Ashram Reopening Party Guided Meditation


Welcome everyone. Thank you for joining us here today. Let us begin with a short guided meditation.

I will give instructions in stages of experience so you can follow along and do what feels right. If any instructions are unattainable today, that is okay. Listen to your body and your breath; it knows best.

To begin, take a nice deep breath, in through the nose, out through the mouth.

Begin to find a comfortable position, whether seated or lying down.

If seated: legs crossed, or feet flat on the floor, or kneeling. If lying down: legs extended straight or knees propped up slightly, feet hip width apart or further.

If seated: make sure your pelvis is tilted slightly forward until you get a small curve in your back. You may need to sit on something so your knees are below your hips.

Whether seated or lying: pull your shoulders up to your ears and then slide them together down your back until you feel your chest widen.

If seated: Lean back until your shoulders are directly over your hips. Drop your chin slightly until you feel a softening in your throat. Keeping this, move your head backwards in space until your ears are over your shoulders. Place the back of your left hand on top of your right palm and touch your thumbs together so your hands make an oval shape.

Take a deep breath, pulling the air all the way down your spine and into your hips. Make any adjustments needed to sit comfortably.

Another deep breath in, this time exhale it out loudly. Do this two more times.

On your next exhale, soften as if melting from the crown of your head down your body. Soften the muscles of your forehead…soften your jaw…soften your neck…soften your chest…soften your shoulders and arms…soften your belly…soften your hips and pelvis…soften all the muscles in your legs and knees…soften your hands and feet.

Soften any effort. Allow yourself to feel any sensations.

Breathe in, breathe out…softness…

Take a nice slow breath and on your next inhale count one. Exhale count two. Inhale one. Exhale two. Keep counting on your own.

// pause for one minute

Notice if there is any tightness or holding, especially in your jaw, between your shoulders, or anywhere you feel a bit stuck. Take a breath into that area, and soften.

// pause for one minute

If you’d like more, count inhale one, exhale two, inhale three, exhale four…all the way to ten, and begin again. If you get lost, that’s alright, just begin again from one. Keep counting on your own.

// pause for two cycles

Again, check in to see if there is any tightness or holding. Inhale for space, exhale release. No judgment, come back to the practice.

// pause for two cycles

If you’d like more, slow it down. Inhale, exhale, one. Inhale, exhale, two. Inhale, exhale, three. Etc. to ten, and begin again. Keep counting on your own.

// pause for two cycles

Begin to let go of this counting practice and just witness your breath again. No commentary, just breath.

// pause for thirty seconds

Some days are more difficult to get settled than others. There is no shame. Your practice is your own, so give yourself what you need. Soften anywhere there is tension. You have all the air and space you need.

// pause for three minutes

Begin to come back to your body.

Feel the chair or the floor beneath you.

// pause for ten seconds

Feel the clothing against your skin.

// pause for twenty seconds

Notice if there is anywhere that can soften even more.

// pause for twenty seconds

Notice any sensations in the feet. Notice any sensations in the hands.

// pause for twenty seconds

Notice if there are any smells or tastes.

// pause for thirty seconds

Notice if there are any sounds.

// pause for thirty seconds

Slowly begin to deepen your breath. Pull the air all the way through your body to bring small movements back into your fingers and toes.

Bring a small smile to your lips.

Take a really deep breath, filling up everything inside, and exhale it out loudly.

You may bring your hands to anjali moodra or prayer position in front of your chest. You may bow your head towards your hands, and thank yourself for this practice.

May all beings everywhere come to realize happiness, and the roots of happiness. May all beings everywhere be free from suffering and the causes of suffering. May all beings everywhere experience equanimity, peace, and wellbeing.

Slowly lower your hands and raise your head. As you begin to open your eyes, just notice how you’re feeling.

Thank you for practicing today, and all days. May you bring this practice in to everything you do. Namaste. I bow respectfully to each and every one of you.

 

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Ashram Reopening Party Speech


Hello my friends! It has been much too long. I am happy to announce that the Citta Bhavana Ashram of SL reopened today, Tuesday June 27! You can catch a ride here.

Below is a copy of the opening address I have given. In a separate post, you will find a copy of the short guided meditation.

**

Welcome, my friends. It sure has been a while since we’ve gathered together! It is an absolute pleasure to welcome you all to the new Citta Bhavana Ashram.

Some of you may be returning, while others are new. If you are returning, you may recognize many of the hosts, musicians, and others offering their time and wisdom through this ashram. However, for all of you, this location is new. I have to extend a very warm thank you to the owner of the land, Xandria Drake, for providing us a place to be. We wouldn’t be here today without her.

This ashram closed in the fall of 2015. It’s hard to believe that was almost two years ago already! A lot of change has occurred in that time, both in SL and otherwise, and both personally and universally.

Growth occurs constantly. With every breath we take, every passing moment, every event in our lives and every time there is seemingly nothing happening, change is occurring. It is through necessity that this change is growth. Nothing becomes less than it is. Even at death, what is there only changes, it doesn’t leave.

So, though the ashram closed, the people we met here and the parts of ourselves that we learned more about remained. Hopefully, those parts have also grown, and the relationships have expanded and strengthened, and hopefully we can all come together to share what we’ve learned since then.

With the return of the ashram, the hope is not to take away from any of the other venues or offerings in SL. We recognize that there are many amazing places you can call home and find community and wisdom. We are merely another layer to this already rich world.

SL has been a big part of my life for many years. It is here that I’ve gained some of the deepest relationships I have, with people I never would have met if it wasn’t for SL. This is what I’m looking to provide here; a space to learn from each other in a supportive and caring environment. A nurturing community.

The name of the ashram is Citta Bhavana, meaning ‘cultivating heart/mind.’ Bhavana on it’s own means ‘spiritual cultivation.’ All the events here are organized to support this inner growth in some way or other, whether it’s through meditation, yoga, discussions, dances, music, ritual etc. Our hosts and guests come from many traditions around the world, and are not limited to one path or another. Instead, we believe that all paths are useful and that each person will find meaning in different perspectives. All things offered here invite you to examine your self and those around you rather than telling you how things should be.

At this ashram we ask you to invite into your life what you want to share with others as well as yourself. It is through positive, intentional action that we are able to change our perspectives and lessen our suffering. I strongly feel that as a community, we can provide the support and friendship that we all wish for along our journey. And, because of our amazing diversity, there may be something for everyone.

The current events we are offering are listed in a notecard on the wooden message board you can see by the stage. More events will be announced and added to the note as time goes on.

But one of the new offerings that I’d like to say a little about is what I call “listening hours”. Every Monday at noon SLT I will be in the office of the ashram, on the upper floor of the main building. If anyone would like to talk with someone who has no judgment, an open heart, and is here just to listen, I’ll be available. Everything you say will be completely confidential and will not be copied or repeated anywhere. If you’d like to talk outside of the designated listening hours, you are more than welcome to contact me and we can set something up.

If you are a host, artist or musician, or would like to contribute to the ashram in another way, please contact me and we can organize something. You don’t have to be a professional or have years of experience to offer something positive to the community; you only have to be you.

Now, Sunshine will be playing some wonderful tunes for us for the next little while, but please also feel free to explore at any time. There is a library; a zen garden; an onsen; various places for yoga, tai chi and meditation; and many places to sit and relax on your own or with friends or loved ones.

Once again, thank you all so much for your renewed support and interest. You are welcome to come use this space whenever you like, and for as long as you like.

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu…May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all. Namaste _/\_ Thank you.