ON SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 23rd we held our first retreat in our first home at 2 Park Place. The topic was Community-Building with Clarity & Compassion. You can see from the faces of the students that it was a wonderful experience! It was fitting that Rebecca Li led the retreat as she has been supporting programs with NCMC since 2012.
We are grateful to her for dharma and meditation teachings as practiced by Dharma Drum, to Leslie of I’m So Yoga for her yoga session, and to Kathryn Davis of Heart of Mind Radio for her qigong session.
And what a great team of volunteers we had! Thank you to Ella and Ivette for their retreat day support, to Tenisha for social media promotions, and to her daughter Ariyan for the fantastic photos. We are grateful for the delicious vegan meal, a kind donation prepared by a veteran caterer, Vijaya Dharmapuri.
A special thanks to Jennifer, General Coordinator; Vijay, Food Coordinator; and Javier, Deputy Coordinator, as well as to Andrea, our Treasurer, for registration coordination.
The students were awesome, engaged, and attentive — comprehending with keen awareness the powerful yet invisible dynamics of community.
Choose Full or Half Day Participation: Full-day: 10:00am-4:30pm Half-day: 10:00am-2:00pm -or- 12:30pm-4:30pm
A donation-based Program, suggested:
Adults $30 full / $20 half Students 18+ $20 full / $15 half Youths 7-17 Free accompanied by adult.
In this day-long retreat, the invisible yet powerful dynamics in community life are discussed, encouraging practitioners to cultivate a keen awareness of them to engage in community life with wisdom and compassion. Dharma and meditation teacher Rebecca Li will lead this retreat that will include guided meditation, mindful movement practice, dharma talk, and discussion. As well, Leslie will lead a gentle yoga session in the morning while Kathryn Davis will lead a flowing qigong session in the afternoon.
Appropriate for beginners and experienced participants. Youths aged 7-17 who can sit quietly are welcome to attend with adults for free. Vegetarian lunch included. Wheelchair access, ground floor.
Like many things we do regularly, as monotonous as they might appear, there is always a purpose. We choose good purposes and bad purposes. To develop mindfulness and meditation can open your eyes to what is truly in front of you and help you to make good choices. It is proven to reduce stress and bring more focus to your mind. Done in community it expands to our ever-evolving culture and can result in a more collective peace of mind. You might even tie your shoes more skillfully, and as if for the first time.
Weekly Meditation & Mindful Movement | Tuesdays, 6:30 to 7:45pm | 2 Park Place, Newark, NJ | Donation-based, Youths free. | Translations in Español and Português available. Family friendly. | There will be no class on Nov. 26th.
This weekend’s Women’s Retreat was a multi-generational gathering of nearly 50 women of diverse backgrounds and from all different walks of life. The retreat was mindfully and lovingly guided by five women who are leaders in their own fields. We kicked off the retreat with a moving spoken word opening by TaNisha Fordham who brought nine teen-aged students to the retreat. Jillian Faulks-Majuta lead a Kemetic Yoga session that physically grounded guests in the power of self-care. The day continued with passionate workshops about caring for mind, body and spirit.
Kamilah Crawley, who organized and emceed the event, offered sessions about the intersection of mindfulness and women’s self-care and lead discussion groups on the complex and nuanced notions of the modern Superwoman. Michelle Beadle Holder explored mindful eating and the frequent everyday choices we make about how we nourish our bodies and helped us become more mindful of the environments where we break our bread and buy our food. Her presentation was followed by a nutritious and soulful lunch provided by Arelis Hernandez and Rabbit Hole Farm.
Aleah Gathings presented on the power of words and affirmations and guided retreatants in a symbolic ceremony to release unconstructive thought patterns. Mandara Parashakti Akiwumi facilitated a process to help participants “Stop the Story”, release narratives that hold us back and re-narrate our current truth. We ended the retreat by writing self-care letters to our future selves — to be mailed and opened just when we most need the reminder.
Throughout the day retreatants were encouraged to hold a non-judgmental space for everyone’s opinions and experiences and to self-reflect through conversation and journaling. Participants readily shared their own resources and several lists were compiled with books, websites, and places of interest for people to visit to continue the deep work that was initiated at this retreat.
To all things there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…
— Ecclesiastes 3
Hippocrates, in teaching the doctors of his day, said, “Consider the seasons of the year and what each of them produces.” When you respect the seasons you will respect your body, mind, and spirit and their needs.
Based on chinese medicine the fall is the season of the element of metal and lung and the lungs are associated with sadness and grief. We move from the external, expansive nature of summer to the internal, contracting nature of fall.
What does this have to do with meditation?
Through specific meditation and mindfulness skills — stationary, movement, eating, sound, and all our sense organs — we can learn season-specific techniques and tools for self-care: stress resilience, immunity boosting, health promotion, and methods to boost your creativity and mental sharpness.
We can also develop insight into the constantly changing, impermanent nature of our bodies and minds and learn to let go. In fact the energy of the lungs is related to “letting go” — first remembering our breath, using our breath, relaxing our breath — then becoming aware and allowing the elements and nourishment to inform us.
The northeast Autumn with it’s cool temperatures and warmly-colored leaves is a good time to:
• eat hot foods
• eat gourd foods
• supplement with mullein
• get to bed early
• sweat in a sauna
• socialize locally.
OPTIONAL DAY-LONG OR PART-DAY PARTICIPATION (morning or afternoon session)
Sunday, May 20, 2018 10:00am to 4:00pm Early Learning Center, 1 New York Ave. (absolutely no walk-ins/no calls please)
Meditation teachers Ib’nallah S. Kazi and Cornelia Santschi will lead this donation-based NCMC program. (Bios on Leadership Page of website.)
This retreat will help the community to understand the need to cultivate the insight, instincts, and focus needed to navigate the growing uncertainty and instability manifesting in our world. You will take home meditation tools that will help you to reconnect to the inner guidance previously lost in the incessant noise of modern society.
Included will be guided meditations, qigong and yoga movement, an art as meditation session, a visual presentation, and discussion. NCMC instructors J. Javier Cruz and Jennifer Becher will provide assistance. The program is intended to be appropriate for beginners through experienced meditators. A seasonal vegan Medicine Meal will be prepared by Arelis Hernandez, a Newark urban farmer-meditator.
If the weather is nice we plan to spend much of the day in the spring breeze of the adjoining outdoor courtyard! It will be a unique opportunity to experience the setting of a state-of-the-art LEED-certified green building. The venue is an easy and direct .6 mile/11 minute walk from Newark Penn Station. Wheel-chair access.
Please, absolutely no Walk-Ins and no Phone Calls to the Early Learning Center. Call NCMC at 862-227-3288 with inquiries or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Newark Center for Meditative Culture go to the website at www.newarkmeditation.org.
Meditation IS Medicine
On Sunday, November 12th, Teacher Kazi opened the People of Color Retreat with a presentation on the meaning and background of Ancestral Meditation Medicine and what it means for us culturally and connectively today. Throughout the day he gently and masterfully guided us in meditation medicine through modes of sitting, standing, walking, and qigong.
That Darn Dukkha!
Andrea Lee and J. Javier Cruz both gave Dharma (truth) talks that clearly explained the meaning of the Sanskrit/Pali word dukkha, an ancient spiritual word that is hard to define. It can mean both mental and physical suffering, stress, and agitation — subtle and extreme — that we cause ourselves and others. They then used their personal disciplines to help us find the ability to let go and open our hearts and minds (note that a single Chinese character means both heart and mind). Javier taught the method of metta (loving-kindness) meditation, while Andrea used yoga discipline to allow us to radiate love out.
Art Forms as Meditation
We all seem to have joy and/or self-discovery in this session whenever we do it — expressing ourselves through drawing or written word — then explaining to our soul group (sangha for the day) how the art manifested and reflecting on its meaning.
Prosody and Performance
Presenters Mesha Allen and Muta Morton both expressed beautifully. Mesha read a powerful original essay in a voice like a hug and Muta instructed in a unique blend of modulating verbal performance and khemetic yoga postures. He chose those that he finds especially healing and we did too!
To end the program, Kazi led us in his own variation of a chant that he heard in the film Baraka. It was first a slow “Cha. Cha. Cha. Cha.,” then a very quick-paced “chachachachachachachachacha,” going back and forth between the slow and fast. In a sense, he was using the chant as a healing form somewhat like hormesis activity. Kazi also suggested that we also try his Vowel Chant using the ancient aspiration sounds of the vowels a-e-i-o-u. It can be found on the free www.insighttimer.com App under “Meditation Medicine Chant 1”.
Divine Dishing and Doling
We had a delicious vegan meal provided by Arelis Hernandez and Keven Porter of Rabbit Hole Farm. Mary Arthars assisted with lovely side dishes and logistical support. Thank you to Jennifer Becher and Bruno Mendoza for volunteering with registration and venue set-up. We were also pleased to have a 10-year-old who came with his mother who minded him thoughtfully through the day. He joined in on most everything and seemed to learn quickly. We’re grateful to Index Art Center for the venue and director Lowell Craig for his patience and time.
Teacher: Ib’nallah S. Kazi Instructors: J. Javier Cruz & Andrea Lee Presenters: Mesha Allen & Muta Morton
Sunday, November 12 | 10:00am to 5:00pm EST (Optional Part-day participation) Index Art Center, 237 Washington St. | 2nd Floor, Stairs Only Donation-based fee: $20 suggested/$15 student | Vegan Lunch Included Limited seating 30 students. Register Now with Eventbrite!
TO BE FOREWARNED IS TO BE FOREARMED.
This full day (optional part day) retreat will include sessions in meditation, medicine movement, yoga, spoken word, and other disciplines. We will explore the spiritual, ethical, and practical applications of the self-knowing, self-healing, and self-transformative arts of the indigenous, enslaved, colonized and immigrant Americans. The resurgence of interest in the meditative arts in the People of Color communities in the 21st century is missing an important link. And that link connects us to the genetic continuity revealing the secrets to our “surthrival” in the face of the already mounting challenges to our safety, inheritance, and very humanity. Through immersion with People of Color at this retreat, White Allies can deepen their understanding and support. A white ally is a person of white-skin or who is white-person-identified of unearned privilege who engages in anti-racism work while practicing principles of cultural humility. Our ancestors have left us a diverse tool chest of systems, practices, and wisdom insights to meet the challenge of “this time”. Let’s reconnect the link.
This program is appropriate for non-meditators, beginners, through advanced meditators of any discipline. You must register to attend. You are welcome to attend part-day for the morning or afternoon session, but maximum benefit is gained by attending the entire retreat. Register Now with Eventbrite!
Ib’nallah S. Kazi (Kazi) is a Las Vegas-based spiritual wellness coach, medicine movement, and meditation teacher. He places an emphasis on wellness and personal development through his own program, presently known as The Spirit-Centered Life. Kazi has had a committed meditation practice for over 30 years and applies many disciplines. This includes Taoist, Sufi and Ancestral Meditation Medicine. Kazi has built a diverse education and training. His adolescent rites of passage began in 1974 when he became a Five Percenter, a splinter group from the Nation of Islam. Kazi has trained in and developed his internal martial medicine skills, teaching both Tai Chi Chuan and Yara Mba. He was the co-founder of the Harriet Tubman Hiking Society established in 1988 to immerse the African-American community back into nature. He integrated fitness training and massage becoming certified as a Health-Fitness Trainer and as a Massage Therapist that included Royal Thai Medical Massage. He also became a certified Intrinisic Coach. Kazi was until 2017 based in Newark NJ for 13 years where he remains on the Board of Directors of Newark Center for Meditative Culture, serving as a Spiritual Advisor and Lead Teacher. See Kazi’s full bio.
J. Javier Cruz was born and raised in Florida, Puerto Rico, but has lived in the Greater Newark NJ area for decades, hence he is bilingual, speaking his native Spanish and English. He currently resides in Harrison, NJ and works as a stationary engineer at a plant in Newark. Though Javier has had a committed meditation practice for over 10 years, he was introduced to meditation 17 years ago while in the NA 12-Step Recovery Program. He is a Buddhist practitioner with residential retreat experience and has studied with Insight Teacher Dennis Maurer who teaches at IMCNJ then under the guidance of Narayan. Javier’s main practice is loving-kindness (metta), using it in his daily life along with developing it methodically as a meditation discipline. Having seen and experienced much suffering and troubles in his family, meditation, especially metta, has been key to his well-being and stability. In his spare time he volunteers for a hospice. His priority is his family and he spends much time and attention on his children, grandchildren, and girlfriend.
Saraswati Andrea Lee is a senior disciple of Reverend Jaganath Carrera, Spiritual Head and Founder of Yoga Life Society. Under his direction she is completing seminary training to become a Yoga Life Minister in 2018. She is a certified Yoga instructor and performs Kirtan with Mirabai Catherine Moon. She is a Preschool Assistant Teacher at Montclair Cooperative School in her hometown of Montclair, NJ. Andrea serves as the Treasurer of NCMC where she presents on meditation and mindfulness and instructs yoga and chanting sessions for retreats.
Mesha Allen is a graduate of Ramapo College. She is passionate about improving the well-being of her community and aspires to open her own wellness center before she’s 30. She is the founder of Newark Integrative Enrichment Society and co-founder and trustee of New African Liberty Organization. She lives in Newark and advocates for people suffering with chronic pain and Fibromyalgia.
Muta Morton is an aspiring yogi, artist and gardener who believes everyone has a right to live a happy meaningful life. He grew up moving from foster home to foster home, struggling with depression, homelessness and being emotionally and financially deprived since age ten. Now at 26, Muta searches to find the big picture, using ancient wisdom and truths to guide him through what was meant to be a free planet for people to live together as one, but instead has become a power, money and blood hungry planet. He believes we can change and make the world a better place. He believes that the design of most on the planet right now is to use and abuse people, propagating a planet of hate that would ultimately self destruct. Muta feels that by going deep inside ourselves together we can actually sustain this planet and make it a better place for generations to come.
Register now on Eventbrite for NCMC’s unique outdoor farm retreat with program partner, Rabbit Hole Farm! There is limited participation of 20 for this so please do REGISTER only if you know you will attend. We don’t want to turn down anyone because of someone who doesn’t show. Thank you kindly.
Date: Saturday, July 22nd (Rain date: July 29th) Time: 5:00 to 9:00pm Venue: Rabbit Hole Farm, 34 Rose Terrace, Newark, NJ
To ease the students into the environment, there will first be a thoughtful Garden Tour of this urban farm that is abundant with vegetables, herbs, and art. This will be followed by a light Yoga session with Pamela Flagg to get the students’ energy flowing and harmonized. There’s no need to don yoga clothes or be experienced for this — you can simply wear loose pants if you prefer. A Vegan Medicine Meal will then be offered by Rabbit Hole founder/farmer Arelís Hernandez using food straight from the garden. A medicine meal is a light balanced supper meant to be eaten simply for sustenance and with care and appreciation. It is important to eat lightly at a meditation retreat.
A plein air Art as Meditation session with artist Malik Whitaker will continue the process of opening our minds, heightening our sensitivity, and developing calm. This will get the students prepared for the Insight Meditation period led by meditation teacher Cornelia Santschi. You need not have meditation experience as it will be appropriate for beginners to advanced. Insight Meditation is based on the ancient meditation practice of Vipassana, yet it is a practical and vital contemporary method of mindfulness of breath/body, feelings, thoughts, and phenomena that with development can bring more mental clarity, stability, and happiness. An urban outdoor farm will make for an interesting setting to explore our minds.
Then, Dr. Sankar Sastri of Lakshmi Cow Sanctuary will explain and perform a Sunset Air Purification called Agnihotra in Sanskrit. Agnihotra is a healing fire from the ancient science of Ayurveda that is done in combination with vibrational sounds and materials of specific qualities that is performed at sunrise or sunset. It is a process that is said to not only benefit the mind and body and a home, but to purify the outside atmosphere as well. The process is also used to nourish plant life by changing the cellular structure, thus enabling more nutrients to flow through fruits and vegetables. This is a very cool opportunity to learn a new-old technique!
To close the program, yogi Keven Porter, who is also the director of the Farm, will lead a Moon Salutation Yoga session and Metta Meditation (lovingkindness).