Our next Zoom meeting is on Saturday Feb. 26—the 4th Sat. in Feb. due to the 3rd weekend being a holiday weekend. We will work with a meditative exercise out of Adyashanti’s latest book “The Direct Way”. If this appeals to enough of you, we will continue with this process during subsequent monthly gatherings. I will outline the first exercise that is in Chapter 1 below, after I describe the other ATS group goals for the year.
2. I want to suggest a word for the month that you take some time to write about from your own inner knowing, without looking it up and seeing what anyone else has written about it. It will be words like: Truth, wisdom, faith, honor. The idea is to see how much you innately, intuitlvely know about the word of the month, based on your experience with it. So go beyond your intellect and tune in to what it means at the deepest level for you. You can focus on the word in one sitting or multiple sittings. Write about the word until you have exhausted your knowings about it’s true meaning. Adya used to do this exercise and found it was very helpful for him, and I have worked with it some and also found it valuable.
The word “love” is the word to work with in Feb.
During the meeting, anyone who wants to share their writing is encouraged to do so.
3. Choose an activity you can do or do more of—ideally on a daily or at least weekly basis—to live in more harmony with the earth and the climate changes that are occurring: activities like reducing consumption, changing diet to be more vegetarian or vegan, recycling, composting, downsizing, greater awareness of packaging, writing to legislators, donating to nonprofits that work on climate change, using second hand clothes and other items, bartering–eg sharing work or gardening tools, etc.
3. I will be sharing the exercise of the month that we will work on as a group and then check in about when we meet together. It will be Adyashanti’s book “The Direct Way”, which you are welcome to order and work with, or not. Adya suggests you do each exercise 1-3 times per day when you can get quiet for a bit. He suggests you stick with each exercise until you feel you have achieved the experience of it. While you do the exercise or practice, you want to stay with your direct experience, rather than getting caught up in thoughts about the exercise and how you experience it. The first practice is essentially “awakening from mind, as awareness.”. Here is the practice, abbreviated a bit from what is in the book:
“Let your body relax. Allow your attention to transition from your thoughts and feelings to the sensation of your breath.
Notice you are already aware of this moment, without any intention or eftort. Notice that awareness is that which discerns each moment of experience. Bring attention to the fact that awareness is always and already functioning. It is the space in which thoughts and experiences appear.
Notice that thoughts, feelings, and sensations come and go but awareness remains. Even your idea of yourself, your passing memories, your self-judgments come and go within the conscious context of awareness. Notice your whole mentally constructed identity, your idea of yourself, is an ephemeral arising within the space of awareness. It is here one moment and gone the next.
Whatever you are beyond this ephemeral idea of yourself is always present. You are always here, but as something far more fundamental than your idea of yourself.”
This exercise might sound familiar, since we have worked with it in ATS meditations, I-Rest sessions and discussion. Yet most of us do not stay with it as a practice to work with until we are resting –for the most part–as awareness, unidentified with the contents of awareness of thoughts and emotions.