A Message from Vinny and Noah 

 

Yo it is for real - it has been a long a time in the works but the SF Center is really happening! We are moving as quickly as we can to get the doors open and now we need you to rally up and help. Can you volunteer, be a monthly supporter, or help us raise some much-needed dough to finish the construction? Read below and see where you might fit in! 

 

- Vinny and Noah

Welcome
 
Welcome to our first Against the Stream San Francisco newsletter! From here on out, we'll use this space to keep you posted on our progress as we get ready for our sangha's move into a new home, share notes from our teachers, and more. This month: a big update, photos of our new space, and practice notes from Matthew. We hope you enjoy it, and from all of us-- thank you for being a part of our Bay Area community! 
SF Center Update
 

It's official! As many of you know, earlier this year we signed a lease at 2701 Folsom St. to house Against the Stream's new San Francisco Center. Read on for an update and photos of our center-in-progress!

 

We start paying rent in July and we're working hard to get the space ready for you as soon as possible. This means two things-construction and fundraising! The summer is approaching fast and to open our doors in July, we need your help now.

 

Construction Update:

We want our new center to be a comfortable and welcoming space for all, so in addition to giving it some much needed TLC, this means making sure it's fully accessible and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. This is where much of the renovation comes into play. We have a fantastic volunteer project manager who is overseeing a part of this, and even have a volunteer coming to clean up the windows of the building as we work on the inside. Things are seriously shaping up! 

 

Red Tape Update:

The Planning Department has granted us conditional approval for use of the space for public assembly and we now have a permit to open two walls to increase the size of the meditation hall by about a third-- big progress! Now, we're waiting on the Building Department to give us a permit for work on the entryways, and to make ADA and other improvements to the bathrooms. We've just handed in the application for this and once it's approved we can start full steam ahead on all construction!  

 

Next Steps:

We'll continue to update you regularly as we move forward. This is your sangha and we want you to know what's up! Keep an eye out for more information in this newsletter, our weekly emails, at Monday, Wednesday and Friday night sits, and on our Facebook group
 
How to Help: 
Many of you have already stepped forward with incredible generosity, and we cannot thank you enough. You are making something truly wonderful happen. We need you now more than ever-- if just 50 people signed on to support the new center with $100 a month, we'd be in an incredible position to move forward. To become a monthly supporter today, just click here, and be sure to select the San Francisco Support option. You can also make a one-time gift byclicking here.
Very soon, we'll also need volunteers to lend a hand! If you are interested in helping out, please click here to tell us more. 
Inside the New Center
Coming Soon: Join us for a demolition party as we start the next phase of construction!
Want to Help?
We need you! Help support our sangha's new home with a donation or by volunteering.
Practice Notes: The Mind is a Problem-Solving Machine
by Matthew Brensilver    

 

When we practice mindfulness, we see that the mind is a problem-solving machine. It is like a guard in a watchtower, looking for problems and their solutions. The mind wants to figure everything out, and figure them out now. We want our world to be perfectly organized, without all the loose ends created by the tides of impermanence. This habit is so deeply etched in our biology, that it even has a neural network partially dedicated to the task - the default mode network. That our brain does this is alright - in fact, better than alright. It's a great thing that we're able to simulate the future, reflect on the past, and solve problems. We don't want to get rid of that - but it's tiring to be in the problem-solving mode all the time. Sometimes, it's ok to rest here, now. 

 

Naturally, the mind will enact its usual problem-solving routines while we're practicing meditation.  Perhaps we feel like we're slacking if we're not using every moment to solve a problem. Perhaps we feel less safe unless we're plotting our way through the labyrinth of changing conditions. Remember that mindfulness practice is actually not about solving the problem of the moment (although it sometimes has that effect). Mindfulness is a way of connecting with the present moment, and finding deep nourishment in the present. We're moving from the problem-solving mode to a mode of learning - learning what it's like to be human, and making peace with the human condition. By relinquishing the need to solve problems now, we actually create the momentum for solving one of our biggest problems: feeling alienated from life itself.  

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