After observing your process over the past four years of our Winter Feast for the Soul, I know that some of you are starting to get discouraged. Maybe you have missed a day ... or maybe you are finding this commitment to a daily spiritual practice is harder than you thought it would be.
Trust me, this is all part of the process. There is another inspirational poem that you should know about. Again it is by the 13th Century Persian mystic, Jelaluddin Rumi:
"Come, come whoever you are
Wander, worshiper, lover of leaving,
Even if you have broken your vow one thousand times
Come, come, come again."
It was Rumi who invited us to this Feast 800 years ago with the poem that you see in the masthead of this newsletter. And here he offers you some encouragement.
For some of you, the commitment to daily spiritual practice may be new. Since my own practice is primarily one of meditation, I know from the inside out that this journey is all about "starting over".
Commit now to starting over. Each breath we take, each time the mind strays and thoughts run away with us, each time we forget, or we think we have failed ... never mind. It is only your mind talking. Spirit is waiting for you to simply rise and start over. That is your commitment for these forty days. Do not give up on yourself ... and be willing to start over.
To that end, I have recorded a pep talk for those of you who may be on the verge of considering dropping out because you think you have failed in some way.
The talk also includes a summary of Doug Bentley’s webcast from the Oneness University in India and a heart-centered meditation to help you to rededicate yourself to your practice. We had hoped to be able to post a recording of Doug’s webcast, but it was somehow lost at the recording studio. So I offer you the next best thing ... a summary of what I heard. May it serve you as you continue your Feast for Your Soul.
I have taken some time over the past few days to listen in on some of the amazing meditations that are being offered to you this year. Two of our guides have ended their meditations with what they are calling Metta Moments. Here are some Metta Moments, suggestions on how to bring Acts of Kindness into your day.
Walk or ride your bike today as an act of kindness to our planet
See the Light within every person you encounter today, whether you pass them on an escalator or meet them for coffee or lunch.
Know that you too carry that Light within you. Remind yourself that you hold infinite possibility in your being. Feel the Presence of that powerful aspect of your being throughout the day.
The fact that tens of thousands of us are creating this amazing Feast for the Soul means that you are never alone. And our connection is beyond space and time.
It’s about this time that amazing observations are made about how life is changing because of your practice. I can easily recall a couple of emails that I received the first year we made the Feast a worldwide event in 2009:
"I find that I am kinder, more patient, and more loving to my two-year old."
"My teen age son told me that ‘whatever you are doing, Mom, it’s making a difference in the whole family’."
I live in a valley of about 10,000 people near Sun Valley Idaho. I recall of friend of mine who is a long-time spiritual practitioner saying to me: "I can feel a palpable difference here in our valley during this Feast." That was during the first Winter Feast in 2008. At that time it was only a local event ... kind of a trial run, if you will. It easily became a worldwide event in 2009 and this year I can feel something very different that is happening, both locally and globally. There is a magnetism that I cannot explain. The Feast seems to have matured. Thank you for all that you have done to make that happen.
I received a note recently asking how long the meditations will remain available on our website. I am told by our host (Talkshoe.com) that they will remain available as long as people keep downloading them.
2009 was the first year that we offered these recorded meditations on line. People still download that series of meditations daily. So I trust that you will be able to access this year’s series for quite a while.
You can access them through our website by clicking on the Meditation tab at the top of the home page. You can also go directly to Talkshoe.com and type winterfeast2012 in the search box in the upper right hand corner of the opening page.
If you are wondering how to know if your are "getting it" or "doing it right, I offer this quote from Anam Thubten excerpted from his book: No self: No Problem
"If you are able to hold everyone in your heart, able to love everyone without discrimination, that means you are on the right track. It doesn’t matter if you have knowledge about Buddhism, whether you are intellectually sophisticated ... You are on the right track because your heart is blessed by compassion and loving-kindness."
Anam Thubten Rinpoche
This mantra is about taking refuge in the three jewels of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha (In the Buddha - one's true nature - I take refuge. In the Dharma - the path to realization of one's true nature - I take refuge. In the Sangha - the supportive community of others also walking the path - I take refuge).
Closing Mantra: Manta of Prajnaparamita:
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha!
Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone completely beyond!
This is the mantra of Prajnaparamita, the transcendent wisdom, the awakened mind, and the heart of Buddha's teachings. It invites us to go beyond all forms of bondage and realize the supreme truth that is already here. When the profound meaning of this mantra is embraced, the great emptiness reveals itself, and pure awareness shines within. Recite this mantra with an unflinching intention to call oneself to be awakened to the enlightened nature of all things in this very moment.
A Winter Feast for the Soul
421 Deer Trail Drive
Hailey, ID 83333
*We are a non-profit organization operating under the auspices of Rising Tide International, a 501c3 nonprofit corporation located in Sarasota, Florida. All donations from the United States are tax deductible.
Sending You Love and Encouragement on Your Journey Back to Your Self.