2-year Dharma program with Jaya: all the details in one place
"Out of Nowhere" May 2019 - May 2021 Practice of embodiment, deep rest meditation, listening, community, generosity and spontaneity of response--leaving space for what comes as if out of nowhere.
Teachings on donation. Organizational cost: Sliding scale of $60-500 for 6 months. If you join a monthly small group, the sliding scale is $100-500 every 6 months. Scholarships are available. This fee covers costs of the administrative work, infrastructures costs such as for Jaya's connectivity, and Open Dharma's over all running costs. Application form here: https://form.jotform.me/80422109119448
All night I could not sleep
because of the moonlight on my bed.
I kept on hearing a voice calling:
Out of Nowhere, Nothing answered "yes."
~Zi Ye (sometime between 6th-3rd century BCE), transl. Arthur Waley
Essentials In a program I have come to think of as an "ark" to sail through the chaos and intensity of these times, we will share all the best practices we have collectively keenly refined over the 9 years that I have offered online Dharma. Here are the essential practices and the essential principles we will launch with, although some of the practices are open to adjustment every 6 months.
~Monthly guided meditation and Dharma teachings and dialog. (Total time: 2 hours) These live sessions will be recorded and recordings available for the duration of the course. (As long as our technology works well.)
~Embodiment lab: (Total suggested time: 5 minutes a day up to as long as you want, plus about 15 minutes to share your experience) We will share a specific monthly focus in the body to integrate into one's own body/movement practice; to tune into for embodied anatomy/Body Mind Centering practice, and/or to tune into as part of a Jin Shin Jyutsu practice. I will provide some written suggestions each month, and we may sometimes share audio or video guidance as well. For those who are new to Body Mind Centering or Jin Shin Jyutsu, you will find some resources to get you started from the very beginning of the course--including some audio of meditative movement sessions Jaya has led on retreats around the world. We will also send you a monthly questionnaire where you can reflect on and share your experience. We will then copy everyone's responses into a single post and document. This is to make it easier to share and less overwhelming to hear from everyone on a regular basis.
~Creativity notebook: (Total suggested time: 5 minutes a day up to as long as serves you well.) Each person will keep a notebook to draw, doodle, write, paint, collage, complain, praise, be silly, take notes, and/or any other way of getting hand to paper. Although this is an online course, we will be interested in helping each other get into contact in each of our daily lives. I will provide some starting point and possible practices to help you get started, or jump-started any time during the course--anything from a gratitude journal, to drawing lines one next to the other, to the famous 3 "morning pages" of stream of consciousness writing, to cartoon and sketches.
ESSENTIAL PRINCIPLES ~A main principle of our temporary online community will be leaving space for what comes as if out of nowhere. In considering a commitment to a 2-year program at this moment in history, who could possible say yes? Who knows what will happen in these 2 years? I am exactly interested in that kind of out-of-nowhere yes. This principle includes cultivating ~an alchemical quality of attention and attunement ~patience and not taking things entirely personally--including a sense of collective forces ~grounding in a sense of connection, okayness, and joy or appreciation
I recommend that you read what physicist David Bohm says about dialog, synchronicity and emergence: David Bohm described what happens when a group of people begin to be less defensive, less interested in "expressing fixed positions." A "different kind of mind" begins to emerge, and we find clarity, creativity, and kindness sprouting as if from nowhere. https://www.jayaashmore.org/single-post/2019/03/29/Impersonal-friendship-and-a-new-kind-of-mind
~A second main principle of the program is deep rest. Meditation and transformation through deep rest includes the practice of attuning to innocence--disentangling caring from worrying, finding an inspiration and motivation that stems from ease and gratitude rather than fear and lack. "Nothing to worry about" doesn't mean "everything is going great." It just means, "Worry doesn't help." In these times of transformation, we need all the help we can get. ~A third main principle is generosity. We will discovery myriad ways of nourishing the group and allowing Dharma to unfold in and among us. But we will also allow the goodness of our gathering to overflow into our world, at a time when there is no reason to hold back from serving life. There can be a tendency of those with softened heart to avoid power and leadership. We will find ways to slide around our resistance to transmitting and amplifying nourishment, support and creativity for the common good--life pouring into life. One possible gift of this focus could be developing a life skills program for kids (and adults who are willing to learn)--with everything from wild foods, and lighting a fire without matches, to listening and communication, mindfulness, dealing with emotions, Jin shin jyutsu, and meditation. It could be that we could come up with a series of sessions that everyone can offer in their local communities, whether with the help of experts or just simply and humbly as we are and learning as we go along.
OPTIONAL aspects of the program ~monthly small group meetings in groups of 2-6 people, depending on what's available: (Total time: about 90 minutes per month to schedule and meet, depending on group size) These live online gatherings of about 1 hour for 4 people are about leaving space, listening and sharing. Participants will take turns each month focusing their groups around a theme or question or poem of interest. Jaya will "co-host" many of the meetings. ~mindless gatherings (Total time could be up to 4-6 hours/month if it is juicy) Meeting online for an hour and each doing our own thing while listening to music or a podcast. Someone might be knitting or petting a cat, while someone else is resting or painting or writing. Even though I offered the 1st one of these only a year and a half ago, it always feels like such an obvious and nourishing thing to do. I would like to join with everyone who is interested in making these gatherings a weekly appointment with slow time and rest or creativity in community. Perhaps we will end up doing it only every 2 weeks or once a month...But whatever the level interest, if a small group of us could carry the small responsibility of organizing the podcast or music and the timings, then perhaps we could open up the opportunity for others to join in whenever they can. I would love for this to dovetail with the ... ~creativity group Finding ways to support each others' creativity practices. This group will form depending on those who join and what we are all up to and need. Just a long-held dream that feels like is meeting its time to begin. ~one-to-one inquiry meetings For those who wish to have a brief and in-depth listening session with another participant, we will try to help you find each other. These 15-minutes sessions are just about listening to each other--no responses needed and no responses welcomed! Just 7 minutes each for the listener to ask her or his partner a question, such as What is love? or Who are you?, and then to listen with ease and focus. Then exchange roles. This practice can give access to a wider mind, as well as to a rare intimacy with other members of the group.
~As always, I make myself available (to people I have already met) for one-to-one meetings on Skype when I have time, and you can sign up at: opendharma.appointy.com
I will also share a list of recommended reading and other resources for those who are interested. I am delighted to be able to gather in these ways and in these times.
There is room for an unprecedented amount of sharing deeply, in new ways such as the creativity group and more regular mindless gatherings. I also feel there is more room than ever for people to be in the "ark" in ways that suit them, and for that to evolve over time. As well, I find the chaos and intensity of these times to be a good encouragement to connect, and to have enough support for each our own meditation practice. Very glad to have in mind the names of all of you who have already applied and been accepted. Very glad to welcome any more who wish to come on in.
Application form here: https://form.jotform.me/80422109119448