Contemplative Studies Program Blog
Refuge Offers Safe Direction | Step 11 Jul 22, 2021

 What is refuge?

What have been our “usual suspects”, the sources we automatically turn to for quick relief? More than just behaviors and coping mechanism, what have been the relationships and subtle beliefs we have turned towards to provide safety and comfort?

While these may...

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Death Inspires Urgency | Step 10 of Awakening in 30 Steps Jul 21, 2021

Compare the pervasive attitude towards death found in industrialized verses indigenous cultures. Then ask how our attitude towards death changes our relationship to life?

The lam rim reflection on death has three sub-reflections:

1) Death is certain. Can you identify one thing that doesn’t...

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Preciousness of Human Life Inspires Appreciation | Step 9 of Awakening in 30 Steps Jul 20, 2021

Life is beginingless and consciousness is infinite.

Over the course of evolution our karma has compelled us to ascended and descend to various pleasant and unpleasant states of existence. But fundamentally we have always been trapped in a condition of blindness, not knowing who we really are,...

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Become a Suitable Student | Step 8 of Awakening in 30 Steps Jul 18, 2021

 Step 8 emphasizes the need for the student to be as prepared and qualified as the teacher for an optimal learning experience.

We are responsible for avoiding the 'three defects of the vessel'. Our mind is like a vessel, the teachings are an elixir. We can’t be:

1) too full

2)...

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Find a Qualified Spiritual Mentor | Step 7 of Awakening in 30 Steps Jul 17, 2021

 Find a Real-world Mentor.

Question for you, since we are at step 7, what is it about our culture and social media use that makes reflecting on more than three steps or points a challenge? And what is it about you that helps keep you moving forward on a more enduring path?

Distinguish the...

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Offer a Mandala & Prayers | Step 6 of Awakening in 30 Steps Jul 16, 2021

 Step 6 concludes the Six ‘Ordinary Preliminaries,’ a container or crucible for our visualization practice.

Can you integrate your personal spiritual practice - yoga, dance, martial arts, art, writing etc. - into this container?

Conclude your daily practice by offering a...

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Seven Step Mentor Bonding Process Part 2 | Step 5 of Awakening in 30 Steps Jul 14, 2021

Seven-step Mentor Bonding Process = a virtual reality psychotherapeutic encounter that we can have as many times as we wish, for however long we need, at no cost.

1) Admire Qualities - orients us towards the good in others countering the negativity bias.

2) Make Offerings - builds reciprocity,...

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The Mentor Bonding Process | Step 5 Jul 13, 2021

Work with virtue and vice using the mentor-bonding process.

The engine of enlightenment is a sacred relationship.

It’s in the context of a close relational bond that we will eliminate vice, and cultivate virtue, and achieve enlightenment. No one makes it alone!

We must strike a balance, a...

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Evoke the Mentor and the Jewel Tree Refuge | Step 4 Jul 11, 2021

If you’d like, start memorizing the steps and recalling them prior to hitting play on the next video in the series. By the end of our journey they will be installed in your heart.

Humans learn best through mimicry with more skilled parental figures or mentors. Unlike childhood we now get...

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Prepare Body & Mind with Posture & Motivation | Step 3 Jul 09, 2021

Steps 1-6 are called the Ordinary Preliminaries and have to do with our meditation practice.

Prepare your body for meditation with a dignified and comfortable posture.

Prepare your mind for meditation with one of three kinds of motivation depending on your predisposition and capacity.

1)...

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Set Up an Altar & Make Offerings | Step 2 Jul 05, 2021

The altar is our workbench.

What’s on the altar is that which we aspire to become.

The purpose of offering is to exercise or cultivate good qualities that will hasten maturation or manifestation.

With a pure heart offer anything - pure water, fresh fruit, flowers, lit candles, sweet...

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Create a Sacred Space | Step 1 Jul 04, 2021

 Create a sacred space to do the work.

What is the relationship between the environment and our state of mind?

Do we prioritize our psychological growth enough to designate an actual workspace for it?

What design elements would go into a space to make it inviting for you?

What about Mother...

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