Living from the Heart in Challenging Times
A skillful life is one that focuses on the truth that lies beneath the surface of things. We tend to be fixated on the stuff in our experience–money, health, the job, the spouse, the kids–and of course we do need to attend to these things, but a life devoted to arranging and rearranging our circumstances will ultimately feel empty and without a meaningful purpose. It’s the how of life that really matters. What we do is far less important than how we do what we do. How do we cause ourselves to be unhappy, and how might we be happy instead? How might we find peace and joy in any circumstance? How might we let go of our attachment to outcomes and deeply live? These are the sorts of questions that guide an authentic life.
Said another way, a skillful life puts spiritual practice at the center of everything. Everything that occurs may be a mirror in which to see how to live well and fully. From this perspective, our lives call us to turn inward, and this is especially the case during difficult times. This is a time to turn to practice for the guidance and support that we all need.
What does spiritual practice look like during challenging times? This is what we will explore over the course of this six-week class. There will be two assignments a week that will ask us to examine our conditioned responses to the challenges we face, in regards to the virus and its consequences or anything else. We will look into the nature of fear; we will learn what it is to let go, and to shift our attention away from the what and towards the how; and we will practice living from the heart right here, right now, in the midst of whatever our lives put before us. As we go along we will share our insights and experiences within a safe environment designed to foster connection and an experience of community.
We will be using an online platform to facilitate our conversation. The experience will be much like using Facebook, only without the distraction. As a participant you will receive the assignments on Tuesdays and Fridays, and then post your responses to the assignments, along with other comments or questions, in a public feed. I will comment and answer questions on a daily basis in order to facilitate the conversation. In this way we will support each other and learn from each other while we explore the topics suggested in the class. Active participation will be encouraged, but not required. You will be able to consume as much or as little of the class as you wish. The class will be supported by the weekly meditation and discussion groups that happen on Thursday and Sunday evenings (the Thursday group begins April 23rd!) , and will be offered on a purely donation basis.
We plan to begin on Friday, May 1. To join in, simply reply to this post if you received it at an email, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our intrepid friend Janet, whom many of you know from Sunday group, will be coordinating the effort to get people the information they need to participate and support everyone technologically (thanks, Janet!). I hope to see you there!