Dear Readers,

These are anxious times. You've probably noticed the unmistakable sense of tension in the air: nerves are more frayed, tempers are increasingly shorter, kindness seems like an after thought.

Lately, it seems hard to escape the reminders of our fragility. Things are definitely... uncertain.

Yet, the experience of the ground shifting beneath our feet faster than we can find our balance is truly more the rule than its exclusion. We are accustomed to meeting the unpredictable nature of life with all sorts of different coping mechanisms designed to help us maintain the illusion that our lives are within our control, even when we know on some level that they are not.

How can we live in this world without fear?

This is the space that we fill with our mindfulness practice. We can waste our precious energy trying to control the external world, or we can tend to calming our internal landscape so that, no matter what comes our way, we can meet it with grace and equanimity.

Dan's article this month explores the concept of "No Ground" and shares what several Buddhist thinkers have to offer on the subject.

Times are scary right now. But they've been scary before. And they will be scary again.

It is an invitation.

In compassion ,
~ Louisa
  • In observance of the Thanksgiving Holiday, The Center for Mindful Living will be closed Thursday, November 23 through Sunday, November 26. Our normal schedule will resume on Monday, November 27.
  • A reminder that The Center for Mindful Living will follow the OPS schedule in case of inclement weather.
  • Please note that Open Studio has been removed from the current schedule.
Ongoing Contemplative Practices
  • Workshop: Sitting Meditation Groups  No Charge
  • Workshop: Mindfulness Study Group  No Charge
Workshops & Events
  • Mindfulness Study Group to Start New Book
    Reflections on Silver River by Ken McLeod
    Every 1st and 3rd Sundays, starting November 5; 4-6 PM
    The Mindfulness Study Group has selected our next book! Join us November 5 as we begin  Reflections on Silver River  by Ken McLeod. This short work is part translation of a revered Tibetan poem on 37 mindfulness and compassion practices and part short reflections on how these teachings apply to life today.

    The jacket summary says it best, "...Ken shines a light of wisdom on the challenges of contemporary life and illuminates a path the modern reader can take to freedom, peace and understanding." 

    Starting November 5, the Study Group will meet on the first and third Sundays of each month from 4-6 PM to read, discuss and practice mindfulness and meditation based on the insights and teachings of the Reflections book. Participants are also invited to share related readings or poems. The Group will read together, so there is no pre-reading or homework involved. Copies of the book will be available for use in the study session or to check-out. For those preferring to have their own copy, the book is available in print and electronically.
    This Mindfulness Study Group is freely offered. There is no charge to participate. Drop-ins welcome at any time. While this selection is based on Buddhist mindfulness teachings, the Study Group as a whole is not religiously affiliated.
  • The Annual Buy Nothing Day Retreat
    With Dan Weidner and Dr. Louisa Foster
    Friday, November 24; 9 AM - 12 PM

    Please join us for our annual alternative to the chaos of Black Friday. We gather, share brief readings and discussion together, and have several meditation sittings. We challenge ourselves to consider the role of consumerism in our personal lives and in our cultural identity. We provide bagels, tea and cushions-or feel free to bring your own! No charge, but please register so that we know you're coming
  • Omaha Meditates 2018
    Start off the new year by refreshing your practice (or start a new one!)
    Monday, January 1; 10 AM - 10 PM
    Please join The Center for Mindful Living and Wisdom House for Omaha Meditates 2018. We'll hold space from 10 AM to 10 PM to sit together and answer any questions about meditation and mindfulness.
    We'll begin with structured programming at 10 AM for those new to meditation with some basic instruction and gentle guided meditation with Louisa. We'll follow that with discussion and silent sitting, facilitated by Dan. If you are new to the practice, this will provide you with an informal way to try it out. Then Aaron will be available for the rest of the day, and into the evening, to answer questions and facilitate sittings in an informal, open house setting.

    No need to register!  Just drop on by!
Featured Article
No Ground
By Daniel Weidner, MA, LMHP

Most of us have a tendency to plan and work to get our lives to settle down, to be more consistent, and to be more predictable. We sometimes find ourselves planning everything down to the minute. We can feel resentment, frustration, or anger when things come along and mess with our scheme.

What we learn with the practice of mindfulness, over time, is that we are not able to settle down in this regard. There is the inexorable Law of Impermanence that tells us that everything is changing all of the time and that change is the only thing in life that is guaranteed. Whether we are talking about our jobs, our families, our relationships, our bodies, or even the things that we do to entertain ourselves, what we find is that things are changing all of the time.

" The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry..." This well-known saying is adapted from a line in the poem "To a Mouse," by Robert Burns. I think that it speaks clearly to the phenomenon of impermanence and constant change.

Suffering can be understood as what we add to what happens to us in our lives. When we resist change, when we say that we don't like change, when we fail to accept change for what it is, then we create suffering for ourselves. This is where the practice of acceptance is so valuable.

The Buddhist teacher Bodhipaksa writes about the equanimity of acceptance. He defines it as "The equanimity that comes from letting go, from ceasing to identify with our experience. It's the equanimity that comes from not getting caught up in our inner dramas, from not reacting to unpleasant feelings with aversion and by not responding to pleasant feelings with grasping."

The teacher Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo states that through the practice of mindfulness " get into a state of mind where you accept that whatever is happening is happening... It has nothing to do with the experience or circumstance: it's the attitude that's important. We have to stop clinging to the conditioned path and learn to be open to the unconditioned path... We have to cultivate contentment with what we have."

Pema Chodron, in her book The Wisdom of No Escape, tells us that there is no solid ground under our feet, and that the ground is always shifting. She says that "One of the main discoveries of meditation is seeing how we continually run away from the present moment, how we avoid being here just as we are." She goes on to say that "Meditation practice isn't about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It's about befriending who we are already."

Over time, and with regular meditation practice, we begin to grasp that change is all that we have in life. Sheng Yen provides some of the best advice that I have found regarding how to approach impermanence and change.

He says: "...face it; accept it; deal with it; then let it go."