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Juice Press Meditation

Oct 11, 2020
 

I'm calling this 'Juice Press'. You haven't heard me say this yet but this is where it fits...

Take an orange in the juice press. You lay it up in the capsule. You lay a theme up on the 'squeezer'. Your theme will be the preciousness of human life.

How many of you are musically inclined? You have scales, or you have notes or verses. We're doing the lam rim together and the lam rim rim has a terrain.
Before you hit a milestone you have a series of contemplations. Pull one of those contemplations out and they have sub-contemplations. Your meditation is to put that on your 'squeezer' and you reflect on qualities of the preciousness of human life. This is an example of how this meditation sequence goes.

There are what are called the Ten Endowments and the Eight Freedoms. If you don't like lists you're going to have a very painful time with the lam rim. But if you understand this five-point sequence of meditation, you're going to understand how to put a capsule into the squeezer and press...

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The Two Causes of Refuge

Oct 10, 2020
 

Think about the worldly refuges first. The worldly things that we take as our refuge, as our sources of comfort, our sources of guidance. 

The iPhone... food... the doctor... Netflix... friends and family... fishing... leisure activities...

How well a source are they for the ultimate or existential issue of life? You can go through the list of all the things that you surround yourself with as the kind of mundane refuges and you can render them basically ineffective. Useless, when it comes to going into the tragedy that dispels the misconception of things. When you realign with the reality of things, how well do your refuges measure up? What brings you into true refuge?

In order to take refuge you need two things. The first one is fear and the second one is faith. Fear and faith. I don't like faith as a translation. I like confidence because faith is too close to blind faith and because we're in the Tibetan Buddhist world it looks too much like Catholicism and you guys are all...

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View & Virtue

Oct 06, 2020
 

One of Tsongkhapa's big critiques is that you cannot arrive at enlightenment without a good start. Don't throw out your conceptual knowledge. Don't throw out your ability to reason your way to enlightenment.

Go back for a second to the image of meditation in our culture. What does it look like? It's a beautiful bikini and it's the sun is setting. She's in full lotus, closed her eyes and she's in samadhi. She's in bliss and there's this idea that in that state of bliss there's also the absence of thoughts.

If you go out into the street, many of you are yoga teachers, meditation teachers and therapists. You teach mindfulness. You know mindfulness. The popular view of meditation is that it is thought-less. It's about clearing your mind. It's about postponing your thoughts. It's about getting between the thoughts, suspending thoughts, emptying your mind.

According to the Gelugpa approach that is central and articulated by Tsongkhapa, one of his main critiques is that you need good...

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Trauma is Invisible

Oct 03, 2020
 

The four features of trauma are rubrics to help you frame your own personal experience. If you start thinking about them very deeply, they will also lend themselves to antidotes or remedies. If you know these four features you also know what the antidotes are, the remedies. The hallmarks of healing will be directly proportionate to these features: Trauma is invisible. Trauma is a syndrome of disconnection. Trauma is relational and trauma is embodied.


The first one is trauma is invisible. This is important because sometimes we have a very misleading notion that trauma is mostly about physical trauma like a car accident or if you get hit in the head you have what's called blunt force trauma. Our society would rush medical attention at once for the physical injury. If you were in a car accident or somebody bashed you with a cane in the back of the head you'd quickly get medical attention.

But what if it's emotional? Can you see your emotional wounds? If you're trained and you're...

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The Shadow | Return with Elixir

Aug 01, 2020
 

The spiritual seeker sees our oneness with all and interconnectivity but it's only the true student of the mind that understands that if we're all one, we're also one with the ugly bits. Dr. Miles Neale explains in this clip from Return with Elixir.


We said that for each of the preliminary practices and the quality of mind that it exposes, you can go one step further into the shadow and there you will find lurking in the dark something else at the root. For example, the prostrations expose pride but pride is the obvious near enemy. What is the shadow reference? Unworthiness.

The other one was bodhichitta, the generation of the altruistic intent. That exposes the envy and underneath the envy is incompetence. Then there was the mandala offering which is designed to expose greed and grasping, then underneath that shadow, scarcity. Then we had the purification practice of Vajrasattva which exposes the anger. Underneath that, fear. Finally the guru yoga which exposes the delusion and...

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The Departure | Return with Elixir

Aug 01, 2020
 

The Hero needs to a find a mentor but they also need to know when to leave the mentor. In this clip from Return with Elixir, using the example of Jung's departure from Freud, Dr. Miles Neale discuss what that might look like.


This class is on the Departure. This dream I raise because it is a living example of what a catalyst for the Departure could look like. Maybe there are more, but I found at least three or four characteristics that are emblematic of Jung's departure.

First and foremost is his departure from his mentor. That is not a small thing because the archetype of the mentor along the Hero's Journey is absolutely critical and essential. It is the mentor that empowers the initiate and allows him or her to connect with the confidence that has been missing. For example, Luke in the Force has a great power that is revealed to him by the mentor. But there also comes a period depending on which chapter you find your hero, where they must also then transcend their mentor...

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Return with Elixir

Jul 31, 2020
 

In this excerpt from Return with Elixir, Dr. Miles Neale introduces Joseph Cambell's monomyth, how it can be applied in our own lives and what to expect from the course.


It became clear that another level was necessary the progression to rise above the personal and enter the transpersonal or the mythic. They complement each other because one of the potential shadows of introspection and deep therapeutic work is that you can get trapped in the ME complex. You don't want to deny trauma because trauma will repeat repeat itself if it's left in the shadow. You want to bring it out of the shadow. But you also don't want to get stuck in the one dimensionality of trauma. There are profundities available by the study of Buddhism but we don't want to just get stuck in an indoctrination of Buddhism. We want to add therapy. There are profundities about psychotherapy but we don't want to just get stuck in the personal attempt at healing.

At each step of the the path we're adding...

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Paradigm Shift

Jul 30, 2020
 

When we add this visualization system to the hero's roadmap that we'll unpack in the course, the two coming together is articulating the roadmap of your own development. You have to remember wherever you are right now, as an ordinary person, you and I, we both feel very stuck. To really get the benefit of this course you have to be brutally honest and articulate in front of your own mind and in the mirror, how stuck you are in some place. Then you have to look at why that is. There has been an unconscious process of prior experiences that you have internalized to be you and what you expect from reality, and you are unconsciously projecting that on reality.

In a way, you're just in a rut, bouncing up against reality with your prefabricated expectations of rejection or of missing out, of not being asked for and being neglected. That's already happening. The clearer and crisper and more vivid you are about how that's already happening, you can then plot out what it would be like to...

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Curriculum of Compassion

Jul 28, 2020
 

What are the main building blocks of Buddhahood? There is both the body and the mind of the Buddha. The mind of the Buddha is the mind that realizes complete and utter interdependence or emptiness and the body of the Buddha is of a compassionate, sensitive, capable, skillful agent of change or altruist.


That is where we are in this training for this year. This entire year we accept that we are budding, entry-level bodhisattvas-in-training. We assume the paradigm shift, the perspective of interdependence and of emptiness. We assume the quality of sensitivity for the plight of others as our training ground. We acknowledge the development of compassion as the very vehicle along the highway to Buddhahood and from that motivation there comes a set of very specific practices that will actually allow us to perform in certain ways to reach our objective.

That's why I'm saying if there was no pandemic we would have to construct a problem in our mind to attend to in order to motivate us. But...

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The Mentor

Jul 12, 2020
 

In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the mentor or teacher is seen as being the living embodiment of the Buddha. In this clip from Return with Elixir, Dr. Miles Neale discusses the reason behind this and when finding a guru may or may not be appropriate.


I thought that we should talk about the mentor in the Tibetan tradition. The Tibetans are very unique in their approach to the Buddhadharma. For thousands of years the Buddhadharma was discussed in terms of taking refuge in the three jewels, the Buddha himself as the historical figure, his teachings, the Dharma and those aspirants committed to the path, the Sangha.

In the Tibetan tradition, as the Vajrayana teachings, the diamond teachings or the tantric teachings become more prevalent or prominent, all three jewels are embodied in the principle of the guru, the mentor. You can think about the development of Buddhism in terms of several centuries. After the Buddha's death there emerges the emptiness teachings and with them at the...

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