Spirit Rock recently activated the solar array that has been installed over the last several year. With the 350 panels, the retreat center will be generating more than enough power to run the center– from the sun! I am happy to be part of an institution that pays attention to renewable energy and our impact on the earth.
Nov 2013 Developing mindfulness meditation can help you become more aware of subtle levels of communication that are going on. Here is an example of some people who have the ability to communicate with animals in a way most people do not, through tuning in to a different level of awareness. This film ‘The Animal Communicator” highlights some modern Westerners who have learned this ability as well as people from traditional communities that have lived close to nature for generations. Interesting to consider– stretch your idea of what is possible. Buddhist teaching is that we should respect life and avoid harming all forms of life, including animals.
Mar 2013 One of the interesting contemplations you can do is recognizing your body as nature. The elements of earth, air, fire, water (or solidity, movement, heat, and liquid) can be felt directly in the body and seen in nature. Our bodies are made of these elements, supported by these elements, constructed by these elements. You can read my piece Urban Elements on doing this contemplation in an urban setting. I recently saw this dynamic wind map of the United States which shows the movement of wind currents over the country. It is mesmerizing to watch, but maybe can also help us to get in touch with the constant movement in our own body at the same time.
June 2012 I’m currently teaching a meditation retreat up in Santa Sabina Retreat Center in Marin w the SF Insight Community, and am reminded of my spiritual ancestor Thomas Merton since they have pictures of him around this Dominican retreat center. A well-known quote from him “I didn’t become a monk so I would suffer more, I became a monk so I could suffer more effectively”. And a less well-known quote “In the night of our technological barbarism, monks must be as trees which exist silently in the dark and by their vital presence purify the air”. Whenever you meditate, you too are performing this function!
Aug 2011 I got the chance to visit some Polynesian Voyaging Canoes as they made their way across the ocean to California, using only ancient techniques of navigation based on the wind, stars, water, birds, fish, waves, etc. The practices of navigation reminded me of how we have to learn to navigate our life…..you can listen to a dharma talk on this here.