Daylong “Be the Mystery! A Day of Contemplation” with John Mifsud & Noliwe Alexander on Saturday, April 27, 2013

Join us on Saturday, April 27, 2013 for a daylong with John Mifsud and Noliwe Alexander from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Stanislaus County, 2172 Kiernan Ave., Modesto, CA in the Sarana Kuti.

As we deepen our mindfulness practice, we often find ourselves in uncharted territory.  New ideas, emotions and physical sensations arise we have never experienced.  With a measure of practice, we find bliss as well as challenging, rough patches that feel uncertain and sometimes frightening.  We often run and take refuge in what we are sure of; sensual pleasures we know to be safe and comfortable.  Sometimes, we turn away or ignore what we’re experiencing because we cannot hold the uncertainty.

The Buddha taught true liberation comes form letting go of what we know and surrendering to that same mystery we often dread.  His teachings point to experiencing the present moment without definition.  As long as we are sure, we cut ourselves off from the endless possibilities that may arise in any given moment.  In uncertainty, we can actually find freedom.

If you are afraid of uncertainty, you are certainly not alone.  We all are.  Our human life is nothing less than a mystery, a precious gift we can barely fathom.  So many questions arise with every breath that remain unanswered, whether we like it or not.  Queries in the present all lead to the question of our final breath.  Fear often arises.  How do we stay present without becoming neither afraid nor confused?  We cannot deny our small part in the vast landscape.  This life and the universe are a mystery.  Because we are a part, so are we.  Together, let’s open to the infinite possibilities of the unknown within this present moment and rest there.  There is freedom in not knowing.  Let’s find it together.

“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh

John MifsudJohn Mifsud is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leader Training Program at Spirit Rock. Larry Yang is his mentor teacher. John is a leader of EBMC’s Deep Refuge Group for Alphabet Brothers of Color. He also studied with Rodney Smith at Seattle Insight Meditation, coordinated the Seattle Multicultural Sangha and Seattle Dharma Buddies. His current practicum includes teaching at the San Francisco Gay Buddhist Sangha, the SF Gay Buddhist Fellowship, San Francisco Insight and EBMC.

Noli AlexanderNoliwe Alexander has been a student of Vipassana meditation for over 15 years.  Having first studied while living in an intentional community near Durango, Colorado, she became a dedicated practitioner after attending the 2nd POC Vipassana retreat at Spirit Rock in 2000 and the African American Retreat in 2002.  She has completed the Commit2Dharma (C2D) program through East Bay Meditation Center, has delivered Dharma talks at the Alphabet Sangha (LGBTQI community) and the People of Color Sangha (POC) at EBMC, as well as various community sanghas throughout the Bay Area.  Noliwe recently completed the Community Dharma Leaders 4 Program (CDL4) through Spirit Rock.  Noliwe is a Life & Business Coach, empowerment workshop facilitator, and is dedicating much of her coaching and Mindfulness practice to the LGBT and At Risk community in the Bay Area.

Please bring a vegetarian potluck dish to share for lunch, if you would like.  For the sake of those who may have allergies, please do not wear scented or perfumed products.  If you have a meditation cushion, please bring it. Chairs will be available. Please RSVP to Insight Meditation Central Valley at 209-343-2748.