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“If you are unable to find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?” ― Dogen
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Hi, <<First Name>>. I hope that you are finding both time and ease on your cushion as we welcome December.  As we near the end of the year, many folks find themselves thinking about New Year's resolutions, the practices they want to start with fervor on January 1st.  How will you care for yourself for the next month though?  Are there practices you could start today (like a few minutes of meditation) that would help you feel supported through the holiday season?  As we seek the middle path in all things, what could we do right now with a light grip versus waiting until January to white knuckle ourselves into an intense but short-lived practice? You could start with the meditation below that our very own Matt Kaplan shares as a way to integrate social justice action and your meditation practice. 

Black Lives Matter. And so does meditation. by Matt Kaplan
We can take this acronym, BLM, and combine that with a powerful way of practicing and getting free. Here’s what you can do:

B can also stand for the Breath, the Body, the Belly. Practice breathing into your experience, whatever it is that you’re experiencing. It’s like being open to whatever arises, and breathe into that, rather than just focusing exclusively on the breath. It’s healing.

L can also represent Labelling, the practice of noticing our experience and knowing what’s happening by mentally noting the experience. Some examples of skillful notes can be “seeing, hearing, and feeling” which each correspond to both internal and external experience. Inwardly, seeing can be mental images, hearing can be thoughts, and feelings are feelings. Outwardly, seeing is seeing, hearing is hearing, and feeling can be the general feeling of the body contacting the environment. Other labels are “breathing, swallowing, smelling, tasting, pleasant, unpleasant, ”and also the elements, “earth, water, wind, and fire,” corresponding to felt sensations and sometimes reactions.

M can also stand for Metta, or loving kindness. Metta is a heart practice, along with compassion, forgiveness, gratitude, and recollecting wholesome qualities. Like with the breath, we can focus exclusively on the object of meditation, in order to develop concentration and/or to develop some space around our experience - or we can offer these phrases to our quality of mind, depending on how we’re feeling. It can be like relating to the ox or tiger, or healing the inner child. 

Try these for yourself. See what you think! Get free and combine practice with engagement. Black Lives Matter! Meditation matters! We need both! Inner and outer practice. Keep on!!

Schedule Update: We will meet virtually the first 2 Wednesdays of December and in person the 3rd Sunday of December.  The Zoom meeting link and more information about the 3rd Sunday can be found below. 

In this month's newsletter you'll find links to online events, resources, a link to the ARISE newsletter from Plum Village, and additional information about SEBC.  More resources can be found on our website and Facebook.

We at SEBC affirm our commitment to inclusivity, diversity, and interconnection. If you'd like to chat, have ideas for the community, want to help, etc., please let us know - we'd love to hear from you! And if you haven't joined us in a while (or ever), we'd love to see you (feel free to attend meetings as regularly or as infrequently as you'd like)! May we stand stronger as Beloved Community through our Dharma practice and understanding, and in our larger society as a whole. Let's keep the Dharma wheel turning!

Much metta,
Your friends at SEBC
 
Meditation Schedule 
The Zoom link for both December sessions is below. Please note, when joining the meeting, you may need to manually enter the meeting ID and password – the direct link sometimes creates issues. Our recommendation is to have the video on whenever possible, to allow a greater degree of connection during the meetings.  OPEN TO ALL & FREE TO ATTEND!!

* Virtual: Wednesday, December 1st, 7 - 8pm
* Virtual: Wednesday, December 8th, 7 - 8pm
* In Person: Sunday, December 19th, 4 - 5pm

Same link (ID/password) for both Wednesday December sessions:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87428299015?pwd=Q1NUUDF4MW9nZVpvNVRZSFBQVXhYZz09 

Meeting ID: 874 2829 9015
Passcode: 097732

Sunday December session: We will meet in person the 3rd Sunday of December for an end of year get-together and will announce the location and additional details on our website and Facebook. Please send us your email if you'd like to be notified by email.

ALL levels of meditators are welcome to attend, including those with no previous experience; however, we encourage people to “bring your own practice.”  We're a practice group of fellow travelers, not teachers. 

Note: Click here for more info on our Wednesday meditation sessions.

Other Online Events & Resources

* ARISE Newsletter - "Awakening through Race, Intersectionality, and Social Equity"

* Socially Engaged Buddhism (SEBC) - "We encourage you to visit our resource list on Socially Engaged Buddhism and we invite your participation, perspectives, and solidarity, as together we undertake the hard work necessary for transformation." 

* Dharma Seed - "an online resource dedicated to making the Buddhist teachings of Insight Meditation and associated practices available to all. Our intention is to be a support for meditation teachers, their communities, students and meditation practitioners, and to provide access to the teachings to those who might not otherwise have access to them."

* Southern Dharma Retreat Center, Hot Springs, NC - "For more than 40 years, Southern Dharma Retreat Center (SDRC) has offered affordable, teacher-led retreats with a unifying thread of meditation, contemplation, and silence. SDRC continues its tradition of excellence as the preeminent meditation retreat center in the southeast and is historically ranked top 10 nationally."

* Atlanta Buddhism.org - "Due to the Coronavirus outbreak (Covid-19), all people are encouraged to stay home whenever possible, and help stop the spread. We have compiled this list of groups that are now meeting virtually." 
Monthly Article: Buddhists and Racial Justice: A History

 – "In my recent book American Dharma: Buddhism Beyond Modernity, I traced how a small but deeply committed network of People of Color (PoC) and their white allies have made significant pragmatic and philosophical efforts to address white privilege and racism in meditation-based convert sanghas and the wider culture in which they are situated."
 – "One of the hallmarks in the Insight Meditation community is speaking from personal experience and making Buddhist teaching relevant to daily life. A limitation of this approach is that teachers often assume that their own white middle-class cultural experience is universal."
 

~From Buddhists and Racial Justice: A History by Ann Gleig
 
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