Group December 8th 2016

We started with a talk from Reggie Ray's 'Guests for tea - Part 1 from Dharma Ocean' - find at: https://www.dharmaocean.org/episode-134-guests-for-tea-part-i/

The talk spoke of how we can be gripped by judgement, self-criticism and perfectionism but how loving-kindness (maitri) practice can soften these negative tendencies within us.

We followed with a loving-kindness practice adapted from Rick Hanson's 'Buddha's Brain' (pp 171-172).

Then we had a period of enquiry around loving kindness practices and our responses to the various elements - for example, how we approach the practice of sending loving kindness to our 'enemies' - those we may indeed hate - and the difficulty we can obviously have with this. Pema Chodron would say such a practice helps us move from suffering to happiness, helpng us (non-conceptually) get the notion of what is the root of happiness and what causes it to grow, suggesting that by starting with ourselves, using this practice has the potential to open our minds and help us grow individually, but also collectively, for we are not naturally isolated being, 'we are all part of a flow of energy, a process, part of a whole' ('Noble Heart' by Pema Chodron, chapter 4).

We finished by tapping into the 'wisdom' of Don Miguel Ruiz (The Four Agreements) who talks abut the dangers of 'gossip' in our society (written before the explosion of the internet and social media):-

'Gossiping has become the main form of communication in human society. It has become the way we feel close to each other, because it makes us feel better to see someone else feel as badly as we do ....One little piece of misinformation can break down communication between people, causing every person it touches to become infected and contagious to others...'

We finished with a brief loving-kindness closing practice.