February’s Learning Resources
As our awareness of our interconnectedness expands, so too does our sense of belonging in the world. This month, through exercises focused on our individual and shared stories, we explore how we can open our hearts to experience an expansive sense of love and true connection. We’ll look at the four “immeasurable” qualities of Compassion, Loving-Kindness, Sympathetic Joy, and Equanimity.
📚Suggested Resources and Activities:
- To Read: The Four Faces of Love: The Brahma Viharas by Gil Fronsdal on www.insightmediationacenter.org. This is an article from Insight Meditation Center exploring the “Four Immeasurables,” also known as the Brahmaviharas.
- To Watch: Here are a few videos that we shared at the At-Home Practice Retreat.
- Namchak Blog: How to Develop Equanimity According to Tibetan Buddhism. This blog explores Equanimity in Tibetan Buddhism, why developing it is helpful, how we can maintain Equanimity when we encounter stressful situations and people, and some practices to help us cultivate Equanimity.
- Lama Tsomo’s recommended book of the month: The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible, by Charles Eisenstein. From Lama Tsomo: “Not easy reading, but a profound vision of the world as it could be, as the old paradigm crumbles and the new one is sprouting up. It’s up to us to dream it up and manifest it, one way or the other!”
- Podcast: Konda Mason, Brown Rice Hour, Ep. 7 with Charles Eisenstein
- To Discuss: What are the “key ingredients” for feeling true and sustainable belonging to ourselves? Our communities? The world? What are some beliefs that keep us from feeling like we belong? What are some practices we can cultivate in order to feel a deeper sense of belonging? Which stories are living inside of us that are asking to be shared or shed in order for us to feel a greater sense of belonging?
✨Monthly Learning Circle Spotlight: This month we would like to feature our friends in the Warriors of Love Learning Circle! They meet Thursday nights and were the first Learning Circle to form from a “Connection Despite Distance” course. They have been together since March 2020, and are still going strong!
One of their members, Mati Muñoz, has an inspirational story to share from her circle: “I love my Warriors of Love Learning Circle! One of the best things, and it surfaced clearly the other night, is that we realize that no matter how we feel, it’s always good when we get together. To be more specific, regardless of the fact that two members could not be present due to practical reasons, the remainder of us who showed up felt we did NOT want to be there to begin with. Every member expressed previous discomfort, tiredness, moodiness, all kinds of icky feelings that told us “I don’t feel like participating!” But because we have made the agreement of “Come as you are,” each one of us internally decided to show up no matter what. Well, as expected, we all felt much better after the “check-ins” and after expressing our feelings to each other. That, to me, is one of the highlights and wonderful accomplishments of the Circle, the support we offer each other and the space provided to just “be” ourselves in a social context, the comfort and trust in the realization that we are all safe in each other’s presence. I feel that a lot of the psychological and social problems we face as humans have their root in isolation and ignorance of our mutual interdependence.”
ONE COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES
Article Read: “Finding Our Way to True Belonging” by Brené Brown
“Once we belong thoroughly to ourselves and believe thoroughly in ourselves, true belonging is ours.” This is just one wonderful gem of wisdom that Brené Brown has to offer in this article.
- What stood out to you from this article?
- What does “true belonging” mean to you?
- In what aspects of your life do you feel true belonging? To yourself? Your community? Our world?
- Which stories are living inside of you from your “wild heart” or from your “weary hurt” that are asking to be shared or shed?
Meditation Practiced: Shamata, Sympathetic Joy, and Loving Kindness with Lama Tsomo (12 minutes)
The Gift of Community
Having spent the dark winter months reflecting on our personal practice and spending the holiday with friends and family, embrace on the new year with an appreciation for both self-compassion and compassion for others, focusing on our interconnectedness and what it means to live in community.
Modern life brings unprecedented stressors, from personal challenges to global ones like climate change. Shamata helps us expand our mental awareness of the causes of stress, allowing us to cultivate a greater sense of calm in our lives and find the joy that is always available.
Practicing Inclusion + Nonviolent Communication
Examining race and identity, empathetic connection with others, what is life really like for others. Drawing from How to Be An Anti-Racist, we’ll take a closer look at the practice of Loving Kindness. Treating people of all backgrounds and identities with fairness and respect is an ongoing journey for most of us, including our team at Namchak. We share our experience with the practice of non-violent communications, which teaches us how to listen deeply to our own needs as well as those of others, helping us connect to our innate compassion.
Our personal practice isn’t just for ourselves, but for the benefit of others too. We dive into the meaning of work, consider our gifts, and examine work as an environment to practice being in community and contributing to the greater good.