November 1st 2020 — Meditating during Uncertain Times
With the American election coming up, and the spike in COVID cases around the world, it is inevitable that many people may be experiencing PTSD, panic attacks, worry and concern. Many people ask how can meditation help when all you are doing is sitting on the cushion? Don't we have to get up, go outside and act? Yes we do. What we do off the cushions we bring onto the meditation cushion, and what we do on the meditation cushion we take back into the world. So come and join the President of BRN and explore meditation through a trauma informed lens, and surrender to some healing.
February 3rd 2019 — Coming Home To The Body with Breath
Award-winning author of 8 books, Valerie (Vimalasara) Mason-John is the co-founder of Mindfulness-Based Addiction Recovery MBAR, a secular recovery 8-week program, and the co-author and co-founder of Eight Step Recovery Using The Buddha's Teachings to Overcome Addiction. She was the co-founder of Healing and Insight a teaching faculty embracing Buddhist Recovery in all its guises. She is now responsible for programming Buddhist Recovery Retreats at the Menla Retreat Centre in Upstate New York. Chair of Vancouver Buddhist Centre, she is a senior member of the Triratna Buddhist Order, and tours internationally as a public speaker and trainer in the field of addictions and emotional trauma.
Imagine not being able to find your way home to your loved one’s, to your friends and family. Imagine how traumatic this would be. And this is the same trauma we experience when we have split from our body and can not find our way back into the body. We have to find our way back home to our body if we want freedom from the prison of our minds.
The Buddha was teaching us to breathe through the body, feelings, mental formation and all mind objects with calm. The anapanasati meditation, the mindfulness of breathing is teaching us to come back to the body.
The journey of wisdom is learning to find our way back to the body. But some of us have lost our way home because our bodies were violated in childhood. To protect ourselves we made sure nobody was at home in our body. We switched all feeling off.
If we are able to find our way back home. Turn all the
feelings back on in the body. We will learn to turn towards our direct experience unfolding in every moment.
In Vipassana meditation we are saying come back to the body, come back to the breathing, inhabit your body, and be in direct experience with whatever is arising in the now.
The body is the home for all of us. It's where we live all our lives, and if we are not at peace in our body, we will not be at peace in any other areas of our lives. We have to learn to befriend our body, and not treat it like an enemy. And know it is safe to have our feelings now.
We come home to the body with breath. (This is an edited version from Vimalasara's new course for Insight Timer launching September 10th)
Three tips for practice
- Do nothing when discomfort, comfort or neutral sensations arise in the body or mind
- Be kind and compassionate to yourself by remembering to pause
Vimalasara (Valerie) Mason-John is the current President of BRN. She was the co-founder and guiding teacher of Healing and Insight, an online faculty that explored the sharp edges of suffering. Award-winning author of 8 books, she is the co-founder and co-author of Eight Step Recovery: Using The Buddha's Teachings to Overcome Addiction, with 8 step meetings in 3 continents. And she is also the co-founder of Mindfulness-Based Addiction Recovery. Vimalasara is a senior teacher in the Triratna Order and Community.