~ Talks & Meditations ~
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Working with Strong Emotions: RAIN
Unpleasant emotions can be strong and powerful. One simple and effective tool for working with them is called RAIN. RAIN is a four-step process: Recognize your inner experience, Allow it to be just as it is, Investigate it with kindness, and Nurture yourself, especially the hurt and reactive parts. It can be followed with an "after-RAIN" practice of resting in natural awareness. This talk was given online on May 14 and 18, 2020.
MIndfulness of Thoughts (29 mins)
This talk explores the ephemeral nature of thoughts and describes three ways of becoming more mindful of them: Labeling or naming thoughts; STOP (Stop, Take a few deep breaths, Observe your thoughts, and Proceeding with what you were doing); and inquiring if thoughts are true. It was given online on May 4, 2020.
Finding Refuge (24 mins)
What is completely reliable and dependable? The Buddha said that we can find refuge in three ways: in the awareness of basic goodness or buddha-nature, in the understanding of how things really are (impermanent, unsatisfactory, and not identifying with the sense of self). These three refuges are not like a soothing security blanket. Rather, they are an aspiration to leap into the unknown with courage and compassion. This talk was given online on April 30, 2020.
An Introduction to MIndfulness Meditation: MIndfulness of Body and Breathing (25 mins)
Mindfulness of body and breathing are foundational practices in insight meditation. In mindfulness of the body, we notice the sensations inside and outside the body, without getting caught up in them or giving them a story. In mindfulness of breathing, we notice the sensations of breathing wherever we can feel them easily. When awareness wanders, we gently return it to the sensations of breathing, without any self-criticism. This talk was given online on April 20, 2020.
Birth & Death (22 mins)
This talk explores birth and death using Thich Nhat Hanh's metaphor of waves and water. Each wave has a unique form that arises and passes away, only to be replaced by a new one. But waves are made from water; they have no independent existence. And unlike a wave water is not born and does not die. So when we die, only the form disappears, the essence continues. This talk was originally given online on April 16, 2020.
An Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation: What Is Mindfulness Meditation & Why Practice It? (23 mins)
This video is the first in a series on An Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation. In it, I explore what mindfulness meditation is and describe its benefits, including how it improves health and well-being and how it helps us to understand and work with our minds to decrease suffering and increase happiness. This talk was given online on April 6, 2020.
The Earth, Our Mother (19 mins)
In this talk, I reflect on the earth, our mother. After exploring how human beings and the earth "inter-are", I go on to describe five qualities of the earth including her generosity, her constancy, her beauty, her creativity, and that nature can provide a healing refuge. This talk was given online on April 2, 2020.
Making Progress on the Spiritual Journey (24 mins)
This talk explores the idea of making progress on the spiritual journey. It describes why this idea is not often useful and when it may be. Drawing on traditional teachings, it also explains how awareness of the hindrances (discussed in the previous talk) and the seven factors of awakening can be helpful. This talk was originally given at Healing Circles Langley on February 27, 2020.
Working with Deeper Patterns: The Hindrances
In this talk, I explore the five hindrances - craving, aversion, sloth/torpor, restlessness/worry, and doubt. I go on to describe the Buddha's advice for working with them. This includes getting familiar with them, and what it feels like when they are absent, looking at what causes them to arise and fall away, and what prevents them from re-arising. This talk was originally offered at Healing Circles Langley on February 20, 2020.
Common Challenges for Meditators (25 mins)
Can't find time to meditate. Busy mind. Sleepiness. Restlessness. These are just a few of the common challenges for meditators. This talk explores these and other issues and offers suggestions about how to work with them. It was originally given on February 13, 2020 at Healing Circles Langley.
Practice, Practice, Practice (18 mins)
This talk explores continuous awareness in everyday life. It advocates a gentle, effortless awareness that is relaxed and open, rather than a tight or striving effort. By cultivating this type of awareness whatever we are doing, we can develop wisdom, calmness, mindfulness, persistence and faith - the five spiritual faculties. Ten simple ways of fostering continuous awareness are suggested. This talk was originally given at Healing Circles Langley on February 6, 2020.
Inquire Within (24 mins)
This talk is about inquiring into our direct experience in the moment. This is not a cognitive or intellectual inquiry; rather it is about noticing our raw thoughts and emotions without adding anything to them. Using inquiry as a meditation practice, you might gently ask "What is happening in my mind right now?" Not trying to find an answer but simply noticing what, if anything, arises. This talk was originally given at Healing Circles Langley on January 23, 2020.
Mindfulness in Practice (21 mins)
What is mindfulness in practice? This talk explores some of the many meanings of this word and offers seven attitudes of mind that cultivate mindfulness. This talk was originally given at Healing Circles Langley on January 16, 2020.
Why Practice? (20 mins)
This talk explores the motivations for practice, including being of benefit to others. It also discusses how willingness and faith compliment motivation to sustain a meditation practice. This talk was originally given at Healing Circles Langley on January 9, 2020.
The Noble Eightfold Path: Wise Concentration
In this talk, Kate discusses concentration meditation and distinguishes it from wise mindfulness. She also considers the hindrances or obstacles to wise concentration and how we can work with them. This talk was originally given at Healing Circles Langley on December 19, 2019.
The Noble Eightfold Path: Wise Mindfulness (24 mins)
What is wise mindfulness? This talk explains the Four Foundations of Mindfulness: Mindfulness of the body, mindfulness of feeling tones (vedana), mindfulness of mind, and mindfulness of D/dhammas. This talk was originally given at Healing Circles Langley on December 12, 2019.
The Noble Eightfold Path: Wise Effort (20 mins)
This talk presents wise effort as a "middle path" between over-striving and laziness in everyday life, as well as when we are meditating. It discusses how to discern what constitutes wise effort in each moment by becoming aware of the obstacles to it. It also suggests investigating the quality of our effort, as well as its quantity. This talk was originally given at Healing Circles Langley on December 5, 2019.
The Noble Eightfold Path: Wise Action and Wise Livelihood (23 mins)
Even more than our speech, our actions define us. This talk examines the three elements involved in any action, introduces the idea of karma and explores the five precepts regarding wise action. It also addresses what wise livelihood means in the modern day world. This talk was originally given at Healing Circles Langley on November 21, 2019.
The Noble Eightfold Path: Wise Speech (21 mins)
This talk summarizes the characteristics of unwise speech and offers four attributes of wise speech. Pausing before we speak enables us to inquire whether our speech is wise or not. To do this, we can use the THINK acronym. This talk was originally given at Healing Circles Langley on November 14, 2019.
The Noble Eightfold Path: Wise Intentions (21 mins)
This talk starts by exploring the connection between intention and karma - the understanding that our actions have consequences. It goes on to look at what constitutes wise and unwise intentions, and concludes with four simple practices for cultivating wise intentions. It was originally at Healing Circles Langley on October 31, 2019.
The Noble Eightfold Path: Wise View (16 mins)
Our view or understanding of life govern our attitudes, thoughts, words and actions. Wise view is about seeing things as they really are - beyond our beliefs, assumptions, attachments, aversions, stories and interpretations. In particular, it is about understanding karma - that our actions have consequences for ourselves - and the reality of the Four Noble Truths. This talk was originally given on October 24, 2019 at Healing Circles Langley.
The Fourth Noble Truth: The Noble Eightfold Path
This talk provides an overview of the Noble Eightfold Path. After offering three images for the Path, it describes the three groups of factors that comprise it: Ethical conduct (wise speech, wise action and wise livelihood), meditation or mental discipline (wise effort, wise mindfulness and wise concentration), and wisdom (wise view and wise intention. This talk was originally given on October 3, 2019 at Healing Circles Langley.
The Third Noble Truth: Suffering & Discomfort can be Prevented (23 mins)
In the Third Noble Truth, the Buddha asserts that we can change. By letting go of our attachments and our aversions, and seeing things as they really are, we can prevent suffering and discomfort. This talk was originally given at Healing Circles Langley on September 26, 2019.
The Second Noble Truth: The Causes of Suffering & Discomfort (21 mins)
In the Second Noble Truth, the Buddha identified three causes of suffering & discomfort: Attachment to sensory pleasure, beliefs, habits & rules, and a belief in a solid, fixed self; aversion, rejection or hatred; and ignorance of the ways life truly is. This talk was originally given at Healing Circles Langley on September 19, 2019.
The First Noble Truth: The Universality of Suffering & Discomfort (23 mins)
Suffering & discomfort are universal human experiences. Even though we think of suffering as unpleasant, it has many gifts including: it can make us more compassionate, humble, grateful, and resilient. Suffering also provides a motivation for spiritual practice. This talk was originally given at Healing Circles Langley on September 12, 2019.