The recent online Ajahn Sucitto and Willa Thaniya Reid retreat “Love as the Breath of Life” brought forth such a plethora of insight amidst (minor) domestic challenges such as establishing and maintaining one’s retreat space amidst everyday home life.
I liken much of the notes below to a game of telephone where one can seem to hear what one wants, often with copious misinterpretations. In light of this, please (also) listen directly to the retreat.
Sitting meditation posture:
- Big emphasis on uprightness
- Pelvis and hips stable
- Tendons relaxed
- Stomach drops to floor
- Spinal discs of lower back stacked atop each other with slight arch
- Slight pressing toward the chest from between the shoulder blades
- Relaxing rope-like muscles of the neck from the skull down
Body, breath and mind:
- When body relaxes the mind gets signaled to relax
- Body/breath has sense of internal tissue intelligence — body knows itself internally
- The breath channel(s) through the tissues extends beyond the physical
- Noice longer, lighter, sustained stretches with(in) the body, tissues and breath
- As energies bubble up from the depths mind can concoct stuff with them. Draw back into experience (with)in the body and breath through uprightness
- The heart — where intentions come from
- That which is moved and touched by knowing something, otherwise it is just awareness
(Perceptual meditation) techniques:
- Like a Buddha surveying the karmic field
- Being enveloped in a sphere of love
- Hands supporting, holding a level skull allowing the rest of body to dangle then energy rising up like mist
- Establishing upright axis of a spinal energy column while aware of the sky, one’s feet on the ground and spaciousness then there’s no place for projected negative energy to land
- Horizontal axes along shoulders and pelvis/hips in addition to the axis of the energetic spine
- Detaching from the inner and the outer by staying in the doorway between the two
- Introduce blockage(s) to energy flowing area(s) and invite blocked area to join (as mentioned in https://integratingpresence.com/2021/01/11/addressing-energetic-blockages)
- Using the Five Faculties — faith/conviction, energy, mindfulness, samadhi (unified, gathered, sustained focus, stable, stillness of mind) and wisdom — to check effectiveness of meditation
An insight during retreat:
Since it seems we’re always aware (of something) — to verify this just try to stop being aware for 60 seconds — we only seem to lose awareness because the connection (and/or common thread) from the first remembered moment of awareness is severed, broken, or lost. It seems (correct) reference points can help with the linking and continuity of awareness.
- gives what is hard to give
- does what is hard to do
- endures what is hard to endure
- reveals secrets to you
- keeps your secrets
- does not abandon you in misfortunes
- when you are down and out, does not look down on you
EDITED RETREAT DESCRIPTION:
In the Buddha’s Dhamma, the four expressions of the loving heart establish the atmosphere for our practice. Combined with the opening and enrichment of the body’s somatic presence, they clear negative patterns such as fear, guilt, self-criticism and resentment. In this retreat, the cultivation of breathing, devotion and wise reflection are offered to further this process.
The daily schedule will include sitting, walking and standing meditation, Dhamma teachings, chanting, and question & answer sessions.
This retreat is offered freely in the spirit of generosity. There is no fee to register. You will have the opportunity to offer Dana (donation) at the close of the retreat. Information will be provided.
Retreat Schedule for PDT and UK Time Zones
SATURDAY, JULY 10 – THURSDAY, JULY 15, 2021
6 – 7 am PDT | 2 – 3 pm UK — Chanting ~ Guided Meditation
8:30 – 11 am PDT | 4:30 – 7 pm UK — Instruction ~ Meditation
12 – 1 pm PDT | 8-9 pm UK — Meditation ~ Q&A
3 – 6 pm PDT | 11 pm – 2 am UK — Instruction ~ Meditation
8 – 9:30 pm PDT | 4 – 5:30 am UK — Dhamma Reflection ~ Meditation
Ajahn Sucitto has been a Buddhist monk in the Thai Forest tradition for 45 years. He trained under Ajahn Sumedho, the senior western disciple of Ajahn Chah, and is based in Cittaviveka Monastery in Chithurst, in southern England.
Willa Thaniya Reid has trained in the Ajahn Chah forest tradition both in lay practice and in monasteries in England, where she served as the senior nun at Cittaviveka. She lives in New Zealand with Elizabeth Day, where they have a center dedicated to sharing the Buddha’s teachings.