Practice Discussion Groups

Practice Discussion Groups Oct. 2018- Jan. 2019

4-Session Monday Mornings. Aptos. 10 AM – 12:00 PM
10/22, 11/19, 12/17, 1/14 (This group is full with Wait List)

NEW PLACE! 4-Session Tuesday Nights. Santa Cruz. 7 PM – 9:00 PM
10/23, 11/13, 12/18, 1/29

These groups are limited to 6-8 people.

REGISTRATION. These groups are for people with at least five years of Buddhist practice experience. Please only register if you can attend all four sessions. To register, contact Carla at: brennan.carla@gmail.com. Let her know if you want to attend the Monday or Tuesday group. Include responses to these questions: Why do you want to attend this program? Related to your spiritual journey, what do you long for? Confirmation, details and directions will be sent. If the groups fill, you will be put on a Wait List.

COST: No specific fee is charged. This is offered on a dana basis. There is a suggested sliding scale for all four monthly sessions of $200-$400 dollars (payment can be made over time.) We will gratefully accept more or less. Non-monetary donations are also possible. 

BOTP Monthly Practice Discussion Groups with Carla Brennan
These Practice Discussion Groups are a new format for studying and practicing the Dharma at BOTP. This model is based loosely on how group interviews are conducted during Insight Meditation retreats. All of us need opportunities to report on our efforts and experiences with a trusted teacher. We may want specific personal feedback and encouragement about our Dharma practice.

Dharma practice refers to both the formal and informal parts of the spiritual path. The formal aspect includes meditation, metta, and other specific practices. The informal aspect includes every other moment of our day; it includes how we apply our understanding, wisdom and compassion in the many changing, challenging circumstances we find ourselves in. Are we present, not lost in rehashing the past and rehearsing the future? Are we accepting of the natural impermanence and change of this moment? Can we expand beyond our limited self-view and reactivity to connect with another?

During the first hour of the meeting, each person will have time to report on their recent practice experiences and discuss them with Carla. The rest of the group will listen in silence. Carla will inquire about both the formal and informal aspects of each person’s practice. These check-ins will be a time to bring questions, insights, confusion, doubt, stuck places and new openings. Carla’s job will be to provide clarity, direction and feedback. And sometimes, a sense of humor.

During the second hour we will have a discussion together based on themes that came up during the practice sharing or on a topic that Carla or a group member brings to the session. Carla will facilitate and direct these discussions and she will emphasize and integrate specific Dharma teachings. Carla may, at times, suggest resources, retreats, assignments or specific readings to individuals or to the group.

We practiced to awaken. These group meetings are to help people on the path to freedom. An authentic spiritual journey is challenging. It is not easy or comfortable. It takes courage to face ourselves honestly, to feel our pain and vulnerability, and to embrace the truth of life and death.

This is not about self-improvement. It’s about seeing beyond the self. This is not about feeling good. It’s about being able to kindly embrace the full spectrum of life: what we like and what we don’t like, the enjoyable and the excruciating, the pleasing successes and the humiliating failures. Each of us is wiser and more loving than we allow ourselves to be. As our habits weaken and the our rigid self-perception loosens, we emerge freer and more whole.

The group will be made up of 6 to 8 people. This will allow for personal interaction between student and teacher. There will be a short meditation at the beginning.