Help Grow Meditation in Newark NJ

Can you help us to spread the much-needed Practice of Meditation in Newark, NJ with Newark Center for Meditative Culture?


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Over the past six years, NCMC has presented close to 300 life changing, health promoting, and self-empowering programs within the context of the socially engaged, multi-cultural, and diverse population of the Greater Newark Area.

Programs included:

16 Seasonal Full-Day Meditation Retreats (including 3 People of Color Retreats)

10 First Sunday Art and Meditation Workshops

Over 200 Meditation Workshops  (of which over 30 bi-lingual workshops offered)

2 Ten-Week Basic Meditation Courses

26 Dharma Movie/Meditation Sessions

2 Online Meditation Medicine Courses

16 Tai Chi/Qi Gong Classes

2 Open Mind Film Festivals

12 Nature Walks and Hikes

1 Deep Ecology Training Workshop

Publishing of 2 Books: Buddhist Dharma Book and Meditation Manual.

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Our Mission

Having established ourselves as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2017 and having previously engaged since 2012 as a community initiative, we now need to meet some formative and developmental needs in order to advance our Mission, which is:

To be a safe place where like-minded people can gather in order to practice the fundamental meditation methods of tranquility, insight, healing, and loving-kindness (metta), and to become engaged together in conscientious, compassionate, and contemplative activities as a group and in the local community.

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How do we work?

NCMC is a volunteer-run organization with a strong commitment to openness and inclusion. We do this in two ways:

Diversity/Expansiveness: We offer both general programs and pin-pointed programs for specific affinity groups of people and  surrounding issues. For example, our People of Color retreats especially are intended to provide an affinity group for individuals who daily confront the effects of oppression and racism, and who therefore may initially choose to avoid mixed programs.

Inclusiveness: All of our programs are offered as donation-based no-fee or free to the participant. We base this system on the practice of dana or generosity, which is inherent to many spiritual traditions. Your donations will allow us to continue to provide life enhancing programs to the entire community regardless of their present economic circumstances.

NCMC is committed to community engagement and compassionate activism and to educating the community about meditation and its benefits. We have collaborated  with or facilitated meditation classes and programs for several organizations including:

Artisan Collective – Barat Foundation – Bateman & Associates – Greater Newark Tennis & Education – Hikeolution – I’m So Yoga Newark – Ironbound Community Corporation – Newark LGBTQ Center – Newark Museum – Newark Yoga Movement – NJPAC – Rabbit Hole Farm – Sis & Bro Foundation.

In the educational sector, we have provided our services to:

Rutgers Law School – Rutgers Bookstore – Louise A. Spencer Community School – Technology High School.

We have also engaged in area compassionate activism through participation in walks, marches, and activities such as:

Million March NYC – Buddhist Global Relief NYC Walk to Feed the Hungry – 300.org People’s Climate March – Clean Energy Walk Phila. (w/NJ group) – Buddhist Council Meditate NYC & Peace Lantern Festival.

NCMC has also worked closely with generous venue providers over the years including:

Index Art Center – City Without Walls Gallery – Seed Gallery – Military Park Partnership – Ironbound Community Corporation (current).

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What are our immediate needs?

Our current fundraising goal of $5,000 is a portion of our 2019 budget of $12,000. The focus of this initial campaign is to raise the finances needed to begin the new year with a strong organizational infrastructure.  Our “must haves” include:

Accounting
– Bookkeeper $16-20 per hour at 1 hr a week approx for yr.
$1000
– Accountant for tax return and quarterly filings for yr.
$1500
– QuickBooks Pro
$220

Office Supplies
– Post Office Box (yearly)
$60
– Domain Name Renewal (yearly)
$20

Student and Teacher Advancement
– MBSR fundamentals teacher training online: 1 student
$600

Full-Day Retreat
– Rent
$250
– Staff
$135
– Event Liability Insurance
$130
– Miscellaneous Expenses
$85

Total
APPROX $5,00032315866_1539522368207624_r.jpegWhat do we hope to do in the near future?

• establish more weekly and monthly group meditations and study groups
• reestablish our monthly First Sunday meditation and creative journaling
• establish a weekly Sunday meditation group
• develop a training program for student leaders for groups
• provide opportunities for our students to deepen their practice at longer residential retreats
• provide opportunities for our students to advance to teachers
• secure funding to be able to afford rent for a steady place to hold group sessions
• secure funding for a director or part-time directors
• secure funding to support free programming (as our teachers need to be gifted and expenses covered)
• establish a community of practice that includes volunteers practicing generosity who love meditation or being around meditators and understanding our purpose.

So you can see, we need your help in funding!

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Can we take a little more of your valuable time to relate some student stories to help you understand the need for NCMC?

(Please note that these stories are paraphrased from memory.)

STORY 1:
One young lone meditator came to us once and scuffled shyly into the art center where we were holding our meditation session. He said “I can’t believe I’m in here, I never thought I’d be in a place like this.” He also said he had imagined how nice it would be to meditate outdoors in a park — and his dream came true! We sit in the park in the summer!

= Exposure, safe place, non-judgement.

STORY 2:
At one of our recent People of Color Retreats, one student described how wonderful it was to “meditate with people who look like me” as she was used to having to go to meditation centers that were mainly populated by white folk.

= Diversity, like-minded, like-color, multi-color, comfort.

STORY 3:
Another woman pops in and sits with us only when she is sometimes available on Wednesday evenings. Her comment though, “I love knowing that you are here doing this every week even though I most often can’t make it.”

= The more group sessions we can hold, the more opportunities for people to show up.

STORY 4:
Three seasoned public school staff members in Newark have come regularly and felt the positive results of continual practice. They’ve asked us mature questions about how to relieve their stress as they watch their students in difficulty and are immersed themselves in co-worker conflicts. One found results in walking meditation, another in sitting meditation, and another more in the continual probing that her new mindfulness brings.

= De-stressing techniques to help through work-related stress.

STORY 5:
A young sensitive woman studying online to be a reiki master, having gone back and forth and back and forth through her childhood between here and Uruguay, lacks confidence in both her languages. She stated from the heart, “My passion is to become a meditation teacher.”

= Helping to build confidence and support potential meditation and mindfulness teachers.

We hope that these stories give you an idea of some of the reasons we think the development of a meditative culture in the Greater Newark Area is as vital and important a cause as we do. Do take the time to look at our website to get to know us even better at www.newarkmeditation.org.

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32315866_1539534773600605_r1.jpegCan you please share our story with your network of like-minded mind-loving friends who might support this cause?

Thank you again for your time. We hope you will consider donating now to help our work to get to the next level and  blossom.

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Peace and love,

Andrea, Cornelia, Javier, Jennifer, Ihsaan, Kamilah, Kazi, Marcie
About the NCMC Board Members

www.newarkmeditation.org
info@newarkmeditation.org


Donate Now on GoFundMe

#GrowMeditationNewarkNJ


 


REVIEW: NCMC People of Color Retreat with Bhante Kaboggoza Buddharakkhita

We wanted to share a few glowing comments and lessons learned through our people of color retreat that we held on Sunday, September 9th. The retreat packed a variety of methods in exploring how to cultivate wisdom and compassion to heal our community.

Naturally, Bhante took the lead in meditation and dharma talks, but he graciously stepped aside for some of our local instructors and presenters to share — An42158409_2317797014968138_1219361414565593088_o.jpgdrea led a yoga session, Kamilah led the dyads, Javier gave a dharma talk, Mesha did a reading, and Ihsaan emceed. Bhante also presented a 7-minute video of compassion in action showing his center’s local humanitarian projects in Uganda that will warm your heart — including constructing water bores, peace school for children, a women’s empowerment project, and an orphanage.

Attendee Jillian Faulks-Majuta of Majuta Wellness, especially was grateful for the discussion on how to cultivate compassion and wisdom and thought it was right on time for her. Here’s what she says she took away: 1) Start with ME. Be more compassionate with myself as I continue on this journey.; 2) Think of compassion as I continue to mother my youth and other living beings/things along my path.; 3) Practice, practice, practice as the wisdom will come as I continue to grow. Well said!

A few days later, she added that after the retreat she has been more mindful, especially with her children, doing 2 minute meditations before bed each night and even a little before school in the morning.

After attending our day-long, Mia Sikes, director of a meditation and yoga studio in Los Angeles posted, “I love Bhante! Filled my toolbox with teachings that a sista can work with!” She had plans to then attend a 6-week retreat that he would be co-teaching in Massachusetts that started last week.

We received a text (sign of the time) from Bhante saying that it was a “wonderful retreat” and “Bravo!” We’re so glad to hear that from the teacher!

We are as always grateful for the delicious fresh vegan meal catered as dana by Arelis Hernandez, farmer/founder of Rabbit Hole Farm. During the weekend, Kevin Porter, director of the Farm, attended to Bhante’s needs and served him at the retreat. The couple hosted him at their residence for the weekend.

Much thanks goes to our retreat volunteers Mary, Jennifer, Elvis, Venus, and David who quietly and efficiently got the job done before, during, and after the retreat and for the generous and patient support given to us by the Ironbound Community Corporation, especially that of Mayra Ramirez, COO there.

It was an exceptional weekend that began with the Farm Program on Saturday morning and the Book-Signing Event for his two books that evening. Planting Dhamma Seeds, Bhante’s spiritual journey, and Sowing Seeds of Peace, a meditation manual, are the first books published by NCMC. They were published in association with Uganda Buddhist Centre and though they were not the first editions, they are the first editions to be published in the United States! They can be purchased through Amazon at the links above. We hope to have Kindle versions available as well.

We feel very blessed that Bhante took the time to teach and spend the weekend with us during his busy U.S. teaching schedule.


Weathering Our Mind Storms

By Marcie Barth

As we watch the weather storms Tropical Storm Isaac, Hurricane Helene, and the incredibly threatening Hurricane Florence, we can use the parallels of our mind storms.

If we’re mindful-and-aware, these mind storms clue us in to their coming. When we catch ourselves in the middle of a mind storm we realize we weren’t attentive to the warning signs. These signs usually come in the small voice of self-talk, either mental or verbalized, that is negative or irrational. On the other hand, we need to be kind to ourselves, even amused at some of our sillier mind storms.

A humorous example comes from an excerpt of a book by meditation teacher Sylvia Boorstein where she describes The Broccoli Phenomenon that occurs at retreats. She based it on the many meditators who become agitated at being served ubiquitous and often unappreciated broccoli and their ensuing mind quotes such as, “When I get home, I’m sending them a collection of good cookbooks!”, “If they are determined to serve so much broccoli, they could at least cook it separately, as a side dish!”, and “I guess I’ll put the stew over the rice and pick out the broccoli. I hope they don’t do this to me again!”.

She continues: “Days pass, meals pass, and between bouts of culinary criticism that temporarily cause mind storms, you continue to develop composure. Sitting, walking, breathing, stepping — hour by hour, gradually, while you are busy concentrating, your mind smooths itself out.”

With mind storms, we can choose to distract our minds with positive thoughts until it calms down or we can choose to watch the mind storms objectively from a mental distance, watching them come and go. We use right effort to not react by feeding them more energy caused by habitual negative thinking, impulsive reactions, and even liking them as your act.

Similarly, different people choose different ways to prepare for weather storms. Some leave the area while others stay in the area, safeguard their belongings, hunker down in a shelter, and watch and wait. Each of us approach our storms based on our conditions and relative perceptions.

Given the right conditions a mind storm thunders in and takes over before you know it. When it clouds your whole mind it can sometimes be hard to get out of. Both the cause of the mind state and the mind state itself have become unrecognizable. But, we can develop many mindfulness and meditation skills to get out of them and prevent them from gaining strength.

Given the right conditions a weather storm thunders in. We may not seem to be able to do much about them, but perhaps we can help as much as we can to gradually weaken their effects through our consumer habits, climate change advocacy, praying for those in danger, and making repairs.

Hurricane Photo Credit: NOAA/NWS/Facebook.


Marcie Barth is chairperson and co-founder of Newark Center for Meditative Culture currently teaching there and at Centro La Paz in Puerto Rico where she resides.


 


September 8-9: Farm Meditation, Book Signing, and People of Color Retreat

With Bhante Kaboggoza Buddharakkhita of Uganda

SOWING SEEDS OF PEACE
Farm Meditation • Dharma Talk • Farm-to-Table Lunch
Saturday Sep. 8 | 11:30am to 1:30pm
Free: Donations welcome
Rabbit Hole Farm Newark
RSVP | Details: Keven/Arelis at rabbitholefarmnewark@gmail.com

PLANTING SEEDS OF DHAMMA
Book-Signing • Meditation • Talk • Vendors
Saturday Sep. 8 | 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Fee: $15
Source of Knowledge Bookstore
RSVP | Details: Greg 973-388-4900 or Ayanna 862-944-8860

CULTIVATING WISDOM & COMPASSION TO HEAL THE COMMUNITY
People of Color Full-Day Meditation Retreat
Sunday Sep. 9 | 9:30am to 4:30pm
Meditation • Talks • Movement • Art • Healing • Affinity
Suggested Donation: $30
Atrium Room at the Early Learning Center
Register | Details: ncmc-poc-retreat.eventbrite.com



REFLECTION: An Empty Bowl on Our Table

empty blue bowl.jpgMost of us here in the States will have some sort of Thanksgiving celebration or special meal tomorrow, but then again, many will not. Many of us love the day, but many dread it. There are so many reasons for both these extremes — loving families, dysfunctional families, lack of family, delicious food, tryptophan stasis, politics, displaced guests, misplaced historical truths — the list goes on.

One solution to keeping peace, inner or expressed, on this holiday is to bring an empty bowl to the table. What we mean here is to try to bring an empty mind that’s freed from assumptions, bias, preconceptions, and judgement. It’s a mind that can flex at the table and create harmony through, well, a sort of appropriation. Meaning, that we might put ourselves in others’ shoes, feeling compassion for what we might see as ignorance on political matters, stinginess in portions, or obnoxious personalities. Instead, we might see the stress in their faces!

How might we do this? By being in mindfulness as much as we can with an empty mind and a determinedly pleasant attitude. It doesn’t hurt either to consciously appreciate an actual empty bowl placed in front of us, to reflect on the great grace that we have daily to be able to feed ourselves and others.


Image: Yuan Period Jun Bowl; Wikimedia Common; Public Domain

Choosing to Nurture or Neglect Our Minds

We have a choice to neglect or nurture our minds. To nurture our minds takes a little discipline — the practice of meditation and mindfulness can help to etch good qualities and impartiality into our minds through positive reinforcement and developing intimacy with ourselves. We begin to see the connections between our brain, mind, heart, body, and spirit.

The hard fact is, that to neglect our minds means that we might also be neglecting or even harming others. How often do we see the domino effect that our negative habits and actions can have on those close to us and our community, let alone those of other cultures? This certainly doesn’t mean that we can’t also play with abandonment, but we also then can use our mind skills to get back on track!

Once we’ve established a nurturing mtryptic-01.pngind for ourselves, we might even then extend our efforts to nurture the minds and help heal others. This is where compassion begins and becomes action. Putting ourselves in others shoes we can acknowledge and identify with their pain, unhappiness, and injustices and take good radical action.

Newark Center for Meditative Culture (NCMC) is currently offering three gems of opportunities to plant seeds of positive power and nurture our minds.

On Wednesday, October 25th, by special invitation, Bhante Buddharakkhita of Uganda will give a presentation, dhamma talk, and guided meditation, Planting Dhamma Seeds in Uganda and Nurturing Our Minds from 6:30pm to 9:00pm at City Without Walls. Concurrently, Ib’nallah S. Kazi will lead a Facebook Live meditation, Self-Healing Medicine, the last in a series of four starting at 7:00pm. Kazi’s meditation will also be broadcast at City Without Walls Gallery at 6 Crawford Street in Newark NJ for all attending there. Portions of Bhante Buddharakkhita’s program will be on Facebook Live starting at 7:30 pm.

Then on Sunday, November 12th we will be holding a full-day retreat, People of Color & Allies Full-Day Retreat: Our Return to Ancestral Meditation Medicine, taught by Kazi with assistance by J. Javier Cruz and Andrea Lee. The retreat will be held at Index Art Center at 237 Washington Street in Newark NJ and will run from 10:00am to 5pm. Participants can choose whether they attend full-day or part-day (morning or afternoon session).

These programs are donation-based so that NCMC can generously gift the teachers to support their work. Please contact us by email with any questions at info@newarkmeditation.org.