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Dharma Talks Access for Retreatants at Seattle Insight Meditation Society

Continua of Practice Series

This series will work with the continua of practice that form the basic ways we understand our spiritual journey. A continuum is a story or narrative about awakening. Myths are spiritual narratives that can usually be condensed into a continuum. There is a beginning and an end with various highs and lows throughout the process. An important point is that though a continuum is depicted as a linear journey it is not a timeline, though from the perspective of the individual it may seem like it is. Many events take place on the horizontal line, and it can take a considerable amount of time to cross from one side to the other, but there is actually no separation between the two end points of the pathway. The mind fictitiously creates the time needed to cross, but the objective is always at hand. One of the paradoxes of any spiritual journey is that the infinite (the far right side) is always embracing the limited (the far left side), but the limited cannot feel that embrace. The sense-of-self wears the blinders of its own thoughts and that prohibits the wider gaze necessary to see the infinite. The path provides the opportunity to see the infinite by refocusing the individual’s attention away from the all-consuming narrative that defines and limits his/her life. It would be helpful to read the book, "Awakening: A Paradigm Shift of the Heart" by Rodney Smith (Shambhala 2014).
2015-05-12 (596 days) Seattle Insight Meditation Society

  
2015-05-12 Continua of Practice: Introduction 62:45
  Rodney Smith
A continuum is a story or narrative about awakening. Myths are spiritual narratives that often can be condensed into a continuum with a beginning and an end and various highs and lows throughout the process. An important point is that though a continuum is depicted as a linear journey it is not a timeline, though from the perspective of the individual it may seem like it is. (These talks are related to the book by Rodney Smith: Awakening: A Paradigm Shift of the Heart.)
Attached Files:
  • Series Overview by Rodney Smith (PDF)
2015-05-26 Continua of Practice: The Unified Mind 56:01
  Rodney Smith
In the Third Foundation of the Satipatthana Sutta the Buddha asks us not to weigh in and attempt to change or alter the mind no matter what its current disposition. “Notice,” the Buddha says, “When the mind is delusional or not, confused or not, etc.” He does not encourage us to change the mind, just to notice how it is regardless of its configuration. What is the Buddha trying to show us in this instruction?
Attached Files:
  • The Unified Mind by Rodney Smith (PDF)
2015-06-09 Continua of Practice: Adaptation to Surrender 59:41
  Rodney Smith
We start our spiritual journey wanting to change our lives in meaningful ways, but there is only one way that we know how to do that.
Attached Files:
  • Adaptation to Surrender by Rodney Smith (PDF)
2015-06-30 Continua of Practice: From Denial to Openness 56:05
  Rodney Smith
There is an acceptable tension we each carry and are reluctant to address spiritually. That tension holds our thoughts, attitudes, self-beliefs, and projections together in a systematic self-serving way. It is the collection of aggregates laced together with our narrative that we will protect at all costs, and it is all tied to our current worldview.
Attached Files:
  • From Denial to Openness by Rodney Smith (PDF)
2015-07-14 Continua of Practice: From Self-Centeredness to All Beings 58:25
  Rodney Smith
A spiritual journey ultimately takes us beyond a self-focused life where “I” predominate, into a life of inclusion where we are not the center of our world. Moving beyond what is best for “me” seems so implausible as to be impossible, but it only seems that way because we do not know what we are or how we are formed.
Attached Files:
  • From Self-centeredness to All Beings by Rodney Smith (PDF)
2015-08-04 Continua of Practice: From the Horizontal to the Vertical 55:41
  Rodney Smith
We often miss how close we are to the sacred. We make it into a journey of distance and time when actually it is an excursion into stillness. We want some proof that all this work has been worthwhile and that proof is in comparison to what we were and what we are becoming. Though this comparison supports our spiritual egoic image, we will not find the sacred in the past or the future, but only within the living present.
Attached Files:
  • From Horizontal to Vertical by Rodney Smith (PDF)
2015-08-18 Continua of Practice: Blame to Accountability 59:29
  Rodney Smith
There are three central reasons we get lost in our spiritual journey despite the rigor with which we practice and the sincerity of our purpose. The first is that we do not know the direction the journey takes and we get lost in the sideshows and entertainment of the process. The second is we attempt to move forward using motivations lurking in the shadows of our unconscious. The third reason we easily go astray is because our stated objective and our dharma intention are at cross-purposes.
Attached Files:
  • From Blame to Accountability by Rodney Smith (PDF)
2015-10-06 Continua of Practice: Shadow to Light 60:11
  Rodney Smith
The more defined and clear our individuation, the more isolated we feel. We gain our selfhood from creating physical and psychological boundaries upon our surround. Our self-definition is created by our physical, mental, emotional, psychological, and spiritual definitions. Freedom is coming out of these shadowy images created by our imposed boundaries and accepting the clear light of our humanity.
Attached Files:
  • Shadow to Light by Rodney Smith (PDF)
2015-10-20 Continua of Practice: Alienation to Belonging 59:10
  Rodney Smith
This continuum speaks to the need to belong that is deeply rooted in our social and biological makeup. This need may well be one of the driving forces in our yearning for spiritual completion. Even when we group like-minded people around us, most of us still feel a subtle sense of alienation that we cannot overcome. We seem to be outside observing life rather than embedded within it.
Attached Files:
  • Alienation to Belonging by Rodney Smith (PDF)
2015-11-03 Continua of Practice: Sophistication to Innocence 63:22
  Rodney Smith
The ability to enlarge our knowledge base is essential to our success, in our careers, schooling, and home life. Sophistication, the skillful use of knowledge in a civilized and cultured manner is valued, but innocence, which can be seen as guileless and inexperienced, is not. Much of our self-image is formed by how knowledgeable and sophisticated we are and we can find ourselves competing with others to prove how much information we have obtained. When we know something, we place a fixed objective view onto life and freeze it within our past associations. The problem is that nothing is fixed.
Attached Files:
  • Sophistication to Innocence by Rodney Smith (PDF)
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