powered by:
 [PHP] + [mySQL]

Open Dharma Newsletter


~ December Newsletter
 There's a hush over our house today with the first snow fall. This month Jaya will offer another opportunity for meeting via skype, and in this newsletter Kailash offers his thoughts on Tiru, Julia her understanding of HeartMath techniques, Gisela offers thanks, and Nico looks at empathy. It's full, and we hope it brings you warmth.

(Photo above: Morocco, by Jessica.)


by Jessica

In this newsletter

~ News from Spain 
~ Tiruvannamalai, Who Am I?
~ A Trait for Compassion 
~ Offering Thanks
~ Volunteer Opportunity
 Upcoming Events

~ News from Spain

One-to-one interviews with Jaya

Jaya will offer one-to-one interviews of 10-15 minutes each via skype on 18 December from 4:00 - 5:30 pm (her time, in western Europe).
If you would like to schedule an interview, please email Alison at: interviews (at) opendharma.org. If you are unable to participate in an interview at the scheduled time this month, please contact Alison to arrange for an alternative day and time.

Tuesday and Friday Treatments

With daylight savings now in effect, Tuesday treatments are at 21:00-21:30 India time, so  16:30-17:00 in western Europe and 10:30-11:00 am on the east coast of the US.
Friday treatments happen at 14:00 India time, so now 9:30-10:00 am in western Europe 19:30-20:00 in eastern Australia.

Website in Spanish

The Open Dharma website has been translated into Spanish! Either follow the link here, opendharma.org/spanish or click "Castellano" on the homepage.

~Tiruvannamalai, Who Am I?

Kailash reflects on Tiruvannamalai, the Indian town at the base of the holy mountain Arunachala, where Open Dharma will hold a retreat 25 January - 3 February:

It's just a clump of rocks.
That's what a friend of mine said. “There are dozens of others like it in the area. What's so special about this one?” he asked.
The holy mountain of Arunachala sits at the centre of the town of Tiruvannamalai, in south India. A hard-nosed sceptic may dismiss it as “just another clump of rocks.” But for the millions of pilgrims that come year after year to circumambulate it, Arunachala is none other than Shiva himself. 
In 1896 the great sage Ramana Maharshi arrived in Tiruvannamalai as a teenager and spent years in meditation at the foot of the mountain. An ashram was established around him, and he started to draw a steady stream of visitors and disciples, including the first few westerners. He advocated the practice of self-enquiry: asking oneself the question, “Who am I?” repeatedly until the sense of self dissolves.
I first came to Tiru in 1999. There wasn't much back then in terms of guesthouses and restaurants, although there was already a small contingent of resident western spiritual seekers doing...?? Exactly. What were they doing?! That's what I wanted to know. There didn't seem to be very much to do – there was no guru giving teachings, no coherent community to engage with, and worse, no beach. So what was this place all about?
All that has changed. Well, there's still no beach. But these days, thousands of westerners converge on Tiru in the winter season. On offer: a mind-boggling spectrum of self-styled advaita gurus giving satsang, healers in reiki, cranio-sacral, and every other conceivable modality, bhajan sessions, houses for rent “with mountain view”... You name it. A spiritual supermarket with something to suit every taste. With so much spirituality going on, it's easy to lose sight of what Tiru is all about.
Opendharma started organising retreats in Tiru in 2001/02. This was to become an annual event held 9km away from the traffic, noise and general chaos of town, in the peace and quiet of lovely Anantha Niketan Ashram. Paradise.
I've spent many beautiful weeks at Anantha Niketan and its sister ashram next door, Singing Heart. At dawn, the sun peeps out from behind Arunachala, the world suspended in hushed silence. And in the late afternoon, that very special quality of light brings a magical glow to the mustard fields and rice paddies. An explosion of yellows and greens, while school kids on their way home, two per bicycle, chatter away and laugh, greeting you with “Hello, your country name?”
There are some truly amazing people that live in Tiru, opening their hearts and homes, expressing love and courage in their simple day-to-day lives without making a big fuss of themselves.
This to me is Tiru. Connecting with that steady stillness not because of, but perhaps even in spite of, the many teachers and teachings on the market. Returning to the inner silence. Amidst a clump of rocks.

(Photo: Walking around Arunachala, by Jessica.)

by Kailash

~What is Heartmath?

Jaya’s friend Julie Dawid has written an article about her experiences applying Heartmath techniques in her work as a midwife--what she calls love-based midwifery. She is currently fine-tuning her article and is hoping to have it published in a midwifery journal, before sending it along to us. In the meantime, here is a little intro to Heartmath and links for more information.
Heartmath is a collection of techniques and tools designed to strengthen the coherence of heart/brain communication. It helps people connect to the intelligence of the heart by using positive thoughts to increase emotional resilience and lower stress.
The Institute for HeartMath has been conducting research on the heart/brain connection for years, studying the physiology of optimal learning and performance as well as intuition and interconnection.
Here is a description of a HeartMath technique fromhttp://www.pbs.org/bodyandsoul/203/heartmath.htm
“Freeze-Frame  - is the simplest of the HeartMath tools. It is a one-minute technique that allows a major shift in perception. More than positive thinking, it creates a definitive, heartfelt shift in how we view a situation, an individual or ourselves. When under stress:
   1. Shift out of the head, and focus on the area around your heart. Keep your attention there for at least ten seconds. Continue to breathe normally.
   2. Recall a positive time or feeling you had in your life, and attempt to re-experience it. Remember, try not simply to visualize it, but rather to feel it fully.
   3. Ask a question from the heart: "What can I do in this situation to make it different?" or "What can I do to minimize stress?"
   4. Listen to the response of your heart.
You may hear nothing, but perhaps feel calmer. You may receive verification of something you already know, or you may experience a complete perspective shift, seeing the crisis in a more balanced way. Although we may not have control over the event, we do have control over our perception of it.”
More information about this technique and others can be found in 
The HeartMath Solution: The Institute of HeartMath’s Revolutionary Program for Engaging the Power of the Heart’s Intelligence, by Doc Childre and Howard Martin. http://www.heartmath.org also offers other books and programs as well as software and handheld devices with their style of heart rhythm-based biofeedback called emWave.
For those of you who might want to contact Julie directly to learn more about love-based midwifery, please write to her at juliedawid (AT) yahoo.co.uk

(Photo: "My hands are my heart," by Gabriel Orozco. MoMA, New York.)

by Julia

~A Trait for Compassion

This link offers a video clip from a talk by Jeremy Rifkin about his new book, The Empathic Civilization. As a teacher, I have been showing it to my college ethics class this fall, trying to get the students to break out of their hard shells of individualistic self-involvement and into seeing the world as a more open, welcoming place.  Rifkin, as far as I can tell, comes from no clearly discernible religious background, yet his ideas, based though they are in science and psychology, will resonate with anyone who has tasted even a hint of the dharma. 
In the video, Rifkin lays out the argument that we are, contrary to popular belief, not hard wired for aggression, violence, self-interest and utilitarianism; rather, we are wired for sociability, attachment, affection, and companionship. He argues that our first drive is the drive to belong, and he calls this the empathic drive. He describes our evolution from creatures who knew little of what lay in the next valley over to becoming full global citizens with all the knowledge (and responsibility) this entails. In that transformation, we have come to see, or we can come to see, that we are all intimates (rather than inmates) that we are all in this together, and from that arises our empathy, our being-with-others quality. This quality, though, is what, in Rifkin's view, is driven out of us by society; how we are taught and how we are raised, how we are shown the world in order to learn it, most times, breeds aggression and self-determination, breeds selfish desire and violence.
I have always marveled--sadly--at that moment after a retreat where you watch the good will and joy from the previous week or ten days slowly drain away as you find yourself on a highway or in an airport security line, being jostled and commanded by other forces that seem suddenly so foreign. During a retreat, I always try to figure out ways, in between designing new bookshelves and books that I will write (I know, I know, I'm not supposed to be planning for the future), of how to hold on to the feeling of community and the joy and bliss that arise from my days on retreat--Rifkin calls this empathic solidarity--but it inevitably drains away. True, not as quickly as it once did, and every retreat I hold on to it a little longer (and would like to think that I have some small part of it inside me now) but there is that inevitable winnowing of good feeling as you deal with your parents, or bureaucracy, or just the everyday, prosaic world of anonymous life.
Rifkin's notions show the falseness of the idea that there is a “retreat mind” and a "real world mind." That, in fact, retreat mind--the mind of the clean mirror--is something much more basic, much more fundamental to our way of being, to our essential nature than the mind of the supermarket or the mind of the airport concourse. We exist in this world in relation always, and it is that reminder that I carry away from this video, and from all my retreats.

by Nico

~Offering Thanks
Gisela in Spain sent in the following letter of thanks:

"I would like to thank Jaya, Gemma and all the people who worked in the background for making the deep rest retreat in Catalonia possible (I attended the weekend retreat). For me it was a wonderful space to center myself, to flow; the silence, the woods allowed for an overflowing of the meditations into the rest of the day in a way which was new to me. Not to mention the teachings and guidance of Jaya and Gemma, which one feels are absolutely authentic and very helpful. 
Thank you once more and I hope to be attending again as soon as I can."


from Gisela


Open Dharma is looking for a volunteer

Position: "Sound editior" ~ Likely not as technical as it sounds; basically someone is needed to run talks from retreats through a computer program that removes background noise.
What is needed in a volunteer:  Someone with knowledge about sound editing (or someone willing to teach themselves how to use a program like Gold Wave) and willing to commit to the position for 3 years.  The editing is only to remove background noise and not to edit the content of the talks.
How it works?: Gemmaji sends a DVD to the volunteer after every 2 or 3 retreats with the recorded talks (already with titles). The volunteer will pass the recordings through a sound editing program like Gold Waves or any other program that is similar. After the editing the volunteer sends the DVD with the edited talks to Benoitji in Quebec and he puts them online.
Preferable: Someone who has a fairly stable living situation = a consistent mailing address.
If you're interested: Please contact Alison: alisonreaster (at) yahoo.com

by Alison

Upcoming Retreat Dates & Details

25 January - 3 February, 2010, Silent retreat near Arunachala, Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, South India.
Teachings will be in English 
Facilitators: Ajay and Jaya. Jess Huon will assist with teachings.
For information and registration, write to:
opendharmainfo (AT) yahoo.com

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

20 - 27 February, 2011
Possible 7-day retreat with Ajay and Jaya
Jess Huon will assist with the teachings.
There is a possibility that we will lead 2 retreats instead of one.
Location is still unknown!

20 - 24 April 2011, Deep Rest retreat in the hills near Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain.
Facilitators: Jaya and Gemma
retirosopendharma (at) gmail.com

21 - 28 May 2011, Deep Rest retreat at Le Moulin de Chaves, France
Teachings will be in English & Spanish
Facilitators: Jaya and Gemma
For information and registration, write to:
mail (AT) moulindechaves.org

3 June - 1 July 2011, One month retreat in Dharmaloca, Catalonia, Spain
Teachings will be in English & Spanish
Facilitators: Jaya and Gemma, and we hope Ajay will come.
For information and registration, write to:
dharmalocaretreat (at) opendharma.org

16 - 23 July 2011, Deep Rest retreat in Holland
Teachings will be in English
Facilitators: Jaya and Gemma
For information and registration, write to:
opendharmaholland (at) hotmail.com

19 - 21 & 21 - 28 August 2011, Deep Rest retreat in the hills near Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain
One weekend and one 7-day retreat back to back.
Teachings will be in English & Spanish
Facilitators: Jaya and Gemma
retirosopendharma (at) gmail.com

~ 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! (You can even tell us that you'd like to contribute anonymously.) Please feel free to send any contributions  to newsletter (AT) opencentre.es

--~--~--~--~--~--~--~-- Nature - Interaction - Silence http://www.opencentre.es If you are organizing a fund-raising event/activity, please email the fund-raising info coordinator (Benoit) at: fundraising (AT) opencentre.es with details of your event, so that we can happily share it with others. You received this message because you are subscribed to the Open Centre newsletter. Forward this message to someone by clicking on [FORWARD] To update your preferences, click on [PREFERENCES] Newsletter archive: http://www.opencentre.es/newsletter/archive.php?listID=2&layoutID=3&pagerows=50 If you do not want to receive any more newsletters, click on [UNSUBSCRIBE] --~--~--~--~--~--~--~--

Messages sent on the previous Open Centre Google Group (not existing anymore):

Message 13 - The Open Centre newsletter is moving to a new location!

Message 12 - News & improving the newsletter

Message 11 - Christopher Titmuss Dharma Talk in SF

Message 10 - fundraising t-shirts

Message 09 - Latest news

Message 08 - Still need prizes for the Lottery Raffel

Message 07 - smiles and tears

Message 06 - Open Centre Lottery

Message 05 - Comments in the How can you help section of the website

Message 04 - Fun Events

Message 03 - this week's news

Message 02 - now is the time

Message 01 - What's up


New (current) Open Centre newsletter:

Newsletter archive:


The Open Centre, an Open Dharma project.

Open Centre newsletter archive

The Open Centre, an Open Dharma project.

© tincan limited | Powered by phplist | Maintained by spun-shop.com