Men, save the date and join NCMC on Sunday, November 10th for Part-Day or Full-Day between 10:00am and 4:00pm. This donation-based retreat is designed specifically about and for men and will be presented by Kazi with guest teachers and speakers. To be held at Index Art Center at 237 Washington Street, Newark, NJ in the First Floor Gallery. Suitable for youths to men. Registration and details to come. | A donation-based program of NCMC in cooperation with The Spirit Centered Life.
10-Week Fall Series: Thursdays, Sep. 12 thru Nov. 14. An after-work meditation and mindful movement group. Starts Thursday evening 5:30-7:00pm. Free fall session meditation and mindful movement classes led by J. Javier Cruz. Practice meditation and mindfulness to integrate less stress, and more love and peace into your daily life. Feel free coming late if necessary! Family friendly. Held at 317 Elm St. Newark NJ.
Sesión de otoño de 10 semanas: jueves 12 de septiembre al 14 de noviembre. Un grupo de meditación y movimiento consciente después del trabajo. Comienza el jueves por la noche de 5:30 a 7:00 p.m. Sesión de caída libre del clases de meditación y movimiento consciente dirigidas por J. Javier Cruz. Practica la meditación y la atención plena para integrar menos estrés, y mas amor y paz en tu vida diaria. ¡Siéntete libre de llegar tarde si es necesario! Familia amable. Held at 317 Elm St. Newark NJ.
| A free program of NCMC in cooperation with Ironbound Community Corporation Family Success Center.
Join us for another free six-week series of Tai-Chi Classes using the Yang short form and qi-gong exercises with Shaka Georges, visiting teacher with NCMC. Gentle, healing, and easy-to-learn movement practice. No registration required, join as you can. Weather permitting on the Meditation Lawn on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:30pm, Sep 11 through Oct 16. | A free program of NCMC in cooperation with Military Park Partnership.
Join us in September for another free six-week series of Tai-Chi Classes using the Yang short form and qi-gong exercises with Shaka Georges, visiting teacher with NCMC. Gentle, healing, and easy-to-learn movement practice. No registration required, join as you can. (Shaka’s class will also run for 6 weeks in the fall.) Weather permitting on the Meditation Lawn on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:30pm, Sep 11 through Oct 16. | A free program of NCMC held in cooperation with Military Park Partnership.
WATCH NOW: An interview with Abe Gruswitz of Our Community on the cooperative housing movement and it’s benefits for our environment.
These Deep Ecology II interviews with guest presenters, experts in their fields, are hosted by Ib’nallah S. Kazi throughout August 2019 and will be posted on NCMCs YouTube channel and other social media. This is a continuing program based on our Deep Ecology I lectures in 2017.
If you like the content of this video please consider making a small contribution to NCMC to help sustain our programming. Peace and love.
A free program of Newark Center for Meditative Culture in conjunction with The Spirit Centered Life.
A Half-Day Retreat
Sunday, August 11, 2019 from 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Index Art Center, 237 Washington St., First Floor Gallery, Newark NJ
Co-teachers Cornelia Santschi and J. Javier Cruz
To attend go to: ncmc-summer-retreat.eventbrite.com
Suggested donations: $20 adult, students 18 or older $15, pre-arranged volunteers* $10, youths 12-17 free.
We live our lives embodied, yet can find ourselves so caught up in thought that we forget this simple truth. The human mind and body are intimately interconnected yet so often we ignore their communication. Awakening to the body from the inside through mindful awareness can greatly increase our capacity to be present with kindness for all aspects of life. In this half-day insight retreat we will explore this first foundation of mindfulness through an interweaving of guided sitting meditation, movement practices, talks and dialogue. This semi-silent retreat is appropriate for all regardless of previous meditation experience. Refreshments will be served. | A donation-based program of Newark Center for Meditative Culture.
We need a few volunteers to help us with set-up and break-down, check-in desk, refreshment service/clean-up, etc. Contact the retreat coordinator for the program, Jennifer Becher at firstname.lastname@example.org to apply as a volunteer before registering for this program.
To attend go to: ncmc-summer-retreat.eventbrite.com
The beginning of a new year has become the traditional time to evaluate our lives. So let’s do it! And let’s use a brick as our multi-purpose metaphor.
As a starting point, we’ll take this well-known quote by actor Will Smith: “You don’t set out to build a wall. You don’t say ‘I’m going to build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that’s ever been built.’ You don’t start there. You say, ‘I’m going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid. You do that every single day. And soon you have a wall.” There’s a lot of wisdom in these words, but let’s examine brick laying more closely as it applies to our meditative and spiritual perspectives.
First of all, who are we?
When we reflect on who or what we are, we might imagine that we are a person carrying 5 piles of bricks on our shoulders. These bricks might represent the five aggregates in buddhist psychology — form, feeling, perception, fabrication, and consciousness. We hold tight to these constantly changing piles of bricks trying to keep these activities from changing.
We can let these aggregates/bricks weigh us down. So why not instead of carrying piles of bricks on our shoulders, we take them off and lay them along the ground and simply observe and adjust them.
Why am I where I am today?
Let’s go back to the brick wall. Some of us may need to dismantle our wall and start a radical new wall. Others might just have one brick to start with. Others of us may have already built a beautiful brick wall, basking in our glory, only to see ourselves like Humpty Dumpty, falling, out of our carelessness or mistakes. Or, we might be building around others who are effecting us with their rubble, their taller walls, or poorly made walls. Then it’s vital to practice non-judgement and patience as we build our own.
Or, we may have fallen from no apparent reason at all to us! That’s just how it appears sometimes. Humpty Dumpty couldn’t be put together again when he fell off his brick wall. However, we can find that there always is a way to start over — again and again and again — but under different conditions and possibly with different aims in building our new “biggest, baddest, greatest wall”.
Then what direction should we take?
Now that we’ve laid our aggregate bricks on the ground, we can use these bricks rather than have them use us, to construct a beautiful pathway. For example, we might see the pathway we construct as the buddhist eightfold path: upright view, thought, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration. When we apply our concentration and mindfulness through the practice of meditation, it can have good effect on the other bricks on the path.
Is this a perfect “yellow brick road”? Not quite, there will be bumps and road blocks along the way, but the sense of well-being and inner happiness that continue to develop will be worth the practice of these meditative life skills. Once you have a committed practice you can broaden your road and even jump on and off the pavement to move skillfully through many modes of life situations.
How can we merge spirituality with success?
There is nothing wrong with wanting to go first or be the best, provided that our intention is to help pave the way for others along the way! We can help make others’ paths more easy — we can give them a little mortar or offer a brick.
There’s a quote attributed to the Sufi sage Rumi: “Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.” But then, why do some of us not get what we work hard for and want? We can’t all be great hip-hop artists or brain surgeons, but our passion for music might manifest in a different way in our work or at home. Our ability to be deft with our hands and make quick decisions might not manifest as becoming a surgeon, but instead as a wonderful conscientious activist homemaker.
So what about inner happiness?
Let’s start building with the brick of breath. Breath is form. We take one breath at a time, aware of the moment, aware also of our body, which is also form — with perhaps a little smile on our face — and be happy, that’s all. Be happy with ourselves as we are. Oprah Winfrey is quoted as saying, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
Perhaps we can each become a BRICK HOUSE of Inner Happiness! Happy new year! Peace.
A Free Game for Kids to Adults
Start Tonight or When Your Mind is Ready!
During the holiday busy-ness, our minds scatter, our minds digress, our minds stress! But also, our minds can go overboard with joy and giddiness that result in post-holiday mind crashes. So let’s play (drum roll) Where’s. My. Mind? — a 24-hour “game” that you can play by yourself or with family or friends for one day a week or 24/7. It brings you back to the present and can make you laugh, be bemused, slightly embarrassed, self-respecting, or yes, even insightful at what thought was interrupted by your mindfulness bell. It’s a great learning tool to bring you back into the present and keep you there longer. Here’s how it works:
Back to the Breath
Set your reminder/alarm for on-the-hour including your wake-up time, but excluding hours within your sleeping period. It doesn’t matter if it’s on the :08, :30, or :49 or whatever chosen minute, just make it consistent. For example, if you play one day a week you might start with Wednesday at 7pm*, end at 10pm when you go to sleep, and start back up with your wake up time on Thursday and every on-the-hour through 10pm to end the game. When the alarm goes off, set your timer for a minute or so or continue without a timer. Note what you are doing, then quickly go to the mind and observe where it is and sit with it for a minute or two. Then, reel your mind back in if it’s gone elsewhere, back to the breath, and what’s at hand.
Back to the Beat
Advanced Players who are good at body-mind scans might like to try out observing your chi (energy) cycle, that according to Chinese traditional medicine system, occurs every two hours and is related to different organs, mental qualities, and mind states. Check out the chart below. To start to get into your natural beat again you can go to Understanding the 24-Hour Chi Cycle —or— Meet the Chinese Body Clock: Is This Why You’re Waking Up at Night?.
Where’s. My. Mind? is a great game — fun and enlightening for the whole family! Have your kids or friends text you after their reminders go off to find out where their mind is and tell them where yours was (well, er, perhaps sometimes not!). It could be a precious gift to you all!
*You can join the group NCMC Sit Home Soul Group on www.insighttimer.com or use your own App and get into the game on Wednesday nights from your home.
Chinese Body Clock image credit: www.fiveseasonsmedicine.com
Many of us know Tai Chi (supreme ultimate) is a healing form of exercise often done by seniors. Others might know it as a precursor to the more extreme martial arts. It can be practiced in both these ways. But with Tai Chi and Qi Gong (life energy cultivation) we can also practice in the spirit — not being asleep on our feet. Tai Chi works through the body along with the breath, the aspiration that connects us to ourselves, others, and all nature. So many of us neglect our bodies and in turn this effects our mind and spirit.
With Tai Chi we can turn off the mechanics and get into dynamic moments connecting to the rhythm and flow of life. When we begin to awaken qi, with practice, it allows our natural life force to become unblocked and clear, thus promoting physical and mental well-being.
Tai Chi can also be a Way (Dao) to higher levels of consciousness and awareness — of being in the present moment. It can bring playfulness and childlike perception back into our hearts. In this more open state of the mind and body, we can become more receptive to personal growth and change without being on the defensive.
“Supple, breathing gently, you become reborn.
Clearing your vision, you become clear.”
— Lao Tzu
Though meditation is essentially an individual practice, the effect of doing it with a like-minded group of friends can make the meditation more profound personally and socially. Too, in discussing meditation practice with new meditators, we have found that many people attempting meditation at home alone without any guidance or limited online guidance, often conform their meditation to their own predispositions and ambitions.
People often tell us they try to meditate at home but get too distracted by thoughts — desires, worries and regrets. We say, working with distraction is the practice! Some say that they tend to fall asleep, feeling dull or drowsy. We say, no excuse, there’s wake up solutions for this. Others doubt their ability or the practice itself. This often is due to isolation — being in a supportive community and learning useful techniques can help with this too. Others might fear the anger they see rising up. We say, observe it, let it come, and let it go! And even learn to reposit that unhealthy anger to healthy moral indignation and action.
There are methods to skillfully work with all these seeming roadblocks to more inner peace and happiness. Like any other discipline it takes a regular practice, patience, commitment, and guidance by good teachers, instructors, and peers who can help keep us on track and inspire us.
Any group participation, however, will only be effective if the people who join it feel that they gain something either more or different than they experience at home. We have often heard from members of our group that sitting with us has advanced their individual practice, helping them in their home life and at work. Some of our meditation friends who are not often able to join us, report that they feel good just knowing that we gather together weekly. This all keeps us inspired. *