From the BlogMeet Ron


Honolulu folks –> Join a supportive group of like-minded folks tonight 6/23/1616, for meditation, mindful movement and discussion at our place, 3241 Alani Drive, in Manoa, at the usual time: 6 to 7:30 PM. If you have a meditation cushion please bring; if not, no worries. The front door opens at 5:50. Note: please do not park in the driveway, as we share this rented house with another couple and we do not want them to be blocked in. Thanks! 
**This will be Bhante Kovida’s last evening with us. He will be leading us through and discussing the Six Element Practice, as a way to finish his three weeks of discussing the central realization of non-self .
I remember my first weekend meditation retreat in December of 1980. I had been sitting by then about six months, with the usual monkey mind and sleepiness. So I thought I needed to ramp things up.
 The retreat started on a Friday evening and ended the following Sunday afternoon, and followed a very strict schedule of sitting and walking for 14 hours a day and only one meal by 11am.
Only for me, the retreat ended right after the evening talk on Saturday
I booked. I bolted. My mind was screaming “let me out of here.”
Put it this way, in retrospect, there were huge parts of my experience that it took me a long time to welcome. I had conveniently compartmentalized members of my emotional life, and when they met each other in the seemingly endless periods of silent sitting and walking, it was just too much. 
They didn’t seem to get along very well.
And when I think about this practice, this simple mindfulness, it feels more like what Mark Coleman calls “bearing witness.” 
Bearing witness through ourselves, to this precious, unrepeatable life, to our friend and family, and to the beauty and tragedy of this world we live in.
I have found these moments this just happen for me — I feel intimate with my own vulnerability, and with my blue Hydro Flask, or the dishes, my wife and kids, or the bills that just pile up.
It’s just plain vulnerable to be human, to be in a body, intimate with others, as the Buddha said, companions in sickness, old age and death. 
To meet that vulnerability fully, not half-assed, that’s tenderness. 
A fruitful reflection while actually meditating can be to drop into your present moment experience and ask is my heart tender right now? 
Perhaps you could reflect on the different ways to invite yourself to be tender right here and now with what’s unfolding, moment by moment.
Sometimes we are just touched by how tender life is at the oddest moments.
Like waiting in line at the bank, or at the dentist’s office, or an awkward potluck where you don’t know anyone. 
Yesterday a Tongan gentleman drove by our house, which is in Manoa, a relatively affluent neighborhood, and asked me if I wanted some of the trees trimmed on the property.
My reaction took me a little by surprise: I took his hand in mine, I looked him in the eyes and said something like 
“Bruddah, I know you are an honest and hardworking man, doing your best to feed you family. It’s just that I don’t own this house, we are renting, and the landlady would say no, so I am very sorry my friend. God bless you.” 
In that moment we both were looking into each others eyes, and we both kind of teared up.
My challenge is to do something like this when telemarketers with strong Indian accents insist they are calling from Windows and they insist I have a virus they can remove for me.
I just finished reading a book by the popular British born Buddhist monk Ajahn Brahm entitled Kindfulness. The essence of this touching book can be summarized by this excerpt:
When we add kindness to mindfulness we get “Kindfulness.” Kindfulness is the cause of relaxation. It brings ease to the body, to the mind, and to the world. Kindfulness allows healing to happen. So don’t just be mindful, be kindful!
What follows are a few quotes from this book that I feel are applicable to the topic at hand. 
Sīla is the Pali term for virtue. It is the cultivation of harmlessness, kindness, generosity and care by body, speech and mind…Your understanding of what is skillful and what is unskillful, and the inspiration you get from your own heart or from seeing living examples, will enable you to let go of unwholesome habits and tendencies and to develop the wholesome qualities in your mind.
It’s these wholesome qualities of the mind that allow our meditation practice to ripen over time.
Forget about the results. Creating the causes; that’s your work. The results will come by themselves.
I think many of us think this is too simple-minded or moralistic. Over the years I realized I was trying to be a better version of myself through striving like crazy in meditation. 
That was about as tender as putting my mind in a meat grinder.
It just drove me a little nuts in the end.
Put a lot of attention in the space between you and whatever you are aware of. And make sure there are wholesome qualities in that space: kindness, gentleness, peace and patience.
For me one of the powerful excerpts is this one:
The more you do, the more you strive, the more you wear your mind out. … Don’t do letting go, let go of doing.
Katina and I are here to help you as much as we can with your meditation practice.Tom, Katina, Uilalani, and Kupaianaha

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Hope to see ya tonight 6/23/16 — and bring a friend! 

Be safe, be well…

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