I first met Nils during a workshop he did for the Against the Stream facilitator training group in 2016.
Nils is the real deal. A monk for seven years, in Thailand and other European cities, came back to Minneapolis to found a gay men's meditation organization. He's the meaning of "Do no harm, but take no shit". His smile and presence of peace is contagious. - I was shocked to learn he occasionally suffers from anxiety, which is one of the things I love about teachers like him. Nothing is beyond what is present and real. It was helpful to know he deals with some of the same troubles with life as everyone else, even after many years of practice.He may just deal with it with more skill and grace than most.
The Buddha mentions Mara's return many times throughout his teaching career, after his enlightenment. Mara never dies, Buddha just learned how to be chill with the nature of suffering coming to visit from time to time.
Nils gave a "Jazzy" talk; bits and pieces all over to choose from and had us set up in a circle so we felt a bit more connected to each other in this somewhat smaller group. He incorporated a couple of mini break-out session were we shared ideas and discoveries with each other. We closed the evening with a beautiful exercise in feeling the life of support others have afforded us, known or unknown, and then sending that vibe back out into the world.
Thank you Nils. Happy trails, come back anytime!
My first lead at the new place.
After Devin kicked us off with a talk on ethics and taking of the 5 precepts last week, seemed like the natural progression was to bring in the subject of the 3 refuges.
Here's a little behind the scenes: Part of my creative process is to write out an entire talk, then read it back to myself out loud - then I wonder who the hell wrote this, and throw it in the trash. A little check in with my core teacher and a trusted friend, and I did what I know how to do best; show up and have a friendly conversation to people I care for and talk about the thing I love - Dharma. (with a few reference notes and a reading - of course ;)
Keeping it simple, an overview of Buddha's awakening and what became known as the three refuges: Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. How do these three 'factors of being' show up for each of us individually, in real time, in real life - today? The invitation was left open for the group to consider taking these refuges in a ceremonious way at some point through retreat practice under the guidance of an empowered teacher. And the invitation that we can start anytime and contemplate as often as we like on the beauty of this wisdom.
It all felt easy and comfortable and a couple folks left nice compliments - I appreciate the encouragement and well wishes.
With Love, JC
A few nerves for the ride and it was all settled when we met Devin Berry walking down Howard St. toward us all smiles.
The excitement of learning how this is going to work, from meeting the studio manager to setting up chairs and things, we were buzzing.
Devin was right at home. Gave a comforting space of time to settle in and meditate and followed up with a talk on ethics which concluded with the group "Taking the Precepts" together.
Emily's offering of original art was well received and at least 4 or 5 went home with one of these beauties and made a nice contribution to the group in the process.
We had a real nice turn out, I think, for our first at-bat and the group was generous enough to send Devin home with a nice gift too.
I'll be leading the next group and getting myself in gear for what I agreed to with my mentor. "Having a guest come once in a while for a fresh perspective is good" he said; "but you take this thing on, yourself and keep it consistent for people, you have the training to do just this, so - do it."
Ok, so we'll see how it goes. The promo stuff is where I draw the line though, that's going to be Emily's department.
And already on deck we have Nils Heymann on the 17th of October and two more 'heavy-hitters' coming in from out of town in November. So, stay tuned!
Thanks for BEING HERE.
With Metta, Jeff C