Kaira Jewel Lingo is a Dharma teacher and lived as an ordained nun for 15 years in Thich Nhat Hanh’s Order of Interbeing, and is now based in New York. She provides individual spiritual mentoring and leads retreats internationally, offering mindfulness programs for educators, parents and youth in schools, in addition to activists, people of color, artists and families. She mentors with the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program, was lead teacher for Mindful Schools’ year long training for educators, teaches teens and adults with Inward Bound Mindfulness Education, and is a guiding teacher for One Earth Sangha. She edited Thich Nhat Hanh’s Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children and has been published in numerous other books and magazines. She explores the interweaving of art, play, ecology and embodied mindfulness practice and is an InterPlay leader. Read her recent article, In Times of Crisis Call Upon the Strength of Peace, published in Lion’s Roar magazine.
We introduce sending metta for all beings and the guided meditation leads us to offer metta to self, a dear friend or benefactor, neutral person, difficult person and then in the 2nd half of the meditation much guidance is offered for the ways we can include all beings in our metta.
We begin with Al Lingo, Kaira Jewel Lingo's dad telling stories of his time in the Civil Rights Movement working with Dr. King and then explore the importance of cultivating our hearts and minds to be able to support justice in the world, and also the importance of cultivating bodhicitta. We end with Dr. King's words condemning the war in Vietnam and the damaging effect of militarism on our collective health, and our current bloated military budget.
We cover what compassion is and how it can help soothe our pain much better than avoiding or denying it. We distinguish between compassion and pity and then offer a variety of compassion phrases we can use. In the guided meditation, we begin with a dear friend who is undergoing some kind of suffering and then move on to ourselves, offering self-compassion for our own physical or mental suffering.
We cover the 3 elements of metta practice: generating the energy of friendliness, visualizing the person/being you are sending metta to, and repeating the phrases. We offer various versions of the phrases and introduce the first few categories of beings we can send metta to: self, benefactor, and dear friend. In the guided practice we begin by feeling held and loved by others and then offer this to ourselves, then move on to benefactor and dear friend.
In this Opening talk, the teachers offer a land acknowledgement, introduce themselves, and Kaira Jewel gives a short talk on what metta is, how to practice metta and how we can take refuge in the retreat container.
We explore the three kinds of feeling tone: pleasant, unpleasant and neutral, and also, their underlying tendencies of grasping, aversion, and ignorance. Spanning feelings that arise from the body and mind as well as worldly and unworldly vedanā, we investigate how to create space between the feeling tone and the reactivity that usually follows it so that awareness of feeling can lead to awakening.