September’s Learning Resources
September Theme: Easing Anxiety
Learn to ground yourself in the present moment by gaining full awareness of the experience of being embodied or being connected to your own body. To do this, we start by paying attention to the sensation of breathing, subtle movements in the body, and other somatic experiences as techniques to help bring awareness to our emotional landscape and ease anxiety.
📚Suggested Resources and Activities:
- To Discuss: Which situations tend to create the most anxiety in your life? How do you know when you are experiencing anxiety? How does it show up in your mind and body? How do you normally work with anxiety when it arises? How can you work with anxiety “on the path” as a gateway into more freedom, relaxation, and fundamental joy? How can you find your own wisdom amid the chaos of everyday life?
- To Read: Three Methods for Working with Chaos by Pema Chödrön (lionsroar.com)
- To Watch: Making Friends with Discomfort — Rev. angel Kyodo williams (Ten Percent Happier YouTube Channel)
- Namchak Blog: Living with Anxiety
- Lama Tsomo’s recommended book of the month:
How Not to Be A Hot Mess, by Craig and Devon Hase. *From Lama Tsomo: “Devon and nico (formerly known as “Craig”) are Vipassana teachers who talk in plain English, about how we can benefit from Shamata and Vipassana, in our lives … and how everyone around us can too! It’s a very small, pithy book that’s hot pink, but not a hot mess!”
- Podcast: Judson Brewer – Unwinding Anxiety. Breaking the Habit of Worry and Fear (Untangle: The Podcast from Meditation Studio)
- Guided Meditation: Noticing & Acknowledging Your Emotions by Lama Rod Owens (InsightTimer.com)
✨Monthly Learning Circle Spotlight:
This month we are honored to feature Kathy MacKay who is a member of both the International Soul Sangha and the Monday AWE Learning Circle. She has this to share about our monthly theme:
As someone on a journey to connect with my body, embodied practices have become part of my daily practice. This can include using the weight of my body against the cushion as an anchor in Shamata practice. I also find refuge in embodied practice when strong emotions, anxiety, or uncomfortable bodily sensations arise. I turn to my body to investigate while contemplating the following questions (credit to my therapist for introducing me to this practice):
- Where is the emotion/sensation located?
- What colour is it?
- What texture is it?
- Is it solid, liquid, or gas?
As I meditate on these questions, I visualize the emotion or sensation, and also place my awareness on its changing nature. Through this practice, I have seen that emotions and bodily sensations are not permanent. They shift and change. For me, this practice offers a chance to be what is arising in a way that is tolerable and allows for some relaxation into the present moment.
ONE COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES
- Watch and follow along with video, How To Use Tapping to Calm Anxiety. Afterwards, reflect upon your experience of the tapping exercise.
- Have you done anything like this before?
- How did you feel before the exercise verses after?
- Would you do this again, and if so, in what circumstances?
Watch Dharma Teaching (10 min):
- In this dharma teaching, Mingyur Rinpoche talks about the panic attacks that he experienced as a child and how he used compassion and calm-abiding meditation to free himself from anxiety.
- Watch The Causes of Anxiety and Suffering with Mingyur Rinpoche.
Journaling and Discussion (20 min):
Take a few moments for your Circle members to individually reflect/journal about any or all of the following questions. After you finish journaling, you are welcome to move into smaller break-out rooms with your Circle (about 10-15 minutes) and then rejoin to have a full group discussion.
- What does anxiety feel like in your body?
- What is your perception of anxiety and panic? (Do you believe it is true? Do you want to push it away? Do you have fear of your anxiety? etc.)
- What stories are you telling yourself that may be contributing to your anxiety, but may not be true? “What do your neurons gossip about”?
- Are you able to access wisdom and compassion around your anxiety? How are you able to do this?
Meditation and Reflection (15 min):
- Noticing & Acknowledging Your Emotions with Lama Rod Owens (10 minutes)
- After this practice is finished, invite sharing amongst your Circle members.
- How was that practice for you? Did you have any insights you would like to share? Anything in connection with our theme of Easing Anxiety?
Closing and Dedication of the Merit (1 min):
Through this merit, may all beings awaken and be happy. May all beings everywhere benefit and thrive from these practices. May all beings everywhere experience joy, peace, ease, and freedom from anxiety.
Practicing Inclusion + Nonviolent Communication
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.
There is no going it alone. We live our lives with others, part of interconnected communities, known as “Sangha” in Tibetan Buddhist practice. We explore the ways we can cultivate awareness within ourselves and grow as we engage with those around us, ultimately living happier and more meaningful lives and contributing to the same for others.
Taking Action in the World
Expanding from our own communities to the world at large, we consider what matters most to us, the issues that we care about, and how we define ways to help ease the suffering of others and bring happiness. We examine three essential questions: “What do I care most about?” “Who do I care most about?” and “What am I going to do about it?
Our Human Nature
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that as human beings we are part of the natural world, intricately connected to all forms of life and to the planet itself.