Sun, December 6
Sun, December 6, 1:00 pm–5:00 pm
Brother Phap Uyen's path to monastic life is unusual. Born in Vietnam, his family came to the US as immigrants when he was two years old. Thirteen years later, in 1989, he met Thich Nhat Hanh at a retreat and took the five mindfulness trainings. However, two years later, rather than moving in the direction of spiritual practice, he took his life in a different direction and joined the Navy. He served in Iraq during Desert Shield/Desert Storm, from 1991-1995.
His return to civilian life was difficult. As mentioned in a Huffington Post article about him, “when he went to sleep he returned to the combat zone, battling ghoulish enemies in dreams that were so intense that while he was sleepwalking he would punch out the walls of his bedroom. ‘I would be constantly fighting, kicking, screaming, swearing, having to patch up my walls pretty much every single week.’” Suffering from PTSD, it was difficult for him to keep a job or maintain a relationship.
Eventually, he found his way back to a spiritual path, attending a retreat at Plum Village in France in 2002 and staying on to ordain as a monastic.Phap Uyen received full ordination in 2007, and was ordained as a Dharma teacher in 2010. In 2015 Michael left the monastery and returned to lay life, so he could dedicate more time to working with veterans and their families, sharing mindfulness and trauma releasing exercises they can use each day. He was the primary organizer of a 2014 veterans retreat at Blue Cliff Monastery in New York called "Welcome Home, How to Truly Come Home." He currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.
In recent years, with the encouragement of Thich Nhat Hanh, he has focused his teaching on working with veterans and their families, sharing mindfulness and trauma releasing exercises they can use each day. He was the primary organizer of a 2014 veterans retreat at Blue Cliff Monastery in New York called "Welcome Home, How to Truly Come Home."
During our Day of Mindfulness, in addition to guiding our sitting, walking, eating meditation, Br. Michael will share about his own transformation and his work with Veterans. Two practices he would especially like to offer are:
The Touching the Earth prostrations which allow us to release our worries, suffering, and anxieties, and,
TRE Trauma Release Exercise/Tension Release Exercise, which is especially helpful for veterans and others suffering from deep trauma.
We will gather in the sanctuary of the Seekers Church (276 Carroll St NW, Washington, DC 20012), which is one block from the Takoma Metro Station.
Yoga Center of Columbia
8950 Route 108
Columbia, MD 21045