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Open Dharma Newsletter


~ March Newsletter
As the days are getting brighter here in the Northern Hemisphere, it's a true pleasure to share some of the light coming from the most recent Open Dharma retreats in India. Jaya, Sandya and Stu write of their retreat experiences over these past few month, while the newsletter also includes several other tidbits to savor. Do you have something you'd like to share? Photos? Thoughts? Drawings? Poems? Paintings? As always, you are welcome...



by Jessica

In this newsletter

~ News from All Over
~A letter from Jaya
~Verses from Tiruvannamalai
~ Your Lying Eyes
~ Upcoming Events

~ News from All Over

One-to-one interviews with Jaya

Jaya will offer one-to-one interviews of 10-15 minutes each via skype on 20 March starting at 4:30 pm her time, in Western Europe.

If you would like to schedule an interview, please email Alison at: interviews (at)opendharma.org

Dharma Child online

A new section, called Dharma Child, on the Open Dharma website provides a space where many friends--mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers--offer deep wisdom from drawn from their experiences of being with children, while also offering practical resources and links.

Dharma Child explores another way to grow and learn, explaining "We have all been children (if we are not right now). We are not all parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or adopted aunts and uncles. Not everyone even likes to be around children. But if we are adults right now, we were once babies, toddlers, and children. We spent months floating in fluid inside someone else's body. We learned to say yes, and no, and me and you and us. Being with children can help us grow in the areas where life has not quite yet come to fruition. And being with children with our tender hearts and as much wisdom as we can muster, may help generations to come grow out of the ways humans are currently repeating history."       Please visit via this link.

~ A letter from Jaya

For the first time in 24 years of visiting India, I went for only one month: 23 Jan to 23 Feb.  It was also the first time Gyan and I would travel for so long alone.  
I had had several different ideas of people who could help me with Gyan during this month, but none worked out.  Our flight tickets--one of them donated by a sangha friend-- were non-refundable.

The same Saturday we were to fly to Chennai, I asked Ajayji on the phone, "Do you have any ideas?"
"Yes," he said firmly.
Too much static on the line to find out what he meant.
Jonathanji accompanied us in the taxi to Anantha Niketan Ashram, and after a rush of catching up, Gyan and I crashed in the back seat the whole rest of the way.  We felt in good hands.  It seemed like an auspicious beginning.
But jet lag had Gyan and I awake watching Sesame Street classics at midnight on the second night of the retreat.
And by day 3 of the retreat, I really wondered why I had come.  Exhausted and frustrated, I had still not managed to help Gyan feel safe enough to let me out of his sight.
I could offer as many interviews as anyone could want (while Gyan watched Sesame Street again), and I could lead the evening chanting (with Gyan).
A sliver of a Dharma talk during the end of Gyan's nap, and finally a regular Dharma talk while Gyan splayed out next to me with his cars.
But no meditations whatsoever.
After a week, I started to accept that this was one possible way of helping to lead a retreat, just because this was what was happening.  Evan Walker (one of the first Open Dharma retreat managers) had accepted Ajay's call for helping Gyan, and though he had little experience with kids, he had, as Ajay said, a heart for caring.
I delighted in the bright space of the intense, honest interviews.  The chanting was deep and simple.  I said what I needed to say in the talks.
And I was blown away by the flexibility and understanding of the many friends on retreat who accepted the situation as it was, who used their own reactions as something to learn from. 
Because it was not after 3 days that Gyan felt safe enough to let me go fully into teaching.  It was after 3 weeks.  Together, we all went through an ordinary situation that showed us how much patience and skill and help life needs from us for its flowering and fruition. 
If that much for bodily life, how much more for spiritual? 
I continue to be amazed at the generosity of friends like Evan, Ben Heilveil, Dominika, Bat-el and Stu....who not only helped with laundry or expenses or heavy bags or creative games, but also enjoyed the practice of helping Gyan feel safe and have fun.  They enjoyed putting love into practice.
And to be honest, I had a revelation.  Something is more clear to me than ever before.
Because I had to, I tuned more precisely than ever before into what I really want, and therefore what I want to offer.
It feels like a temple in my heart, a sacred place where all can be welcomed. Where we can come each in our own way, can receive what if possible to receive in that moment.  And it does not have much to do with getting into the meditation hall and saying words, though I was thrilled when I got to do that in Sarnath a couple of times.
Hope to meet you again and again in the hall and outside the hall, here, now and everywhere.
And, by the way, amongst all these miracles, another miracle: the Amazing Tom Riddle came up with 3 new short videos for Open Dharma this month.  
You can preview them here. http://thomasriddle.net/jaya/jaya
love, jaya

(Photo: Climbing blooms at Dharmaloca.)


by Jaya

~ Verses from Tiruvannamalai

Sandya and Stu each wrote these verses during the recent Open Dharma retreat in Tiruvannamalai ....

Life is so simple
When we don't hold on
To things as "me" or "mine",
Especially when these things - 
People, projects, ideas -
Seem to be ours.
When the heart opens,
Let it open to all things;
When the heart falls in love,
Let it love all beings;
Where there is kindness in the heart,
Let it flow in all directions;
Let the one be the many
And the many be the One.
by  Sandya


"Tiru Ashram Retreat."
A mountain.  Drawn, held, ignited.  Warm rocks.  My weight taken.
Vibrant green rice.  Open doors.  Teaching in a dreamless night-time.
Fresh and new.  Trees to sit with.  Kindness.  Silent friends
everywhere, alive.  Trusting.  A bubble of butterflies.  Hugs.
Simple, easy, where joy breathes.
I don´t want to be free anymore.
Step gently out the way.
Let life live.

by  Stu

~Your Lying Eyes

Here is a link to an amazing series of short videos of simple experiments that demonstrate how the eyes and brain work together to bend and shape reality. As the author explains, "Brains, you may not realize, make arbitrary assumptions to keep our world intact." The optical illusions are fun, and the science is interesting, but these simple experiments also offer us a deeper understanding of perception.    Please check it out via this link.

~Upcoming Retreat Dates & Details

1 - 11, 11 - 21, and 21 - 30 April 2011, Three consecutive retreats in Sattal, Uttarkhand, India.
Teachings will be in English
Facilitators: Ajay and Nicole Christin
For information and registration write to:
opendharmainfo (at) yahoo.com

20 - 24 April 2011, Deep Rest retreat in Catalonia, Spain.
Teachings will be in Spanish and in English
Facilitators: Jaya and Gemma
For more information and registration write to:
retirosopendharma (at) gmail.com

21 - 28 May 2011, Deep Rest retreat at Le Moulin de Chaves, France
Teachings will be in English
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
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

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