Practice Circle

8/11 Practice Circle: Compassion for Ourselves and the World

The key to compassion, either for ourselves or for others, is the understanding that suffering is something we share.  It may be easy to grasp intellectually that all sentient beings experience suffering, but this insight is also deeply counter-intuitive.  When I am in pain, that suffering is mine, part of a drama that is bound…

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Practice Circle 7/28: Four Tasks

When Practice Circle meets on July 28, 2019, at 6 pm Pacific, 7 Mountain, 8 Central and 9 Eastern, we’ll share practice and discussion of how the Four Noble Truths manifest themselves in secular dharma practice. To prepare, I’m sharing this article I originally wrote in 2013. A link to our free, online practice community…

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7/14 Practice Circle: Relax

I think every contemplative technique I’m aware of involves at least some degree of relaxation. The practices I was taught in MBSR all begin with bringing awareness to areas of tightness and holding in the body and inviting them to relax; the Body Scan, which is the first technique one learns in MBSR, consists of…

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6/9 Practice Circle: Letting Go

In the Pali texts, Gotama teaches that one cause of our suffering is our inability to allow and accept our experience the way it is. Because we so desperately want conditions to be the way we want them, despite the realization (or perhaps because of it) that we can’t really control our circumstances in any…

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5/26 Practice Circle: New Attitudes of Mindfulness: Gratitude & Generosity

At Practice Circle, we have worked with Jon Kabat Zinn’s Seven Attitudes of Mindfulness: Acceptance, Nonjudging, Nonstriving, Letting Go, Patience, Humor, Trust, and Beginner’s Mind.  In their terrific training manual for mindfulness teachers, A Clinician’s Guide to Teaching Mindfulness, Christina Wolf and J. Greg Serpa add three more: Curiosity, Kindness, and Gratitude and Generosity.  When Practice…

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Practice Circle 4/28: Mindful Self Compassion

We’re fortunate this Sunday evening to have Amy Balentine lead us in Mindful Self Compassion practice!  Beside being the principal of the Memphis Center for Mindful Living, Amy is also an SBA board member, and has recently been trained in MSC. Amy Balentine has been a licensed psychologist in Memphis since 2004. She grew up…

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Practice Circle 4/14: New Attitudes of Mindfulness: Curiosity 

At Practice Circle, we have worked with Jon Kabat Zinn’s Seven Attitudes of Mindfulness: Acceptance, Nonjudging, Nonstriving, Letting Go, Patience, Humor, Trust, and Beginner’s Mind.  In their terrific training manual for mindfulness teachers, A Clinician’s Guide to Teaching Mindfulness, Christina Wolf and J. Greg Serpa add three more: Curiosity, Kindness, and Gratitude and Generosity.  Over…

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Practice Circle 3/24: Relax

I think every contemplative technique I’m aware of involves at least some degree of relaxation. The practices I was taught in MBSR all begin with bringing awareness to areas of tightness and holding in the body and inviting them to relax; the Body Scan, which is the first technique one learns in MBSR, consists of…

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8/26 Practice Circle: Getting Out of Default Mode

I have tended to give concentration practice short shrift. To me, devotion to intense concentration – jhana practice, long sesshins, and the like – seemed like spiritual calisthenics, meditation for its own sake, another skill to attach the ego to. Coming out of the vipassana-influenced MBSR tradition, I thought the tangible benefits of exploring the…

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10/12 Practice Circle: Soften, Soothe, Allow

How do we deal with truly difficult emotions when they arise in our daily life? Can we meet them without being overwhelmed or using distraction or numbing to avoid them? When Practice Circle meets again this Sunday evening at 6 Pacific, 7 Mountain, 8 Central and 9 Eastern, we’ll share another practice from Kristin Neff…

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