Receptive Awareness

This Sunday, Joey guided the sitting and discussion with a talk by Andrea Fella on “Receptive Awareness”.

The talk is here:

What are the activities or areas of your life where you habitually lose mindfulness?  Planning, driving, spacing out as you wash the dishes, jumping on the computer, turning on the radio?  Once you can identify these holes where mindfulness is lost, you can turn your curiosity to follow where your attention goes.  Receptive awareness is about following the flow of life experience even when it is a state like sleepiness, dullness, or spaciness without trying to fix or change it….simply remaining aware of what is happening, where does your attention go next?

Here is a guided meditation in receptive awareness:  It’s 32 mins. long.

Fear and its Alternatives

Today Payton played a talk by Gil Fronsdal entitled “Response to Election” which focused largely on the role of mindful practice in times of great fear and anger. Gil spoke on the importance of love during these times. He listed what he called the four kinds of love emphasized in Buddhist teachings (which are in fact the Brahma-viharas ): loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity.

The group discussion then centered around how we must remaing aware of all the events going on around us, no matter how small, in the wake of the Election results, and take action to keep our deepest values alive even when there may be risk to ourselves. That action, however, should be rooted in kindness rather than fear.

Gil’s talk is available here:

Another talk he gave just after the election is available here, in which Gil describes the image of a lighthouse to light the way while remaining stable even in great storms:


This past Sunday, Mike guided our reflections on the topic “many Kinds of Happiness”, featuring clips from Andrea Fella and Annie Nugent.  It is important to remember that the Buddha established his path as a way of achieving Happiness, and bringing suffering to an end.

Mike included portions of three talks, two from Andrea Fella ( and  and one by Annie Nugent (

In Sickness and In Health

On Sunday, Adam guided a discussion on Sickness as practice. Here are his notes from the presentation.

Using illness constructively in our practice can be a challenge. I didn’t realize how easy it was to simply try and “get rid of” my own sickness until only a few days ago. I had been struggling (and I do mean “struggling”) with a cold and it occurred to me (for the first time while actually being sick) that being in a state of illness need not entail the suffering that seemed to come along with it. For our Sangha Sunday, I’d like to present some dharma talks for contemplation and discussion as a way to enrich our lives as we move headlong into cold- and flu-season.

Sally Clough Armstrong talk (

2:20-4:01       buddha afraid of old age sickness and death 
25:41 -33:23    on sickness 

Skye Dawson talk (

1:36-3:51   what the Buddha wanted for us....skillfulness
16:17-29:25 aging and loss of health 

Talking points:

*using the vedanas (feeling tones) to observe sickness and pain as sensation that comes and goes
* observing the body’s automatic responses and our conditioning to illness (sniffling, throat-clearing, coughing)
* sickness as practice for death

Mental Noting

This past Sunday, Zac led the dharma reflection on the practice of noting (also called mental noting or labeling) as it’s taught in the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition.

Here are some resources from the discussion:

The Insight Revolution By Erik Braun | Lion’s Roar | November 12, 2013

Full-Stop Mind By Bhante Bodhidhamma| Lions Roar | March 1, 2016

Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha by Daniel Ingram, p. 39 – 40

Definition of Momentary Concentration:
the meditator does not deliberately attempt to exclude the multiplicity of phenomena from his field of attention. Instead, he simply directs mindfulness to the changing states of mind and body, noting any phenomenon that presents itself; the task is to maintain a continuous awareness of whatever enters the range of perception, clinging to nothing. As he goes on with his noting, concentration becomes stronger moment after moment until it becomes established one-pointedly on the constantly changing stream of events. Despite the change in the object, the mental unification remains steady, and in time acquires a force capable of suppressing the hindrances to a degree equal to that of access concentration. This fluid, mobile concentration is developed by the practice of the four foundations of mindfulness, taken up along the path of insight; when sufficiently strong it issues in the breakthrough to the last stage of the path, the arising of wisdom. (

Morning Reflection – The Technique of Labeling | Brian Lesage 2016-10-17
Insight Meditation Society – Retreat Center: Three-Month Part 1