Meditation leads us from identification with the reactivity of thought, personality, and time, to the realization of our essence as a vast ocean of awareness; love that transcends and includes this body and mind. We offer teachings from the Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Mahamudra and Ati (Dzogchen) systems. Meditation as not only a formal practice but also a way of living and viewing the world, which informs the whole of how we live, work, and love. Such an approach is non-dual and world embracing in its orientation.
Pointing Out the Great Way
Pointing Out the Great Way combines a strong grounding in the Western scientific study of the contemplative experience integrated with the ancient Indian and Tibetan spiritual traditions and the wisdom of their direct transmission lineages. This provides Westerners of all levels simple, profound, and clear access to the deepest spiritual traditions.
These teachings represent living lineages where the precious instructions for awakening are passed from heart-to-heart down each generation as an unbroken lineage. The lineages represented in these teachings include: the Gelugpa (Gelugpa) teachings on the nine stages of concentration meditation and on ordinary emptiness meditations; the Kar rgyud (Kagyu) teachings on Great Seal (Mahamudra) meditation; the Nyingma Great Completion teachings; and the Bon Zhang Zhung Oral Transmission and A Khrid Great Completion teachings.
In the early essence traditions of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, like the Great Seal (phyags chen; Mahamudra) and the Great Perfection (dzogs chen) meditation traditions, students were literally sung into awakening by their teachers using pithy poem-songs called dohas. The Tibetan word, ngo sprod pa means “to point out” or “to introduce.” The teacher offers detailed explanation of the typical meditation experiences, way to practice, and common problems that arise at each stage of meditation practice. The student describes meditation experience in sufficient detail while the teacher carefully monitors the student’s meditation progress. When the student has developed the practice so as to make the mind ‘fit’ the teacher points out the real nature of the mind and the protected practices that enable the student to awaken to the mind’s real nature. Pointing out refers to a style of teaching meditation that is firmly relationally-based.
Embodying the Open Ground
In this body of work, John Churchill helps his students turn their attention to the deep resources of their bodies. Rather than struggling to control and discipline the mind, you will learn to relax and open into the somatic experience of resting the mind into natural embodiment and awareness. Just like the ancient yogis of Tibet and India, you will experience the body as a profound and easy door into natural non-dual awareness. During the practice, you will be closely guided to work directly with body, energy, breath, and awareness, grounded in a non-dual Yogic understanding of mind and reality, and informed by an integrative perspective on the body and yogic philosophy.
You will learn to:
- release the stress and tension of your modern life
- calm your thoughts & open your heart
- work with the ground and earth as doors into boundless open awareness
- listen to gravity as an immediate teacher of freedom
- experience sensation as an easy door into natural non-dual awareness
- explore the gates (chakras) and channels of openness to rest in natural effortless meditation
These body meditations are unique. They help calm minds, open hearts, and reveal awareness, yet also heal the deep split between mind and body and the conscious and unconscious mind, allowing you to ‘ground’ back into the present moment. All these practices are offered to support revealing the natural awareness that is the essence of being human.
- Dan Brown: Jan. 24, 31
- John Churchill: Jan. 17, Feb. 7 & 14
This ongoing class and practice community offers the opportunity to explore the path and meditations to understand and awaken to the True Nature of the Mind. This realization frees awareness from obstruction and reactivity and allows awareness to be natural, unbounded and free. This freedom allows for the flowering of the positive qualities of mind and behavior that lead to a life of joyful service in the world; living meditation.
Under the guidance of Dan Brown and John Churchill the ongoing class on Wednesday evenings (7:30-9:30pm) and optional week-long meditation retreat offer a stage by stage training in the Buddhist Indo-Tibetan Mahamudra. Mahamudra, (Great Seal, or Great Embrace) along with Dzogchen (Great Completion) practice is the essence of the non-dual Buddhist path to awakening as discovered by generations of contemplatives in India.
This teaching lineage relies upon an ancient relational way of teaching referred to as ‘pointing out’. The teacher offers detailed explanation of the typical meditation experiences, way to practice, and common problems that arise at each stage of meditation practice. The student describes meditation experience in sufficient detail while the teacher carefully monitors the student’s meditation progress. When the student has developed the practice so as to make the mind ‘fit’ the teacher points out the real nature of the mind and the protected practices that enable the student to awaken to the mind’s real nature.
It has been our experience that the transformation to living meditation does not take time, just sincere practice and motivation.