The Mind Illuminated

If you joined us Saturday for the first ever The Path Experience...thank you...

For an AMAZING day of meditation and hanging... I left feeling clear & centered & relaxed to my core. 

And I could NOT stop smiling. The feedback has been extraordinary... we're excited to do this again soon.

But today I'm excited to share something we've been planning for MONTHS. 

If you've had trouble meditating or want to get more from each minute you meditate...

So you can change your thoughts, feelings and habits for the better...

We are SO HONORED to invite you to meet and learn from a master teacher, one who has taught meditation and neuroscience for decades. We're talking way before it went mainstream :)

And who has finally written down his learnings.

The Path is HONORED to host the official Simon & Schuster book party for Culadasa (a.k.a John Yates, PhD)'s The Mind Illuminated.

This gathering will be our January social and first event with our new friends at Primary (a cool co-working space promoting health and wellness, yay!). We'll enjoy:

* an amazing talk, meditation and Q&A with master teacher Culadasa
* healthy dinner courtesy of our friends at sweetgreen
* desert treats (organic cookies!) and other snacks
* yummy drinks

We're keeping the cost SUPER low on this... the entire event will be the price of a regular Tuesday evening meditation, just $24.

Mark your calendar for January 31st, we are so excited!

Click here to join us for The Mind Illuminated

Abundant Thinking for 2017

As we enter a new calendar year, we're excited to try new things. And so, for the first time, we're sharing a note from a member of our community, Katia Verresen (an incredible executive coach), on cultivating abundant thinking.

Read below for a toolkit to powerfully shift your mindset to abundance. Speaking of starting the new year with a strong mindset, don't forget to join us for our weekly Tuesday sit in NYC. Extraordinary teacher Dr. Home Nyugen from the MindKind Institute leads us at...drumroll please...the stunning penthouse of The Standard, East Village. Click here to join us for the perfect start to 2017.

A message from Katia...

"Happy holidays! I wanted to share with you one of my favorite year-end rituals and how I use Abundant Thinking to complete my year. You may have heard of how unconscious bias warps our experience of reality. We weigh heavily negative events and more recent events more heavily, so at year end we don't have a realistic experience. What would it be like to review your year, gain lessons, empty your cup and feel ready to fill it back up with 2017? Here's where your bonus challenge comes in: you can leverage abundant thinking as you complete your year and benefit from the full 52 weeks you just had! So warm up the gratitude, take in the good and have self-compassion.  

Ready to play?

1. Go back to your photo stream and/or calendar starting January 2016. Be ready for “oh wow I forgot about that” or “that was really cool." Reviewing in this way allows you to fully appreciate all that you created and experienced. It empowers you to review with more neutrality.

2. Start to notice and take in the good as you complete these sentences:

Relationships I am grateful for....

Experiences I am grateful for: big and small...

What was meaningful for me this year was....

I am so proud of....

What I found challenging this year...

I overcame these challenges by...

What I learned about myself is (pro-tip: you'll leave the suffering in 2016 and take the power of your new gained wisdom into 2017)

New ideas and skills I developed - at minimum each of you can say “Abundant Thinking"

I'm excited about XYZ in 2017.... 
     And finally...

Based on 2016 what I take with me is...."

Did you answer the questions? How do you feel? Let us know!

 

Judging Others, Judging Ourselves

I've been thinking about resolutions and realizing how easy it is for our minds to judge everything around us. It's natural to judge strangers and friends and family .. what people wear and do and say .. and all this can spin our mind in circles, causing clutter and cacophony.

What if all this judging was a manifestation of judging ourselves?

What if we stopped judging others and ourselves?

What if we started with a minute, then tried an hour and eventually, over time, a day?

How would that change our energy?

This week I'm going to try. If it sounds interesting, I invite you to join me. And let me know how it goes by writing to sit@thepath.com

Letting Go

Be like a tree and let the dead leaves drop 🍃〰 Rumi.

Meditation helps us observe our thoughts and in doing so, notice those that no longer serve us. Today, notice one negative thought and commit to letting it go. Just as trees shed their leaves each fall in preparation to eventually sprout anew, you too can shed old patterns so a better YOU emerges.

Art via @thisisrange

Un Petit Recap : Sleep & Dreams

Our holiday party...and talk about sleep and dreams...was incredible. We learned so much, met such great people and left feeling high on good energy. Thank you to everyone who joined!

For most, it was a night that addressed so many misconceptions about our sleeping selves. What did we learn?

That sleep and dreams can (and should) be valued as much as our waking life. That sleep is not just a service to our waking life but extraordinarily important on its own. And that dreaming is a sign of health. So many of us struggle with sleep and often resort to medicine, but sleeping pills prevent us from having natural sleep and also benefiting from dreams. We left with a new understanding of our sleeping lives, as well as a renewed sense of hope on how to manage sleeping issues.

We also learned beautiful tips about how to bring about lucid dreams! You can place post-its around your house, your office, your car, in places that you frequent throughout the day saying, "Am I sleeping or am I dreaming?" Eventually you'll see likely one of these in your dreams.

What magic!

We gathered for a shared meal. 

We gathered for a shared meal. 

Discovering a Whole New World of Sleep

"We are in dire need of restoring our sense of sleep’s mythic dimensions – of reimagining our personal experience of sleep. I believe this can be best accomplished through poetry, spirituality and, ultimately, personal investigation." Dr. Rubin Naiman

This Thursday, our community will gather for an event with Dr. Rubin Naiman, one of the country's preeminent sleep specialists. Despite being a doctor, Dr. Naiman believes we have to take a much wider approach to understanding our sleeping lives than that which we learn from a strictly scientific perspective. Read on for a short, fascinating Q & A that barely scrapes the surface of what we'll discuss Thursday. 

Tell me a bit about what brought you to your work?

My primary interest since I was a teenager is consciousness. And that is really a question about aliveness, sentience. I wondered, what do these come from? Early on in college, that led me to an interest in dreaming. I worked for ten years with a focus on the relationship with dreaming and health. Specifically, I did a lot of work with cancer patients and the connection between cancer, health, and dreaming. I joined the staff of Canyon Ranch (a world-renowned health resort) in 1990 and opened the sleep center there. I began looking at sleep and dreams from what we today call an integrative perspective, which is we used to call holistic. It’s a comprehensive approach that brings together the worlds of science/medicine and consciousness/spirituality. If you triangulate it, it looks different than what most of us have come to believe and what our culture believes. Merging the scientific with psychological and spiritual approaches has some pretty profound implications. We have some raging issues surrounding sleep, and despite what we’re doing it’s not getting better. We’ve overly domesticated sleep. It’s almost like sleep is this wild consciousness that can’t be contained in the realm of waking. 

Which spiritual modalities are most valuable to our sleep? 

So much has been written about sleep from eastern traditions, specifically Buddhist and Hindu. Some of these writings go back four to five-thousand years. The science emerging in recent decades matches up with what these ancient meditators found; it’s not a surprise. The problem today is we tend to approach things just with science, which gives us a limited, myopic view. Today, there’s so much effort to reduce consciousness to the brain. What we need to understand is that the brain doesn’t sleep, the body doesn’t sleep, we do. As humans. And we’ve lost sight of that. Sleep science has taught us a lot about what sleep looks like in the brain, but very little about the sleepy people. People think sleep lies outside their grasp. This opens the door to people relying on alcohol and medication. When we reduce it to its biological function, people lose faith in their ability to sleep. Our personal experience, our sentience, and what we feel is equally important to the objective experience of the science. We need to find a balance between the experience and science. The reason most people stumble when trying to sleep is that the part of us we call I, the waking self, is totally incapable of sleeping. From the perspective of the waking self, falling asleep is an accident. The part of me that I call “I,” we cannot make an accident happen. It requires a relinquishing of waking self. 

I’ve always wondered about the connection between sleep and death, and have had experiences where I felt like in going to sleep; I was completely resetting my life. What are your thoughts on that? 

Sleep and dreams are lot bigger than waking. Some cultures call it cleaning! Many say the psyche leaves the body when we sleep. Sleep is an out of body experience where cleaning happens. The cleaning crew comes to us. Here there needs to be a separation of body and mind. The body goes down to sleep. We let the body go and in a sense return the body to the earth. Then mind rises. For many, the body and mind get stuck together. They float up a little bit.  People stuck in limbo. From the Greek mythological perspective, the Greek god of sleep was Hypnos, but his brother was Thanatos, the God of death. 

We're so excited to learn more at our event with you. Can you recommend any first steps we can take on our own to better understand our sleep or dreaming?

Yes! The last large piece I wrote is published on the British website Aeon. It's called "Falling For Sleep and is an overview of the relationship of spiritual and mythological perspectives. It’s a great place to start! At the event, we'll talk about liberating sleep and dreams from the constraint of common consciousness and how to make sleep a benevolent force in your life!

To join us for Wild Sleep and Dreams : thepath.com/sleep 

Sleeping & Dreaming

I hope you enjoyed a great, cozy Thanksgiving.

And now, a question for you, especially during this time of change:

Do you have trouble falling asleep? Or do you wake up too early?

Stress about sleep is one of the top reasons people turn to meditation. But what if we have sleep all wrong?

I met Dr. Rubin Naiman years ago at an ashram in the Bahamas. He was the featured speaker, giving lectures to hundreds each evening. He was thoughtful and non-obvious, an academic but also a great speaker. I thought he was amazing but didn't think I'd have a chance to thank him for the knowledge he was sharing.

But one day we caught each other sneaking out of the ashram in search of caffeine and cappuccinos at the Atlantis resort down the beach (shhhh). We recognized each other, yelled "gotcha!" and became instant friends. Through this friendship, and years of attending his talks, I've finally internalized his message. And went from a seven year addiction to Ambien to, for the first time since being a teenager, freeing myself completely from insomnia (with the help of nutrition, too).

Dr. Naiman says our sleeping, dreaming and waking lives are three equally important threads in the braid of our lives. He believes sleep is not in service of our waking life but a valuable entity unto itself. And that dreaming is an indication of sleeping well, and there are steps we can take to dream more and remember our dreams.

For years I've wanted Dr. Naiman, an internationally recognized sleep and dream expert, to speak to us. Finally, on December 8th, he will travel to NY and talk with us about the latest research on sleep and dreams and answer your questions, too. We'll have a meditation. Then we'll enjoy a festive holiday party with awesome people and treats. Our last two socials sold out, and we've gotten a huge response to this one already. So please act quickly if you'd like to join us.

CLICK HERE for Wild Sleep and Dreams

If you want to ask more personal questions about sleep or dreams, or to learn from Dr. Naiman in a more intimate setting, we invite you to join him for a private tea, limited to 12 people, before we open doors to general admission (this ticket includes your entrance to the talk and party).

Wild Sleep and Dreams

If you have questions about sleep.

Or dreams.

We have good news.

For our December social we're bringing one of the top sleep and dream experts to NYC. If you have trouble falling asleep. Staying asleep. If you have questions about sleep aids. About dreams. About lucid dreams. If you've wondered about anything and everything related to sleep and dreams, this is the man to ask.

Dr. Rubin Naiman is the sleep specialist and professor of medicine at the world-renowned University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. He writes books about sleep. And interprets dreams.

On December 8th, Dr. Naiman will speak with us about why we don't get sleep because we don't 'get' sleep. He'll teach us to honor sleep and dreams as much as our waking life. We'll have a meditation. Then Dr. Naiman will answer your questions. 

If you want to ask personal questions about your sleep and dreams in a more intimate setting, we're offering a chance to spend time with Dr. Naiman before the event at a private tea, limited to 12 people.

This is also our holiday party. We'll enjoy dinner (included). Drinks (included). Festive people. And happy vibes. We're offering 10 Early Bird tickets at just $50. And please keep in mind that our Friendsgiving sold out. Most of our socials this year have sold out. This will sell out. So please act quickly if you'd like to join us. And get ready for wild sleep and dreams of your own.

Click here for Wild Sleep and Dreams.

Gathering in Community

If you're feeling emotional.

Angry, sad or confused. Stunned, gleeful, numb or anything else.

That's ok. 

Whatever you feel, it is good to feel.

It's all part of being human. We feel. We process. And then we feel more. Maybe it's more of the same emotion. Or a different one. Maybe an opposite one. And then we feel more.

All week people have asked, "what should I do?" And my answer is different than it's ever been. 

I often suggest sitting with emotions. Feeling into them, because then they pass. But this time, my intuition is different.

I think it's time to come together. To be in community. And especially because you're on your path, it's soothing to spend time with other people on theirs. Never in my life have I felt so drawn to other meditators. Because they have a glow, an inner light, and I want that light to reignite mine.

On Tuesday, we're hosting a special meditation, led by the extraordinarily Donna D'Cruz, on acceptance. We'll gather in community to meditate and feel what we're feeling, with the soothing energy of each other's presence. 

Click here to join us Tuesday 

And then, I can't think of a better time for us to come together for a Friendsgiving. This coming Sunday we'll gather for delicious food (thanks to our friends at Dig Inn, yum), mulled wine & hot cider & special treats. We have only 20 spots left and really hope you can join us for this special, cozy gathering of our community, so full of awesome people like you, ready to meet and hang and meditate and eat together. 

Click here to join us for Friendsgiving 

It's been a wild week. Emotional for people on all sides. Let's come together. And enjoy, simply, being together. 

With love for community,
Dina

Friendsgiving

For weeks people have been asking..

Will you have another Friendsgiving?

Last year we planned a little dinner. And it became much more. People met life-long friends. Love interests. Business partners. The vibe was ridiculously good.

And so...

We're doing it again.

This time we'll be at Gramercy House. For a cozy environment with new and old friends. We'll enjoy mulled wine, delicious dinner, and some of the best people in New York. We're reserving 10 "early bird" spots at a special price of just $75 (which includes dinner + drinks + treats). So please act quickly if you can join us for our coziest night of the year.

Click here for Friendsgiving

And see what unfolds.

A Spiritual Orgasm

I had a glimmer of enlightenment. A dot. And then another.

The first time it happened I was living on a tiny island off Bali. I had just finished a ten day silent retreat and was studying Buddhist wisdom and meditating all day. 

Walking to breakfast one morning, I suddenly felt a wave of peacefulness wash over me and a feeling of love so intense it dwarfed any emotion I had felt in my life. At first it was directed to a hotel employee walking in front of me. I couldn't see who it was, and it didn't matter. A few other hotel guests were in my field of vision, and I felt a powerful sense of love towards them too, as if our hearts were connected in a deep, unspoken bond. When I looked up, I felt awestruck at the brightness of the green in the trees around me and the deep hues of violet and blue flowers that lined the walkway (that I had never noticed before). Suddenly I felt myself dissolving as an independent entity and merging with all the living things around me. I felt nothing but love and gratitude, for the flowers and plants and everyone alive in this moment.

It was a dot. A few weeks later I had another. Shinzen calls it a "spiritual orgasm." I get it :). Since then I've wondered what it would be like to merge the blissful feeling of those dots into a line of living with only love. 

I haven't talked about this with almost anyone, ever in my life.

Yesterday I joined a retreat with Shinzen Young. And for some reason, for the first time I felt comfortable asking about this experience. Shinzen teaches about enlightenment in an approachable way and says we can all get there. He is a Buddhist scholar with a background in science who speaks clearly and crisply.

We're honored to host the party for Shinzen's book The Science of Enlightenment Tuesday at 7pm. This will replace our weekly Tuesday meditation and include a meditation guided by Shinzen. 

If you have questions about enlightenment, about how to get closer, or even about your practice. I encourage you to join us Tuesday.

Click here to join Shinzen Young Tuesday

On Meditation Teacher Training :: Catrina Armendariz

As we approach our second meditation teacher training (today's the last day to apply!) we're sharing interviews with members of our community who completed the program the first time around. 

Read below for a beautiful interview with Catrina Armendariz, Founder and Executive Producer of Revived On. 

What initially drew you to the teacher training program? 

I began meditating when I was 8 years old and had a solo practice for 20+ years.  I met Dina while in the midst of expanding my meditation practice into social and collective settings and that's when I first heard about her program.  Though I had a pretty disciplined (and what I thought was a well-informed and supported) practice for many years, I experienced a lot of challenges in my sits that I couldn't navigate effectively on my own.  I decided to enroll in the program because I recognized a need to share the experience with others (teachers and fellow students), especially like-minded peers who were in a similar creation and companionship phase of life (career, friendships, relationships, etc.).  

The practice is wonderful, but as I experienced and learned, not meant to be a solitary practice.  The support I received through the curation of experienced and well-informed teachers and like-minded peers was priceless.

How did it impact you and your career and/or personal life?

The teacher training connected me with a world-class mastermind of Eastern and Western science and philosophy, Dr. Joe Loizzo, who distilled ancient knowledge in the most authentic, scientific and relevant ways possible.  It also connected me with an amazing cohort of students - all movers and shakers in their respective fields: parents, doctors, tech entrepreneurs, teachers, etc.  

The synergy was great for my practice and for my development as a conscious start-up founder.  I left with more clarity around my desire to share these conscious lifestyle practices with the world and with a network of people to support that path.

Were there any unexpected results from your time in the program? 

I didn't realize how popular meditation was until I joined this cohort.  Suddenly, it no longer felt like an esoteric practice that was reserved for the monk or nomadic hippie (or our modern-day version of the wandering messicant).  Everyone is becoming hip to meditation: corporate and entrepreneurial modern city exponents alike are looking for more authenticity in their lives.  

I also felt more connected with people in my life as a result of hearing a common thread coming through every student's question or story: that we all desire connection, with ourselves and with those around us.  

On Meditation Teacher Training :: Keith M. Blechman, MD

Keith is a proponent of physical and mental fitness.

Keith is a proponent of physical and mental fitness.

As we approach our second meditation teacher training (applications are now being accepted!) we're sharing interviews with members of our community who completed the program the first time around. 

Read below for a beautiful interview from Dr. Keith Blechman of Blechman Plastic Surgery.

What initially drew you to the teacher training program? 
Dina.  I didn't think I had enough time to do something like this but Dina convinced me to give it a shot.  After seeing what she had done with The Path, I realized that meditation is something that holds an important part in my life as well, and inspired by her, I decided to take the next step towards making it meaningful for others too.

How did it impact you and your career and/or personal life?
The program helped me significantly in structuring my own practice and understanding how it could integrate into my daily life.  The program helped me become more of a dedicated meditator on my own, and now that I'm beginning to teach others, its giving me even more insight into my own practice.  You don't really understand something until you can teach it.  
 
Were there any unexpected results from your time in the program? 
Yes.  When I decided to take the course I didn't have a goal.  During the course, however, I had an epiphany that I should use what I've learned to teach other physicians.  As part of my course project I developed a curriculum to do so, and am now teaching meditation to a variety of health care providers.  It's incredibly rewarding. 

 

Enlightenment

We haven't covered enlightenment yet.

What does it mean? And can we get there?

On November 1st, we have a wonderful opportunity. To meditate and learn from a teacher who says enlightenment is real. And can be attained.

Our speaker, Shinzen Young, has an unusual background. He's a scholar of physics and mathematics and an ordained Buddhist monk. He uses math metaphors to describe the experience of meditation.

Shinzen just published a book on The Science of Enlightenment. For our November social, onNovember 1st, we'll help him launch it.

Shinzen will guide us in meditation. Talk with us about the science of enlightenment. Then answer questions you may have about meditation and enlightenment.

We want to keep this opportunity super accessible. So it will be simply the cost of a weekly sit. Just $24 to join The Path community and this great author and teacher to learn about enlightenment.

We're partnering on this event with our friends at Empress, a beautiful new meeting and event space in Flatiron. 

Click here to join us.

On Meditation Teacher Training :: Maritza Puello

As we approach our second meditation teacher training (applications are now being accepted!) we're sharing interviews with members of our community who completed the program the first time around. 

Read below for a beautiful interview from Maritza Puello! An Integrative Life Coach, Yoga and Meditation Teacher, Puello completed our program while she transitioned out of working in TV news - a critical time in her career.

What initially drew you to the teacher training program? 
I started meditating years ago. Like many other people, I was introduced to meditation via yoga.  My practice was mostly on and off until I began to study regularly with my first teacher, Alexandra Marquardt, who was based out west. I learned so much from studying with her, but it was hard to travel to the west coast for classes. Along the way I became certified as a yoga instructor and started teaching meditation. When I came across the Facebook post announcing The Path and Nalanda Institute meditation teacher training program, I was very excited. I could continue my studies without having to travel outside of New York City. I also noticed that the teachers leading the training came from diverse backgrounds which was different from any other programs I had looked into. I thought it would be great way to continue developing my teaching skills and give me new ways to share the numerous benefits of meditation with others. I was sold. I couldn’t wait to start the training.

How did it impact you and your career and/or personal life. 
When I came across the training, I was at a crossroads in my life. I was in the process of transitioning out of a career working in 24- hour television news and looking to do something related to wellness, yoga and meditation. I had always wanted to work in TV news and had done so. It was a dream come true, but that was done. Then I was faced with making a change, and I wasn’t quite sure how that was going to work out. While I had experience teaching meditation, the training gave me the opportunity to learn completely new techniques. It also provided me with a different structure to deepen in my own practice and get feedback from my fellow classmates and teachers. This not only strengthened my skills as a teacher but also deepened my own commitment to keep learning and exploring new things. Going into the training I didn’t have much clarity as to what course of direction I would be take with my career but I was definitely was looking for something fresh.  On a more personal note, the training helped me see myself and the choices before me, in a new light, which helped propel me to take the much-needed steps towards living a new dream. Being in the class and having the support of the group really helped accelerate my process and made it easier to make decisions with ease. I created a strong practical foundation that helped me navigate life's ebbs and flows. This allowed me to be much more fluid with what life brought my way. I found my relationships, both personal and professional, were greatly strengthened and the relationships that needed to fall away simply fell away without effort, conflict or drama.
 
Were there any unexpected results from your time in the program? 
One of the biggest unexpected impacts of the training was being able to learn, study, and practice with a diverse group of people all who were equally committed to the practice of meditation. It was great to have that kind of support during and after training. My biggest surprise was the newfound clarity and commitment by which I decided to embark on a completely new business venture. I’ve now started my own business venture as an integrative life coach, yoga and meditation teacher. I help people who are going through planned or unexpected, life changes discover new tools to help them clear the obstacles that prevent them from living joy-filled, happy, healthy, satisfying lives.

I’m beyond thrilled and excited to take on this new venture. I don’t think I would have done so had I not done the teacher training. I have tremendous gratitude for having participated in the program. I knew it would bring me many positive results, but this by far exceeded my expectations. My life is fuller, richer, and more fluid that ever before!
 
 

Forgiveness

My life mentor is Eva Kor. She has an incredible story.

She and her sister were tortured in Auschwitz as part of the twins experiments by Dr. Joseph Mengele. Almost none of the twins survived, but this is Eva and me, at the camp, in front of a photo a photo of us, at the camp, in front of 10-year-old Eva being liberated in 1945.  

50 years later Eva returned to the camp and publicly forgave the Nazis. Including Dr. Mengele. She thought — you've taken 50 years of my life, but you won't take one more day. For Eva forgiveness was an act of empowerment. A choice to let go of anger. Today she is joyous and radiant, the first to jump up and dance if we hear music.

Sitting in Yom Kippur services a few days ago, I got stuck on a passage quoting Ben Azzai:

"Treat no one with scorn...
for all people have their moment...

Diamonds, when found in the ground,
may look like worthless pieces of glass.
It takes an expert to see the precious gem that is hidden within.

Become an expert in human being.
Learn to see each one as a diamond in the rough."

I know it's easy to get angry. People act badly all the time.

But what if we decided to live lightly? What if we didn't take things so personally? What if we constantly chose to forgive?

What if we carried no burdens?

Jewish people begin the New Year now. Maybe we can all do something new.

What if we chose to forgive, completely, one person?

What if we chose to forgive one thing about ourselves?

How does that feel? 

Meditation makes it easier to make mindful decisions like this. I hope you join us Tuesday for a meditation with the incredible Ally Bogard at The Standard, East Village. These meditations keep getting better and better as the community gets tighter and friendlier - to people who join often or for the first time. If you haven't been in a while, come join us to see.

Snag a spot for Tuesday's meditation here.

 

My Journey To Become a Meditation Teacher :: a guest post from Hillary Wright

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As we approach our second meditation teacher training (applications are now being accepted!) we're sharing personal essays and interviews from members of our community who completed the program the first time around. 

Below is a beautiful personal essay from Hillary Wright, a NYC-based yoga instructor at Y7 Studio. Read on for Hillary's insightful take on how the program had a profound impact on her personal life and career:

I’ve been studying yoga for over ten years now and teaching for almost as long. I have spent many, many years learning and sharing the practice of yoga. However, I have not spent a lot of time studying meditation. I have worked to build a consistent meditation practice over the years all while still feeling like I am an “extreme beginner” in the practice. For as much as I feel I understand about yoga, I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of the practice of meditation. I’ve been meditating for several years now, but couldn’t figure out what I should do next (mainly proving the point that I wasn’t quite “getting it" because of my constant need to find what was next).  

Last year I turned 30 and decided that I would make it my personal goal to meditate every single day as an attempt to feel more grounded, more stable, to have more clarity and as a symbolic way of bringing in a new decade based around health and happiness. Things were going well on this journey. However, I still felt like I needed to do something else to solidify this practice in my life. I recently had a fairly serious surgery (the second in one year’s time) to help me with a chronic illness I suffer from. During this time my “rocky” meditation practice seemed to be the only thing getting me through some really rough patches.  I knew this practice was powerful, and I knew if I were able to truly understand it that it could get me through my recovery, both physically and emotionally. So why shouldn't I try to go deeper?  Six months to the day that I made my goal to meditate every day, I signed up for the Nalanda Institute of Contemplative Science and The Path’s Meditation Teacher Training.  I hadn’t spent much (read: any) time with the instructors that would be leading the course, but having spent many mornings and evenings in the presence of The Path instructors, I knew I would be in good hands. 

The first day I walked into class I was instantly struck by the other students, both the wide range of age and background but also their commitment to the practice of meditation. The teachers, Dr. Joe Loizzo, Gerri Loizzo and Marlie McGovern, were warm, welcoming and instantly reassured my decision for being there (without saying a word about it).  Up to this point, I had been questioning myself, wondering if I had made the right decision signing up for a training with people I had never met, but something kept telling me to trust the process. Still in pain from surgery, especially in the first few weeks of training, I realized that this was the exact place that I needed to be. 

Week after week we met with our three teachers, and week after week I continued through my deep healing process.  I was always struck by the amount of knowledge that was being shared and how it always landed at the exact moment that I needed it.  It always amazed me how Dr. Loizzo could possibly know so much about the brain or how Gerri could lead such a beautiful meditation or how Marlie knew the exact yoga asanas to teach us that day to compliment our meditations. As the time passed, and we were “required” to turn in our meditation journals from our daily sits, I came to notice that my sits were no longer forced, that my pain was becoming manageable, and that I was looking forward to meditating each morning.  Throughout our journey, we studied the Four Foundations of Mindfulness as well as Loving-Kindness.  We spent time breaking each down, taking these techniques home and digesting them, practicing them, and journaling about them. I could feel myself putting these techniques directly to use to deal with both the physical and emotional trauma that I had been dealing with through my surgery and illness. And more importantly, I could see myself creating a habit. 

After 12 weeks of a consistent practice along with the encouragement of our sangha, or community, I knew that I had officially made meditation a part of my daily life.  My “goal” for this training had been - at minimum - to learn a few techniques to deepen my own practice and possibly share these with my yoga students, however, I gained so much more: a life-long, solid meditation practice and the true and utter healing I had been looking for. 

-Hillary Wright

Our 100-hour teacher training is for those who want to master mindfulness and loving-kindness meditation, become a meditation teacher, or for doctors, yoga teachers, therapists and other professionals who seek to skillfully and knowledgeably integrate meditation teaching into their work.

All students who pass this training will receive a certificate for Teaching Mindfulness and Lovingkindness Meditation from the Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science, The Path and Pure Yoga. This program is compliant with Yoga Alliance programs. Click HERE to apply.

The Story

Do you have people you run into all the time?

Last week I ran into a friend four times, all over the city. It felt like something was bringing us together. The fourth time, I finally approached him. I had been a bit upset with him. He works with artists and was constantly inviting me to see his clients, at free and paid events. I went to both, to support him. I then invited him to events I was hosting, but he never came.

I couldn't figure it out, and I felt badly. I created a story about why.

A few days ago I finally approached him and asked. And he said, "the truth is that I'm just starting in this new career. I can't afford to go to any paid events, no matter what it is. It's kind of embarrassing, but that's why." He was sweet and apologetic, and I gave him a big hug and learned a big lesson.

It's easy to create stories. We make up "why" to explain someone's behavior, and often we're wrong. But we live in that why. And miss out on so much. 

What if we're open to simply asking? Or stopped creating stories and simply let things be? 

In the Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz writes about not making assumptions (it's the third agreement!). It's so hard, so counter to our nature, and so transformative.

Today, on Rosh Hashanah, I commit to letting go — of stories. Do you have any you want to release?

Meditation brings us closer to the truth of what "is" rather than the mishegas we often build around things. On Tuesday we're excited to have Ally Bogard lead us in a meditation that will help bring us away from these stories and closer to the real us. 

Click here to join us Tuesday, October 4. 
 

Details for October 9th

I am so excited to share with all of you the details of our October 9th Brunch, with Matthieu Ricard.

The extraordinary Daphne Cheng (called the "fashionable chef" by Vogue last month) is cooking a delicious haute cuisine vegan meal for us. 

And...drumroll please ...we'll be in a location I spent eight years working to gain access to: a penthouse with two outdoor terraces overlooking Central Park. It's part of Steelcase, and we're honored to have them be part of this event.


Why join us?

Matthieu will speak about his new passion, extending compassion to animals. It doesn't mean we need to go vegan. It simply means we'll expand our idea of compassion, opening our hearts wider.

We'll enjoy gourmet food from Daphne. You'll get a copy of Matthieu's new book.

But most of all we'll be gathering with new and old friends. To meditate with, learn wisdom from and be inspired by one of the most extraordinary people I've met in the world.

I look forward to meeting those who will be attending on October 9th. Tickets are going on sale today at noon! 

Free October 9th? This Is Your Invitation to Meet Matthieu Ricard.

We are so excited to announce, to The Path community, the extraordinary chance to meet Matthieu Ricard.

On Sunday, October 9th, The Path is hosting Matthieu for a gourmet vegan brunch to celebrate the launch of his new book. This is an incredible opportunity to meditate with, learn from and ask questions to the person scientists call "the happiest man in the world."

We have just 40 seats available to join the brunch with Matthieu. We'll make them available today, September 28th, at noon. Please mark your calendar if you can be with us. 

If you joined us for our fundraiser with Matthieu last year, you get it. People still write notes about the impact Matthieu had on their lives. I've never experienced anything like being near Matthieu last year — for days afterwards I was vibrating with joy and literally could not stop smiling. I felt high on his positive energy. 

Who is he?

Matthieu gave one of the biggest TED talks of all time, on the "habits of happiness." He wrote the bestseller "Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill." He is a biochemist turned Buddhist monk, the French translator for the Dalai Lama, and when scientists wanted to map the effect of meditation on the brain, they chose to conduct the experiments on him (that's Matthieu in the photo of a monk with 256 sensors on his head). 

During our brunch, Matthieu will speak about his new book, A Plea for the Animals, about extending compassion to all living beings. He'll also guide us in meditation and answer your questions.

The food, the setting and the entire event will be extraordinary. We'll tell you more about that in our upcoming blog post. And because a charity is paying for our expenses, each dollar you spend to join us will go to Matthieu's humanitarian cause, to help under-served people in India, Tibet and Nepal (with special focus on rebuilding schools for girls devastated by the earthquake in Nepal).

You can join us for the brunch, the talk and the meditation, and receive a copy of Matthieu's book, for $50. You can also join us for a private tea with Matthieu before doors open (and then for the brunch) for $100.

Again please mark your calendars if you can join us: tickets for the Matthieu Ricard brunch will be released today, September 28th, at noon. 

We hope you can be with us to spend time with this extraordinary and inspirational man.