Today was both fascinating and long. Two X3hour workshops and a couple of interesting plenary events
1. The AM event was called: Using Music and Poetry Therapy in Disenfranchised Population.
In this workshop the leader went through each of these artistic forms giving examples of how to use them. She gave lots of theoretical background describing the brain effects of these interventions. We had numerous opportunities to try out examples. She used several YouTube music clips and poetry readings.
I can see many ways this would be of use to me.
2. The afternoon workshop was an odd choice for me. entitled The Role of Intuition in Transformation. It was the kind of material that would have Judy`s eyes rolling back in her head. Lots of `trust the feeling`kind of stuff and plenty of examples which left me scratching my head. Nonetheless, it brought me face to face with some ideas about shared consciousness, the influence of the right brain and the importance of non-linear inspiration` It reminded me of the frequent emphasis in Japanese dharma on breakthrough thought processes, especially koans. It also helped me to make sense of some of the recent `aha`experiences I`ve had in reading Jodo shin and other devotional material this year.
It brought into clarity my reaction to starting the John Main book, The Way of Unknowing . Main is a modern Christian monk who has re-introduced meditation, especially the use of mantra. I found his reflections spoke very directly to a Buddhist devotional style, such as mine. This both surprised and pleased me, since it allows for more of the reconciliation between my dharma practice and our Christian context.
3. The evening event was surprising again. It was a presentation by a Black Canadian woman who teaches in N.B. She went through a mostly musical and slide presentation explaining a book she is supporting (I got a copy for RMS) called Change of Heart : The Bodhisattva Peace Training. This was a familiar collection of Buddhist ideas (The Four Immeasurables, The four Truths and so on) re-worked to foster greater strength and resilience on social activists. I was taken aback at the clear Buddhist basis. I`ve seen strong Christian and Jewish presentations before, but, apart from mine, I haven`t seen so strong a dharma-based presentation before. It echoed what seem like the prominence, or at least the acceptance of many Buddhist themes.
4. My first morning meditation went well. Only two others came out, as I expected. I did a 3-part breathing which the others enjoyed. I expect more tomorrow, since several people asked about it and there was an announcement at lunch. We`ll see.
5. Met some acquaintances from previous conferences. Nice to catch up. One of them is aguy who I had several good chats with in `08. he`s my roomie.
Going to sack it now. Long day today and another tomorrow.
Love you all,