Mindfulness Tips Blog...
"Do everything with a mind that lets go... If you let go a little, you experience a little peace. If you let go a lot, you experience a lot of peace. If you let go completely, you will know complete peace and freedom. Your struggle with the world will come to an end." Ajahn Chah
Our last retreat of the year took place the weekend of October 22nd-24th, at Casa San Carlos Retreat Center in Delray Beach, Fl. It was a wonderful and heart opening experience to come into community and explore this peaceful and heart opening practice together. Both as a practitioner and a guide, I am deeply moved and grateful for the opportunity to share this practice with others. In the sharing there isn't an expert in charge, there is a fellow traveler exploring the teachings of the Buddha that lead to the liberation of our hearts and minds. When we do this in a retreat setting, in a space of acceptance, support and compassion, there can be shifts in how we relate to our experience. This way of relating to experience is at the heart of retreat practice and the vehicle we use to explore and learn to be with life as it is, is the practice of meditation.
Let go and being with life as it is...
As you enter retreat the invitation is to let go of distractions, to do's and open to life just as it is. The retreat setting is one where all of your immediate needs for food, accommodations and even setting an alarm to get up are met. This is done for the purpose of keeping distractions to a minimum and it allows your mind to be free from the normal needing to do and meet other's needs that we experience in our daily lives. When we take accept that invitation and practice meditation, it can be the first time that we connect with and explore what we hold in our minds and how that deeply effects our bodies and our hearts. It is truly a gift you grant yourself when you make time to get intimate with the mind. It is also that we learn to call on the compassionate healing power of the heart to help us meet the thoughts, stories and views that bring up feelings of disappointment, fear and suffering. This is why we sit. To help us notice when we're reacting to thoughts as if the are 100% true and to see how the emotions often tag along and create suffering in body, mind and heart. This is a courageous journey and this is why doing it in a setting that warm, supportive and loving is a powerful foundation for this practice of liberating the mind and heart.
As we let go and are open to life there is more possiblity...
"Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally." Jon Kabat-Zinn
When we connect with life in this way there is more space to meet challenges in ways that are wise, skillful and compassionate. This is a necessary shift as it is our emotional and physical well-being that is at stake. And when we awaken the power of the open mind and compassionate heart, life becomes more vibrant and we see the preciousness of each moment.
This practice helps us liberate ourselves from our habitual tendency to get caught up in reactivity and judgment, when life doesn't go according to plan. It is the journey of the spiritual warrior, so it requires a deep commitment and courage to stay present and open in the face of life's challenges.
This is a path that we all walk together. It is the path of spiritual friendship that helps us stay connected to this peaceful and healing practice. With that in mind we commend all who attended our retreat. Your openness and kindness in holding the space during Noble Silence and committing to practicing meditation together, is a true testimony to the power of this practice and what is possible when we are there for each other in mind and heart. We thank you deeply and invite you to join us on our next retreat, which will take place on January 5th-7th at Casa San Carlos Retreat Center in Delray Beach, Florida. You may register here.
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May you be well....
Cindy Ricardo is a compassionate and experienced Psychotherapist, Gentle Yoga Teacher and Mindfulness Meditation Guide. She facilitates a Dharma/Meditation Circle in Weston and Coral Springs alternatively, 3 times a month at 11am on Sundays. Her focus is on helping others learn about peaceful practices that help cultivate insight, connect with wisdom and awaken the compassionate heart. For more information about her please visit acaringcounselor.com, contact her at 954 793 6442 or email her at wbmindfulness.