A Note From George (December 2017)

 
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To begin, there are a couple of community events that might be of interest.

First: I am very (as in extremely) excited that Daniel P. Brown, the author of Attachment Disturbances in Adults: Treatment for Comprehensive Repair, a great champion of attachment work, and one of my teachers, will be in Los Angeles, this Sunday, December 3rd for Sacred Sundays at the Mystic Journey Bookstore, 1702 Lincoln Blvd. in Venice. Doors open at 5:30pm. Dan’s incredibly skillful amalgamation of Mahamudra practice and attachment theory in the form of the Idealized Parent Figure Protocol is a total game changer for people with attachment disturbance. Mettagroup is over-the-moon to have IPF as a part of our The Meaningful Life and Meditation Interventions for the Addiction curricula. This is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to hear from the horse’s mouth. 

Two: Brightmind, the new Shinzen Young meditation app, is now available for iPhones everywhere (Android coming soon). If you are a longtime Shinhead (Shinzenite, Shinzenian, Shinzenic, etc.) and/or would like to deepen your practice with the app version of one of America’s preeminent deep practice teachers, try it out here. I have been a very grateful student of Shinzen’s for 20 years. His practices have completely transformed my life for the better, and they are heavily incorporated into all Mettagroup’s offering. Christian Stiller and the people at Brightmind are awesome! Check it out!

Christmas Time is Here. The holidays descend on us like a dense fog; except in Los Angeles, where it pops up as an ostensibly bulletproof marine layer. Some of us will spend the festivities with our families of origin, some with “families” of our own choosing, and some of us will do our very damnedest ignore the whole turkey, cranberry and mashed-potato klatch. Whatever you do, pay attention to the possibility that Mara, and his or her daughters, Greed, Hatred and Delusion, may make a surprise encampment. 

From a practice perspective, perhaps focus on developing patience for everyone catch up in their conditioning. Metta, Karuna, Mudita and Upekkha. Loving-kindness, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity. Also, some focus on emotional regulation could come in handy. I would also suggest that you keep Sangha close. Make the extra effort to attend your sitting groups, keep up your daily practice. Pay attention to the people close to you, if you notice them suffering, see if you can help.   

Loving-kindness phrases:

  • May I be peaceful.
  • May you be peaceful.
  • May all beings be peaceful.

Compassion phrases: 

  • May I be free of pain and sorrow, may I be well and happy.
  • May you be free of pain and sorrow, may you be well and happy.
  • May all beings be free from suffering.

Sympathetic Joy phrases:

  • May good fortune fill all the days of all my lives.
  • May good fortune fill all the days of all your lives.
  • May good fortune fill all the days of all beings lives.

Equanimity phrases:

  • Things are just as they are, things are impermanent. Joy and sorrow arise and pass away. All beings are the heirs of the intentions and actions. My joy and my sorrow depend on my intentions and actions, not on other’s wishes for me.
  • Things are just as they are, things are impermanent. Joy and sorrow arise and pass away. All beings are the heirs of their intentions and actions. Your joy and your sorrow depend on your intentions and actions, not on my wishes for you. I care about you, but I cannot prevent you from suffering.
  • (Or in a pinch: Things are just as they are, etc.)

For emotional regulation, nothing beats Noting Feeling States technique:

  • If you notice an emotional sensation in the body and you know what it is, label it by name. Anger, fear, sadness, excitement are the base emotions. Love, joy, interest, loneliness, longing, guilt, shame, regret, remorse, some of the more complex emotions. 
  • If you are aware of an emotional sensation in the body and you do not know what it is, label it “Something” or “Don’t Know.”
  • If there are no emotional sensations in the body at any given moment, label that “Rest” or “None.”

There is always the possibility of simply enjoying the holiday season. I highly recommend that choice. And if practice calls out to you, you can always join us for a nobly silent New Year’s Eve celebration. There are few spaces left for our Winter Retreat in the Sierra Nevadas. Come. Enjoy! 

Love to you, 
George