Overview of our Newark IntraCity Park Hike

Capturing the Spirit of Autumn

It was a spectacular day on Saturday, November 10th for a hike through a 5.5 mile stretch of Newark NJ. The weather was a bit chilly, sunny, and breezy so we were bundled up. This was Newark Center for Meditative Culture’s first such program, though we have done shorter nature walks and hikes through Branch Brook Park and South Mountain Reservation. This particular hike was held in cooperation with Hikeolution and The Spirit Centered Life.

It was also a day of renewal for one of our urban hikers as this was the way she was spending her birthday – and we shared in her renewal.

We started off with a prayer for guidance and protection by co-leader Kazi, spiritual director of NCMC, forming a circle around a large tree near the northern corner of Lincoln Park.

Walking north on Broad Street for a while, we then entered Military Park, the base for NCMC’s warm season outdoor meditation and tai-chi. Here we picked up a few more hikers. We again made a circle. This time on the Great Lawn where Kazi lead us in a graceful flowing tai-chi movement called Wave Hands Like Clouds.

We continued along Broad to Washington Park studying the monuments. A nice surprise participant to our hike was Suzanne Joblonski of Newark Centric City. She gave us an informal and informative tour of the landmarks and background of Newark along the way. We also had two members of the Appalacian Mountain Club join us too — one from NYC and the other all the way from Philly!

We learned from co-leader Keyana Jones that we were following the yellow-blazed Lenape Trail of the Lenni-Lenape, indigenous people of this area. She pointed out a marked tree on James Street and we were to continue on this trail through Branch Brook Park. Her associate, Leslie Arthur, described how this trail is 34 miles long. Newark and Millburn are at either end, the trail bowing all the way north just into Passaic County.

We continued to make our way, our hike zig-zagging back and forth along concrete and grass, crossing over Route 280 to Branch Brook Park. Following along the blazed trail, we stopped along the way to reflect on the lakes and absorb the colors of the berries in purples, reds, oranges, and golds.

Our “great ascent” was to climb the some 25 steps up to a large meadow. Here we practiced a qi-gong standing meditation that Kazi called The Mother, an energy harvesting form that in just a few minutes of practice, the group felt results.

Almost there, we sauntered a little while longer close to the cherry blossom groves and crossed over into Belleville at 5.47 miles. Retracing our steps back a little way into Newark, we ended our beautiful and peace-filled urban nature hike.

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Change-Makers: Fall Back into Self-Care Day Retreat with Meditation, Movement & Medicine for the Season

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Sunday, November 11, 2018
10:00am to 3:00pm
ICC Early Learning Center
1 New York Avenue, 2nd Floor
Newark, NJ 07105

Ideal for healthcare workers, social workers, activists, community organizers, teachers, students, radical artists, and other change-makers. We work so hard to improve the lives of others. Now enjoy a relaxing, intentional day for yourself.

Join us to learn season-specific techniques and tools for self-care: stress resilience, immunity boosting, health promotion, and methods to boost your creativity and mental sharpness.

Taught by Ib’nallah S. Kazi (Kazi), spiritual director of Newark Center for Meditative Culture (NCMC). Kemetic Yoga Session with Jillian Majuta-Faulks is in the morning. Drum Circle to be led by Akua Ishangi is in afternoon. (See their bios at registration site.)

Youths aged 8-17 can attend if the guardian can manage them. Venue has wheelchair and elevator access.

Cost
Adults: Suggested Donation $30
Kids: Free

Registration on Eventbrite Required
No Walk-ins!

About Lunch
All attendees are asked to participate in lunch as it is integral to the workshop (unless you are fasting). Menu will include vegan, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, and gluten free vegan food. You can brown bag it if you have unique food allergies or specific food requirements.

Volunteers Needed!
If you’d like to help before, during, or after the program please let us know when you register. Or, if a family member would prefer to volunteer rather than participate, that’s okay too!

Important Contact Information
Please no phone calls to the venue. Call NCMC at 862-227-3288 with inquiries or preferably by email at info@newarkmeditation.org.

REGISTER NOW!


Change of Season — Change of Body, Mind, and Spirit

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To all things there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…

— Ecclesiastes 3

 

Hippocrates, in teaching the doctors of his day, said, “Consider the seasons of the year and what each of them produces.” When you respect the seasons you will respect your body, mind, and spirit and their needs.

Based on chinese medicine the fall is the season of the element of metal and lung and the lungs are associated with sadness and grief. We move from the external, expansive nature of summer to the internal, contracting nature of fall.

What does this have to do with meditation?

Through specific meditation and mindfulness skills — stationary, movement, eating, sound, and all our sense organs — we can learn season-specific techniques and tools for self-care: stress resilience, immunity boosting, health promotion, and methods to boost your creativity and mental sharpness.

We can also develop insight into the constantly changing, impermanent nature of our bodies and minds and learn to let go. In fact the energy of the lungs is related to “letting go” — first remembering our breath, using our breath, relaxing our breath — then becoming aware and allowing the elements and nourishment to inform us.

The northeast Autumn with it’s cool temperatures and warmly-colored leaves is a good time to:

• eat hot foods
• eat gourd foods
• supplement with mullein
• get to bed early
• sweat in a sauna
• socialize locally.

Learn more on Sunday, November 11, 2018, when we hold a workshop Fall Back into Self-Care: Meditation, Movement, and Medicine for the Season. This 5-hour workshop is kid friendly for those youths who might like to practice with us.


Book Store Meditation with NCMC

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Book Store Meditation Class
Monday, October 22, 2018
6:00 to 7:00pm
Rutgers University B&N Book Store
42 Halsey Street, Newark NJ

Learn the basics of meditation and mindfulness and how it can reduce stress — from school, peer, and parent pressure for students to the ups-and-downs of daily living that most of us experience. To be instructed by Jennifer Becher of NCMC. A program appropriate for both students and the general public.

A free community service program of NCMC in cooperation with Rutgers University B&N Book Store.


Help Grow Meditation in Newark NJ

Can you help us to spread the much-needed Practice of Meditation in Newark, NJ with Newark Center for Meditative Culture?


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Donate Now on GoFundMe


Over the past six years, NCMC has presented close to 300 life changing, health promoting, and self-empowering programs within the context of the socially engaged, multi-cultural, and diverse population of the Greater Newark Area.

Programs included:

16 Seasonal Full-Day Meditation Retreats (including 3 People of Color Retreats)

10 First Sunday Art and Meditation Workshops

Over 200 Meditation Workshops  (of which over 30 bi-lingual workshops offered)

2 Ten-Week Basic Meditation Courses

26 Dharma Movie/Meditation Sessions

2 Online Meditation Medicine Courses

16 Tai Chi/Qi Gong Classes

2 Open Mind Film Festivals

12 Nature Walks and Hikes

1 Deep Ecology Training Workshop

Publishing of 2 Books: Buddhist Dharma Book and Meditation Manual.

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Our Mission

Having established ourselves as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2017 and having previously engaged since 2012 as a community initiative, we now need to meet some formative and developmental needs in order to advance our Mission, which is:

To be a safe place where like-minded people can gather in order to practice the fundamental meditation methods of tranquility, insight, healing, and loving-kindness (metta), and to become engaged together in conscientious, compassionate, and contemplative activities as a group and in the local community.

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How do we work?

NCMC is a volunteer-run organization with a strong commitment to openness and inclusion. We do this in two ways:

Diversity/Expansiveness: We offer both general programs and pin-pointed programs for specific affinity groups of people and  surrounding issues. For example, our People of Color retreats especially are intended to provide an affinity group for individuals who daily confront the effects of oppression and racism, and who therefore may initially choose to avoid mixed programs.

Inclusiveness: All of our programs are offered as donation-based no-fee or free to the participant. We base this system on the practice of dana or generosity, which is inherent to many spiritual traditions. Your donations will allow us to continue to provide life enhancing programs to the entire community regardless of their present economic circumstances.

NCMC is committed to community engagement and compassionate activism and to educating the community about meditation and its benefits. We have collaborated  with or facilitated meditation classes and programs for several organizations including:

Artisan Collective – Barat Foundation – Bateman & Associates – Greater Newark Tennis & Education – Hikeolution – I’m So Yoga Newark – Ironbound Community Corporation – Newark LGBTQ Center – Newark Museum – Newark Yoga Movement – NJPAC – Rabbit Hole Farm – Sis & Bro Foundation.

In the educational sector, we have provided our services to:

Rutgers Law School – Rutgers Bookstore – Louise A. Spencer Community School – Technology High School.

We have also engaged in area compassionate activism through participation in walks, marches, and activities such as:

Million March NYC – Buddhist Global Relief NYC Walk to Feed the Hungry – 300.org People’s Climate March – Clean Energy Walk Phila. (w/NJ group) – Buddhist Council Meditate NYC & Peace Lantern Festival.

NCMC has also worked closely with generous venue providers over the years including:

Index Art Center – City Without Walls Gallery – Seed Gallery – Military Park Partnership – Ironbound Community Corporation (current).

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What are our immediate needs?

Our current fundraising goal of $5,000 is a portion of our 2019 budget of $12,000. The focus of this initial campaign is to raise the finances needed to begin the new year with a strong organizational infrastructure.  Our “must haves” include:

Accounting
– Bookkeeper $16-20 per hour at 1 hr a week approx for yr.
$1000
– Accountant for tax return and quarterly filings for yr.
$1500
– QuickBooks Pro
$220

Office Supplies
– Post Office Box (yearly)
$60
– Domain Name Renewal (yearly)
$20

Student and Teacher Advancement
– MBSR fundamentals teacher training online: 1 student
$600

Full-Day Retreat
– Rent
$250
– Staff
$135
– Event Liability Insurance
$130
– Miscellaneous Expenses
$85

Total
APPROX $5,00032315866_1539522368207624_r.jpegWhat do we hope to do in the near future?

• establish more weekly and monthly group meditations and study groups
• reestablish our monthly First Sunday meditation and creative journaling
• establish a weekly Sunday meditation group
• develop a training program for student leaders for groups
• provide opportunities for our students to deepen their practice at longer residential retreats
• provide opportunities for our students to advance to teachers
• secure funding to be able to afford rent for a steady place to hold group sessions
• secure funding for a director or part-time directors
• secure funding to support free programming (as our teachers need to be gifted and expenses covered)
• establish a community of practice that includes volunteers practicing generosity who love meditation or being around meditators and understanding our purpose.

So you can see, we need your help in funding!

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Can we take a little more of your valuable time to relate some student stories to help you understand the need for NCMC?

(Please note that these stories are paraphrased from memory.)

STORY 1:
One young lone meditator came to us once and scuffled shyly into the art center where we were holding our meditation session. He said “I can’t believe I’m in here, I never thought I’d be in a place like this.” He also said he had imagined how nice it would be to meditate outdoors in a park — and his dream came true! We sit in the park in the summer!

= Exposure, safe place, non-judgement.

STORY 2:
At one of our recent People of Color Retreats, one student described how wonderful it was to “meditate with people who look like me” as she was used to having to go to meditation centers that were mainly populated by white folk.

= Diversity, like-minded, like-color, multi-color, comfort.

STORY 3:
Another woman pops in and sits with us only when she is sometimes available on Wednesday evenings. Her comment though, “I love knowing that you are here doing this every week even though I most often can’t make it.”

= The more group sessions we can hold, the more opportunities for people to show up.

STORY 4:
Three seasoned public school staff members in Newark have come regularly and felt the positive results of continual practice. They’ve asked us mature questions about how to relieve their stress as they watch their students in difficulty and are immersed themselves in co-worker conflicts. One found results in walking meditation, another in sitting meditation, and another more in the continual probing that her new mindfulness brings.

= De-stressing techniques to help through work-related stress.

STORY 5:
A young sensitive woman studying online to be a reiki master, having gone back and forth and back and forth through her childhood between here and Uruguay, lacks confidence in both her languages. She stated from the heart, “My passion is to become a meditation teacher.”

= Helping to build confidence and support potential meditation and mindfulness teachers.

We hope that these stories give you an idea of some of the reasons we think the development of a meditative culture in the Greater Newark Area is as vital and important a cause as we do. Do take the time to look at our website to get to know us even better at www.newarkmeditation.org.

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32315866_1539534773600605_r1.jpegCan you please share our story with your network of like-minded mind-loving friends who might support this cause?

Thank you again for your time. We hope you will consider donating now to help our work to get to the next level and  blossom.

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Peace and love,

Andrea, Cornelia, Javier, Jennifer, Ihsaan, Kamilah, Kazi, Marcie
About the NCMC Board Members

www.newarkmeditation.org
info@newarkmeditation.org


Donate Now on GoFundMe

#GrowMeditationNewarkNJ


 


Mujeres de Meditación: Una Primera Clase Exitosa

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El 2 de octubre, J. Javier Cruz, profesor del Centro de Cultura Meditativa de Newark, impartió un Taller de Salud Mental y Meditación para algunos miembros del personal de Ironbound Community Corporation. Alrededor de 13 mujeres trabajadoras que hablaban solo español asistieron. La mayoría sintió que no podían durar más de media hora, pero duraron todo el taller y se quedaron incluso más tiempo. ¡Parece que entendieron los beneficios inmediatos y querían más! Por supuesto, no fue solo la práctica de la meditación, hubo una charla del profesor, una discusión y preguntas y respuestas. ¡Solo mira esas poderosas y conscientes mujeres de meditación!


On October 2nd, J. Javier Cruz, a teacher with Newark Center for Meditative Culture, taught a Mental Health and Meditation Workshop for some staff members at Ironbound Community Corporation. Around 13 women coworkers who spoke spanish-only attended. Most felt they couldn’t last for more than a half hour but they lasted for the entire workshop and stayed even longer. It seems they understood the immediate benefits and wanted more! Of course it wasn’t just meditation practice — there was a teacher talk, discussion, and Q&A. Just look at those powerful, mindful women of meditation!

 


MILITARY PARK: Free Fall Tai-Chi in the Park

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Wednesdays, Sep. 12 – Oct. 17
5:30 to 6:30pm
Meditation Lawn in Military Park

A six-week series (weather permitting) of tai-chi and qi-gong taught by visiting teacher with NCMC, Shaka Georges, for his second summer with us. Gentle, healing, and easy-to-learn movement practice. No need to register, come as you can.

A free community service program of NCMC in cooperation with Military Park Partnership Summer Programs.


IRONBOUND: Free Fall Meditation Class Series in The Wellness Room

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Thursdays, 5:30-7:00pm
ICC Family Success Center
The Wellness Room
317 Elm Street
Newark, NJ

In these on-going weekly meditation classes with NCMC instructor J. Javier Cruz and assistant Jennifer Becher you will learn basic meditation and how to apply mindfulness in daily life to live with more ease, more joy, and less stress. Sessions include meditation, light yoga stretches, readings, and discussion. Translations to Spanish and Portuguese as needed.

Contact us at info@newarkmeditation.org if you would like to attend. No walk-ins.

A free community service program of NCMC in cooperation with Ironbound Community Corporation.


SAVE THE DATE! Free Newark IntraCity Park Hike with Kazi and Keyana

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SAVE THE DATE!

Join us for our first hike through Newark — mindfulness in urban nature — walking softly with co-leaders Ib’nallah S. Kazi and Keyana Jones. It will go through several city parks. Details to come, but plans are to start in the morning and go into the afternoon.

A free NCMC program in cooperation with The Spirit-Centered Life and Hikeolution.


A great start for our Fall Session of Free Meditation Classes in the Ironbound

New Location, New Time, New Day!

 Thursdays, September 13 – November 15 | 5:30-7:00pm | ICC Family Success Center, The Wellness Room, 317 Elm Street, Newark, NJ

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Above: On September 20th, we had three english-speaking students and one spanish-only and our meditation circle was ready to go. Mindful moments of students practicing walking and sitting meditation. But wait, where’s the men? Donde esta los hombres?! Oh, he’s taking the picture!

In these on-going weekly meditation classes with NCMC instructor J. Javier Cruz and assistant Jennifer Becher you will learn basic meditation and how to apply mindfulness in daily life to live with more ease, more joy, and less stress. Sessions include meditation, light yoga stretches, readings, and discussion. You are welcome to join in at any time. Translations to Spanish and Portuguese as needed.

Contact us at info@newarkmeditation.org for more information.

A free community service program of NCMC in cooperation with Ironbound Community Corporation.

 


REVIEW: NCMC People of Color Retreat with Bhante Kaboggoza Buddharakkhita

We wanted to share a few glowing comments and lessons learned through our people of color retreat that we held on Sunday, September 9th. The retreat packed a variety of methods in exploring how to cultivate wisdom and compassion to heal our community.

Naturally, Bhante took the lead in meditation and dharma talks, but he graciously stepped aside for some of our local instructors and presenters to share — An42158409_2317797014968138_1219361414565593088_o.jpgdrea led a yoga session, Kamilah led the dyads, Javier gave a dharma talk, Mesha did a reading, and Ihsaan emceed. Bhante also presented a 7-minute video of compassion in action showing his center’s local humanitarian projects in Uganda that will warm your heart — including constructing water bores, peace school for children, a women’s empowerment project, and an orphanage.

Attendee Jillian Faulks-Majuta of Majuta Wellness, especially was grateful for the discussion on how to cultivate compassion and wisdom and thought it was right on time for her. Here’s what she says she took away: 1) Start with ME. Be more compassionate with myself as I continue on this journey.; 2) Think of compassion as I continue to mother my youth and other living beings/things along my path.; 3) Practice, practice, practice as the wisdom will come as I continue to grow. Well said!

A few days later, she added that after the retreat she has been more mindful, especially with her children, doing 2 minute meditations before bed each night and even a little before school in the morning.

After attending our day-long, Mia Sikes, director of a meditation and yoga studio in Los Angeles posted, “I love Bhante! Filled my toolbox with teachings that a sista can work with!” She had plans to then attend a 6-week retreat that he would be co-teaching in Massachusetts that started last week.

We received a text (sign of the time) from Bhante saying that it was a “wonderful retreat” and “Bravo!” We’re so glad to hear that from the teacher!

We are as always grateful for the delicious fresh vegan meal catered as dana by Arelis Hernandez, farmer/founder of Rabbit Hole Farm. During the weekend, Kevin Porter, director of the Farm, attended to Bhante’s needs and served him at the retreat. The couple hosted him at their residence for the weekend.

Much thanks goes to our retreat volunteers Mary, Jennifer, Elvis, Venus, and David who quietly and efficiently got the job done before, during, and after the retreat and for the generous and patient support given to us by the Ironbound Community Corporation, especially that of Mayra Ramirez, COO there.

It was an exceptional weekend that began with the Farm Program on Saturday morning and the Book-Signing Event for his two books that evening. Planting Dhamma Seeds, Bhante’s spiritual journey, and Sowing Seeds of Peace, a meditation manual, are the first books published by NCMC. They were published in association with Uganda Buddhist Centre and though they were not the first editions, they are the first editions to be published in the United States! They can be purchased through Amazon at the links above. We hope to have Kindle versions available as well.

We feel very blessed that Bhante took the time to teach and spend the weekend with us during his busy U.S. teaching schedule.


Weathering Our Mind Storms

By Marcie Barth

As we watch the weather storms Tropical Storm Isaac, Hurricane Helene, and the incredibly threatening Hurricane Florence, we can use the parallels of our mind storms.

If we’re mindful-and-aware, these mind storms clue us in to their coming. When we catch ourselves in the middle of a mind storm we realize we weren’t attentive to the warning signs. These signs usually come in the small voice of self-talk, either mental or verbalized, that is negative or irrational. On the other hand, we need to be kind to ourselves, even amused at some of our sillier mind storms.

A humorous example comes from an excerpt of a book by meditation teacher Sylvia Boorstein where she describes The Broccoli Phenomenon that occurs at retreats. She based it on the many meditators who become agitated at being served ubiquitous and often unappreciated broccoli and their ensuing mind quotes such as, “When I get home, I’m sending them a collection of good cookbooks!”, “If they are determined to serve so much broccoli, they could at least cook it separately, as a side dish!”, and “I guess I’ll put the stew over the rice and pick out the broccoli. I hope they don’t do this to me again!”.

She continues: “Days pass, meals pass, and between bouts of culinary criticism that temporarily cause mind storms, you continue to develop composure. Sitting, walking, breathing, stepping — hour by hour, gradually, while you are busy concentrating, your mind smooths itself out.”

With mind storms, we can choose to distract our minds with positive thoughts until it calms down or we can choose to watch the mind storms objectively from a mental distance, watching them come and go. We use right effort to not react by feeding them more energy caused by habitual negative thinking, impulsive reactions, and even liking them as your act.

Similarly, different people choose different ways to prepare for weather storms. Some leave the area while others stay in the area, safeguard their belongings, hunker down in a shelter, and watch and wait. Each of us approach our storms based on our conditions and relative perceptions.

Given the right conditions a mind storm thunders in and takes over before you know it. When it clouds your whole mind it can sometimes be hard to get out of. Both the cause of the mind state and the mind state itself have become unrecognizable. But, we can develop many mindfulness and meditation skills to get out of them and prevent them from gaining strength.

Given the right conditions a weather storm thunders in. We may not seem to be able to do much about them, but perhaps we can help as much as we can to gradually weaken their effects through our consumer habits, climate change advocacy, praying for those in danger, and making repairs.

Hurricane Photo Credit: NOAA/NWS/Facebook.


Marcie Barth is chairperson and co-founder of Newark Center for Meditative Culture currently teaching there and at Centro La Paz in Puerto Rico where she resides.


 


September 8-9: Farm Meditation, Book Signing, and People of Color Retreat

With Bhante Kaboggoza Buddharakkhita of Uganda

SOWING SEEDS OF PEACE
Farm Meditation • Dharma Talk • Farm-to-Table Lunch
Saturday Sep. 8 | 11:30am to 1:30pm
Free: Donations welcome
Rabbit Hole Farm Newark
RSVP | Details: Keven/Arelis at rabbitholefarmnewark@gmail.com

PLANTING SEEDS OF DHAMMA
Book-Signing • Meditation • Talk • Vendors
Saturday Sep. 8 | 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Fee: $15
Source of Knowledge Bookstore
RSVP | Details: Greg 973-388-4900 or Ayanna 862-944-8860

CULTIVATING WISDOM & COMPASSION TO HEAL THE COMMUNITY
People of Color Full-Day Meditation Retreat
Sunday Sep. 9 | 9:30am to 4:30pm
Meditation • Talks • Movement • Art • Healing • Affinity
Suggested Donation: $30
Atrium Room at the Early Learning Center
Register | Details: ncmc-poc-retreat.eventbrite.com


First Books to be Published by NCMC

Planting Dhamma Seeds and Sowing Seeds of Peace

We’re excited to announce that Newark Center for Meditative Culture (NCMC) is now a book publisher. We are publishing two books by Bhante Kaboggoza Buddharakkhita who will be teachingPDS Graphic.png with NCMC on Saturday and Sunday, September 8th and 9th. The books to be published are Planting Dhamma Seeds: The Emergence of Buddhism in Africa and Sowing Seeds of Peace: Mindfulness Meditation for Finding Peace Within.

They will only be available for a special sale price of $10 and at a limited quantity to participants at the programs — first come first serve! They will soon also be online with Amazon for purchase at $13.95.

This is the first time that these books will be published in the United States and the first books to be published by NCMC!

We have a short term agreement to publish these books online as a trial project in order to see if publishing spiritual and meditation books could provide a slow and steady stream of income for NCMC in order to fulfill our mission and support our programming.

Author of “Dreaming Me: Black, Baptist and Buddhist”, Jan Willis, wrote of the book Planting Dhamma Seeds:  “… Venerable Buddharakkhita offers us the rare and fascinating story of his spiritual journey with heart and humor. He skillfully weaves into his personal narrative well-chosen passages from the Pali Buddhist Canon and describes for us the challenges and triumphs of establishing the first Buddhist Centre in Uganda. When I finished reading this engaging account, I was left wishing for more!”
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As for Sowing Seeds of Peace, Ib’nallah S. Kazi, Spirit Life Coach at The Spirit Centered Life, describes the book as: “… a breath of fresh air in an age of information overload. Bhante presents the essential elements of meditation practice in a concise and simple language, minus the common filler of metaphysical jargon and scientific theory sandwiched between mounds of case studies. If you want to begin a meditation practice today and progress from the general to more specific techniques for healing and self-development, this book is written for you. Just add consistency.”

All of the proceeds (after costs) from the sale of the books sold at these programs will go to Bhante’s meditation center, Uganda Buddhist Centre, to help support programs such as their Peace School for Children, their Orphan Project, and their Women’s Livelihood Program.

See our newsletter for descriptions of the programs you can attend to purchase these books.

 


A Moment of Grace

By Ib’nallah S. Kazi

savingPNG.jpegThe act of saying grace over a meal and of blessing the dinner table are sacred rituals practiced for millennia across the globe.

From Ghana to Burma and all the way to the Netherlands, human beings incorporate the daily act of eating into their personal and collective spiritual lives.

The blessing of the meal is a time for giving thanks.

Prayers may be directed to a supreme being, to ancestors, the earth or whatever spiritual agency is believed to be of assistance in securing sustenance. Sometimes family members, employees and employers are thanked for the part they play in sustaining an individual or household.

Still a concern for many to this day is the healthiness of a meal they’re about to eat. Invasion of the body by food-born pathogens is a threat that challenges human beings daily. Therefore, some cultures may include request that the meal be allowed to provide strength and vitality — or at least be rendered free of harm.

Not to be overlooked is the impact upon the psyche of that moment of silence when one’s head is bowed and gaze lowered in recognition of our mutual dependence upon all we consider powerful, holy and beneficent.

The few seconds taken to reconnect to the part of us that remains in constant connection with the Unseen Real opens a “spiritual moment.” And in that moment, we invoke the soul elixir that releases the strengthening, healing, beautifying properties of the meal.

We can use the tradition of saying grace as a “conscious opportunity” to create more of those spiritual moments in our day. We don’t have to limit our spiritual practice to being locked away in a specially outfitted room with dimmed lighting, lots of plump pillows and scented candles.

Let’s bring our practice into our “common spaces” — with their sounds and scents of life at its core. First we take back the kitchen, then the toilet, then the garden.

It all adds up.


Ib’nallah S. Kazi is the Spiritual Director of Newark Center for Meditative Culture and a Spiritual Health & Wellness Coach at The Spirit Centered Life.


People of Color Full-Day Retreat with Bhante Buddharakkhita of Uganda

Cultivating Compassion & Wisdom to Heal Our Communities

A DONATION-BASED MEDITATION PROGRAM.
$30 suggested or as you can, greater or smaller.*

Sunday, September 9, 2018
9:30 AM – 4:30 PM EDT
Early Learning Center | Atrium Room
1 New York Avenue | Second Floor
Newark, NJ

REGISTER NOW: ncmc-poc-retreat.eventbrite.com

Led by Ugandan Buddhist monk, Bhante Buddharakkhita (b. Steven Jemba Kaboggoza; bio below), this meditation retreat is specifically for those people from communities of color who are immigrant Americans or reside in America and who consider themselves as indigenous, enslaved, colonized, disenfranchised, and/or marginalized. People of Color retreats are especially intended to provide an affinity group for individuals who daily confront the effects of racism.

We ask that all participants attend the program in its entirety. The program is designed for all to feel comfortable, comprehend, and hold interest — whether you are a beginner, experienced, or committed meditator of any discipline. Consider inviting a meditation buddy to attend with you (it’s a nice supportive practice).

Included in the program will be guided meditation, Dharma Talks, walking meditation, yoga movement, Dyads, and Q&As. There will also be an Art As Insight Workshop. Assisting Bhante from the NCMC board community will be instructors Andrea Lee, Kamilah Crawley, and J. Javier Cruz, and announcer Ihsaan R. Muhammad. (Bios on the Leadership Page of our website.) A vegan meal will be served.

The venue is in a state-of-the-art LEED-certified green building with wheel-chair and elevator access. If the weather is nice we will also use the adjoining Outdoor Courtyard to the Atrium Room during some of the movement sessions. It is an easy and direct .6 mile/11 minute walk from Newark Penn Station. Street parking is available in the area.
Bhante Buddharakkhita’s most popular book, Planting Dhamma Seeds: The Emergence of Buddhism in Africa and his most recent book on meditation, Sowing Seeds of Peace, will be available for purchase. All proceeds after costs will go to his center in Uganda for their projects such as the Peace School for Children, Orphan Project, and Women’s Livelihood Project.

*Donations go to cover program expenses and gifts to teacher and instructors.

REGISTER NOW: ncmc-poc-retreat.eventbrite.com


Tentative Schedule

ARRIVAL
8:30 Volunteer Arrival
9:00-9:15 Participant Arrival. Please arrive no later than 9:15.
MORNING SESSION (3 hours)
9:30-12:30 Dharma Talk, Guided Meditation, Yoga Movement, Dyad, Q&A
LUNCH (1 hour)
12:30-1:30 Mindfulness of Eating Guidelines, Meal Blessing, Meal, Rest, Interviews with Teacher
AFTERNOON SESSION (3 hours)
1:30-4:30 Dharma Talk, Guided Meditation, Art Workshop, Walking Meditation, Dyad, Q&A
DEPARTURE


Teacher Bio-note

Bhante Buddharakkhita was born and raised in Uganda, Africa. He first encountered Buddhism in 1990 while living in India, and he began practicing meditation in 1993. He was ordained as a Buddhist monk by the late Venerable U Silananda in 2002 at the Tathagata Meditation Center in San Jose, California and then he spent eight years under the guidance of Bhante Gunaratana at the Bhavana Society, West Virginia. He is the founder of the Uganda Buddhist Center in Uganda. Besides spending time at his Center, he is the spiritual director of Flowering Lotus Meditation Center in Magnolia, Mississippi. Bhante has been teaching meditation in Africa, Australia, Europe, Asia, and the U.S, since 2005. His book, Planting Dhamma Seeds: The Emergence of Buddhism in Africa, tells the story of his religious and spiritual work in Africa. His most recent book is Sowing Seeds of Peace. He is a Visiting Monastic Teacher with Newark Center for Meditative Culture in New Jersey. He is on the council of advisers to Buddhist Global Relief in New York.


About NCMC

Newark Center for Meditative Culture is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving a diverse urban meditation community. Your tax deductible donations make it possible for us to deliver life-changing programs to the Greater Newark community.

All of our programs are offered as donation-based no-fee to the participant. Instead, we invite all participants to make voluntary gifts to the level of their ability, sometimes with suggested donation amounts. NCMC disperses the donations equitably between teachers and venue providers. We base this system on the practice of dana or generosity, which is inherent to many spiritual traditions.

Contact us with questions at info@newarkmeditation.org.


Urban Nature Bathing

Re-Naturing Ourselves and Our Children:
The Tree vs. The Screen

 

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Some of our current and past nature programs, left to right, top to bottom: Child sits quietly near meditation circle at Military Park; our new meditation circle in Independence Park; children play at the trees; a child tries a few minutes of meditation, a boys/men mindful nature hike in South Mountain Reservation, an Earth Month pond clean-up and mindfulness in motion in Branch Brook Park with teenagers.

 

The japanese have a practice called shinrin-yoku, translated to forest-bathing, that simply put means taking the forest in through our senses. To just be in nature, with no particular aim, can bridge the gap beween us and the natural world that we are intrinsically a part of, but too often we have lost touch with.

We use all our senses of seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching to forest bath. Along with awakening the five senses to nature, we can elevate our sixth sense base of consciousness (present with all of these other senses) to a mind state of joy, kindness, and wholeness.

Many of us have become so separate from nature as now the majority of the world’s population lives in cities. Though we might not often be able to go “into the woods”, we have our urban green spaces as little oases.

If not for our own good, we need to consider exposing our urban-bred children to natural settings. There are significant and diverse studies that indicate that being in nature is important to children in their cognitive, emotional, social, and educational development.1 In a more natural way of putting it, we can say that children who experience natural settings are able to stay in touch with themselves and be more peaceful, which helps them to stay more focused and less fragmented.

There too are clear class- and race-based inequalities in urban children’s exposure to the natural world as well as industrial environmental hazards1, but we as a community and as parents and caregivers can make informed choices as to how we use our precious time.

At Newark Center for Meditative Culture (NCMC), being in nature has an important role in our teacher’s practices. Those in the community who keep up with us recognize that bringing nature programs and sessions to the community is a priority.

This summer through the end of August, NCMC is offering two free opportunities to bath in urban nature with us and learn to meditate while you are at it. Each Tuesday we are running Meditation Classes in Independence Park in the Ironbound (translation into spanish and portuguese as requested). Downtown each Wednesday we are running Meditation Classes in Military Park. Weather providing, both start at 7:00pm and go to 8:00pm.

These are Family Friendly programs, so we invite you to bring children who can sit quietly with us or play near us to get their first taste of mindfulness practice in nature.

If you can’t sit with us, perhaps this information will inspire you to commit to engage with nature through local hikes and nature outings or as much as possible get out at lunch to sit at a tree, lay in the grass and look at the sky, or instead of gazing at a television screen or phone screen, step out at night to gaze up at the stars.

1Reference Article: Childhood Development and Access to Nature: A New Direction for Environmental Inequality Research; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3162362/

For further information, contact Newark Center for Meditative Culture at info@newarkmeditation.org.


The Art of Kindful Mindfulness in the Family

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Pictured left to right: Kamilah Crawley, Cornelia Santschi, Venus Banks, David Venezia, Orlene Cummings, Mercedes Valle.

A Report on our Museum Workshop

 

In the late afternoon of June 8th, Newark Center for Meditative Culture gave Family Mindfulness Workshops during the Early Childhood Night at the Newark Museum. We were delighted to have been invited to share our expertise.

Our Family Kindful-Mindful Team included Cornelia Santschi PhD, a neuropsychologist, who led the team of instructors, Kamilah Crawley and Venus Banks who planned and organized as well as instructed, instructor David Venezia who with Andrea Lee helped in session development, and Orlene Cummings and Mercedes Valle PhD, who assisted in facillitating the workshops.

Corresponding with Venus, an educator in Newark NJ and area, she feels that workshops like these provide tools to help young people establish lifelong healthy behavior patterns. She further emphasizes that establishing healthy behaviors during (early) childhood is easier and more effective than trying to change unhealthy behaviors during adulthood.

Working in the Newark Public School System for most of her career as a child psychologist, Mercedes has been engaged in working intimately with children and parents. She says she practices kindness because she feels the earth belongs to all and that caring and loving each other makes a better world.

Though we issued a limited amount of surveys, most surveyed indicated that they were now likely to practice mindfulness with their family. Most of the caregivers surveyed also thought that their children enjoyed the mindfulness workshop “quite a bit” to “a lot”.

Our instructors were enthusiastic about the results of the workshops, and felt that they learned from the experience as well. They anticipate developing the workshops even further for different occasions.

We are grateful to the Newark Museum, United Way, Newark Public Schools, and the Nicholson Foundation for the opportunity to be of service to the community with our Family Mindfulness Workshops.

You can also stay up to date with NCMC’s programs by subscribing to the newsletter and following us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 


Introduction to Meditation Medicine 1.0

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A Free Online Course • Practice at Your Own Pace

One of the very first practices of meditation, if not the first, is Attention to the Breath.

Learn how and why.

OVERVIEW: The purpose of this course taught by Ib’nallah S. Kazi is to help you move beyond settling for the explanation of meditation, into the experience of meditation and a consistent practice. Meditation is something that you have to practice and make a part of your life. You will come to understand what Meditation Medicine means and why meditation is medicine.
COURSE INCLUDES: Prerecorded Web Talks and Guided Meditations; Optional Discussion and Consultation; Infographics.

A Course of The Spirit-Centered Life held in conjunction with Newark Center for Meditative Culture.


We’re Out in the Community!

Recent Appearances

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April 10
Presenters Javier Cruz and Jennifer Becher led a Pre-lunch Parent/Teachers Meditation & Mindfulness Session at Technology High School. It turned out to be a small group, but sometimes that’s good for the students as they get more direct and personal attention.

May 9
Presenter Kamilah Crawley led a pre-program guided micro-meditation at the Technology High School Mother’s Day Dinner to a group of about 30 people to start the program off with a zen moment!  She reported that the buffet and decorations were lovely — quite accurate from the photo pictured below.

May 21
A Meditation & Mindfulness Workshop for the Mujeres Activas of Ironbound Community Corporation was taught by Marcie Barth. It was a two-hour workshop engaging the women in various means of meditation, mindfulness, and contemplative critical thinking.

Upcoming Appearances

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June 14th
Join NCMC at this Wellness Event with The Sis and Bro Initiative
Thursday, June 14 | 6:00 to 9:00pm
LaunchPad, 625 Broad St., Newark, NJ

NCMC has been invited to give a short presentation and guided meditation that will be provided by Andrea Lee shortly after the start of the event. We’re happy to be included to support this program!

June 18
Presenters Ihsaan Muhammad and J. Javier Cruz will be sharing two brief guided meditations at NJPAC’s Wellness Fair to be held for their staff only. We think their can be more contentment and even happines at work and we understand the medicinal healing values of meditation.

4c252a3c-a198-418e-825d-c057960be778.pngJune 21
Join NCMC at the 4th Annual
Brick City Solstice on International Yoga Day
Thursday, June 21
8:00 to 5:00pm
Military Park (Rain venue: Hahne’s Grand Court)

We are grateful to be invited to participate in this free annual event for the third year in a row, planned by our friends at Newark Yoga Movement. NCMC will provide two meditation sessions, a Morning Meditation with J. Javier Cruz and then Kamilah Crawley leading a Wind-Down Meditation toward the end of the day. Join us for a day with a Sizzling Soul Group on Summer Solstice!

 

 


Part 1.4: Self-Healing Meditation Medicine

Introduction to Meditation Medicine Course

Part 4 of 4 Lessons

The purpose of this course is to help you move beyond settling for the explanation of meditation, into the experience of meditation and a consistent practice. Meditation is something that you have to practice and make a part of your life. You will come to understand what Meditation Medicine means and why meditation is medicine. (See blog post Course 1.0: Introduction to Meditation Medicine—Course Description that gives the entire overview.)

 

Step 1: Watch Intro to Meditation Medicine Talk 1.4

Short talk about developing a sacred approach to your practice, space, and time in order to focus internally on yourself for power, wellness, and wisdom. (9 min)

 

Step 2: Listen and practice Guided Meditation 1.4: Self-Healing Meditation Medicine

Short talk on meditation as a self-healing modality within a specialized society and the ensueing fragmention of ourselves that we can heal through meditation. Includes brief body scan and breath meditation and a new practice of Inner Smile meditation. (24 min)

 

Step 3: Practice what you’ve learned in these videos for a week. Then continue on with your own practice.

 

Optional: Would you mind completing a short survey to let us know what you liked and what we can improve on in our online courses? [SURVEY LINK TO COME]

We also would love for you to join us if you haven’t already on the Meditation Medicine Study Group on Facebook where we can support each other’s practice through online discussions, sharing relevant posts, and asking questions to the teacher.

 

Additional Resource: Infographic 1.4: A Consistent Sacred Meditation Practice.
Feel free to print this out and use it as a reference.

Infographic_Consistent Sacred Meditation Practice.png

Consultation: Optional twenty-minute consultation with Kazi concerning your meditation experiences, insights, challenges, etc. via email, phone, or skype. Contact us at info@newarkmeditation.org to request.

Ongoing online group discussions and teachings with Kazi: You can join the Meditation Medicine Study Group on Facebook to engage with a group of kindred spirits to share your meditation medicine journey with.


Go to Course 1.0: Introduction to Meditation Medicine: Course Description

Go to Lesson 1.1: Meditation is Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.2: Preventive Meditation Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.3: Curative Meditation Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.4: Self-Healing Meditation Medicine

 

Peace. Kazi


 


Part 1.3: Curative Meditation Medicine

Introduction to Meditation Medicine Course

Part 3 of 4 Lessons

The purpose of this course is to help you move beyond settling for the explanation of meditation, into the experience of meditation and a consistent practice. Meditation is something that you have to practice and make a part of your life. You will come to understand what Meditation Medicine means and why meditation is medicine. (See blog post Course 1.0: Introduction to Meditation Medicine—Course Description that gives the entire overview.)

Step 1: Watch Intro to Meditation Medicine Talk 1.3

Short talk your mindset, erasing doubts, letting go, and our abillity to truly relax in order to activate our parasympathetic nervous system. (10 min)

 

Step 2: Listen and practice Guided Meditation 1.3: Curative Meditation Medicine

Short talk on meditation as a curative measure, relating to tension, pain, and chronic pain. Includes additional guidance on contract-relax body scan and breath meditation, followed by a new practice of mindfulness of pain. (28 min)

 

Step 3: Practice what you’ve learned in these videos for a week. Then go to Lesson 1.4: Self-Healing Meditation Medicine.

 

Additional Resource: Infographic 1.3: Basic Meditation Practices Prescribed.
Feel free to print this out and use it as a reference.

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Consultation: Optional twenty-minute consultation with Kazi concerning your meditation experiences, insights, challenges, etc. via email, phone, or skype. Contact us at info@newarkmeditation.org to request.

Ongoing online group discussions and teachings with Kazi: You can join the Meditation Medicine Study Group on Facebook to engage with a group of kindred spirits to share your meditation medicine journey with.


Go to Course 1.0: Introduction to Meditation Medicine: Course Description

Go to Lesson 1.1: Meditation is Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.2: Preventive Meditation Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.3: Curative Meditation Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.4: Self-Healing Meditation Medicine

 

Peace. Kazi


 


Part 1.2: Preventive Meditation Medicine

Introduction to Meditation Medicine Course

Part 2 of 4 Lessons

The purpose of this course is to help you move beyond settling for the explanation of meditation, into the experience of meditation and a consistent practice. Meditation is something that you have to practice and make a part of your life. You will come to understand what Meditation Medicine means and why meditation is medicine. (See blog post Course 1.0: Introduction to Meditation Medicine—Course Description that gives the entire overview.)

 

Step 1: Watch Intro to Meditation Medicine Talk 1.2

Short talk on how to create a space conducive to meditation practice. (11 min)

 

 

Step 2: Listen and practice Guided Meditation 1.2: Preventive Meditation Medicine

Short talk on meditation as a preventive measure, its positive effect on the immune system and well-being, and the qualities of mindfulness. Includes three guided meditation exercises: body scan, breath meditation, and mindfulness meditation. (31 min)

 

Step 3: Practice what you’ve learned in these videos for a week. Then go to Lesson 1.3: Curative Meditation Medicine.

 

Additional Resource: Infographic 1.2: Creating Good Meditation Associations.
Feel free to print this out and use it as a reference.

Infographic_Creating Good Meditation Associations.png

 

Consultation: Optional twenty-minute consultation with Kazi concerning your meditation experiences, insights, challenges, etc. via email, phone, or skype. Contact us at info@newarkmeditation.org to request.

Ongoing online group discussions and teachings with Kazi: You can join the Meditation Medicine Study Group on Facebook to engage with a group of kindred spirits to share your meditation medicine journey with.


Go to Course 1.0: Introduction to Meditation Medicine: Course Description

Go to Lesson 1.1: Meditation is Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.2: Preventive Meditation Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.3: Curative Meditation Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.4: Self-Healing Meditation Medicine

 

Peace. Kazi


 


Part 1.1: Meditation is Medicine

Introduction to Meditation Medicine Course

Part 1 of 4 Lessons

The purpose of this course is to help you move beyond settling for the explanation of meditation, into the experience of meditation and a consistent practice. Meditation is something that you have to practice and make a part of your life. You will come to understand what Meditation Medicine means and why meditation is medicine. (See blog post Course 1.0: Introduction to Meditation Medicine—Course Description that gives the entire overview.)

 

Step 1: Watch Intro to Meditation Medicine Talk 1.1

An introduction to the series, its purpose, and goal. (11 min)

 

Step 2: Listen and practice Guided Meditation 1.1: Meditation is Medicine

Short talk on the medicinal potential of meditation and its main functions including the concept of bringing ourselves back to center, to equilibrium. Includes two basic guided meditation exercises: contract-relax body scan and breath meditation. (33 min)

 

Step 3: Practice what you’ve learned in these videos for a week. Then go to Lesson 1.2: Preventive Meditation Medicine.

 

Additional Resource: Infographic 1.1: Bringing Ourselves Back to Center.
Feel free to print this out and use it as a reference.

Infographic_Bringing Ourselves Back to Center.png

Consultation: Optional twenty-minute consultation with Kazi concerning your meditation experiences, insights, challenges, etc. via email, phone, or skype. Contact us at info@newarkmeditation.org to request.

Ongoing online group discussions and teachings with Kazi: You can join the Meditation Medicine Study Group on Facebook to engage with a group of kindred spirits to share your meditation medicine journey with.


Go to Course 1.0: Introduction to Meditation Medicine: Course Description

Go to Lesson 1.1: Meditation is Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.2: Preventive Meditation Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.3: Curative Meditation Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.4: Self-Healing Meditation Medicine

 

Peace. Kazi


 


Learn how to make meditation a part of your life in a simple four-part lesson!

Introduction to Meditation Medicine 1.0 — Course Description

A Course of The Spirit-Centered Life held in conjunction
with Newark Center for Meditative Culture.

Teacher: Ib’nallah S. Kazi (Go to bio.)

“The experience proceeds and is more important than the explanation.”
— Old African Proverb 

 

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If you have started to read this it might suggest that you believe there is personal, social and perhaps universal value in the practice of meditation. As the practice of meditation becomes more mainstream with each day, the opportunity to begin a meditation practice often remains stymied by a lack of time, energy or just a lack of knowledge on how and where to begin. We are currently offering a four-part lesson on Meditation Medicine for free. It is our wish that this series of teachings contributes to removing these obstacles to your meditation practice.

Peace. Kazi


Course Description

OVERVIEW: The purpose of this course is to help you move beyond settling for the explanation of meditation, into the experience of meditation and a consistent practice. Meditation is something that you have to practice and make a part of your life. You will come to understand what Meditation Medicine means and why meditation is medicine.

COURSE INCLUDES: Prerecorded Web Talks and Guided Meditations; Optional Discussion and Consultation; Infographics.


LESSON 1.1: Meditation is Medicine

VIDEO TALK 1.1: Intro to Meditation Medicine — An introduction to the series, its purpose, and goal. (11 min)

PRE-RECORDED GUIDED MEDITATION 1.1: Meditation is Medicine — Short talk on the medicinal potential of meditation and its main functions including the concept of bringing ourselves back to center, to equilibrium. Includes two basic guided meditation exercises: contract-relax body scan and breath meditation. (33 min)

INFOGRAPHIC: Bringing Ourselves Back to Center


LESSON 1.2: Preventive Meditation Medicine

VIDEO TALK 1.2: Creating a Meditation Space — Short talk on how to create a space conducive to meditation practice. (11 min)

PRE-RECORDED GUIDED MEDITATION 1.2: Preventive Meditation Medicine — Short talk on meditation as a preventive measure, its positive effect on the immune system and well-being, and the qualities of mindfulness. Includes three guided meditation exercises: body scan, breath meditation, and mindfulness meditation. (31 min)

INFOGRAPHIC: Creating Good Meditation Associations


LESSON 1.3: Curative Meditation Medicine

VIDEO TALK 1.3: Meditation as a Posture of The Mind — Short talk your mindset, erasing doubts, letting go, and our abillity to truly relax in order to activate our parasympathetic nervous system. (10 min)

PRE-RECORDED GUIDED MEDITATION 1.3: Curative Meditation Medicine — Short talk on meditation as a curative measure, relating to tension, pain, and chronic pain. Includes additional guidance on contract-relax body scan and breath meditation, followed by a new practice of mindfulness of pain. (28 min)

INFOGRAPHIC: Basic Meditation Practices Prescribed


LESSON 1.4: Self-Healing Meditation Medicine

VIDEO TALK 1.4: A Sacred Attitude in Meditation Practice — Short talk about developing a sacred approach to your practice, space, and time in order to focus internally on yourself for power, wellness, and wisdom. (9 min)

PRE-RECORDED GUIDED MEDITATION 1.4: Self-Healing Meditation Medicine — Short talk on meditation as a self-healing modality within a specialized society and the ensueing fragmention of ourselves that we can heal through meditation. Includes brief body scan and breath meditation and a new practice of Inner Smile meditation. (24 min)

INFOGRAPHIC: Developing a Sacred Consistent Practice


Go to Course 1.0: Introduction to Meditation Medicine: Course Description

Go to Lesson 1.1: Meditation is Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.2: Preventive Meditation Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.3: Curative Meditation Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.4: Self-Healing Meditation Medicine

Ongoing online group discussions and teachings with Kazi: You can join the Meditation Medicine Study Group on Facebook to engage with a group of kindred spirits to share your meditation medicine journey with.


 


Spring Tai-Chi in Military Park

Wednesdays, May 16 – June 20
5:30 to 6:30pm
Meditation Lawn in Military Park (just north of/next to park office)

A six-week series (weather permitting) of tai-chi and qi-gong taught by visiting teacher with NCMC, Shaka Georges, for his second summer with us. Gentle, healing, and easy-to-learn movement practice. No need to register, come as you can.

A free community service program held in conjunction with Military Park Partnership Summer Programs.


CULTIVATING INSIGHT & INSTINCT: A Daylong Retreat

OPTIONAL DAY-LONG OR PART-DAY PARTICIPATION (morning or afternoon session)

Sunday, May 20, 2018
10:00am to 4:00pm
Early Learning Center, 1 New York Ave.
(absolutely no walk-ins/no calls please)

Meditation teachers Ib’nallah S. Kazi and Cornelia Santschi will lead this donation-based NCMC program.  (Bios on Leadership Page of website.)

This retreat will help the community to understand the need to cultivate the insight, instincts, and focus needed to navigate the growing uncertainty and instability manifesting in our world. You will take home meditation tools that will help you to reconnect to the inner guidance previously lost in the incessant noise of modern society.

Included will be guided meditations, qigong and yoga movement, an art as meditation session, a visual presentation, and discussion. NCMC instructors J. Javier Cruz and Jennifer Becher will provide assistance. The program is intended to be appropriate for beginners through experienced meditators. A seasonal vegan Medicine Meal will be prepared by Arelis Hernandez, a Newark urban farmer-meditator.

If the weather is nice we plan to spend much of the day in the spring breeze of the adjoining outdoor courtyard! It will be a unique opportunity to experience the setting of a state-of-the-art LEED-certified green building. The venue is an easy and direct .6 mile/11 minute walk from Newark Penn Station. Wheel-chair access.

Please, absolutely no Walk-Ins and no Phone Calls to the Early Learning Center. Call NCMC at 862-227-3288 with inquiries or by email at info@newarkmeditation.org. For more information about Newark Center for Meditative Culture go to the website at http://www.newarkmeditation.org.

Registration Required on Eventbrite at:
https://ncmc-there-is-a-season-retreat.eventbrite.com
Suggested donation is $20 by PayPal/Credit Card when you register or Cash or PayPal/Credit Card at Door.

A donation-based program of Newark Center for Meditative Culture.


 


Part 3: Curative Meditation Medicine now available to Members on the Meditation Medicine Study Group on Facebook

FACEBOOK STUDY GROUP:
Meditation Medicine 4-Part Lesson with Kazi —
Free Introductory Series
Tuesday Evenings Beginning April 3, 10, 17, 24*
7:00pm EST | 4:00pm PST
*Access to recorded sessions if you can’t join us live.

This 4-part lesson is exclusive to Meditation Medicine Study Group Members and will be held on Tuesday evenings, April 3rd, April 10th, April 17th, and April 24th. The lessons include live web talks, pre-recorded guided meditations, discussion, consultation, and some home assignments. For more details, you can go to the Meditation Medicine Study Group on Facebook with Master Teacher Kazi of The Spirit-Centered Life.

To join in on the Course: Become a Member of the Meditation Medicine Study Group

A free introductory program of The Spirit-Centered Life held in conjunction with NCMC.


Part 2: Preventative Meditation Medicine now available to Members on the Meditation Medicine Study Group on Facebook

Part 2_Preventative Medicine_MM.pngFACEBOOK STUDY GROUP:
Meditation Medicine 4-Part Lesson with Kazi —
Free Introductory Series
Tuesday Evenings Beginning April 3, 10, 17, 24*
7:00pm EST | 4:00pm PST
*Access to recorded sessions if you can’t join us live.

This 4-part lesson is exclusive to Meditation Medicine Study Group Members and will be held on Tuesday evenings, April 3rd, April 10th, April 17th, and April 24th. The lessons will include live web talks, pre-recorded guided meditations, discussion, consultation, and some home assignments. For more details, you can go to the Meditation Medicine Study Group on Facebook with Master Teacher Kazi of The Spirit-Centered Life.

To join in on the Course: Become a Member of the Meditation Medicine Study Group

A free introductory program of The Spirit-Centered Life held in conjunction with NCMC.


Part 1: Meditation is Medicine now available to Members on the Meditation Medicine Study Group on Facebook

Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 4.07.39 PM.pngYou can still get your first dose of PART 1: Meditation is Medicine with Kazi of The Spirit-Centered Life, a study group held in conjunction with Newark Center for Meditative Culture. It’s easy, just become a member with your kindred spirits at the Meditation Medicine Study Group to access recorded talks, videos, discussion forum, and consultations with Kazi.
Click here to check out the orientation video.

 


DOWNTOWN: Mindful Meditation Workshop In Four Parts

downtown-meditation_event.pngSundays, April 15, April 22, April 29, and May 6
Starts at 10:30am
I’m So Yoga Newark, 1186 Raymond Boulevard

A peaceful way to start your Sundays. Learn and practice the basics of meditation and mindfulness. It’s a workshop appropriate for simply the curious, beginners, and intermediate meditators. Experienced? You’re welcome to come and brush up with a group. Instructors Andrea Lee and Kamilah Crawley of Newark Center for Meditative Culture will co-teach the classes. Come for all four sessions or come as you can, though we recommend a commitment to attending all four workshops to benefit yourself the most. Contact us at info@newarkmeditation.org with any questions.

ISYN Fee: $10 per session.
Registration/Payment at https://goo.gl/RkQMfp

An I’m So Yoga Newark fee-based sponsor program held in conjunction with NCMC.
An ISYN fee-based sponsor program held in conjunction with NCMC.


IRONBOUND: Spring Meditation Classes Begin for English-speaking and Spanish-speaking Groups

Ironbound_event.pngHispanohablante — Clases de meditación y atención plena para principiantes
Serie de 8 clases
Miércoles, 4 de abril – 23 de mayo
5:30 a 6:30pm
Early Learning Center, 1 New York Ave. (no walk-ins)

Aprenda prácticas básicas de meditación y atención plena con Newark Center for Meditative Culture (NCMC) que pueden ayudarlo a reducir el estrés en su vida y darle más tranquilidad. Estas clases básicas de meditación y mindfulness son impartidas por NCMC profesor, Javier Cruz. Las clases incluyen meditación guiada, estiramientos de yoga ligero, caminar atentamente, charlas con el maestro y preguntas y respuestas. A los estudiantes se les asignan tareas opcionales de atención domiciliaria fáciles y opcionales. Lo mejor es asistir a la serie completa, pero ven lo que puedas. Sin embargo, no hay walk-ins. DEBE registrar su nombre, email, y ciudad una vez antes de asistir. Registrarse en info@newarkmeditation.org.

Un programa de servicio comunitario gratuito con NCMC patrocinado por Ironbound Community Corporation.


Spring Session — Meditation & Mindfulness Classes
Series of 10 Classes
Wednesdays, April 4 – June 6
6:45 to 7:45pm
Early Learning Center, 1 New York Ave. (no walk-ins)

This spring session of 10 classes with Newark Center for Meditative Culture (NCMC) will have a focus on loving-kindness (metta) meditation practice. These continuing meditation and mindfulness classes are taught by NCMC teacher, Javier Cruz with assistance by Jennifer Becher also of NCMC. The classes include guided meditation, light yoga stretches, mindful walking, teacher talk, and Q&A. We’ll enjoy one class with an Art as Meditation Workshop. Students are given easy, optional home-mindfulness assignments. Parents/guardians are welcome to bring teens. It’s best to attend the entire series, but come as you can. However, there are no walk-ins. You MUST register your name, email, and city one time before attending. Register at info@newarkmeditation.org.

A free community service program with NCMC sponsored by the Ironbound Community Corporation. •

 

 



Meditation Medicine 4-Week Study Group with Kazi: Free Introductory Series

Join us for a free four-part lesson online in simple to apply instruction in the physical, functional and mental mechanics of meditation practice:
Recorded Meditations | Live Talks | Discussion Forum | Consultation

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Tuesday Evenings Beginning April 3rd
7:00 pm EST | 4:00 pm PST
(24 hours to access LIVE sessions if you can’t join us live.)

Held in conjunction with Newark Center for Meditative Culture, this 4 part lesson is exclusive to Meditation Medicine Study Group Members and will be held on Tuesday evenings, April 3rd, April 10th, April 17th, and April 24th. The lessons will include live web talks, pre-recorded guided meditations, discussion, consultation, and some home assignments.

To Register:
Become a member of the Meditation Medicine Study Group on Facebook with Master Teacher Kazi of The Spirit-Centered Life.

JOIN THE STUDY GROUP

IF YOU CAN’T MAKE THE LIVE SESSIONS, STUDENTS WILL HAVE 24 HOURS TO VIEW THE RECORDED SESSION.

Course Description:
As the practice of meditation becomes more mainstream with each day, the opportunity to begin a meditation practice often remains stymied by a lack of time, energy or just a lack of knowledge on how and where to begin. It is our wish that this series of teachings contributes to removing these obstacles to your meditation practice.

This series of lessons includes:

• Four live web talks on meditative practice, method, challenges, resources, etc. (recorded versions available for 24 hours, if you are unable to attend LIVE)
• Four pre-recorded guided meditations that you can download and play at your convenience.
• Question and Answer on the material covered in the course via the group forum.
• Optional twenty-minute consultation with Kazi concerning your meditation experiences, insights, challenges, etc. via email, phone, or skype.
• A group of kindred spirits to share your meditation medicine journey with.

Registration available only once you have become a member of the Meditation Medicine Study Group.

JOIN THE STUDY GROUP


About the Teacher
Ib’nallah S. Kazi (Kazi) is a Las Vegas-based spiritual wellness coach, medicine movement, and meditation teacher. He places an emphasis on wellness and personal development through his own program, presently known as The Spirit-Centered Life. Kazi has had a committed meditation practice for over 30 years and applies many disciplines. This includes Taoist, Sufi and Ancestral Meditation Medicine. Kazi has built a diverse education and training. His adolescent rites of passage began in 1974 when he became a Five Percenter, a splinter group from the Nation of Islam. Kazi has trained in and developed his internal martial medicine skills, teaching both Tai Chi Chuan and Yara Mba. He was the co-founder of the Harriet Tubman Hiking Society established in 1988 to immerse the African-American community back into nature. He integrated fitness training and massage becoming certified as a Health-Fitness Trainer and as a Massage Therapist that included Royal Thai Medical Massage. He also became a certified Intrinisic Coach. Kazi was until 2017 based in Newark NJ for 13 years where he remains on the Board of Directors of Newark Center for Meditative Culture, serving as the Spiritual Director and Lead Teacher. See Kazi’s full bio on the NCMC Website under Leadership.


Letting Go and Loving

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A Special Loving-kindness Meditation Class on Valentine’s Day
(with “Heart of Wisdom” Valentine Art Session)
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
6:00 to 7:30pm
Early Learning Center, 1 New York Ave., Newark
(no walk-ins)

(Traducción en español a continuación.)

How do we let go of those we love, but at the same time love them? How do we learn to give our love more open-mindedly, with less judgement? How do we turn passionate love into compassionate love?

Join Newark Center for Meditative Culture for this special valentine meditation class with teacher J. Javier Cruz. He will guide us in the practice of loving-kindness (metta), an important meditation discipline to develop a finer, more infinite love for self, family, friends, enemies, and ultimately for all beings. The Karaniya Metta Sutta describes it beautifully:

Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings;
Radiating kindness over the entire world:
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded.

This loving-kindness practice can soften the heart to not want to feel anger or hate any more — seeing how it not only hurts others, but it hurts ourselves.

We will also enjoy a Heart of Wisdom valentine art session to further express our intrinsic selflessness and love!

This class will be in english with spanish translation as necessary. You must sign up to attend this class at info@newarkmeditation.org (unless you are registered already for the bilingual classes).

Sponsored by Ironbound Community Corporation.

May all beings be happy!


Dejar Ir y Amar

Una clase especial de meditación de bondad amorosa en el día de San Valentín
(con “Heart of Wisdom” Valentine Art Session)
Miércoles, 14 de febrero de 2018
6:00 a 7:30 p.m.
Early Learning Center, 1 New York Ave., Newark
(sin visitas)

¿Cómo dejamos ir a los que amamos, pero al mismo tiempo los amamos? ¿Cómo aprendemos a dar a nuestro amor una mente más abierta, con menos juicio? ¿Cómo convertimos el amor apasionado en amor compasivo?

Únase al Newark Center for Meditative Culture para esta clase especial de meditación de San Valentín con el maestro J. Javier Cruz. Él nos guiará en la práctica de la bondad amorosa (metta), una importante disciplina de meditación para desarrollar un amor más fino e infinito por uno mismo, la familia, los amigos, los enemigos y, en última instancia, por todos los seres. El Karaniya Metta Sutta lo describe bellamente:

Incluso cuando una madre protege con su vida
Su hijo, su único hijo,
Entonces con un corazón sin límites
Debería uno apreciar a todos los seres vivos;
Irradiando bondad en todo el mundo:
Dispersándose hacia los cielos,
Y hacia abajo a las profundidades;
Hacia afuera y sin límites.

Esta práctica de bondad amorosa puede ablandar el corazón para no querer sentir rabia u odio, ya que no solo lastima a los demás, sino que también nos lastima.

¡También disfrutaremos de una sesión de arte de San Valentín de Heart of Wisdom para expresar aún más nuestro desinterés y amor intrínsecos!

Esta clase será en inglés con traducción al español según sea necesario. Debe inscribirse para asistir a esta clase en info@newarkmeditation.org (a menos que ya esté registrado para las clases bilingües).

Patrocinado por Ironbound Community Corporation.

¡Que todos los seres sean felices!

 


Taking Root in Black History Month

“What is firmly rooted cannot be pulled out.”
— Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

By Ib’nallah S. Kazi

During Black History Month, we retrace our historical steps. We learn where we came from and how it is we came to find ourselves in the present situation. Thus, when we reach a crossroad (a decisive moment in life or history) we are better equipped to navigate in a way that brings us closer to our destination.

When this happens it can be helpful to retrace your steps. Turn around and walk back along the path until you see a trail marker, a unique tree or boulder that you recognize having seen on the “right path” before you zoned out.

When hiking the trail of life, do we sometimes look up from the ground and find that we have been walking in circles? It’s very easy to get lost in thought during a long walk in the wilderness.

Trees never get lost on their journey from earth to sky. Because they are firmly rooted in the earth, the winds are unable to alter their destination.

Meditators firmly rooted in their breath recover quickly from thoughts that pull them away from their center.

Humans rooted in the lessons of history are not distracted by fake news or turned around by fear mongering. They seek guidance in the wisdom of their ancestors and strength from the righteousness and inevitable victory of their struggle.


Relaxing into Clarity: A Daylong Meditation & Mindfulness Retreat on February 25th

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Optional Part-Day Participation

Sunday, February 25, 2018
10:00am to 4:00pm
Venue: Index Art Center, 237 Washington St., Newark, NJ 07102

ALL MUST REGISTER! Go to registration form.

Spend the day with Newark Center for Meditative Culture relaxing into your body and mind to cultivate clarity, taught by guest meditation and dharma teachers Rebecca Li and Shaka Georges. Optional part-day participation (morning or afternoon session). Retreatants will receive guidance in sitting, walking, and moving meditation. The afternoon session will also include art/written word workshop on the Art of Seeing. This donation-based day retreat is appropriate for beginners to advanced meditators, aged 18 and older*. Vegetarian lunch included.

PROGRAM SCHEDULE
• MORNING (9:30-9:45 Arrival/Check-in)
10:00-12:25 Morning Workshop
• LUNCH (12:10 Arrival/Check-in)
12:25-1:25
• AFTERNOON (1:10 Arrival/Check-in)
1:30-4:00 Afternoon Workshop

SUGGESTED DONATION
$20 Adult/$10 Student, but donate what fits into your budget.
Tax-deductible donations through PayPal/Credit Card when you register or Cash-at-Door. Donations go to gift teachers and to help cover rent and other expenses for this event. Donations are much needed and appreciated. Consider donating even if you can’t attend!

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
Consider volunteering as your donation to attend OR volunteer AND attend! Or you can just volunteer and not attend! We need help with class set-up, buffet set-up, check-in desk, lunch service/clean-up, time-keeping and announcing, break-down, and vegetarian food donations. Please let us know when you fill out the registration form if you would like to volunteer in any of these ways and we’ll get back to you!

SUPPORT THE EVENT
Can’t attend but would like to help support this event? We always need help gifting the teachers and for venue rental and other event expenses.
Make tax-deductible donations through PayPal/Credit Card: paypal.me/NCMCevents
We also greatly appreciate NCMC friends who want to volunteer at the retreat, but not attend. Contact us at info@newarkmeditation.org.

*If you feel that it’s important or necessary that your child/youth attend with you and you are able to mind and be responsible for your child/youth (aged 8 -17) during the retreat, you are welcome to submit one child when you register. They should be able to sit still and silent for extended periods.


ABOUT THE TEACHERS:

Rebecca Li, a Dharma heir in the lineage of the Chan Master Sheng Yen, started practicing meditation in 1995. She began her teacher’s training with Master Sheng Yen in 1999 to become a Dharma and meditation instructor. Later on, she trained with Simon Child to lead intensive retreats and received full Dharma transmission in 2016. Currently, she teaches meditation and Dharma classes, gives public lectures and leads retreats at Dharma Drum centers, university meditation groups and Dharma practice groups in the northeast. Her talks and writings can be found at www.rebeccali.org. Rebecca Li is also a professor of sociology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at The College of New Jersey.

Shaka Georges began his martial arts practice at the age of 9 years old. He immigrated to the U.S. from Haiti in 1975, and ever since then has studied various forms of martial arts including Wing Chun, White Crane Kung Fu Capoeira, and Tai Chi Long and Short Forms. He is a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner from the Mahamudra Lineage and has been meditating for over 10 years. He has also been a fitness coach and instructor in Newark. Shaka is a certified tai chi and qi gong teacher practicing in Montclair and Harrison NJ (see Discovering The Healer Within Facebook page) and is a mathematics high school teacher in West Orange.


ALL MUST REGISTER! Go to registration form.

 


One Brick at a Time

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The beginning of a new year has become the traditional time to evaluate our lives. So let’s do it! And let’s use a brick as our multi-purpose metaphor.

As a starting point, we’ll take this well-known quote by actor Will Smith: “You don’t set out to build a wall. You don’t say ‘I’m going to build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that’s ever been built.’ You don’t start there. You say, ‘I’m going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid. You do that every single day. And soon you have a wall.”  There’s a lot of wisdom in these words, but let’s examine brick laying more closely as it applies to our meditative and spiritual perspectives.

First of all, who are we?

When we reflect on who or what we are, we might imagine that we are a person carrying 5 piles of bricks on our shoulders. These bricks might represent the five aggregates in buddhist psychology —  form, feeling, perception, fabrication, and consciousness. We hold tight to these constantly changing piles of bricks trying to keep these activities from changing.

We can let these aggregates/bricks weigh us down. So why not instead of carrying piles of bricks on our shoulders, we take them off and lay them along the ground and simply observe and adjust them.

Why am I where I am today?

Let’s go back to the brick wall. Some of us may need to dismantle our wall and start a radical new wall. Others might just have one brick to start with. Others of us may have already built a beautiful brick wall, basking in our glory, only to see ourselves like Humpty Dumpty, falling, out of our carelessness or mistakes. Or, we might be building around others who are effecting us with their rubble, their taller walls, or poorly made walls. Then it’s vital to practice non-judgement and patience as we build our own.

Or, we may have fallen from no apparent reason at all to us! That’s just how it appears sometimes. Humpty Dumpty couldn’t be put together again when he fell off his brick wall. However, we can find that there always is a way to start over — again and again and again — but  under different conditions and possibly with different aims in building our new “biggest, baddest, greatest wall”.

Then what direction should we take?

Now that we’ve laid our aggregate bricks on the ground, we can use these bricks rather than have them use us, to construct a beautiful pathway. For example, we might see the pathway we construct as the buddhist eightfold path: upright view, thought, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration. When we apply our concentration and mindfulness through the practice of meditation, it can have good effect on the other bricks on the path.

Is this a perfect “yellow brick road”? Not quite, there will be bumps and road blocks along the way, but the sense of well-being and inner happiness that continue to develop will be worth the practice of these meditative life skills. Once you have a committed practice you can broaden your road and even jump on and off the pavement to move skillfully through many modes of life situations.

How can we merge spirituality with success?

There is nothing wrong with wanting to go first or be the best, provided that our intention is to help pave the way for others along the way! We can help make others’ paths more easy — we can give them a little mortar or offer a brick.

There’s a quote attributed to the Sufi sage Rumi: “Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.” But then, why do some of us not get what we work hard for and want? We can’t all be great hip-hop artists or brain surgeons, but our passion for music might manifest in a different way in our work or at home. Our ability to be deft with our hands and make quick decisions might not manifest as becoming a surgeon, but instead as a wonderful conscientious activist homemaker.

So what about inner happiness?

Let’s start building with the brick of breath. Breath is form. We take one breath at a time, aware of the moment, aware also of our body, which is also form — with perhaps a little smile on our face — and be happy, that’s all. Be happy with ourselves as we are.  Oprah Winfrey is quoted as saying, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

Perhaps we can each become a BRICK HOUSE of Inner Happiness! Happy new year! Peace.


Meditación y Atención Plena en el Ironbound: Clases bilingües para principiantes | Meditation & Mindfulness in the Ironbound: Bilingual Classes for Beginners

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Miércoles, 24 de Enero al 28 de Marzo, 6:00 to 7:30pm

NCMC comenzaren una serie de tres meses de invierno de clases de meditación para principiantes para personas que hablan inglés y español* que viven en Newark y el área de Newark. Será impartido por J. Javier Cruz con otros instructores de NCMC. Esta serie será patrocinada por Ironbound Community Corporation. Será apropiado para adultos mayores de 18 años. *Aunque las clases no se pueden traducir en portugués, proporcionaremos folletos trilingües.
Esta serie de clases tiene la intención de proporcionar un espacio seguro para aprender y practicar la meditación y la atención plena que pueden aumentar la felicidad y disminuir el estrés. Al hacerlo, un grupo bi o trilingüe de ideas afines puede desarrollarse para apoyar la práctica de los demás. Todos son bienvenidos, aunque como está destinado a la comunidad latino / hispana de Newark, necesitaremos reservar la mayoría de los espacios para esta comunidad. Detalles de registro próximos.


Wednesdays, January 24 to March 28, 6:00 to 7:30pm

NCMC will begin a Winter 3-month series of beginner’s meditation classes for spanish and english speaking* people living in Newark and Newark area. It will be taught by J. Javier Cruz with other NCMC instructors. This series will be sponsored by Ironbound Community Corporation. The classes will be appropriate for adults ages 18 and older. *Though classes can’t be translated in portuguese, we will provide trilingual handouts.
This series of classes is intended to provide a safe space to learn and practice meditation and mindfulness that can increase happiness and decrease stress. In doing so, a like-minded bi- or tri- lingual group can develop to support each other’s practice. All are welcome, though as it is intended for the latino/hispanic community in Newark, we will need to reserve the majority of spaces for this community. Registration details forthcoming.



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A Beautiful Wintry Mix is Forecast!

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1. THE REMIX

Changes to Board of Directors

Over the first several years of our existence as an informal initiative, Arelís Hernandez and Keven Porter have quietly and consistently supported our mission. Arelís supported us with with her abundant energy and clear decision-making, knowledge of community organizing, skills with youth, and of course, her delicious cooking. Keven has been instrumental in introducing us throughout the community, promoting us, and as he puts it “sits for us”!
At the end of this year they will be leaving us as founding members of our formal non-profit that was established earlier this year. They plan to commit their energy further to Rabbit Hole Farm. We will miss them dearly, but they will always be with us in spirit and we hope to still collaborate at times. We are excited to have two new in-coming board members starting in 2018, J. Javier Cruz and Jennifer Becher. We welcome them into our “mix”!

2. LINGUAL MIX

English-Spanish Beginner’s Meditation and Mindfulness Series to Begin in the Ironbound!

Starting in late January NCMC will begin the winter 3-month series of beginner’s meditation classes for spanish and english speaking* people living in Newark and Newark area. It will be taught by J. Javier Cruz with other NCMC instructors. This series will be sponsored by Ironbound Community Corporation. It is planned for Wednesday evenings from 6:00 to 8:30pm and will be appropriate for adults ages 18 and older. *Though classes can’t be translated in portuguese, we will provide trilingual handouts.
This series of classes is intended to provide a safe space to learn and practice meditation and mindfulness that can increase happiness and decrease stress. In doing so, a like-minded bi- or tri- lingual group can develop to support each other’s practice. All are welcome, though as it is intended for the latino/hispanic community in Newark, we will need to reserve the majority of spaces for this community. Registration details forthcoming. Free to public, donations welcome.
Please note, as this is late-breaking news, we apologize not to have provided this article in spanish translation! We intend to do so in the future.

3. MIND-MATTER MIX

Save the Date for the Full-Day Retreat taught by Rebecca Li with Shaka Georges

On February 25th at Index Art Center, NCMC will hold it’s yearly winter full-day retreat (optional part-day). We anticipate a cooperative, creative fusion of mind(s) and matter(s). There will be sessions of meditation, movement meditation, art, teacher talks, and Q&A. This donation-based day retreat is appropriate for beginners to advanced meditators, aged 18 and older. Registration required. Details will be forthcoming.


It’s Time to Play…“Where’s. My. Mind?!”

A Free Game for Kids to Adults

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Start Tonight or When Your Mind is Ready!
During the holiday busy-ness, our minds scatter, our minds digress, our minds stress! But also, our minds can go overboard with joy and giddiness that result in post-holiday mind crashes. So let’s play (drum roll) Where’s. My. Mind? — a 24-hour “game” that you can play by yourself or with family or friends for one day a week or 24/7. It brings you back to the present and can make you laugh, be bemused, slightly embarrassed, self-respecting, or yes, even insightful at what thought was interrupted by your mindfulness bell. It’s a great learning tool to bring you back into the present and keep you there longer. Here’s how it works:

Back to the Breath
Set your reminder/alarm for on-the-hour including your wake-up time, but excluding hours within your sleeping period. It doesn’t matter if it’s on the :08, :30, or :49 or whatever chosen minute, just make it consistent. For example, if you play one day a week you might start with Wednesday at 7pm*, end at 10pm when you go to sleep, and start back up with your wake up time on Thursday and every on-the-hour through 10pm to end the game. When the alarm goes off, set your timer for a minute or so or continue without a timer. Note what you are doing, then quickly go to the mind and observe where it is and sit with it for a minute or two. Then, reel your mind back in if it’s gone elsewhere, back to the breath, and what’s at hand.

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Advanced Players who are good at body-mind scans might like to try out observing your chi (energy) cycle, that according to Chinese traditional medicine system, occurs every two hours and is related to different organs, mental qualities, and mind states. Check out the chart below. To start to get into your natural beat again you can go to Understanding the 24-Hour Chi Cycle —or— Meet the Chinese Body Clock: Is This Why You’re Waking Up at Night?.

Where’s. My. Mind? is a great game — fun and enlightening for the whole family! Have your kids or friends text you after their reminders go off to find out where their mind is and tell them where yours was (well, er, perhaps sometimes not!). It could be a precious gift to you all!

*You can join the group NCMC Sit Home Soul Group on www.insighttimer.com or use your own App and get into the game on Wednesday nights from your home.

Chinese Body Clock image credit: http://www.fiveseasonsmedicine.com

Super Moon Sunday — Sensitize, Synchronize, Salutate!

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If the forecast holds out, we’ll be able to observe the Super Moon, the biggest brightest full moon of the year, on December 3 that is followed a day later by the lunar perigee —the moon’s closest point to Earth in its orbit.

There are many myths regarding the power of the full moon. Perhaps there is something to it rather than to dismiss it as superstition as it’s power is acknowledged in many ancient cultures. Modern science tends to debunk it, but what if with a sensitized, subtle mind, we explore it through meditation?

We’ve found a few online meditations for you to explore over the next four days approaching the Super Moon Sunday:

For those of you who want to approach it as a medicinal, healing meditation you might try this Healing Moon Meditation that mainly requires moon gazing and just letting it happen. It is said you can chanelize the moon energy with Moon Salutation asanas designed specifically for this. Keep it light and within your range. For all you goddesses out there, you might like to try this Wild Power: Full Moon Meditation to tap into your divine feminine power. Or perhaps Shamanic Astral Projection flute music can bring out your essence during your moon gazing.

 


REFLECTION: An Empty Bowl on Our Table

empty blue bowl.jpgMost of us here in the States will have some sort of Thanksgiving celebration or special meal tomorrow, but then again, many will not. Many of us love the day, but many dread it. There are so many reasons for both these extremes — loving families, dysfunctional families, lack of family, delicious food, tryptophan stasis, politics, displaced guests, misplaced historical truths — the list goes on.

One solution to keeping peace, inner or expressed, on this holiday is to bring an empty bowl to the table. What we mean here is to try to bring an empty mind that’s freed from assumptions, bias, preconceptions, and judgement. It’s a mind that can flex at the table and create harmony through, well, a sort of appropriation. Meaning, that we might put ourselves in others’ shoes, feeling compassion for what we might see as ignorance on political matters, stinginess in portions, or obnoxious personalities. Instead, we might see the stress in their faces!

How might we do this? By being in mindfulness as much as we can with an empty mind and a determinedly pleasant attitude. It doesn’t hurt either to consciously appreciate an actual empty bowl placed in front of us, to reflect on the great grace that we have daily to be able to feed ourselves and others.


Image: Yuan Period Jun Bowl; Wikimedia Common; Public Domain

Suggested Holiday Practices for Thanks Giving

inner smile.pngAs our Group Meditations are temporarily postponed, let’s meditate together from our respective homes even though we’re apart. We start at 7:00pm. Choose a 15-20 minute guided meditation or we’ve suggested some. Or practice silently. You can end your session then or continue on with mindful stretches, readings, chants — whatever works for you! We use the free app at www.insighttimer.com as our meditation timer and for some guided meditations. You can find us under Groups at “NCMC Sit Home Soul Group.” If you prefer though, use a different timer. Below we’ve shared some nice teachings that we found online that you might use:

Meditate: Taoist Inner Smile Meditation | David James Lees | 20m | Guided meditation.

Listen: Attitude of Gratitude | Mooji | 9m | Short talk.

Read: The Connection Between the Spirit of Gratitude and Mindfulness | Jack Kornfield | 10m +- | Interview article.

Eat: Simple Mindfulness: Mindful Eating | Thich Nhat Hanh | 6m | Short talk.

Give: Giving is part of our practice. There are plenty of local groups who are helping to feed and shelter. Just 1 dollar or 1 hour can make a positive difference to a neighbor’s sustenance — and — our own minds.


Review: A Sunday Full of Truth and Healing

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Meditation IS Medicine
On Sunday, November 12th, Teacher Kazi opened the People of Color Retreat with a presentation on the meaning and background of Ancestral Meditation Medicine and what it means for us culturally and connectively today. Throughout the day he gently and masterfully guided us in meditation medicine through modes of sitting, standing, walking, and qigong.

That Darn Dukkha!
Andrea Lee and J. Javier Cruz both gave Dharma (truth) talks that clearly explained the meaning of the Sanskrit/Pali word dukkha, an ancient spiritual word that is hard to define. It can mean both mental and physical suffering, stress, and agitation — subtle and extreme — that we cause ourselves and others. They then used their personal disciplines to help us find the ability to let go and open our hearts and minds (note that a single Chinese character means both heart and mind). Javier taught the method of metta (loving-kindness) meditation, while Andrea used yoga discipline to allow us to radiate love out.

Art Forms as Meditation
We all seem to have joy and/or self-discovery in this session whenever we do it — expressing ourselves through drawing or written word — then explaining to our soul group (sangha for the day) how the art manifested and reflecting on its meaning.

Prosody and Performance
Presenters Mesha Allen and Muta Morton both expressed beautifully. Mesha read a powerful original essay in a voice like a hug and Muta instructed in a unique blend of modulating verbal performance and khemetic yoga postures. He chose those that he finds especially healing and we did too!

Cha-cha-cha-chant
To end the program, Kazi led us in his own variation of a chant that he heard in the film Baraka. It was first a slow “Cha. Cha. Cha. Cha.,” then a very quick-paced “chachachachachachachachacha,” going back and forth between the slow and fast. In a sense, he was using the chant as a healing form somewhat like hormesis activity. Kazi also suggested that we also try his Vowel Chant using the ancient aspiration sounds of the vowels a-e-i-o-u. It can be found on the free www.insighttimer.com App under “Meditation Medicine Chant 1”.

Divine Dishing and Doling
We had a delicious vegan meal provided by Arelis Hernandez and Keven Porter of Rabbit Hole Farm. Mary Arthars assisted with lovely side dishes and logistical support. Thank you to Jennifer Becher and Bruno Mendoza for volunteering with registration and venue set-up. We were also pleased to have a 10-year-old who came with his mother who minded him thoughtfully through the day. He joined in on most everything and seemed to learn quickly. We’re grateful to Index Art Center for the venue and director Lowell Craig for his patience and time.

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Choosing to Nurture or Neglect Our Minds

We have a choice to neglect or nurture our minds. To nurture our minds takes a little discipline — the practice of meditation and mindfulness can help to etch good qualities and impartiality into our minds through positive reinforcement and developing intimacy with ourselves. We begin to see the connections between our brain, mind, heart, body, and spirit.

The hard fact is, that to neglect our minds means that we might also be neglecting or even harming others. How often do we see the domino effect that our negative habits and actions can have on those close to us and our community, let alone those of other cultures? This certainly doesn’t mean that we can’t also play with abandonment, but we also then can use our mind skills to get back on track!

Once we’ve established a nurturing mtryptic-01.pngind for ourselves, we might even then extend our efforts to nurture the minds and help heal others. This is where compassion begins and becomes action. Putting ourselves in others shoes we can acknowledge and identify with their pain, unhappiness, and injustices and take good radical action.

Newark Center for Meditative Culture (NCMC) is currently offering three gems of opportunities to plant seeds of positive power and nurture our minds.

On Wednesday, October 25th, by special invitation, Bhante Buddharakkhita of Uganda will give a presentation, dhamma talk, and guided meditation, Planting Dhamma Seeds in Uganda and Nurturing Our Minds from 6:30pm to 9:00pm at City Without Walls. Concurrently, Ib’nallah S. Kazi will lead a Facebook Live meditation, Self-Healing Medicine, the last in a series of four starting at 7:00pm. Kazi’s meditation will also be broadcast at City Without Walls Gallery at 6 Crawford Street in Newark NJ for all attending there. Portions of Bhante Buddharakkhita’s program will be on Facebook Live starting at 7:30 pm.

Then on Sunday, November 12th we will be holding a full-day retreat, People of Color & Allies Full-Day Retreat: Our Return to Ancestral Meditation Medicine, taught by Kazi with assistance by J. Javier Cruz and Andrea Lee. The retreat will be held at Index Art Center at 237 Washington Street in Newark NJ and will run from 10:00am to 5pm. Participants can choose whether they attend full-day or part-day (morning or afternoon session).

These programs are donation-based so that NCMC can generously gift the teachers to support their work. Please contact us by email with any questions at info@newarkmeditation.org.


People of Color & Allies Retreat: Our Return to Ancestral Meditation Medicine

Teacher: Ib’nallah S. Kazi
Instructors: J. Javier Cruz & Andrea Lee
Presenters: Mesha Allen & Muta Morton

Sunday, November 12 | 10:00am to 5:00pm EST (Optional Part-day participation)
Index Art Center, 237 Washington St. | 2nd Floor, Stairs Only
Donation-based fee: $20 suggested/$15 student | Vegan Lunch Included
Limited seating 30 students. Register Now with Eventbrite!

TO BE FOREWARNED IS TO BE FOREARMED.

This full day (optional part day) retreat will include sessions in meditation, medicine movement, yoga, spoken word, and other disciplines. We will explore the spiritual, ethical, and practical applications of the self-knowing, self-healing, and self-transformative arts of the indigenous, enslaved, colonized and immigrant Americans. The resurgence of interest in the meditative arts in the People of Color communities in the 21st century is missing an imporPoster_POC Ancestral Retreat_2017.pngtant link. And that link connects us to the genetic continuity revealing the secrets to our “surthrival” in the face of the already mounting challenges to our safety, inheritance, and very humanity. Through immersion with People of Color at this retreat, White Allies can deepen their understanding and support. A white ally is a person of white-skin or who is white-person-identified of unearned privilege who engages in anti-racism work while practicing principles of cultural humility. Our ancestors have left us a diverse tool chest of systems, practices, and wisdom insights to meet the challenge of “this time”. Let’s reconnect the link.

This program is appropriate for non-meditators, beginners, through advanced meditators of any discipline. You must register to attend. You are welcome to attend part-day for the morning or afternoon session, but maximum benefit is gained by attending the entire retreat. Register Now with Eventbrite!

BIO-NOTES:

Ib’nallah S. Kazi (Kazi) is a Las Vegas-based spiritual wellness coach, medicine movement, and meditation teacher. He places an emphasis on wellness and personal development through his own program, presently known as The Spirit-Centered Life. Kazi has had a committed meditation practice for over 30 years and applies many disciplines. This includes Taoist, Sufi and Ancestral Meditation Medicine. Kazi has built a diverse education and training. His adolescent rites of passage began in 1974 when he became a Five Percenter, a splinter group from the Nation of Islam. Kazi has trained in and developed his internal martial medicine skills, teaching both Tai Chi Chuan and Yara Mba. He was the co-founder of the Harriet Tubman Hiking Society established in 1988 to immerse the African-American community back into nature. He integrated fitness training and massage becoming certified as a Health-Fitness Trainer and as a Massage Therapist that included Royal Thai Medical Massage. He also became a certified Intrinisic Coach. Kazi was until 2017 based in Newark NJ for 13 years where he remains on the Board of Directors of Newark Center for Meditative Culture, serving as a Spiritual Advisor and Lead Teacher. See Kazi’s full bio.

J. Javier Cruz was born and raised in Florida, Puerto Rico, but has lived in the Greater Newark NJ area for decades, hence he is bilingual, speaking his native Spanish and English. He currently resides in Harrison, NJ and works as a stationary engineer at a plant in Newark. Though Javier has had a committed meditation practice for over 10 years, he was introduced to meditation 17 years ago while in the NA 12-Step Recovery Program. He is a Buddhist practitioner with residential retreat experience and has studied with Insight Teacher Dennis Maurer who teaches at IMCNJ then under the guidance of Narayan. Javier’s main practice is loving-kindness (metta), using it in his daily life along with developing it methodically as a meditation discipline. Having seen and experienced much suffering and troubles in his family, meditation, especially metta, has been key to his well-being and stability. In his spare time he volunteers for a hospice. His priority is his family and he spends much time and attention on his children, grandchildren, and girlfriend.

Saraswati Andrea Lee is a senior disciple of Reverend Jaganath Carrera, Spiritual Head and Founder of Yoga Life Society. Under his direction she is completing seminary training to become a Yoga Life Minister in 2018. She is a certified Yoga instructor and performs Kirtan with Mirabai Catherine Moon. She is a Preschool Assistant Teacher at Montclair Cooperative School in her hometown of Montclair, NJ. Andrea serves as the Treasurer of NCMC where she presents on meditation and mindfulness and instructs yoga and chanting sessions for retreats.

Mesha Allen is a graduate of Ramapo College. She is passionate about improving the well-being of her community and aspires to open her own wellness center before she’s 30. She is the founder of Newark Integrative Enrichment Society and co-founder and trustee of New African Liberty Organization. She lives in Newark and advocates for people suffering with chronic pain and Fibromyalgia.

Muta Morton is an aspiring yogi, artist and gardener who believes everyone has a right to live a happy meaningful life. He grew up moving from foster home to foster home, struggling with depression, homelessness and being emotionally and financially deprived since age ten. Now at 26, Muta searches to find the big picture, using ancient wisdom and truths to guide him through what was meant to be a free planet for people to live together as one, but instead has become a power, money and blood hungry planet. He believes we can change and make the world a better place. He believes that the design of most on the planet right now is to use and abuse people, propagating a planet of hate that would ultimately self destruct. Muta feels that by going deep inside ourselves together we can actually sustain this planet and make it a better place for generations to come.


Dropping Mechanics for Dynamics and Healing on the Way

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Many of us know Tai Chi (supreme ultimate) is a healing form of exercise often done by seniors. Others might know it as a precursor to the more extreme martial arts. It can be practiced in both these ways. But with Tai Chi and Qi Gong (life energy cultivation) we can also practice in the spirit — not being asleep on our feet. Tai Chi works through the body along with the breath, the aspiration that connects us to ourselves, others, and all nature. So many of us neglect our bodies and in turn this effects our mind and spirit.

With Tai Chi we can turn off the mechanics and get into dynamic moments connecting to the rhythm and flow of life. When we begin to awaken qi, with practice, it allows our natural life force to become unblocked and clear, thus promoting physical and mental well-being.

Tai Chi can also be a Way (Dao) to higher levels of consciousness and awareness — of being in the present moment. It can bring playfulness and childlike perception back into our hearts. In this more open state of the mind and body, we can become more receptive to personal growth and change without being on the defensive.

“Supple, breathing gently, you become reborn.
Clearing your vision, you become clear.”
— Lao Tzu


Dipping Our Toes Into the Lawn of Mindfulness

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Whether through movement or stillness, we can practice mindfulness and meditation. Our four standard postures of meditation are sitting, standing, walking, and lying down (we love that one!), but all the postures in between are potential experiences of present-moment awareness. Whatever position or transition we’re in — kneeling, slouching, crouching, jumping, skipping, dancing — we can be in that moment. And at this moment we’re practicing on the lawn in the green grass at Military Park. See you there! Shoes allowed, but it’s also a joy to mindfully tickle our toes in the grass!

Wednesday, August 23 and 30
Basic Meditation with Cornelia
7:00pm to 8:00pm
Military Park, Meditation Area
Free
There’s still two chances to join in on this beginner’s series taught by meditation teacher and neuro-psychologist Cornelia Santschi and assisted by peer-leader Kamilah Crawley. You will learn the basics of mindfulness and meditation in urban nature. You’re welcome to bring your children.

Regularly on Wednesdays
Weekly Meditation Group
7:00pm to 8:30pm
Military Park and City Without Walls
Donation-based
We’ll be sitting in Military Park with the Basic Meditation class tonight and August 30th (till 8pm). Then we will move back to our regular venue at City Without Walls on September 6th. Short sessions of meditation, movement, discussion, and reading. Join us for some mid-week peace-of-mind.

Wednesdays, September 6 – October 11
Tai-Chi with Shaka
5:30pm to 6:30pm
Military Park, Meditation Area
Free
Join recurring NCMC teacher Shaka Georges for a series of tai-chi and qi-gong classes in the park (weather permitting). There’s no registration and each class is stand-alone so join in any time. Get into the flow — gentle, interesting, and artful movement for wellness, healing, and energy.


Why Meditate Together?

Though meditation is essentially an individual practice, the effect of doing it with a like-minded group of friends can make the meditation more profound personally and socially. Too, in discussing meditation practice with new meditators, we have found that many people attempting meditation at home alone without any guidance or limited online guidance, often conform their meditation to their own predispositions and ambitions.

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People often tell us they try to meditate at home but get too distracted by thoughts — desires, worries and regrets. We say, working with distraction is the practice! Some say that they tend to fall asleep, feeling dull or drowsy. We say, no excuse, there’s wake up solutions for this. Others doubt their ability or the practice itself. This often is due to isolation — being in a supportive community and learning useful techniques can help with this too. Others might fear the anger they see rising up. We say, observe it, let it come, and let it go! And even learn to reposit that unhealthy anger to healthy moral indignation and action.

There are methods to skillfully work with all these seeming roadblocks to more inner peace and happiness. Like any other discipline it takes a regular practice, patience, commitment, and guidance by good teachers, instructors, and peers who can help keep us on track and inspire us.

Any group participation, however, will only be effective if the people who join it feel that they gain something either more or different than they experience at home. We have often heard from members of our group that sitting with us has advanced their individual practice, helping them in their home life and at work. Some of our meditation friends who are not often able to join us, report that they feel good just knowing that we gather together weekly. This all keeps us inspired.  *