Sat, December 8
Sat, December 8, 8:45 am–3:30 pm
Transformation is always possible. We can change the texture of our lives, no matter what has come before. It is true that all that we feel, think, and encounter is influenced by our ancestors, parents, early childhood, schooling, friends, media, and events in our lives. However, if we can clearly see this process of conditioning and observe our mental states, rather than being overwhelmed by them, we can transform our experience of life. Beginning Anew as an Intention arises from this understanding. Thich Nhat Hanh explained in a 1998 Dharma talk:
The Buddhist teaching on Beginning Anew is very clear: "The unskillfulness comes from our mind, and the unskillfulness can be transformed by our mind. If the transformation happens in your consciousness, then the unskillfulness will disappear as a reality in the manifested world. The mind is like a painter." This is the Buddha’s teaching, that the mind is a painter. The painter can paint anything, and the painter can erase everything.
Beginning Anew, as a Practice, helps us look deeply into the habitual responses that have created suffering for ourselves and others. The skillful use of the practice nourishes acceptance, warmth, and loving-kindness. In the Plum Village tradition Beginning Anew Ceremonies are used to cultivate harmony and resolve conflict in relationships, families, and communities.
When practiced with others in a ceremony, the Beginning Anew practice proceeds through three or four steps:
- appreciating the actions of others that have relieved suffering or brought joy to others, often called Flower Watering
- expressing our beneficial regrets: acknowledging what we have said or done that might have contributed to someone else’s suffering
- sharing our hurt and suffering: making known to others that what someone has said or done might have created difficulties for us or contributed to our suffering
- often, but not always, there may be a final step, making a request or offering steps towards a resolution of the conflict.
In our day together, we’ll take time to refresh and center ourselves through mindful breathing, sitting, walking, and eating. We will explore beginning anew as an intention, practice beginning anew with ourselves, and role-play the steps of beginning anew with someone with whom we may be having difficulties.
The day of practice will be led by Mitchell Ratner, Eric Donaldson, Shawna Donaldson, Barbra Esher, and Gene Klinger. We’ll meet in the Octagon at Blueberry Gardens in Ashton, Maryland. The suggested dana (donation) is $50-$80. Dana is a gift from the heart that supports the community and the teachings; please feel free to contribute less or more depending on your circumstances.
We hope you can join us! All experience levels, including no meditation experience, are welcome. If you have questions, please email our registrar, Gene, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 240-731-3732.
Blueberry Gardens: A Center for Yoga, Growth, and Healing
237 Ashton Road
Ashton, MD 20861