We invite you and the entire Common Ground community to put this exciting event on your calendar and encourage you to invite your friends and family, too! The Festival is an outdoor music concert put on by volunteers from the Common Ground Community. Admission is free! Donations will be accepted to support a few highlighted non-profit organizations that are doing great work to make this world a better place. Doing Good Together (DGT) is a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that encourages families to raise generous, thoughtful, civic-minded children by offering opportunities for them to practice kindness and serve others together. We are looking for three new non profit partners. Nonprofit partners attend the event and share their stories and mission with festival goers, and festival goers are invited, but not required, to make donations. If you cannot make it to the event but would like to make a donation, just click on the donate button to support the Music Festival. The Meditation Society of Australia exists to help people learn to meditate without any other religious or other agendas. These classes offer a broad experience of Buddhist tradition with a practical approach to applying the skills learned in class to our daily lives. Meditation allows us to reduce and eventually eliminate our negative states of mind  and begin a calmer and happier journey through life. The General Program classes start with a short breathing meditation to relax the body and calm our busy mind.
The classes are taught in a very practical manner, easily applicable to our daily lives, and require no specific belief system. Take several slow and smooth breaths, filling and emptying the lungs completely without straining. After a few minutes, direct the attention more specifically to the movement of the breath in the body. Over and over again return the attention to the chosen place, connecting with the moment-to-moment experience of the breath.
As you settle in more and more to this experience of breathing, at times a natural interest arises.
Whenever one encounters difficult mindstates or painful physical sensations, spend some time soaking into the experience creating space for it to be as it is.
The intent of mindfulness practice is to rest in a clear continuous knowing of experience in each moment, and to meet this experience with spaciousness. Alan Wallace became a Buddhist monk in the early 1970s, ordained by the Dalai Lama in India.


Yet scientists had been taking a strong interest in the human mind since the pioneering psychology of William James over a hundred years ago. Wallace wishes to revive William James’s project, using the clarity and stability available in meditative experience, an experimental arena that James was unaware of. Wallace sets the scene with a survey of Western scientific attitudes and how they developed, trying to explain how the world of actual experience could have become so devalued.
Reductionism: everything can be understood in terms of interactions between purely physical things. You can probably see how taking human experience seriously undermines these comforting principles.
But could this project go even further, and produce a non-dual science, with a vision of the universe (not just the human mind) that has shaken off the five materialist principles? In trying to present the strangeness of quantum mechanics and relativity, the new physics, I feel that Wallace has taken a few steps backwards.
Nevertheless, Wallace is quite right to confront science with the primacy of our human experience, and to confront us with the mystery of the apparent boundary between our inner life and outer reality.
I hope that more and more Buddhists will sally forth from their castles, and offer fresh visions of the universe in a language that scientists can understand and incorporate. After the event Common Ground distributes the donations evenly across all nonprofit partners. Teams are in place to run different aspects of the festival both on the day of and during the weeks before. It is a course for those wonderful souls that have recognised that there is no greater skill, no greater human endeavour, than that of our own self-discovery. With a happier and more positive mind, we are better able to engage in our personal and professional lives. This is followed by a short talk on how to apply Buddha's teaching to our everyday life and then a fully guided meditation. Critical thinking and questioning of the teachings is encouraged, and each class offers a chance for a question-and-answer period as well as discussion with other students. Do what needs to be done so that the posture is stable, comfortable and relatively straight. Begin by noticing the obvious touch points, for example the buttocks against the chair or cushion, the hands touching and resting on the lap, or the lips touching each other. As soon as you notice that the attention is no longer with the breath, gently bring it back to the breath connecting with the sensations in the place chosen.


Whenever the attention is drawn to some other aspect of experience, whether pleasant or unpleasant, spend some time letting the attention soak into it, coming into clear contact for as long as you are drawn to it. As you attend to the in and out of the breath you will notice the attention naturally being drawn elsewhere from time to time.
Again, it may be helpful to name this physical, emotional or mental state as you experience it. The only real effort is in trying to remember this intent and being willing to begin again, using one’s anchor as a way to connect with moment-to-moment experience.
If you primarily want money or prestige from meditation than this is not the course for you. This will increase your ability to focus, reduce your negative states of mind, and begin the process of integrating the peace of meditation into your life. As you begin to connect with the experience of the body, practice opening and receiving body sensations without any expectations or agenda. Choose one particular place to watch the breath (for example: the abdomen, chest, or tip of the nose).
No matter how many times the attention is drawn away, there is no need for judgment or tension.
Let it be just a quiet mental whisper at the back of the mind, keeping most of the attention on the actual sensations of the breath. As awareness and acceptance of distractions deepen pay particular attention to how they change.
Simply show up and join the class!  Requested donation for classes is 10$ (5$ for students and limited income). Some people find it helpful to give a quiet mental note to the predominant experience in order to prevent getting lost in or reacting to the experience. Alan Wallace, lecturer, scholar, and noted Buddhist practitioner, believes that it’s time for scientists and meditators to team up (and indeed for scientists to become meditators) in order to study the mind from within. Return the attention to the breath whenever you feel overwhelmed by the experience or when the difficulty is no longer predominant.



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