Meditation Classes – Building the 7 Attitudinal Foundations of Meditation

The first and third Thursday of each month – 6.30 to 7.30 pm

October 4
October 18
November 1
November 15
November 29
December 6

The first 7 classes of this new program year will look at Jon Kabat-Zinn’s 7 Attitudinal Foundations of mindfulness. Essentially, it’s a look at how you meditate and what you’re actually supposed to be doing with your mind as you practice various meditation practices. Each class we will look at a different aspect. This is a fantastic place to begin if you’re new to meditation. And if you’ve been meditating by yourself for a while, it will be a good check to see where you might be more ineffective or less efficient than you might want to be.

As always, these meditation classes include basic mindfulness techniques including noticing thoughts, feeling, and perception, but are “beyond mindfulness” in that they include challenges to some of the limiting observations. They are great for persons who have tried a bit of mindfulness meditation but would like a bit deeper dive now. Each class includes a 30 minute silent meditation practice time. Suitable for beginners to advanced, ages 12+. Attendance at single sessions is permitted, but you’ll get the most out of it by attending the whole series from September 20 to December 6, 2018. Classes are offered on the basis of Dana, which is also “pay what you choose”, which allows you to pay what you value.

Linda Hochstetler will be teaching these classes. She has been studying and practicing a variety of meditation practices (mindfulness, Zen, and Vajrayana Buddhism) for more than 30 years. She is a meditation teacher who has studied with Senseis Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat, meditation teachers and authors of 2 books – Wasteland to Pureland, and Dharma If You Dare.

DEATH, DYING, & COMMUNITY

A personal exploration into end of life tasks

The last Thursday of each month.

Fourth Thursday of each month, 7pm to 8.30pm

Place: Village Healing Centre, 240 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto M6R 1M3

Room: 3rd Floor, Room #5 in corner; meet in the 3rd floor waiting room till 7:00
October 25
November 22

 

Have you spent much time thinking about your own mortality? Have you thought about how to prepare for the kind of death you’d like to have? Have you taken the practical steps to make sure your loved ones aren’t stuck wrapping up your affairs? As a Buddhist Lay Chaplain and Registered Social Worker, I would like to bring my personal interests and professional skills as a guide to these profound discussions. If you’d like to join of group of spiritually-minded persons to explore your options and help motivate yourself to prepare better, consider making a monthly commitment to joining us.

Possible topics to cover in 2017: Advanced Care planning, financial wills, prayers at time of death, physical signs of death approaching, sharing caregiving, fears at death, funeral options, and what ever else comes up in the group.

Dāna:

Awaken in Toronto classes are offered on the basis of dāna. The teacher offers classes without any expectation of compensation, as an act of trust of generosity. We encourage you to reciprocate and give generously to the teacher in return, whatever that looks like in your situation.

Teacher:

LindaThis class will be taught by Linda Hochstetler, a psychotherapist, mother, and Death Cafe host. She has also been a meditation student of Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat for more than 20 years, and is a Buddhist Lay Chaplain. She was a manager of a social enterprise for 13 years, and helped the Clear Sky Meditation and Study Centre generate a balanced budget for the first time for their Farm Social Enterprise.

Location: 

Classes are held at the Village Healing Centre (240 Roncesvalles Avenue) in the Middle Room on the Main Floor, opposite Yoga Village. Enter through the door to the church via the parking lot.

MEDITATION PRACTICE TIME – a group weekend meditation retreat

Friday, March 16, 2018 8 PM to Sunday, March 18, 2018, 3PM. 

Much of what we see and hear on the news and social media is all about doom and gloom. Does this feed your own experience of anxiety and fear on a daily basis, and do you desire a transformation away from these negative emotional states? Are you looking to rise above the mundane world to find meaning in today’s world? Are you struggling under your own inner fears and the limiting ideas that hold you back?

Register here:
https://www.dharmacentre.org/hope–fearlessness.html

Facing your fears head on is necessary to push through to see the spaciousness behind the anxiety and fear. One method to face fears and invite you into new territory is to develop the 4 enlightened activities in every day life. A second method is through systematically challenging the ego to take it outside of its normal comfort zone. Following the steps laid out by Sensei Doug Duncan in his book, Dharma If You Dare, these challenges help you transcend your ego’s need for security and comfort and open up new possibilities for you.

Persons attending this retreat will attend classes inviting them to explore these 2 methods, both on and off the cushion throughout the weekend. Through meditation practice and personalized activities, participants will explore where they get stuck in everyday life and how to apply an attitude of fearlessness to these struggles.


The first class will begin on Friday evening at 8:00pm, and the retreat will end at 3:00pm on Sunday. Silence will be maintained throughout the retreat, with plenty of opportunity for questions and discussions at the group sessions.

Registration:
https://www.dharmacentre.org/hope–fearlessness.html

5 BUDDHIST PRECEPTS – 5 classes in learning about this training

The First and Third Thursday of each month, starting February 1st.

6.30pm to 7.30pm

The 5 Buddhist Precepts are considered to be classic training exercises in moral conduct. But Buddhist precepts are inherently different from rules in other religions, in that they are meant to be explored. The practice is to think about what behaviours and thoughts cause harm to self or to others, rather than imagining that disobeying the rules will lead to an external condemnation in this life or in the afterlife. Understanding the precept will show how difficult it is to truly honour the precept, not only in behaviour but also in thought.

Participants will be encouraged to make a vow to explore these 5 precepts over the next 5 classes at the beginning of the first class.

The 5 precepts are: I undertake to train myself:

1. to abstain from taking life. Thursday, February 1st. 6.30pm.

2. to abstain from taking what is not given. Thursday, February 15th. 6.30pm.

3. to abstain from sensuous misconduct. Thursday, March 1st. 6.30pm.

4. to abstain from false speech. Thursday, March 15th. 6.30pm.

5. to abstain from intoxicants as tending to cloud the mind. Thursday, April 5th. 6.30pm.

These classes include basic mindfulness techniques, including noticing thoughts, feelings, and perception, but are “beyond mindfulness” in that they include challenges to some of the limiting observations. They are great for people who have tried a bit of mindfulness meditation but now would like a bit deeper dive. Each class includes a 30-minute silent meditation practice time. These meditations will support the exploration of one of the precepts, and will include a variety of meditation techniques.

Cost: Dana – Practice generosity by paying what you value

BYOC: Bring Your Own Cushion (anything to sit on the floor with) or sit on one of our chairs

 

Dana:

Awaken in Toronto classes are offered on the basis of dāna. The teacher offers classes without any expectation of compensation, as an act of trust of generosity. We encourage you to reciprocate and give generously to the teacher in return, whatever that looks like in your situation.

Teacher:

Linda Hochstetler has been studying and practicing a variety of meditation practices (mindfulness, Zen, and Vajrayana Buddhism) for more than 30 years. She is a meditation teacher in the lineage of Namgyal Rinpoche (one of the first North American lineage holders), and considers Senseis Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat her primary gurus. She follows their tradition of encouraging exploration of everyday life beyond the spiritual realms, particularly while living in the city. She has completed many silent meditation retreats, including a 2-month silent retreat in 2009. She weaves together her personal meditation experiences, her professional background as a palliative care social worker, her years as a mother and step-mother, and her passion for awakening in this life time into each of her classes, and invites you to join her in your own explorations.

Location:

 Classes are held at the Village Healing Centre (240 Roncesvalles Avenue) in the Middle Room on the Main Floor, opposite Yoga Village. Enter through the door to the church via the parking lot.

Mantras for Anxiety

Thursday, December 1st, 2016 at Inhabit Pilates

  • Do you find yourself struggling to slow your mind down when you feel overwhelmed?
  • Do you sleep poorly because you can’t fall asleep easily or you wake during the night?
  • Do you have a body that’s fidgety or seems to have excess energy causing foot tapping or nervous movements?

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with anxiety or not, if you’re living in modern society, you probably experience a fair amount of daily anxiety. There’s a lot about daily living that’s stressful, and this often leads to anxiety in its many forms.

If you’d like to learn how to use mantras as a way of calming the mind and helping ground yourself when you’re anxious, this is the class. You will learn how to use a “mala”, or set of prayer beads, as an anchor to the mind. If you have your own mala, please bring it with you. Includes a 30 minute silent meditation practice time. Suitable for ages 12+. Read More

Dharmic Astrology, An Introduction

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016 at Inhabit Pilates

Astrology is a powerful and fun way to explore our patterning, including our strengths, predilections and working with challenges. It is so much more than a horoscope! Dharmic Astrology takes the wisdom, tools and insights of this system and leverages it to maximize our growth and unfoldment.

In this introductory-level class we will look at the very basics of how to use our natal charts to plan our spiritual engagements. We’ll do a quick survey of the different parts of our charts – sun, moon and ascendent, signs, planets and houses – and set the stage for future exploration.

If you have always wondered what astrology can offer your spiritual growth, or if you are just looking for a new way to inject energy and insight into your path, this is the right class for you. Read More

Meditation on Compassion and Emptiness – Practice of Chenrezi

Thursdays, October 13th & 27th, November 3rd and 10th, 2016

True compassion can only be realized by the understanding of emptiness, recognizing the non-dual nature of reality and the oneness of life.  The cultivation of compassion is also the path to realization of oneness of all beings, the true beauty of ‘our’ mind and heart.

Chenrezi, also known as Avalokiteśvara, is regarded as the embodiment of boundless loving kindness and compassion.  Chenrezi meditation is an arising yoga practice, using creative imagination, to lead us to go beyond conceptual thinking and seeing, to the direct experience of the true nature of reality.

In a series of 4 classes, we will dive into the practice of Chenrezi to experience first hand the true nature of our mind and emptiness.  In each class we will go through the meditation instructions in detail, and let the practice take us to the inner space of the mind.  Both beginners and experienced meditators are welcome to join.

Read More

A 21st Century Spiritual Awakening

Thursdays on September 22, September 29th, and October 6th, 2016

The great wisdom traditions of the world have for millennia described the rich internal landscape of the human mind. Systems like Buddhist psychology (the Abhidhamma) offer maps and techniques to find greater inner peace.

The modern era and its new contributions – such as psychology – have opened up a fuller understanding of the human spiritual experience. In doing so, we now have access to a fuller awakening than ever before.

Ken Wilber and his colleagues have taken the 21st century tool of Integral Theory and have applied it to the domain of spirituality. Integral Theory is a tool that allows us to examine all aspects of experience. 

This work is a game changer. It transforms our ability to leverage our learning and life experiences to expand our consciousness, unfold our being and increase our capacity to be clear, compassionate and fully engaged in the complex context of our 21st century lives. Read More

The Key to Freedom

Thursdays, September 8 & 15, 2016, 7:30pm – 9:00pm

Meditation offers a great key to unlock the mysteries of the mind. If you’re looking for a place to explore your own spirituality, this is the place. The first 2 classes of the Fall series will help you get out of “the basement” of your life and move into “the penthouse” of your vision for who can become.

In the first class on Sept. 8 you will be encouraged to summon 5 faculties to help you make the transition beyond your small and separate ego.  The second class on Sept. 15 will show you how to ride out the hindrances to keep yourself on track to living the life you want, and to recognize your patterns that hold you back.

These 2 classes will be taught by Linda Hochstetler, and are based on Chapter 7 in Dharma If You Dare: Living Life with Abandon, by Doug Duncan. The full book can be purchased as an e-book at Amazon.  Read More

Meditation Boot Camp

Thursday July 28th, 2016

Want to establish a regular meditation practice? Want to reap the benefits of a clear mind? Ready to let go of anxiety and unhelpful personal narratives?

In many ways, meditation is to our minds what exercise is to our bodies. Setting up a sustainable practice requires determination, consistency and accountability. It is also easier (and more fun) when we train with others and when we have the support of trainers.

During this class we’ll be looking at how to establish a routine that fits your life:

  • Setting up a space
  • Establishing a schedule and routine
  • Keeping on track: rewards and accountability

We’ll also review the basics of meditation and help you find a practice that suits you best. As time allows, we’ll also look at other practices that can support a mindful life. Read More