June 2, 2018: Daylong with Robert Cusick and Lori Wong — Meeting Life’s Changes & Transitions with Compassion

Please join us on Saturday, June 2, 2018 for Meeting Life’s Changes & Transitions with Compassion with Robert Cusick and Lori Wong from 9:30am to 4:30pm at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Stanislaus County, 2172 Kiernan Ave., Modesto, CA.

We will explore change, transition, and loss in the context of mindfulness and compassion practices. The day will include meditation, experiential, and interactive exercises.

Robert Cusick trained at Stanford University School of Medicine in the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE). He is a Stanford Lecturer and Certified Sr. Stanford CCT™ (Compassion Cultivation Training) Instructor and teaches at Stanford University, UCSF, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center and in multiple other venues. As a long time meditator and former monk, Robert ordained in Burma under the renowned meditation master, Ven. Pa Auk Sayadaw, and studied with him from 2003 – 2012. He has studied in the Soto Zen tradition, in the Ridhwan School’s Diamond approach with A. H. Almaas (Hameed Ali), and in the Insight Meditation tradition with Gil Fronsdal PhD, Jack Kornfield PhD, and others. He provides grief counseling and bereavement support for adults and children at Kara kara–grief.org in Palo Alto, where he co-leads men’s grief groups and facilitates retreats for fathers grieving the death of a child. He serves as an Educational Consultant at Kara and directs, teaches and co-facilitates trainings for Kara’s Caregivers Forum and Adult Services Program. Robert sits on the Board of Directors of the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies http://www.sati.org/.

You can contact him at: info@thecompassiontrain.com

Lori Wong is the founding teacher of Insight Meditation Central Valley, a graduate of Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leader program, and has been offering mindfulness and dharma teachings in the Central Valley since 2009. She has been practicing Insight Meditation since 2003 under the guidance of Gil Fronsdal, who is the principal and founding teacher of the Insight Meditation Center (IMC) in Redwood City, CA. She is a former board member and former president of IMC, a former board member of the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies has volunteered for the Buddhist Pathways Prison Project, and was a founding board member of the Buddhist Insight Network. Lori is also a Stanford-certified Compassion Cultivation Training™ (CCT) teacher, trained through Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and a senior certified-CCT teacher for the Compassion Institute. She has been teaching the CCT protocol since 2014 for the general public as well as for staff of various agencies, including St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Stockton, the Modesto Vet Center, and Stanislaus County Department of Aging and Veteran Services.

 

This day is freely offered to all.  Donations are important to support the teacher’s livelihood and our future offerings, but there is no obligation to make a donation.

There will be a potluck vegetarian lunch — please bring a dish to share, if you are able. For the sake of those who may have sensitivities or allergies, please do not wear scented or perfumed products, including essential oils.  Chairs will be available.  There are also a limited number of zabutons and cushions for use. This daylong is suitable for all-levels of practitioners.

For additional information, please contact Lori Wong at 209-343-2748.

If you plan to come, please let us know by filling out the form below. Thank you!

May 12, 2018: Daylong with Sean Feit Oakes — Trauma and Spiritual Practice: Mindfulness and Embodied Healing

Please join us on Saturday, May 12, 2018 for Trauma and Spiritual Practice: Mindfulness and Embodied Healing with Sean Feat Oakes from 10:00am to 5:00pm at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Stanislaus County, 2172 Kiernan Ave., Modesto, CA.

Many people come to meditation and yoga to help mend old wounds, both physical and emotional. In this study and practice daylong we will explore how the nervous system responds to stress and danger, and how that natural response is affected by trauma, developing into habitual states of anxiety and overwhelm. Trauma is not just caused by intense harmful and shocking experiences, but also by long-term stress and unresolved emotional processes. Meditation and yoga can be very helpful in a trauma recovery process, but do not automatically heal these deep wounds, and may even be destabilizing for some practitioners.

The day will include an introduction to current trauma resolution theory, and to the mindfulness-based resilience work of Organic Intelligence®. You will learn specific mindfulness and movement practices that can support healing and resilience. The class will be appropriate for those who suffer from trauma, as well as professional caregivers (including psychologists, therapists, and nurses), family members, and teachers of both meditation and yoga. We will discuss contraindications for common meditation and yoga practice instructions, and ways to care for ourselves and others in spiritual practice and daily life.

More information about Sean and Organic Intelligence® can be found here: SeanFeitOakes.com

Sean Feit Oakes, PhD, E-RYT 500, OICC teaches Buddhism, Haṭha Yoga, and Organic Intelligence® with a focus on the integration of meditation, philosophy, and self-inquiry with trauma resolution and social justice. He has studied in Zen, Tibetan, and Theravāda Buddhist lineages, including training as a monk in Burma, and is authorized to teach Insight Meditation by Jack Kornfield. In yoga, he began in Ashtanga, studying with Larry Schultz and Alice Joanou, did teacher training with David Moreno in the Bihar tradition, and Buddhist integration through the Spirit Rock Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation (MYMT) program. Other primary teachers include Eugene Cash and Sylvia Boorstein (Insight Meditation), Anam Thubten (Mahāyāna), Sayadaw U Janaka (vipassanā), and Steven Hoskinson (Somatic Experiencing, Organic Intelligence®).

Sean teaches at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, East Bay Meditation Center, and Namaste Yoga, and is core Yoga Teacher Training faculty (E-RYT 500) for Piedmont YogaYoga Garden San Francisco, and Spirit Rock. He works with teens through Inward Bound Mindfulness Education and is Associate Faculty with Organic Intelligence®, teaching the integration of mindfulness with trauma resolution. Sean received his PhD in Performance Studies from UC Davis in 2016, writing on states of consciousness in Buddhist meditation and experimental dance. He lives in Oakland with his family and beloved community.

6 CEs may be available for the following professions through the Spiritual Competency Resource Center:

  • CE credits for psychologists are provided by the Spiritual Competency Resource Center (SCRC) which is co-sponsoring this program. The Spiritual Competency Resource Center is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Spiritual Competency Resource Center maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • SCRC is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN Provider CEP16887) for licensed nurses in California.
  • The California Board of Behavioral Sciences accepts CE credits for LCSW, LPCC, LEP, and LMFT license renewal for programs offered by approved sponsors of CE by the American Psychological Association.
  • For questions about CE, visit www.spiritualcompetency.com or contact David Lukoff, PhD at ce@spiritualcompetency.com.

Approval for CEs is pending. Please note: If we are approved to offer CEs, there will be a $25 administrative fee per person (please bring a check for $25 payable to SCRC). Please have your professional license information with you. You must sign in within 15 min. of the start of the daylong and you will need to complete an evaluation and assessment at the end of the day, so please allow for time before and after the daylong to complete these forms. You may not take them home and complete them later. Your certificate of completion will be handed out at the end of the day after your evaluation is completed and turned in.

This day is freely offered to all.  Donations are important to support the teacher’s livelihood and our future offerings, but there is no obligation to make a donation.

There will be a potluck vegetarian lunch — please bring a dish to share, if you are able. For the sake of those who may have sensitivities or allergies, please do not wear scented or perfumed products, including essential oils.  Chairs will be available.  There are also a limited number of zabutons and cushions for use. This daylong is suitable for all-levels of practitioners.

For additional information, please contact Lori Wong at 209-343-2748.

If you plan to come, please let us know by filling out the form below. Thank you!

Inter-faith Dialogue: An Evening with Fr. Nick Lorenzetti of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on April 3rd, 2018

We will be offering an inter-faith dialogue with Fr. Nick Lorenzetti from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on the evening of April 3rd, 2018, during our regular sangha meeting time from 6:30-8:30pm.

We will engage in a conversation exploring some “juicy” topics, with the intention for all of us to learn about and bring understanding across faith traditions. There will be an opportunity for open Q and A before we close the evening together.

In order for us to plan for the evening, please RSVP if you plan to attend no later than Mar. 27, 2018 using the form below so we may get a head count and to contact you if there is any change:

 

March 17, 2018: Daylong with Kevin Griffin — Living Kindness: Buddhist Teachings for a Troubled World

Please join us on Saturday, March 17th for Living Kindness: Buddhist Teachings for a Troubled World with Kevin Griffin from 10 am to 4:30 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Stanislaus County, 2172 Kiernan Ave., Modesto, CA.

Lovingkindness, or metta, is sometimes depicted as a simple “open your heart and love everybody” practice, but a closer look at the Buddha’s teachings reveals a more complex and nuanced picture. In a time of great conflict and contention in our society, it can be extremely valuable to see how the Buddha addressed these relevant topics:

• the challenges of living with other people;
• the risk of hating anyone, even your enemies;
• and the dangers inherent to conventional loving relationships.

He uses his teachings on lovingkindness to emphasize the importance of sila, or ethical behavior, the potential for opening into deeper meditative states of peace and equanimity, and the importance of developing a non-discriminating, unconditional love on the path of awakening.

The retreat will include meditation, lecture, small group discussion, and Q&A.

Kevin Griffin is an internationally respected Buddhist teacher and author known for his innovative work connecting dharma and recovery, especially through his 2004 book One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps. He has been a Buddhist practitioner for over thirty-five years and a teacher for two decades. He reaches a broad range of audiences in dharma centers, wellness centers, and secular mindfulness settings. His latest book is Living Kindness: Buddhist Teachings for a Troubled World.

This day is freely offered to all.  Donations are important to support the teacher’s livelihood and our future offerings, but there is no obligation to make a donation.

There will be a potluck vegetarian lunch — please bring a dish to share, if you are able. For the sake of those who may have sensitivities or allergies, please do not wear scented or perfumed products, including essential oils.  Chairs will be available.  There are also a limited number of zabutons and cushions for use. This daylong is suitable for all-levels of practitioners.

For additional information, please contact Lori Wong at 209-343-2748.

If you plan to come, please let us know by filling out the form below. Thank you!

Inter-faith Dialogue: An Evening with Rabbi Shalom on Feb. 6, 2018

We will be offering an inter-faith dialogue with Rabbi Shalom Bochner from the Congregation Beth Shalom on the evening of Feb. 6th, 2018, during our regular sangha meeting time from 6:30-8:30pm.

Rabbi Shalom will open our time together with an “Amidah” practice leading us into a short silent meditation. He will give a short presentation on “what is Judaism” and then we will engage in a conversation exploring some “juicy” topics, with the intention for all of us to learn about and bring understanding across faith traditions. There will be an opportunity for open Q and A before we close the evening together.

In order for us to plan for the evening, please RSVP if you plan to attend. Depending on how many plan to attend, the meeting may be held in the sanctuary or the Kuti. Please RSVP no later than Jan. 31, 2018 using the form below so we may get a head count and to contact you if there is any change:

 

Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation Course in Spring 2018

We will be offering an Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation course this spring that will consist of six 2-hour sessions from 12:30-2:30 pm beginning on February 4th, 2018, on these dates as follows: 2/4, 2/18, 3/4, 3/18, 4/1, and 4/15. Each interactive class will consist of short talks, meditation practices, exercises and class discussion.

The course will be held at IMCV located on the grounds of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Stanislaus County at 2172 Kiernan Ave., Modesto, CA. We can be found in the small, stand-alone building at the south end of the east parking lot of the church.

April Hejka-Ekins will be teaching the course. She has been practicing meditation for the past 17 years in the Zen and Vipassana traditions and is a certified Mindfulness Teacher by the Mindfulness Training Institute.

It is recommended that you attend all of the classes to get the most benefit from this course.

If you have questions, you can email April at ahejka-ekins@csustan.edu or use the form below.

If you are new to meditation, or if you would like to refresh your meditation practice, please register for this course using the form below:

 

New Year’s Eve Program on Dec. 31st, 2017

Please let us know if you’ll be attending our special evening on New Year’s Eve by Dec. 21st. We need to have a head count by Dec. 21st so we can reserve a larger space, if needed. Otherwise, any RSVPs after that date may be subject to our available space.

We will begin the evening with a vegetarian potluck meal from 5pm to 6:30pm in the Johnson Building at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Stanislaus County (UUFSC) on 2172 Kiernan Ave., Modesto, CA. Please bring a vegetarian dish to share (and label the food if it contains dairy, gluten, or nuts as this will help people who may have food allergies). We would like some volunteers to help with set-up, clean-up after the meal, and closing. If you’d like to volunteer to help, please use the pull-down menu to indicate you’d like to help in the RSVP form below. We will provide paper products, eating utensils, cups, and tea. If your dish needs a serving utensil, please bring one.

At 6:30pm we will convene in the Sarana Kuti for a program of meditation, perhaps some chanting or singing, reflection, and setting intentions. We will end the evening at 8:30pm so that you can have time to spend with family or participate in other activities.

In order for us to plan accordingly, we ask that you RSVP using the form below. This helps us know how to set-up the space and other materials needed for the evening. We also need to know if you will be bringing any children. We cannot watch your children, but if children are attending, we will try to provide a program that is family-friendly. We offer this freely to anyone who wishes to come.

Please submit the form below to let us know you will attend and if others are coming with you (be sure to check the appropriate boxes):

Inter-faith Dialogue: An Evening with Pastor Michael on Dec. 5, 2017

We will be offering an inter-faith dialogue with Pastor Michael Schiefelbein from the College Avenue Congregational Church (United Church for Christ) on the evening of Dec. 5, 2017, during our regular sangha meeting time from 6:30-8:30pm.

Pastor Michael will open our time together with a listening practice that he uses to start his congregation’s Sunday services. Lori and Pastor Michael will then engage in a conversation exploring topics about how we, as leaders of our faiths, are meeting specific challenges, and along the way we’ll share a little about our respective spiritual backgrounds, with the intention for all of us to learn about and bring understanding across faith traditions. There will be an opportunity for Q and A at the end of the evening together.

In order for us to plan for the evening, please RSVP if you plan to attend. Depending on how many plan to attend, the meeting may be held in the sanctuary rather than the Kuti. Please RSVP no later than Nov. 28, 2017 using the form below so we may get a head count and to contact you about the location (if it changes):

 

Extended Silent Meditation Daylong on August 12, 2017

On Saturday, August 12th, 2017, we will be offering an extended day of practice at the Sarana Kuti (at the south end of the east parking lot of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Stanislaus County, 2172 Kiernan Ave., Modesto, CA).

The day will begin at 9:00am and will end at 8:30pm. This daylong is for experienced practitioners only as there will be no instruction offered. You must be familiar with meditation, including walking meditation. A dharma talk will be offered in the evening. There will be a light vegetarian dinner. Please bring your own lunch.

You may attend any or all of the day. Please RSVP by filling out the form below so we will have an idea how many people will be attending, and how many will be eating the evening meal and participating in the evening practice period.

If you are not participating in the practice day, but would like to support those who are devoting their day to practice, you can do so by helping to provide the evening meal. Please use the form below to indicate that you’re willing to bring a vegetarian dish for the evening meal..

 

Eight-fold Path Program Starts Sept. 23, 2017

The Buddha’s most explicit path of practice is the Eight-fold Path. This is a set of eight practical approaches to bring Buddhist practice into the width and depth of our lives. The Eight-fold Path Program is an introduction to each of the Eight-fold factors so that participants can discover how to apply each set of practices in ways that are personally meaningful.

We will be offering another Eight-fold Path program (in conjunction with IMC again) this fall in Modesto, beginning on September 23, 2017. If you’re interested in learning more about the Buddha’s teachings and how to live them this is a 9-month program that will offer an opportunity to meet once a month to learn about and explore one part of the Eight-fold Path in an interactive format, including teachings, meditation, and small group discussions. This is a great opportunity to learn about these teachings and to meet and practice with other members of the sangha. You can choose to have an optional monthly one-hour personal meeting with an Eight-fold Path mentor to discuss your practice and reflections on the Eight-fold Path factors (mentoring may be limited depending on demand). The course meetings will be held from 9:30am to 12:30pm on one Saturday a month as follows:

Introduction & Overview: Sept. 23, 2017
Right View: October 21, 2017
Right Intention: November 18, 2017
Right Speech: December 16, 2017
Right Action: January 27, 2018
Right Livelihood: February 24, 2018
Right Effort: March 24, 2018
Right Mindfulness: April 21, 2018
Right Concentration:  May 19, 2018
Optional daylong retreat at the Insight Retreat Center in Scotts Valley on June 23, 2018.

If you would like to register, please apply by filling out the online form — be sure to check Modesto as your home sangha.