Posts in Practices
On Retreat

At the end of this month the Dharma Friends Community retreat, Developing Breath Meditation, will be held at Durham’s Avila Retreat Center. This post was initially written to assist the people who are coming to this retreat. It is offered here as a support for participation in retreats in general.

What makes a retreat? Well, there is a place designated for the purpose of holding the retreat. There are retreat teachers and retreat managers creating and supporting the structures that contain the retreat (e.g. a schedule, bells). There are retreat activities: meditation, dharma talks, meals…

Read More
Morning Gratitude Reflection

It can be interesting to investigate the kinds of thoughts that usually occupy our minds when we first wake up in the mornings. Do we tend to jump out of bed as soon as our eyes open already running the day’s to-do list before our feet hit the ground? Do we linger on the edge of sleep reaching back to coax one more snooze from the night’s rest. What kinds of thoughts jump to center stage as waking consciousness emerges from sleep?

Read More
Five Themes for Frequent Reflection

We begin practicing the Five Themes for Frequent Reflection by bringing our awareness to four of the most obvious facts concerning human existence. These four facts - we grow old; we get sick; we die; we lose all of the people and the things that we love - are at once totally apparent and somehow hard to keep a grip on. We don’t want to see them. We look away. We want to feel as if our youth, our health, our lives and our loves belong to us. And they don’t.

Read More
All Experience is Preceded by Mind

Read and reflect on these verses from the Dhammaphada over the next week or so. You may want to choose a particular time of day to do the reading – perhaps on waking in the morning or before sleep. You may want to post the reading in a spot where you are likely to encounter it throughout the day – on the fridge or bathroom mirror, as a screen saver on your computer or phone. Notice any effects of doing this practice and, if you’d like, keep some journal notes on what you notice.

Read More