Following is information about the 2017-2018 practitioners groups. Todd and Matt will teach regular practitioners groups, and there are plans for an online practitioners group with Matt covering the same material in parallel with his face-to-face group. Also, Todd and Luke will co-teach the Foundation Studies Course, which is also open to veteran practitioner members. See Foundation Studies class for a description.

For meeting dates, times, and locations, please see the CSS calendar. Practitioners may sign up for multiple groups. These are not drop-in groups. If you are going to take a leave of absence from a group, please let the teacher know in advance.

Todd's Group

Location: CSS
Days and Times: Wednesdays, 3 pm - 4:30 pm

This year, we will again be reading a collection of short manuscripts from different mystical traditions, while formulating specific practices from them with which to see into the nature of delusion in our own experience. These readings will draw from Joel’s book, as well as excerpts from the works of various mystics, including Rumi, Chogyam Trungpa, Ken Wilber, Pema Chodron, Hubert Benoit, and Ramana Maharshi among others. The agenda for the class is not solidified, but will unfold as we go along.

We will begin with reading a few chapters from Chogyam Trungpa’s book, “The Myth of Freedom.”  In this reading, we return to the fundamentals of shamatha meditation and precept practice and working with the fundamental mechanisms of delusion.  As we go along, we will be reading a few short articles on the fear of and nature of death, as well as practices for approaching and transforming our deepest fears and irritations.  And at some point, through practices of spacious awareness, as we examine the empty nature of phenomena and the fundamental deception of attachments to them, we will be taking up practices of compassion, and readings that support such practices.

Except for chapters from Joel's book, I will be sending out scanned excerpted manuscripts via email attachments, so there shouldn’t be a need to purchase texts, and for those who do not have access to email or a printer, I will provide you with printed copies, so be sure to let me know if you would like printed copies.

Matt's Group

Location: CSS
Days and Times: Wednesdays, 7 pm - 9:00 pm
Eight Gates of Freedom, Part 2: Befriending your Wounds

We will reprise the teachings covered in part 1 of the Eight Gates of Freedom, a nondual investigation into the chakra subtle energy anatomy, before delving onward and investigating the heart, throat, third eye, and crown chakras. These will comprise original presentations of the chakra teachings in which Matt will draw together diverse fields of psychological and spiritual material to present a comprehensive approach to practice and realization.

Concomitant and complementary to the exploration of the Gates we will be exploring methods for uncovering our primary energetic blockages - the places where we get "stuck" in life and on our path. From a spiritual healer's perspective, these are our core wounds. To this end, the assistant teacher, Hiromi Sieradski, will help guide us through a series of practical assignments in which we investigate our delusion. Taking Dogen's advice to heart: "To study the Way is to study the self; to study the self is to forget the self, to forget the self is to be united with all things." We will be studying ourselves, our delusion, in detail, to discover and befriend our wounds. We will look at our personal history, our bodies, our ancestors, and our dreams, to uncover who it is whom we think we are, that prevents our knowledge of who we truly are.

The practice of befriending our wounds will be placed within the context of our chakra studies so that a global perspective will begin to be intuited, in which we can bypass the thinking mind and unite our meditative experience with a single column of pure awareness, transcending our personal story and re-merging with the Eighth Gate of Pure Being, our home beyond all distinctions.

To prepare for the course, it is suggested that you view the first five lectures in the Eight Gates series, if you haven't already, linked below in six segments:

Matt's Group (Online)

Location: Virtual-Online
Day and Time: Monthly online conference dates TBD
This online group will cover the same material as Matt's face-to-face group, described above. See also Online Practitioners Group.

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