Various locations | Jan 2019
This year, Tim and Tuere (as well as other SIMS teachers) will explore the five hindrances and the seven factors of enlightenment. These two lists can be seen as opposite sides of a spectrum; with the hindrances an expression of our ignorance and the factors of enlightenment our wisdom. Join us as we continue the journey towards awakening together.
The Seven Factors of Enlightenment - Concentration. Offered by Tuere Sala at SIMS at University Friends on Nov 18, 2019.
The Seven Factors of Enlightenment - Concentration. Offered by Tuere Sala at SIMS at University Friends on Nov 04, 2019.
Reflections and Practices: This month we will practice with the difference between concentration, the ability to focus the mind, and samadhi, steadiness of mind and mental harmony. When you are practicing concentration (on breath, listening, or focused on something interesting) what happens to your focus when the environment becomes chaotic or loud? Notice how concentration is dependent upon conditions. What value does focusing on what you are doing have in your life? Can you think of any activity that a steady mind does not enhance? What external and internal conditions cultivate this steadiness? How dependent are you on external conditions for your stability of mind? For example, does the house have to be quiet for you to be focused and clear? What internal factors are important? Does daily sitting help generate these internal conditions? Throughout the month, make a study of the conditions that allow you to focus and those which seem to interfere. Watch when your mind is focused and steady and when it is not. Samadhi, on the other hand, has the ability to expand beyond and hold circumstances and remain steadfast. Practice simple exercises that prove this point. For instance, try reading a book in the middle of noise and commotion, and then look up and embrace the entire scene without demands. Which is concentration and which is samadhi?
Offered by Tim Geil at SIMS at University Friends on Oct 21, 2019
Practice and Reflection: Tranquility/Calm
Bring attention to the presence and absence of tranquility in your practice and life. How does it balance joy and restlessness/worry? Is there a shadow if we deny our agitation in order to appear calm? How do our actions affect the level of tranquility? How does working with reactivity affect calmness? Do insights generate tranquility?
Practice and Reflection: Cultivation of Joy
Instead of the normal sources of joy that change (experiences, objects, situations), can we cultivate a different source of joy?
• Try a daily, written gratitude and appreciation practice this week.
• Practice sympathetic joy by reflecting on another’s good fortune. Offer phrases like, “May your happiness and success continue to grow and deepen.”
• Practice releasing the familiar self-belief of innate unworthiness. Relax into the unknown beyond all self belief.
Offered by Tim Geil at SIMS at University Friends Meeting House, Sep 9 2019
Offered by Jerry Harter at Seattle Insight Meditation Society August 19, 2019
This month we are exploring the third factor of Awakening – Energy. We can practice with energy in two ways. First, through our level of commitment. Be truthful and assess the amount of energy you bring to your spiritual growth. What is your honest commitment to being awake? What priority does opening your heart have in your life? What holds you back from greater urgency? When do you feel this urgency, when do you not? Are you more likely to practice during difficult times or when your life is going well? There is no judgment here. This is about learning to see the role energy and intention plays in practice. We want to make it less about “me needing to do something” and more about becoming aware of the intentions and assumptions behind our action or lack of action. Secondly, energy is about developing right effort. Try practicing with simply letting go of any unskillfulness without judgment or comment, set an intention to not pick up an unskillful habit, cultivate opening heart/softening your attitude and really appreciate any moments of kindness and/or care.
Practice and Reflection: Investigation
Pause: slow down impulse to act, connect with body sensations
Ask: What is present? What is driving? What is the most tender?
Sense: Feel in body what sensations, emotions and beliefs emerge
Surprise: Be willing to drop assumptions and to be surprised
This talk explores different aspects of mindfulness as a factor of awakening.
Offered at SIMS at University Friends Meeting House June 17, 2019
Tuere Sala offers a DharmaTalk on The Seven Factors of Enlightenment: Mindfulness June 10, 2019
Tuere Sala and Tim Geil offer a DharmaTalk at the first sit at our new University Friends location. June 3, 2019
This was the final sit we had at SIMS SODO. Tim Geil and Tuere Sala gave some teachings on how this transition is an opportunity for reflection and practice.
Practice meeting doubt with clarity and precision: Write out the answers to these questions:
What do I doubt in the dharma?
What do I doubt in my practice?
What do I doubt in myself?
How can you resolve these doubts?
Offered by Tim Geil at Seattle Insight Meditation Society Apr 2, 2019
Offered by Tuere Sala at Seattle Insight Meditation Society March 5, 2019
Offered by Tim Geil at Seattle Insight Meditation Society Mar 26, 2019
What is your relationship to anger? Is your immediate response to flee, change the subject to something more appeasing, or deny it is occurring? What about other unpleasant emotions such as irritation, disappointment, sadness, resentment, etc.? How willing are you to investigate the conditions giving rise to these emotions? How willing are you to pay attention to your strategies with conflict, disliking, not wanting or other entrenched forms of resistance? Set the intention to understand your need to resist. Catch the moment in which you decide to react rather than be with what you don't want or like. For the rest of the month, practice holding all your unpleasant emotions in kindness. Practice doing no harm to yourself. Practice intentionally not getting your way. Spend your time getting to know your emotions. What conditions cause them to rise? What conditions cause them to fade away? See if you can understand why some emotions seem like habit and why some emotions are hard to be with. You don't need to do anything. Just observe. Emotions come and go like breath. All that is needed is a willingness to take the time pay attention.
This month we are exploring the hindrance of aversion or ill will. The Pali word for aversion is 'Patigha' which means 'striking against'. This month we want to begin to see how we 'strike against' reality. We can think of it as an attitude of resistance or rejection; places and situations in our lives where we are pushing away, avoiding or not wanting. We are not practicing to simply accept everything regardless of the potential danger/harm. We are practicing seeing our resistance/rejection; seeing our relationship with the present moment. The more we can see the unfolding present moment, the more capacity we will have to discern the appropriate response without the impulsiveness of reactivity. Practicing with aversion is not easy. Keep your focus on gathering information. Give yourself time to learn the nature of aversion and how it operates in the thinking mind. This week pay attention to your resistance. See if you can get up-close and personal with the nature of not wanting and reflect on what acceptance would truly look like to you.
When desire arises, try these questions of investigation:
What exactly am I wanting? What does that represent? What do I hope it will fulfill in me? What does desire feel like as state of mind? As a body experience? How am I fueling the fire of desire? What is the inner lack that desire is trying to resolve? What is sufficient and complete about this moment?
Just as we can notice our breath and body sensations with mindfulness, we can also notice desire. This week, become attuned to desire as it arises, during meditation and daily life. Observe desire with curiosity, not judgment. How often are impulses to act, to think, or to feel are driven by desire? Notice the “felt sense” of desire, as sensation and energy in the body and mind. What happens to the object of your desire when you shift to the experience of desire itself?