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Open Dharma Newsletter


~ July Newsletter

Besides this month's bounty, which includes a letter from Jaya, written just after the retreat in France, at Moulin de Chaves; a poem by Kailash, written while at the Sattal retreat in India this spring; some inspiring words on heartfullness sent by Bodhi in San Francisco, and thoughts on the music of harmony by Nico, I wanted to share with you a poem my mother sent me this month. To me it feels like gratitude for summer.

i thank You God for most this amazing 
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything 
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth) 

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginaable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
--e. e. cummings

(Photo: Above, the Atlantic, by Nico.)

by Jessica

In this newsletter

~ A Letter from Jaya 
~ Who Is This? 
~ Retreats in August & September 
~ Online Offerings 
~ Heartfulness
~ In Harmony
Upcoming Events


~ A letter from Jaya

One thousand white petals on the curving concrete path to the hall.

The retreat at le Moulin in France last week had the texture of cream: a smooth, rich, light.

It rained every day, the river nearly rose out of its bed, and depth in the meditation hall seemed to bloom and flow out of people's dedicated lives.

Spreading out across the countryside instead of the foaming, brown river.

Thank you to everyone who was there, and who has come before, to make such a thing possible in this world. 

(Photo: The flowery pathway at Moulin de Chaves in France.)

by Jaya

~ Who Is This?


I hear you singing

throughout this enchanted forest

in mysterious mid-lake splashes

in the silence of night

and as the thrush gleefully whistles

to greet approaching light.

I hear you singing

in the leopard's wake-up wheezing

and as the deer barks,

haunting these hills with echoes

still lingering.

When you breathe your out-breath

I see you dancing

in falling leaves and swaying trunks,

hear you whispering 

through the pines

and surrender to your touch caressing

my face. 

I hear you singing

in the creak of the dining room door,

so familiar and welcoming,

and in the words of my teachers and friends,

wise, tender, inspiring.

I see you painting

in splashes of turquoise, green and gold

and in shimmering light dancing on water,

mind blown, breath taken.

Again, I hear you singing

in the breath that fills and empties these lungs,

in the blood that pulses through these veins,

and in the words that leak out of this pen.

And in the hush of darkness before dawn,

I hear you listening...

in stillness so sublime,

no words can measure its depth.

And this person heard you singing

in a voice that's still ringing,

“Now listen, and hear it everywhere,

in every shining thing.”

(Photo: Above, teachings by the lake in Sattal, by Sandra.)

by Kailash

~ Retreats in August & September

August will offer a beautiful opportunity for deep resting with the 7th annual deep rest retreat taking place in La Sierra de Prades, in Catalonia, Spain. 
Something new this year is that those attending the retreat will have the option to stay for a weekend, or for a whole week. The retreat site, which includes a big, old stone house, is in a beautiful location in the middle of nature. Additionally, those who attend the week-long retreat can continue that flow with a stay at Dharmaloca, from August 29- September 3, with meditation, an ecology project and a taste of life at Dharmaloca. 

 In mid-September, the weekend long deep rest retreat near Brighton, England, will take place in a lovely, quiet place set in the heart of the Sussex Downs.

 (Photo: The meditation hall at La Sierra de Prades.)


~ Online Offerings

There are new teachings, guided meditations and meditation instructions now available for downloading and streaming via the internet on the Open Dharma website. The updated menu now includes sessions from the North Carolina retreat in October, 2009, and from the retreat in Tiruvannamalai in January, 2010. These are offered on a donation basis, and the dana listeners provide will enable OD to continue offering and expanding this wonderful resource. Clickhere to see what's new.


~ Heartfulness 

Bodhi recently sent in this excerpt from a talk given by Eugene Cash at his regular Sunday night gathering in San Francisco, CA, for us to share: "So you hear the holding of the heart and then the release of the heart. And then the wisdom of this clear seeing -- that there’s no Other.  That the Heart includes All of Us. That the heart itself is boundless. And the world needs this heart. It needs this heartfulness. It needs it more than ever. It needs your Awakening in this way. To see the Truth, the truth of wisdom and compassion. Of letting go, and then the Love that is here when we learn how to let go. And it doesn't mean that letting go is easy. It's not. I don't at all mean to say that…

But I don't know of any nobler task in our life than to find the capacity to continue to mature as human beings so we know directly for ourselves that there is no Other. And that our heart begins to manifest that understanding, that wisdom, in the world, in our actions, in our responses to people.. personally, family, friends, work, community, culture, country, nation, beyond. That we have this possibility for bringing Awakening into the world. And it's a beautiful intention - to Wake Up."

(Photo: Keeko awake, by Jessica.)



from Bodhi

~ In Harmony

I was working on installing bookshelves in our dining room, listening to my favorite radio station streaming live from Los Angeles--not a place I usually look for dharma--when this interview with The Living Sisters came on and caused me to put down my saw for a minute. The Living Sisters are a trio singing in perfect harmony. While essentially pop music, their gentle tunes struck something deep inside me, but I wasn't quite sure what it was (besides the fact that I am deeply susceptible to candy fluff pop music!). It wasn't until about twenty minutes into the show when I realized that there was something more there; Becky Stark, one of the trio, began speaking, about the passion of harmony, and about the mystical depths (or heights) she reaches through it. 

She spoke about the vibrations of harmony in a room and in a body, and called it something like "eating green vegetables." She said singing in harmony was "a practice for making something more beautiful collectively instead of individually...it is a really good model for living more peacefully together." It reminded me of sitting in a circle after a day of practice and chanting on retreat, of the drone of disharmonious harmony filling the room. But even beyond that, I find it strengthening and thrilling to find dharma in the outside world, in the world of society and culture and not simply when I lie or sit in a meditation hall or take a "meaningful" walk, or join a group expressly to take part in a spiritual exercise. It's out there--dharma is--all around us; it is a clarification that awakened nature is constantly happening already, whether we are "there" or not. So it is pop music and listen to via the link here (if you want) as that, but at least for this group, harmony is practice, pop is practice. 

(Photo: The Living Sisters.)


by Nico 

~ Upcoming Retreat Dates & Details

20-22 & 22-29 August, 2010 Catalonia,
Spain: 7th annual deep rest retreat.

Please notice that this year we will offer 2 retreats,
20-22 (weekend) and 22-29 (week long)
Teachings will be in English and Spanish
Facilitators: Jaya and Gemma
For information and registration, write to: 
retirosopendharma (AT) gmail.com

29 August- September 3, 2010 Catalonia,
Coming to life in Dharmaloca.

meditation, an ecology project, and a chance to taste
the magic of Dharmaloca. 
Only for those who attend the deep rest retreat, 22-29 August.
For information and registration, write to: 
retirosopendharma (AT) gmail.com

17-19 September, 2010 Weekend retreat in Brighton, UK
Facilitators: Jaya and Gemma
For information and registration, write to: 
retirosopendharma (AT) gmail.com

8-12 October, 2010
Deep rest retreat in Sierra de la Vera, Spain.

Teachings will be in English and Spanish
Facilitators: Jaya and Gemma
For information and registration, write to: 
opendharmamadrid (AT) gmail.com

25 January - 3 February, 2011
Silent Retreat near Arunachala, Tiruvannnamalai, Tamil Nadu, South India.
Teachings will be in English.
Facilitators: Ajay and Jaya
For information and registration, write to: 
opendharmainfo (AT) yahoo.com

9 - 19 February, 2011
Dharma gathering in Saranath, India.
Come any day, leave any day.
Offered completely on a donation basis.
Teachings will be in English.
Teachers: Christopher, Jaya and others...
For information check bodhgayaretreats.org

~ Welcome to Everyone

We would love to share your inspiration in an upcoming newsletter. Photos! Poems! Drawings! Musings! Reflections on a recent--or not so recent--retreat! Please feel free to send any contributions (500 words and under is a good length, unless you feel otherwise) to newsletter (AT) opencentre.es



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