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Rodney Smith, guiding Vipassana teacher from Seattle Insight Meditation Society, will lead a two-day retreat in Port Townsend, WA May 15-16, 2010. We are very happy when Rodney will be with us again this year.

Reservations are requested because space is limited. The following is the announcement message from of the Port Townsend sangha.
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Heather Martin, Vipassana teacher from Salt Spring Vipassana Community, will lead a two-day retreat in Port Townsend, WA in February. Her retreat in Port Townsend last year was very well received. We are very happy that Heather will be with us again this year.

Reservations are requested because space is limited. The following is the announcement message from of the Port Townsend sangha.

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Rodney Smith will be in Port Townsend to lead a two-day non-residential retreat on the weekend of May 9 and 10.  Rodney is the guiding teacher of the Seattle Insight Meditation Society and we are always happy to have him here to teach.  The retreat will consist of sitting and walking meditation, Dharma talks from the teacher, and small group meetings with the teacher.

The topic will be Aligning the Mind with the Now of the Body.

Rodney says:  “How distant is our mind from our body?  That gap is our relationship to the present moment since the body is always here and now.  The mind leaves the body, the body never leaves the mind.  This weekend will explore how meditation helps close the distance between the two and the difficulties we face when we embody ourselves.”

Dates: Saturday and Sunday, May 9th and 10th
Times: Sat, 9 AM – 5 PM. Sunday, 9 AM – 2 PM.
Location: Port Townsend Yacht Club

We will be in silence during the retreat.

While the space is plenty big for us, we still need to know how many people to expect.  So please reply via e-mail to register for this retreat or to ask any questions.  Be sure “Rodney Retreat” is in the subject line of anything you send me about the retreat.

The Port Townsend Yacht Club is two blocks off of Sims Way on Washington St, across from West Marine and next to SeaJ’s.  If you are coming from out of town, drive into town on Sims (Hwy 20), past the Safeway to Benedict St. (Henery’s Garden store and the Safeway gas station are on that corner) and turn south on Benedict.  Go two blocks and curve to the left onto Washington.  The Yacht Club is the first large building on the right; there are PTYC signs on the gray/blue building.  Entrance is on Washington St.

There is parking available in the area but please try to carpool.   You may park in front of the yacht club and to the west along Washington Street facing the water.   Please do not park in front of any of the businesses in the area as they will need those places for their customers during the day. You can also go farther west into the Boat Haven parking lot and park there.

We will be sitting on a vinyl tiled floor, but there are also chairs for your use.   Please bring any cushions, mats, or wraps that you will need for sitting.  We are not able to provide any cushions, etc.

Food:  Bring a lunch and/or snacks.   We’ll provide tea.  The food coop is just a few blocks away if you need to buy something for lunch.   If you are coming from east of the Hood Canal Bridge, you will need to take a passenger ferry and shuttle.  You can get more information at: http://www.ptguide.com/gettingaround/hoodcanalbridge.html.

Costs: There is a minimal suggested donation for the rental of the space ($5 or $10). In the Buddhist tradition the teachings are considered priceless and are offered freely. There will be an opportunity to offer voluntary donations or dana to the teacher.

For more info: please contact Randi Winter (email much preferred) using the form below.

If you plan to attend: Please send an email confirmation to Randi Winter using the form below.  If you can only come for one day, please let us know.

To make reservations or ask questions:

Lessons in Impermanence

I’ve been experiencing the truth of impermanence recently.

We’re leaving on a driving trip in two weeks, and the head gasket has chosen this time to start leaking.  We’re having friends stay at our house while we are gone, and the front door lockset has chosen to fail.

We were spreading a new layer of gravel on our paths and realized that one of the trees have grown so much that they intrude on the path.  It was either cut the tree or move the path; we moved the path.  Meanwhile, other hedges were intruding on other paths; those we trimmed back severely.

As I think about our house, yard and gardening, our efforts seem to be all about either coping with change or creating change.  Nothing ever stays the same.  Plants grow, bloom, and are harvested.  Others bloom, fruit, and die back or break from excess fruit or snow on the branches.  Soil wears out and needs to be enhanced.

Even the gravel disappears over time, and rocks are overgrown and broken up.

Part of our bluff sluffed off in the last year with a slide towards the beach that almost overtops the bulkhead.

On our trip, we’ll be going to Utah and visiting Arches National Park.  One of the arches I want to see has fallen and is no longer.  The trail to another arch has been rerouted because parts of that arch have flaked off in recent years.  In Canyonlands, what I once knew as rough, four-wheel drive roads are now paved and usable by any vehicle. In Yosemite, part of a campground has been closed because rock slides have been falling on it.

My weight goes up and goes down.  Health changes, sometimes for the worse and sometimes for the better.  Emotional states are transient; none are permanent.  Relationships change—some relationships last a long time, others a shorter time, but they all change constantly.  Some changes happen slowly (rocks erode), others occur very quickly (emotional states). Even changes to rock are visible in a single lifetime.

Nothing stays the same.  I literally cannot think of anything unchanging in my experience.

Some changes we respond to—the car and front door will get fixed this week.  Some we note but there’s no action to take—an arch falling or the bluff slipping.

But whether we react or not, nothing stays the same.

As I posted last month, Vipassana teacher Heather Martin will be in Port Townsend to lead a two-day non-residential retreat on the weekend of January 24 and 25 of 2009.  Please note that the location of the retreat has changed from the previous posting!

Details on the retreat location, times, and transportation are in this post.

(As before, I am reposting Selden’s email about retreat details.  Please respond if you plan to attend the retreat and have not yet let Selden know you are coming or if you need any help in getting here.)

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Honesty

One of my tasks at the end of 2008 was to choose a word that encapsulated my intent for the coming year.  The way I “chose” a word was simply to watch what arose.  Then I sat with the word for a while to see if it fit, or if something else arose.

The word that came up for me was “honesty.”

What does “honesty” mean?  For me, it includes mindfulness; perhaps the best summary is “clear seeing.”    To me, being honest means seeing what is actually true, and to be clear about the difference between what is true and what I want to be true.

I was asked whether I was talking about deception.  My answer was “no, deception was not an issue for me.”

Inevitably, if I see what is actually true, and sees how that differs from what I wish, I will sometimes discover self-deception.  However, the focus is on seeing clearly, and if that seeing includes seeing self-deception, well, so what?  That’s just another thing to see.

Seeing clearly can bring pain, as it highlights how reality differs from how I want things to be.  And that difference leads to the need to make decisions.

I’ll be revisiting this issue in future posts.

The Rush is Over!

I started this blog intending to write about what was happening in my life and how meditation was part of it.  I watch bemusedly as computers keep coming into it.

Traffic to this blog is fairly light, as is expected given the subject, the newness of the blog, and probably the content.  The blog software does record statistics that describe how many people have visited the blog and what they have looked at.  (Only statistical summaries are available; individual users cannot be identified.)

A month or so ago, a friend asked about using an mp3 player with the Macintosh.  I did a quick check on some forums and said “sure, it will work fine.”  Well, that turned out not to be the case.  I researched the problem further and wrote a web page on how to use an mp3 player with a Macintosh computer.  I shared that with my some friends and also referred some people on the Sansa Fuze forum who were trying to get their player to work with the Macintosh.

Since then, the majority of accesses to the blog have been to read the article on using mp3 players with a Macintosh.  The busiest day on the blog was the day before Christmas, the second busiest was Christmas, and the third day was the day after.  I guess lots of people gave or received Sansa Fuze players for Christmas and then needed to figure out how to make them work with a Macintosh!  (By any web standards, we are talking small numbers here–peak use was less than 100 visits per day.)

Traffic is now returning to normal levels.

Emotionally, I find reinforcements to my expert persona like this to be difficult.  They build the ego, the sense of “I,” and the sense that “I am an expert and everyone should recognize that.”  I fall into a mode of answering questions and playing an expert on mp3 players, and on use with the Macintosh.  The latter is particularly a problem as I don’t even have a Macintosh.

So the challenge is always to back off and let others be the experts.  I need to say something myself only when what I say is truly useful instead of just being first with the “right answer.”