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Day 24 of my 108-day Spiritual Practice Period
From Br. ChiSing
June 10, 2009

Men's Retreat
Dear mindful friends,

I am on Day 24 of my 108-day Spiritual Practice Period. This past weekend, I enjoyed a "Brotherhood" Men's Retreat with six other friends at my family's vacation house on Tiki Island. Half of us are going through a midlife crisis of one sort or another, and the other half are going through young adult transitions. We learned a lot from each other and found we had more in common than we realized. Through the practice of sitting meditation, walking meditation, yoga, mindful eating, noble silence, open-hearted communication, brotherly hugs, laughter yoga, spiritual study, journal-writing and playful fun at the beach, we came to a deep place of solidarity, support and serenity. The sharing circle on Saturday night was especially heartful and profound, lasting til 2 am in the morning (WAY past my bedtime). I was very tired the next morning, but the sleep deprivation was well worth it, to hear the life stories and soul journeys of my six other brothers. What a great group of men! You guys rock! "Amitabhaaaaaaa!"

Since there were seven of us at the retreat, we were all assigned a day of the week when the others will be sending metta (lovingkindness from the heart) to us on our day. My day is Sunday. I hope this idea inspires you to practice this with your mindful friends too.

After such a successful weekend, I am sure I will host another retreat again soon. Maybe the next one could be a "Sisterhood" Weekend Retreat for Women. I'm open to ideas. :-)

I want to encourage all of you to continue faithfully in your mindfulness practice this summer, and in solidarity with me during my 108-day Spiritual Practice Period (culminating on my 40th birthday on September 2).

Please meditate every day (for 20-40 or more minutes if you can, but even 1 minute is better than none), before breakfast and/or before dinner. In general, sunrise and sunset are the best times to practice sitting meditation, but you can adjust that to your modern lifestyle. For example, I try to meditate for an hour at 7 am and an hour at 5 pm each day, more or less. You can also add walking meditation around lunch time too, before and/or after eating.

And meditate with others at least once a week. You can easily do this by attending "Awakening Heart" sangha each week. And if you know you will miss a week, call a friend to meditate with you. Don't let more than 7 days go by without meditating with at least one other person, ideally several persons in a sangha. This is more important than you may now realize. I usually practice in sangha at least twice a week.

And, please practice a Day of Mindfulness at least once a month, by yourself or with others, formally or informally. And if you can, attend a weekend retreat once a season and a weeklong retreat once a year. This is the "Rhythm Method" of mindfulness meditation: every day, every week, every month, every season, every year, throughout a lifetime.

I hope all of you will come practice with me on Sunday, June 28, when I am at the sangha next.

I will be in Austin this weekend to help some UT college students form a new Young Adults Sangha there. Since we have so many extra meditation cushions, I hope you don't mind if I let them borrow a few of our zafus and zabutons for their new mindfulness group. I know they will be so grateful. I can already see their sparkling eyes and smiles of gratitude to you for the Dallas Sangha's generosity!

The following weekend, I will be in Calfornia, sharing as a guest speaker at a Buddhist group in San Francisco. Then I'll be back to Dallas for the "Summer Solsticelebration" sponsored by Moonlady and Earth Rhythms on Saturday, June 27, and as a guest speaker and workshop facilitator on Sunday morning and afternoon at the Unity Center of Light in McKinney, plus to see all of you at Awakening Heart on Sunday evening at 5:30 pm at Unity Church of Dallas.

July is still an open book. I'll know more later.

Thank you to all those who responded to my message last week with e quote by Byron Katie. Underneath the picture below are some of the beautiful responses from several mindful friends. Enjoy this sangha collage!

Love,
Brother ChiSing

www.AwakeningHeart.org

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