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Heart Wisdom News


A Sweet Day of Silence and Sacred Sound...

Kwan Yin in Snow


On February 16, we held our first silent meditation daylong retreat at BodhiHeart Yurt. Our time together was spent with silent meditation sittings, Satsang and spiritual inquiry/dialogue with Norman, and Kirtan led by Cynthia. A sacred time for all who were there. 

We are looking forward to our next retreat at the end of September, when we can also include time walking Metta Labyrinth in meditative silence.

An Afternoon of Love and Grace...

At the end of January, a Kirtan Workshop and Kirtan sponsored by Scott Whitmore, Outreach Director of the Call and Response Foundation, was held here at BodhiHeart Yurt with about 25 open-hearted  individuals. The afternoon and early evening was full and bright, with snow softly falling around us. What a special event it turned out to be! Scott Hari Whitmore and Evan Bushnell (Muid) offered such love and grace through their teaching and leading beautiful chants. Rasa Lockhart also offered us her special presence and Kirtan support through her percussion expertise with bells and tamborine!

Below are some memorable pictures of this event.

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2018, a very good year...

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Our Winter Solstice Evening was so warm with light and love, while the rain poured outside! We gathered around lighted candles in BodhiHeart Yurt and then around the fireplace in “the Cabin”, honoring the darkest night and the return of the light. What a sweet time spent with everyone who was able to join us! 

Here we are at the end of the year 2018, which brought us many blessings and adventures, and the creation of our sacred space at Sandwich Mountain Sanctuary. Among the greatest blessings is the loving energy shared with new and old friends at the opening celebration and other events held at BodhiHeart Yurt. We are so very grateful. And, we are looking forward to the experience and unfolding of what the year 2019 will bring! 

Our Celebration Blessings...


One week ago today was our Opening Celebration & Blessing of BodhiHeart Yurt.
What a joyous and heart-filled event it was! A gathering of the sweetest hearts one could ever imagine to meet. It started with a robust gathering and potluck with all sorts of lovey food to nourish our bodies. Then, Kirtan from the Heart with Adam Bauer and his crew that nourished our souls. Singing, chanting, dancing—it was all there. A divine blessing for BodhiHeart Yurt and for all those 30+ folks who participated! And, for those who had energy left, a celebration bonfire with tossing of cleansing herbs in the fire to send out the abundance of love we gathered in the yurt out to the world, along with some drumming and smiles.
We are so grateful for all of it!

A very special thanks to Scott Snyder for capturing these pictures for us all to enjoy and reflect on this fun and magical evening!

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A Divine Rainbow for Sandwich Mountain Sanctuary

Sites for BodhiHeart Yurt, Ceremonial Fire Pit (behind small group of trees)

and Metta Labyrinth

It is difficult for any one to ignore the majesty and mystical presence of a rainbow. Last week we received this beautiful image from above, offering us a divine message that our vision of expanding our sacred place here at Sandwich Mountain Sanctuary is indeed upon us. 

It has only been since June when we received a clear message that we were called to build a yurt/meditation hall, but it has seemed longer in the waiting for things to fall into place. In the meantime, our vision of a sacred space has expanded to include a 40’ Labyrinth, a large ceremonial fire pit and offering a space for community kirtan!

This week things are progressing a at quicker pace, as the fire pit is completed, Metta Labyrinth now has a perimeter of stones, and BodhiHeart Yurt will be landing at Sandwich Mountain Sanctuary in a few days.

We are blessed. We are full of gratitude. 
We are excited to share all of this with a growing conscious community!

Reflections on the Heart’s Way

Reflections on the Hearts Way 
~ Norman Scrimshaw ~  

We try so hard to bring who we think we are to realization. These efforts will fail. The imaginary self cannot awaken. Keeping the false self going requires strategy. It constantly needs protection. Fortresses need to be built, yet it is like a sand castle facing the rising tide, it crumbles and constantly needs to be rebuilt. 

We keep the imagined self alive with the ever changing “ Story of Me” We keep fears alive with memories of a past, then project them into an imaginary future. We forget the pain from time to time, with the dream of the “imagined one” who will awaken.

Let go of this dreaming—all that you think yourself to be. 
It is so much effort and it is high maintenance.

We hold our identity tightly like a clinched fist.

Why not let go of this busyness of the mind for a short time and see what happens? Enter silently into that which is formless, without the baggage of all you believe to know.

Let go of your clenching fist, it will open naturally.

In deep relaxation where all that you know is gone.
All that is left is beingness. You are that.

All is well and you know you are home.

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Mooji Heart's Way quote
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I love the simplicity of Mooji’s invitation to enter softly into the freedom of your heart.

Community Kirtan!

~ Sandwich Mountain Community Kirtan ~
Cynthia Garner Scrimshaw

Our vision of providing sacred space that supports awakening to the heart, to joy, our true nature and building conscious community—Kirtan, often referred to as Bhakti Yoga or devotional music—encompasses all of this. We love the joy and heart-expanding experience of Kirtan. Chanting and moving to kirtan music is meditation in active form and creates an experience of heart connection and unity.

I cant remember exact details around making the decision to purchase my harmonium. I just remember that it came from deep within. After ordering my sacred instrument, I immediately received information about “Kirtan Camp” with Amah Devi and Johanna Beekman at The Yoga Space in Keene, NH, a half day intensive on learning how to play the harmonium. Yes, the universe affirmed I was to play the harmonium and begin a daily chanting practiceand to use my voice! The next step: sharing this in community.

Devotional music is often seen as an essential part of Satsang. Other than occasionally playing a special recording before meditation, this is something new for Norman in all the years he has led Satsang. With his renewed energy for teaching, he is embracing the potential for deepening the experience of Satsang. When we chant ancient sanskrit mantras and sing together before meditation, it helps to shift our sense of separateness to that of oneness and unity with the divine source within each of us. In addition, Norman feels that devotional music added to Satsang can help to relax the mind and open the heart. We began with including one devotional song/chant before meditation at our last Satsang, and plan to continue with this format.

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Community Kirtans are increasingly forming throughout the US and the world. So, I thought: What better setting than in a yurt to sing and chant? Is this something we can offer our communityan opportunity to gather at BodhiHeart Yurt to deeply touch our souls with heart-opening, uplifting and comforting music? Can I imagine a community kirtan in the midst of the mountains, where all are welcome to experience and create sacred healing sound with devotional music? Am I willing to go out on a limb and lead Kirtan? 
Again, the answer is 
Yes”! Through this mind/body/heart processing, Sandwich Mountain Community Kirtan was conceived.

Harvest Moon…

~ Harvest Moon at Sandwich Mountain Sanctuary ~

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It is now officially autumn and tonight is the Harvest Moon. Along with the moon, our hearts are full. It is one of our favorite times of the year here in the White Mountains. We must admit we have been challenged staying fully in the moment recently, with planning and making preparations for the building of BodhiHeart Yurt and Metta Labyrinth. The ground prep for both has been delayed by several weeks and we have received word that it will begin this week, weather permitting. Next week we will hear when to expect arrival of the yurt materials. A pile of old field stones continue to nest close by, waiting to become the foundation of sacred space for the labyrinth. 

All is well. When we stop and listen carefully, we can hear the land and the mountains whispering “Yes”.

Blessings from John “O’Donohue

Blessings from John ODonohue
~ Cynthia Garner Scrimshaw ~

Recently I came across an article that I had saved, called The Presence of Compassion, an Interview with John O’Donohue by Mary NurrieStearns. The quote below comes from his discussion about compassion and prayer. 

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Compassion and Prayer
"There is a place in you...that is the eternal place within you. The more we visit there, the more we are touched and fused with the limitless kindness and affection of the divine…If we can inhabit that reflex of divine presence, then compassion will flow naturally from us.” 

~ John O’Donohue
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After reading those eight pages of dialogue in the article, I deeply felt the presence of compassion and the beauty of O’Donohue’s spirit. It reminded me of his powerful short time on earth, the spiritual hope and wisdom that he offered us…and a couple of his books on the shelf that I had not visited recently. This morning, I spent some time with them. Below are some other heart wisdom words from him that I feel moved to share…
             _______________________

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Beauty in the Heart
Excerpts from 
Beauty, The Invisible Embrace: 
Rediscovering the True Sources of Compassion, Serenity, and Hope

Yet though the music of the heart may grow faint, there is in each of us an unprotected place that beauty can always reach out and touch. 
When the mind is festering with trouble or the heart torn, we can find healing among the silence of the mountains or fields,
or listen to the simple, steadying rhythm of waves.
The slowness and stillness take us over…

When serenity is restored, new perspectives open to us
and difficulty can begin to seem like an invitation to new growth…
the heart of vision is shaped by the state of the soul. When the soul is alive to beauty, we begin to see life in a fresh and vital way…
When we beautify our gaze, the grace of hidden beauty
becomes our joy and sanctuary.
” 

~ John O’Donohue
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Blessings of Retirement
Excerpts from 
To Bless the Space Between Us:A Book of Blessings

This is where your life has arrived,
After all the years of effort and toil;

Look back with graciousness and thanks
On all your great and quiet achievements.
  

You stand on the shore of new invitation
To open your life to what is left undone;
Let your heart enjoy a different rhythm
When drawn to the wonder of other horizons.

Have the courage for a new approach to time;
Allow it to slow until you find freedom
To draw alongside the mystery you hold
And befriend your own beauty of soul.

Now is the time to enjoy your heart
’s desire,

To live the dreams you’ve  waited for,
To awaken the depths beyond your work
And enter into your infinite source.

~ John O’Donohue
_______________________

John O’Donohue has been described as an Irish poet and philosopher
and an awakened soul who believed that ancient wisdom
offers spiritual nourishment for the modern world.

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Thank you, John O’Donohue. What a gift to spend time reflecting upon your wisdom this morning. May others enjoy it, too.

Compassion Practice

Compassion Practice
~ Cynthia Garner Scrimshaw ~

The Practice of Compassion is rooted in the heart, at the very core of our being. It is the essence and ultimate expression of my own spiritual practice, and that of Buddhism, Christianity and other World Religions. Practicing compassion opens the heart and awakens us. In the practice of compassion, we discover our innate resilience that helps us cope with life challenges and personal suffering, and strength to hold empathy for others. Simultaneously, it offers us a way to deepen heart-felt feelings of love, joy, and connection with all sentient and non-sentient beings and the world we live in, and finding deeper meaning in our daily life.

So what does this practice look and feel like? How can one move concepts out of the mind into the true experience? I adore the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. He has helped me simplify and develop my practice of compassion, such as mindfully drinking a cup of tea when feeling stressed, or moving my computer out of my lap to make the space for one of my cats, Ani or Bodhi, so that we can taste the sweetness of silent and healing connection with one another. This is a simple practice of compassion—being mindful, intentional and opening one’s heart to the beautiful experience of living each moment.

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis
on which the world earth revolves—slowly, evenly, 
without rushing toward the future;
Live the actual moment.
             Only this moment is life.
                
                                                                                ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

With every mindful, benevolent and intentional moment we can develop a strong compassion practice. It is not about seeking perfection, but it is in living a conscious and meaningful life. We forget, we loose track, we get lost and bounced around with the stress of reacting to external events or internal musings. Then we remind ourselves “Oh yes, I remember what I truly want—let me return to my true home and where I want to live”. The practice of compassion develops and deepens as we remind ourselves before we get too far adrift. We begin to recognize it feels so much better to live in the present moment with all of the ups and downs of life, than it is to get lost in the mire of anger, blame, shame, isolation, or even the over indulgence of pleasure as an avoidance to facing something “uncomfortable”. 

With a focused compassion practice, we will get off our path less frequently,  and when we inevitably do, we find it much easier to find our way back— embracing the journey that is our true nature…

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 © Awakening to the Heart -  2018