Eight Worldly Winds 37:48
Donald Rothberg
In this guided meditation, we start with about 10 minutes of settling. We then attend to when there is a moderate or greater pleasant or unpleasant feeling-tone, bringing some investigation as to what occurs in ones' experience, including tendencies to reactivity (grasping or pushing away). Toward the end of the guided meditation, there's an invitation to track for those forms of reactivity coming after one of the Eight Worldly Winds (pleasure or pain, gain or loss, fame or disrepute, and praise or blame).
2021-07-28 Deepening Daily Life Practice 3: Practicing with the Eight Worldly Winds 68:43
Donald Rothberg
We begin with a review of the last two sessions related to deepening daily life practice, including identifying some of the challenges of contemporary daily life practice and some basic ways of deepening such practice, the importance for such practice of mindfulness of the body, and the centrality of practicing with reactivity (based on looking closely at the sequence from contact to grasping or pushing away). We then, for the rest of the session, explore the teaching of the Eight Worldly Winds (pleasure or pain, gain or loss, fame or disrepute, and praise or blame) as a way of looking out for eight specific experiences that are likely to lead to reactivity. In all of this, we focus on how we might learn from and respond skillfully to such challenging situations rather than simply react in a largely unconscious and habitual way. The talk is followed by a discussion.
2021-08-04 Guided Meditation: Practicing with the Eight Worldly Winds 2 37:38
Donald Rothberg
After some general instructions for settling and seeing clearly and a period of practice, there is guidance for practicing with the Eight Worldly Winds (pleasure or pain, gain or loss, fame or disrepute, and praise or blame). We focus first on being attentive to moderate or greater levels of pleasant or unpleasant experiences (when the experiences are in the "workable" range). Then we bring in attention to the other Winds, when they arise.
2021-08-04 Deepening Daily Life Practice 4: Practicing with the Eight Worldly Winds 2 69:42
Donald Rothberg
We begin by naming some of the important supports for daily life practice and by exploring further the importance of practicing with reactivity (compulsively and habitually grasping after or pushing away). It's helpful to focus on the center of practice: Transforming reactivity and learning better how to respond skillfully in all parts of our lives. It's also important to name some of the complexities of practicing with reactivity: (1) Seeing that the pleasant and unpleasant aren't the problem, that reactivity is the problem; (2) understanding that this isn't about passivity but rather about skillful response; and (3) clarifying that reactivity can often be enmeshed with important insight, clarity, and intelligence, such that the aim of practice is to separate out the reactivity from the insight. In this context, we then look further at the Eight Worldly Winds (pleasure or pain, gain or loss, fame or disrepute, and praise or blame) and point to a number of guidelines and suggestions for practicing when they arise.
2021-08-11 Transforming the Mind from I to We Through Wisdom and Kindness 1:37:35
Sylvia Boorstein
2021-08-23 Loving Witness | Monday Night Talk 45:31
Jack Kornfield
In any moment you can become the loving witness—it’s why we sit in meditation. We learn to sit with both heartbreak and love—with whatever arises. We become the loving witness of it all. What channel do you turn to amidst the joy and sorrows? With mindful loving awareness we can see it all anew. When we see with amazement, with loving awareness, we also see with the heart. As Mary Oliver writes: “And therefore I look upon everything as a brotherhood and a sisterhood…. and I think of each life as a flower, as common as a field daisy, and as singular…. and each body a lion of courage, and something precious to the earth. When it’s over, I want to say all my life I was a bride married to amazement….”
2021-08-23 Loving Witness Meditation | Monday Night 27:51
Jack Kornfield
Notice as you feel the breath, that who you are is not this breath, or this body, but you are loving awareness, the loving witness. You are consciousness itself—open, spacious, letting the breath breathe itself. Experiences can rise and fall in a field of loving awareness. Notice how emotions, feelings and thoughts rise and fall like the waves of the ocean; you are the loving witness to them all.
2021-08-25 Practicing with Challenges: Individual, Relational, and Collective 69:17
Donald Rothberg
We name some of the personal, relational, and collective challenges of our current times, and point to a number of guidelines and support that help us to skillfully take such challenges as part of our practice of awakening. Discussion follows the talk.
2021-08-25 (Lightly) Guided Meditation: Practicing with Pleasant and Unpleasant Experiences and Tendencies toward Reactivity. 38:13
Donald Rothberg
2021-09-01 Guided Meditation: Settling, Tracking Reactivity and Awakened Qualities 36:10
Donald Rothberg
We start with the intention to cultivate awakened qualities, then have a period of settling, followed by opening up experience and particularly noticing any reactivity (habitual grasping and pushing away) and awakened qualities, such as mindfulness, concentration, equanimity, joy, etc.
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