Change of Season — Change of Body, Mind, and Spirit

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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.

Learn more on Sunday, November 11, 2018, when we hold a workshop Fall Back into Self-Care: Meditation, Movement, and Medicine for the Season. This 5-hour workshop is kid friendly for those youths who might like to practice with us.


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.


People of Color Full-Day Retreat with Bhante Buddharakkhita of Uganda

Cultivating Compassion & Wisdom to Heal Our Communities

A DONATION-BASED MEDITATION PROGRAM.
$30 suggested or as you can, greater or smaller.*

Sunday, September 9, 2018
9:30 AM – 4:30 PM EDT
Early Learning Center | Atrium Room
1 New York Avenue | Second Floor
Newark, NJ

REGISTER NOW: ncmc-poc-retreat.eventbrite.com

Led by Ugandan Buddhist monk, Bhante Buddharakkhita (b. Steven Jemba Kaboggoza; bio below), this meditation retreat is specifically for those people from communities of color who are immigrant Americans or reside in America and who consider themselves as indigenous, enslaved, colonized, disenfranchised, and/or marginalized. People of Color retreats are especially intended to provide an affinity group for individuals who daily confront the effects of racism.

We ask that all participants attend the program in its entirety. The program is designed for all to feel comfortable, comprehend, and hold interest — whether you are a beginner, experienced, or committed meditator of any discipline. Consider inviting a meditation buddy to attend with you (it’s a nice supportive practice).

Included in the program will be guided meditation, Dharma Talks, walking meditation, yoga movement, Dyads, and Q&As. There will also be an Art As Insight Workshop. Assisting Bhante from the NCMC board community will be instructors Andrea Lee, Kamilah Crawley, and J. Javier Cruz, and announcer Ihsaan R. Muhammad. (Bios on the Leadership Page of our website.) A vegan meal will be served.

The venue is in a state-of-the-art LEED-certified green building with wheel-chair and elevator access. If the weather is nice we will also use the adjoining Outdoor Courtyard to the Atrium Room during some of the movement sessions. It is an easy and direct .6 mile/11 minute walk from Newark Penn Station. Street parking is available in the area.
Bhante Buddharakkhita’s most popular book, Planting Dhamma Seeds: The Emergence of Buddhism in Africa and his most recent book on meditation, Sowing Seeds of Peace, will be available for purchase. All proceeds after costs will go to his center in Uganda for their projects such as the Peace School for Children, Orphan Project, and Women’s Livelihood Project.

*Donations go to cover program expenses and gifts to teacher and instructors.

REGISTER NOW: ncmc-poc-retreat.eventbrite.com


Tentative Schedule

ARRIVAL
8:30 Volunteer Arrival
9:00-9:15 Participant Arrival. Please arrive no later than 9:15.
MORNING SESSION (3 hours)
9:30-12:30 Dharma Talk, Guided Meditation, Yoga Movement, Dyad, Q&A
LUNCH (1 hour)
12:30-1:30 Mindfulness of Eating Guidelines, Meal Blessing, Meal, Rest, Interviews with Teacher
AFTERNOON SESSION (3 hours)
1:30-4:30 Dharma Talk, Guided Meditation, Art Workshop, Walking Meditation, Dyad, Q&A
DEPARTURE


Teacher Bio-note

Bhante Buddharakkhita was born and raised in Uganda, Africa. He first encountered Buddhism in 1990 while living in India, and he began practicing meditation in 1993. He was ordained as a Buddhist monk by the late Venerable U Silananda in 2002 at the Tathagata Meditation Center in San Jose, California and then he spent eight years under the guidance of Bhante Gunaratana at the Bhavana Society, West Virginia. He is the founder of the Uganda Buddhist Center in Uganda. Besides spending time at his Center, he is the spiritual director of Flowering Lotus Meditation Center in Magnolia, Mississippi. Bhante has been teaching meditation in Africa, Australia, Europe, Asia, and the U.S, since 2005. His book, Planting Dhamma Seeds: The Emergence of Buddhism in Africa, tells the story of his religious and spiritual work in Africa. His most recent book is Sowing Seeds of Peace. He is a Visiting Monastic Teacher with Newark Center for Meditative Culture in New Jersey. He is on the council of advisers to Buddhist Global Relief in New York.


About NCMC

Newark Center for Meditative Culture is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving a diverse urban meditation community. Your tax deductible donations make it possible for us to deliver life-changing programs to the Greater Newark community.

All of our programs are offered as donation-based no-fee to the participant. Instead, we invite all participants to make voluntary gifts to the level of their ability, sometimes with suggested donation amounts. NCMC disperses the donations equitably between teachers and venue providers. We base this system on the practice of dana or generosity, which is inherent to many spiritual traditions.

Contact us with questions at info@newarkmeditation.org.


CULTIVATING INSIGHT & INSTINCT: A Daylong Retreat

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 info@newarkmeditation.org. For more information about Newark Center for Meditative Culture go to the website at www.newarkmeditation.org.

Registration Required on Eventbrite at:
https://ncmc-there-is-a-season-retreat.eventbrite.com
Suggested donation is $20 by PayPal/Credit Card when you register or Cash or PayPal/Credit Card at Door.

A donation-based program of Newark Center for Meditative Culture.


 


Relaxing into Clarity: A Daylong Meditation & Mindfulness Retreat on February 25th

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Optional Part-Day Participation

Sunday, February 25, 2018
10:00am to 4:00pm
Venue: Index Art Center, 237 Washington St., Newark, NJ 07102

ALL MUST REGISTER! Go to registration form.

Spend the day with Newark Center for Meditative Culture relaxing into your body and mind to cultivate clarity, taught by guest meditation and dharma teachers Rebecca Li and Shaka Georges. Optional part-day participation (morning or afternoon session). Retreatants will receive guidance in sitting, walking, and moving meditation. The afternoon session will also include art/written word workshop on the Art of Seeing. This donation-based day retreat is appropriate for beginners to advanced meditators, aged 18 and older*. Vegetarian lunch included.

PROGRAM SCHEDULE
• MORNING (9:30-9:45 Arrival/Check-in)
10:00-12:25 Morning Workshop
• LUNCH (12:10 Arrival/Check-in)
12:25-1:25
• AFTERNOON (1:10 Arrival/Check-in)
1:30-4:00 Afternoon Workshop

SUGGESTED DONATION
$20 Adult/$10 Student, but donate what fits into your budget.
Tax-deductible donations through PayPal/Credit Card when you register or Cash-at-Door. Donations go to gift teachers and to help cover rent and other expenses for this event. Donations are much needed and appreciated. Consider donating even if you can’t attend!

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
Consider volunteering as your donation to attend OR volunteer AND attend! Or you can just volunteer and not attend! We need help with class set-up, buffet set-up, check-in desk, lunch service/clean-up, time-keeping and announcing, break-down, and vegetarian food donations. Please let us know when you fill out the registration form if you would like to volunteer in any of these ways and we’ll get back to you!

SUPPORT THE EVENT
Can’t attend but would like to help support this event? We always need help gifting the teachers and for venue rental and other event expenses.
Make tax-deductible donations through PayPal/Credit Card: paypal.me/NCMCevents
We also greatly appreciate NCMC friends who want to volunteer at the retreat, but not attend. Contact us at info@newarkmeditation.org.

*If you feel that it’s important or necessary that your child/youth attend with you and you are able to mind and be responsible for your child/youth (aged 8 -17) during the retreat, you are welcome to submit one child when you register. They should be able to sit still and silent for extended periods.


ABOUT THE TEACHERS:

Rebecca Li, a Dharma heir in the lineage of the Chan Master Sheng Yen, started practicing meditation in 1995. She began her teacher’s training with Master Sheng Yen in 1999 to become a Dharma and meditation instructor. Later on, she trained with Simon Child to lead intensive retreats and received full Dharma transmission in 2016. Currently, she teaches meditation and Dharma classes, gives public lectures and leads retreats at Dharma Drum centers, university meditation groups and Dharma practice groups in the northeast. Her talks and writings can be found at www.rebeccali.org. Rebecca Li is also a professor of sociology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at The College of New Jersey.

Shaka Georges began his martial arts practice at the age of 9 years old. He immigrated to the U.S. from Haiti in 1975, and ever since then has studied various forms of martial arts including Wing Chun, White Crane Kung Fu Capoeira, and Tai Chi Long and Short Forms. He is a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner from the Mahamudra Lineage and has been meditating for over 10 years. He has also been a fitness coach and instructor in Newark. Shaka is a certified tai chi and qi gong teacher practicing in Montclair and Harrison NJ (see Discovering The Healer Within Facebook page) and is a mathematics high school teacher in West Orange.


ALL MUST REGISTER! Go to registration form.

 


Meditación y Atención Plena en el Ironbound: Clases bilingües para principiantes | Meditation & Mindfulness in the Ironbound: Bilingual Classes for Beginners

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Miércoles, 24 de Enero al 28 de Marzo, 6:00 to 7:30pm

NCMC comenzaren una serie de tres meses de invierno de clases de meditación para principiantes para personas que hablan inglés y español* que viven en Newark y el área de Newark. Será impartido por J. Javier Cruz con otros instructores de NCMC. Esta serie será patrocinada por Ironbound Community Corporation. Será apropiado para adultos mayores de 18 años. *Aunque las clases no se pueden traducir en portugués, proporcionaremos folletos trilingües.
Esta serie de clases tiene la intención de proporcionar un espacio seguro para aprender y practicar la meditación y la atención plena que pueden aumentar la felicidad y disminuir el estrés. Al hacerlo, un grupo bi o trilingüe de ideas afines puede desarrollarse para apoyar la práctica de los demás. Todos son bienvenidos, aunque como está destinado a la comunidad latino / hispana de Newark, necesitaremos reservar la mayoría de los espacios para esta comunidad. Detalles de registro próximos.


Wednesdays, January 24 to March 28, 6:00 to 7:30pm

NCMC will begin a Winter 3-month series of beginner’s meditation classes for spanish and english speaking* people living in Newark and Newark area. It will be taught by J. Javier Cruz with other NCMC instructors. This series will be sponsored by Ironbound Community Corporation. The classes will be appropriate for adults ages 18 and older. *Though classes can’t be translated in portuguese, we will provide trilingual handouts.
This series of classes is intended to provide a safe space to learn and practice meditation and mindfulness that can increase happiness and decrease stress. In doing so, a like-minded bi- or tri- lingual group can develop to support each other’s practice. All are welcome, though as it is intended for the latino/hispanic community in Newark, we will need to reserve the majority of spaces for this community. Registration details forthcoming.



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A Beautiful Wintry Mix is Forecast!

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1. THE REMIX

Changes to Board of Directors

Over the first several years of our existence as an informal initiative, Arelís Hernandez and Keven Porter have quietly and consistently supported our mission. Arelís supported us with with her abundant energy and clear decision-making, knowledge of community organizing, skills with youth, and of course, her delicious cooking. Keven has been instrumental in introducing us throughout the community, promoting us, and as he puts it “sits for us”!
At the end of this year they will be leaving us as founding members of our formal non-profit that was established earlier this year. They plan to commit their energy further to Rabbit Hole Farm. We will miss them dearly, but they will always be with us in spirit and we hope to still collaborate at times. We are excited to have two new in-coming board members starting in 2018, J. Javier Cruz and Jennifer Becher. We welcome them into our “mix”!

2. LINGUAL MIX

English-Spanish Beginner’s Meditation and Mindfulness Series to Begin in the Ironbound!

Starting in late January NCMC will begin the winter 3-month series of beginner’s meditation classes for spanish and english speaking* people living in Newark and Newark area. It will be taught by J. Javier Cruz with other NCMC instructors. This series will be sponsored by Ironbound Community Corporation. It is planned for Wednesday evenings from 6:00 to 8:30pm and will be appropriate for adults ages 18 and older. *Though classes can’t be translated in portuguese, we will provide trilingual handouts.
This series of classes is intended to provide a safe space to learn and practice meditation and mindfulness that can increase happiness and decrease stress. In doing so, a like-minded bi- or tri- lingual group can develop to support each other’s practice. All are welcome, though as it is intended for the latino/hispanic community in Newark, we will need to reserve the majority of spaces for this community. Registration details forthcoming. Free to public, donations welcome.
Please note, as this is late-breaking news, we apologize not to have provided this article in spanish translation! We intend to do so in the future.

3. MIND-MATTER MIX

Save the Date for the Full-Day Retreat taught by Rebecca Li with Shaka Georges

On February 25th at Index Art Center, NCMC will hold it’s yearly winter full-day retreat (optional part-day). We anticipate a cooperative, creative fusion of mind(s) and matter(s). There will be sessions of meditation, movement meditation, art, teacher talks, and Q&A. This donation-based day retreat is appropriate for beginners to advanced meditators, aged 18 and older. Registration required. Details will be forthcoming.


Super Moon Sunday — Sensitize, Synchronize, Salutate!

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If the forecast holds out, we’ll be able to observe the Super Moon, the biggest brightest full moon of the year, on December 3 that is followed a day later by the lunar perigee —the moon’s closest point to Earth in its orbit.

There are many myths regarding the power of the full moon. Perhaps there is something to it rather than to dismiss it as superstition as it’s power is acknowledged in many ancient cultures. Modern science tends to debunk it, but what if with a sensitized, subtle mind, we explore it through meditation?

We’ve found a few online meditations for you to explore over the next four days approaching the Super Moon Sunday:

For those of you who want to approach it as a medicinal, healing meditation you might try this Healing Moon Meditation that mainly requires moon gazing and just letting it happen. It is said you can chanelize the moon energy with Moon Salutation asanas designed specifically for this. Keep it light and within your range. For all you goddesses out there, you might like to try this Wild Power: Full Moon Meditation to tap into your divine feminine power. Or perhaps Shamanic Astral Projection flute music can bring out your essence during your moon gazing.

 


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.


Dipping Our Toes Into the Lawn of Mindfulness

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Whether through movement or stillness, we can practice mindfulness and meditation. Our four standard postures of meditation are sitting, standing, walking, and lying down (we love that one!), but all the postures in between are potential experiences of present-moment awareness. Whatever position or transition we’re in — kneeling, slouching, crouching, jumping, skipping, dancing — we can be in that moment. And at this moment we’re practicing on the lawn in the green grass at Military Park. See you there! Shoes allowed, but it’s also a joy to mindfully tickle our toes in the grass!

Wednesday, August 23 and 30
Basic Meditation with Cornelia
7:00pm to 8:00pm
Military Park, Meditation Area
Free
There’s still two chances to join in on this beginner’s series taught by meditation teacher and neuro-psychologist Cornelia Santschi and assisted by peer-leader Kamilah Crawley. You will learn the basics of mindfulness and meditation in urban nature. You’re welcome to bring your children.

Regularly on Wednesdays
Weekly Meditation Group
7:00pm to 8:30pm
Military Park and City Without Walls
Donation-based
We’ll be sitting in Military Park with the Basic Meditation class tonight and August 30th (till 8pm). Then we will move back to our regular venue at City Without Walls on September 6th. Short sessions of meditation, movement, discussion, and reading. Join us for some mid-week peace-of-mind.

Wednesdays, September 6 – October 11
Tai-Chi with Shaka
5:30pm to 6:30pm
Military Park, Meditation Area
Free
Join recurring NCMC teacher Shaka Georges for a series of tai-chi and qi-gong classes in the park (weather permitting). There’s no registration and each class is stand-alone so join in any time. Get into the flow — gentle, interesting, and artful movement for wellness, healing, and energy.