Letting Go, Letting Be, our sangha retreat at Heartwood Retreat and Refuge Center in Hendersonville, N.C., September 20-22 of 2019, gave participants opportunities for meditation and learning with three of our dharma leaders – Clyde, Debbie and Alexis. The mountain setting, nearby lake, mild temperatures, star-filled evenings and the serenity of Noble Silence helped create a beneficial experience for new and experienced meditators alike.
For the next minute, focus on the present moment.
On sounds and smells, on feelings that come and go.
Don’t think about tomorrow’s deadline or yesterday’s screw-up. Be fully where and when you are.
How’d you do? If you’re like most of us, pretty badly. It’s not our fault—our brains crave distraction. We jump from thought to thought, regret to anxiety, like kids who jump from the couch to the table to the chair because the floor is lava. As adults, our lava is the present moment. It’s the only real thing we have—the past is over; the future hasn’t happened—yet we pay little attention to that space in between.
I wanted to hang out in the lava. In March, I attended a silent meditation retreat with Insight Meditation Community of Charlotte. The retreat would be held in the 2,600-year-old Buddhist tradition of noble silence, which in 2019 looks like this: no talking, no eye contact, no phones or computers, no reading or writing. Four days of just meditation, yoga, and mindfulness. The idea both terrified and excited me. Click here to view entire article.
On August 23rd and 24th, IMC Charlotte had the pleasure of hosting a new guest speaker for our sangha: Bhikkhu Jayasara. Bhante J, as he is affectionately called, taught Friday night about “Anger Arising” and Saturday about “Living with Uncertainty.” Both were valuable teachings with easy application to daily life. Bhante J resides at Bhavana Monastery and Retreat Center located in West Virginia.
In May, IMC Charlotte launched its first-ever Dharma Leader Training Program (DLTP). The two-year program’s objective is to expand the pool of Dharma Leaders serving the sangha, helping to ensure the continuity of the teachings available to sangha members over the years and decades to come.
The five participants (pictured from left) are Gray Clark, Mary Powers, Denise Owens, Bob Bushorn, and Larry Dawalt. All are graduates of the sangha’s 2017-2018 year-long Dharma Study and Practice Program.
As DLTP unfolds, participants will serve in a variety of roles, including assisting with classes, multi-week series, study groups, and retreats as well as leading Wednesday evening instruction periods, and Tuesday lunchtime and Wednesday evening sangha meetings.
We are excited about this step in the growth of IMCC and grateful to the students and teachers for their commitment to the Dhamma as well as our sangha.
IMCC offered its first one-year Dhamma Study and Practice Program from September 2017 through August 2018. The program integrated meditation practice with the study of the teachings of the Buddha. The first class of students delved more deeply into the meaning and significance of the Buddha’s teachings and creatively explored the relationship of these teachings to meditation practice and daily life.
The program was led by Dharma Leaders Ward Simmons, Debbie George and Clyde Alexander (front row). The group met monthly, including four daylong sessions. The students also worked with partners on the recommended readings and reflections.