of the SMA Meditation Community
10:30am – 12:30 pm on four consecutive Thursdays: February 13, February 20, February 27, and March 6. By donation.
Life can seem like a path strewn with obstacles, from annoying pebbles to boulders you have to scramble over, or that even block the way entirely. These obstacles range from our perceived personal imperfections to unsatisfactory conditions in our lives and in the world at large. When problems happen, we tend to feel that something deeper is going wrong. There’s a perhaps un-examined belief that we can and should come to an end of all these obstacles, and yet new ones keep coming along with frustrating regularity. This is the realm of content, the close view in which the problems loom very large.
At the other extreme, is the realm of context, where we may have spiritual beliefs or practices that make us feel that the existence of problems, or at least our suffering around them, means that something is wrong with us, that we’re doing something wrong or not doing something right. If our view were bigger or clearer, these problems would be seen to be irrelevant, or perhaps ephemeral. This is an aspect of the realm of context, whose reality is well beyond beliefs and practices.
Our approach is to honor both content and context. Problems happen, from flat tires to brain cancer, and we start by greeting whatever is happening–including our own emotions and reactions–with kindness and compassion. At the same time, we acknowledge an underlying spaciousness, clarity and warmth within ourselves that, when experienced, can hold pain and suffering in a much more expansive awareness. In this larger view, obstacles that seemed solid can reveal unexpected insights or opportunities for growth. They can dissolve, or be transmuted in surprising ways. We can discover in ourselves, warts and all, an underlying wholeness and lovingness that we share along with all existence.
In this class we will be exploring an approach to working compassionately with the obstacles themselves, and at the same time, experiencing how the essential ground of our being, and all that is, supports us even in the midst of the most troubling circumstances. Each session will include guided awareness meditations, short talks, and questions and sharing. Our emphasis is on individual discovery of what is present, and allowing that exploration to be easy and natural.
“A Course in Obstacles” is part of the “Waking Up in the Midst of Our Lives” series.
Note: The classes in this series sometimes attract more people than we have room for. Please let us know if you plan to attend so we can save you a seat: firstname.lastname@example.org.