November, 2010

Habito Retreat

Our weekend with Ruben Habito is this weekend – November 12 and 13 in the First Presbyterian Church fellowship hall.   Ruben will give a talk on Friday evening from 7 – 9pm on “Zen as engaged spirituality:  toward healing a wounded world”.  Our Saturday time together will be from 9am to 4:00pm and will include sitting and walking meditation, talks, and discussion.  Lunch will be provided.

The suggested donation is $10 for Friday and $35 for Saturday.  All are welcome.  If you would like to join us, please E-mail and I will add your name to the registration.  It is helpful for us to know you are coming so that we can plan lunch for everyone.   It is OK to make your donation the day of the retreat.

Adopt a Family

For the past several years, Monterey Meditation Group has participated in this First Presbyterian Church program that provides food and gifts to Salinas families in need.  We will have a sign-up list beginning November 18 at Thursday evening meditation and the donations will be collected in early December.  The Deacons of First Presbyterian Church will then distribute the gifts and food to our family.  I hope that many of you will join us in helping make Christmas more joyful for children in our community.

We also want to make Christmas more joyful and delicious for Thursday evening meditation.  On December 16, our last Thursday meeting of the year, we will have a cookie potluck party after meditation, from 8 – 9 pm.  Plan on bringing a favorite holiday treat and enjoying each other’s company.  We will not be silent!  There will be much merriment and laughter.

Meditation Opportunities

We will meet for meditation on all Thursdays in November and December (except Thanksgiving day, December 23 and December 30) from 7:00 – 9:00 pm. in the fellowship hall. Our format for the first hour is two 20-minute periods of sitting in silence with a 10 minute walking meditation in between.  For the second hour, we are practicing group contemplative listening.  We listen to a short reading from a contemplative author or poet, sit together for a period of silence, and share our reflections with the group.  This is a wonderful way to practice deep listening to each other.  All are welcome to join us at any time

Also, Hei has opened his house to those who would like to join him for meditation from 6:00pm – 6:30pm on Tuesdays.  It is one half hour of sitting meditation.

Please note that the group will not meet on November 30 or December 27.

Upcoming Events

No MMG retreat day in December

January 29, 2011                            MMG Retreat Day

April 30 – May 5, 2011                     Sanbo Kyodan Sesshin in Toronto

Joseph Cotham, coordinator

Summary of October’s Retreat

Our egos came out of hiding for a bit when we explored the Enneagram during our October retreat day.  The Enneagram is a tool that delineates 9 ways or patterns the ego forms to create 9 basic types of people.  The premise of the Enneagram is that each of us lives life in a limited way.  It is like we are living life in a box and that box limits our view of the world.  This box is our ego, or False Self.  The nine boxes, or types of the Enneagram are: 1 The Perfectionist, 2 The Helper, 3 The Achiever, 4 The Romantic, 5 The Observer, 6 The Questioner, 7 The Adventurer, 8 The Asserter, and 9 The Peacemaker.   Unless we become aware of our False Self, we continue to have a small view of the world and we live our life from our habitual patterns of behavior.  The more we are able to become aware of our False Self, the less our habits of behavior have a grip on us.  We become more free and are able to choose actions and attitudes that follow the Gospel.  We begin to break out of our box and small view of the world and are more able to bring love and compassion to others and ourselves in the world.

For those who are familiar with Centering Prayer, remember the image that Father Keating uses to teach us to see our False Self (ego) in action.  He paints a picture of boats floating down a river.   Each boat represents a thought (emotion, body sensation, image, or idea) that our mind secretes.

As we sit in meditation, we are instructed to notice each thought or  “boat” that floats down the river, and then let it go.  Father Keating teaches us not to get involved in thinking about thoughts — in other words, don’t get attracted by flashy boats and get on board.  If we get on board, we end up floating down the river.  When we are on the boat, we are identified with our ego thoughts and act out of our False Self, or Ennea-type habits.  The more we become familiar with the type of thoughts our Enneagram type is most attached to, the more we can see the boat and let it go by.  By working with the Enneagram we can learn alternatives to our patterns of behavior and break free from worn-out coping strategies.  To see the ego and False Self is the beginning of letting it go.

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