At this moment, is there choice? Maybe this moment is characterized by a sense of overwhelm or struggle for you, or just a vague sense of unease. Do you have a choice about how you relate to those experiences? When mindfulness and wisdom are present, we can actually learn to consciously bear our difficult moments, to allow them to touch our hearts, and begin to incline the mind towards choosing non-suffering over suffering.
What does non-suffering look like? Phillip Moffitt writes, “Non-suffering is having a relaxed, composed mind that is fully present with whatever is occurring in the moment. And it is the capacity to be in relationship to whatever is arising such that you’re able to respond from your deepest intentions. And it is a feeling of relatedness in your life that is free from aversion and suffering.”
The movement from suffering to non-suffering, or from being caught in Dukkha to experiencing freedom, was the first teaching the Buddha gave, on the 4 Noble Truths. Though you have likely heard this teaching before, you may have struggled around how to actually apply this in your daily life. There are 12 insights the Buddha taught that systematically unfold when we learn how to actually practice with these 4 Noble Truths. In the upcoming retreat I’m co-teaching with Phillip Moffitt, we will be taking you through the systematic process of actually practicing with the 4 Noble Truths and the 12 insights, learning together how to recognize moments of difficulty, be willing to turn towards with mindfulness and wisdom to see the cause of our suffering, and to practice letting go where we’re caught, opening to the possibility of living differently.
Using Phillip’s book “Dancing with Life: Buddhist Insights For Finding Meaning and Joy in the Face of Suffering” as a guide, we will offer specific instructions and Dharma talks to support you in inclining towards freedom, here and now. These instructions are based on the teachings Phillip received from his teacher the Venerable Ajahn Sumedho. With the supportive conditions on retreat, we can see our own minds and hearts with greater clarity and deepen inner wisdom, learning to live a life that includes the difficulties we encounter as human beings, without being defined by them. Join us!