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2022 Yearlong Course: Embracing Climate Crisis as a Spiritual Path

“Action on behalf of life transforms. Because the relationship between self and the world is reciprocal, it is not a question of first getting enlightened or saved and then acting. As we work to heal the earth, the earth heals us.”

― Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants

Teachers: Jon Aaron, Lin Wang Gordon

As the climate crisis intensifies, society and life on Earth are changing in ways we have never imagined before.  Life as we’ve come to know it, is in the midst of massive change and upheaval as a result of many interrelated causes.  How do we hold this? How do we face our anxiety, fear, anger, grief, guilt, and overwhelm with compassion and wisdom, and cultivate a sense of resilience? What are our individual and collective responses to respond to the climate crisis?  Where do we fit into what Joanna Macy has called The Great Turning?  How do we cultivate a sense of agency and empowerment? 

Over the months of this course we will discover how our embodied Buddhist practice can help us face difficult emotions with compassion and how that impacts our response to the crisis.  We will explore healing and cultivating compassion, wisdom, resilience, equanimity through our practices. Embracing the climate crisis is as much a spiritual, sacred path as healing from our personal crisis.  We will explore diverse voices who have been working on the responses – diversity that includes gender, race, and age – to provide a wide range of perspectives.   We will also explore nature-based practices – integrating wisdom from our natural environment into our practices and understanding. 

The course will include four daylong-retreats, six half-day retreats, ongoing small groups and regular readings.  This is an in-person course, with the intention to build and nurture community throughout the course.  The first three classes will be held indoors during the winter months, and for the rest of the classes we will meet outdoors in parks or various natural environments throughout NYC.  Each participant will be expected to take on some project related to this work – including meditating outdoors throughout the year, and a local volunteering project of choice related to the environment.  Core reading will include:

  1. A Time to Stand Up by Thanissara;
  2. Active Hope by Joanna Macy;
  3. All We Can Save by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine Wilkinson
  4. Other additional resources

The outdoor classes will be taking place regardless of weather conditions, unless it’s dangerous weather.  It will be our practice to work with a wide variety of conditions. 

The meeting dates of the course are:

Sun. 1/30 – 10am – 5pm

Sun. 2/27 – 1-5pm

Sun. 3/20 – 1-5pm

Sun. 4/24 – 10am – 5pm

Sun. 5/15 – 1-5pm

Sun. 6/19 – 1-5pm

Sun. 8/31 – 1-5pm

Sun. 9/18 – 10am – 5pm

Sun. 10/16 – 1-5pm

Sun. 11/13 – 10am – 5pm

The course will be offered on a sliding scale: $870, $590, $390 – scholarships will be available.

NY Insight COVID Protocol for outdoor In-Person programs:
All participants must be vaccinated – Proof of vaccination is required.
All participants must register before attending NYInsight all forms of gatherings (sanghas included.)
All participants must wear masks.
All participants must follow social distancing guidelines by keeping 6’ apart.

Disclaimer: Procedures adhere to current CDC guidelines.
Changes may be applied at any time, based on CDC guidelines.
For the health and safety of our staff and community, please do not come onsite if you are feeling unwell.

Mon. 3/7/2022: People of Color Sangha at New York Insight

Date: Monday, 3/7/2022

Time: 7-8:30pm ET

Location: Zoom

People of Color Sangha

First and third Mondays of the month | 7:00pm-8:30pm ET

This sitting group provides instruction in insight meditation and fosters mutual support and understanding among the growing community of people of color who find nourishment and inspiration in the practice of meditation.

No previous meditation experience is required.

2022 POC Sangha Schedule:

January 3 Karen G. Williams

January 17 Fatima Wildecy Jury (MLK)

February 7 Isabel Adon

February 21 nakawe cuebas berrios

March 7  Lin Wang Gordon

March 21 Karen G. Williams

April 4 Isabel Adon

April 18 nakawe cuebas berrios

May 2 Peace Twesigye

May 16 Fatima Wildecy Jury 

June 6 Isabel Adon

June 20 Fatima Wildecy Jury 

July 4 Lissa Edmond

July 18 Fatima Wildecy Jury 

Join our sangha via Zoom: http://bit.ly/nyipoc
Meeting ID: 895 2597 1179
Passcode: 123

Or, dial by your location
+16465588656,,719498730# US (New York)

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kdx7GxkQXP

Register and donate at: NYIMC – POC Sangha

7/21 – 7/30/2022: Ecodharma Training Retreat – with Johann Robbins, David Loy, and Cornelia Santschi

Date: Thursday, July 21, 2022 – Saturday, July 30, 2022

Location: Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center, Jamestown, Colorado

Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center is an ideal location for nature meditation retreats. The area is extraordinarily beautiful, pristine and peaceful, with a wide variety of trails, wildflower-covered alpine meadows, creeks, and rocky crags. The mountains, forests and river naturally work to settle the mind, while living and practicing together creates personal connections and mutual support.

Part 1: Ecodharma Training Retreat, July 21 – 30, 2022

The ecological crisis is the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. And we have Covid to deal with too. Are you feeling overwhelmed? How does modern dharma help us understand and engage with all of this? New teachings and practices are now emerging in response to the realities of the current situation: we are calling this Ecodharma.

This training and nature retreat is a ten-day experiential immersion into ecodharma, specifically for dedicated practitioners, dharma leaders and teachers. Our sense of separation from nature is at the root of the ecological crises our civilization faces, and ecodharma is a path of deconstructing that separation, thus reuniting our inner nature with outer nature. Ecodharma practice is about healing our relationship with the rest of the natural world, so that an appropriate and authentic response to suffering can arise, which unifies our personal and spiritual transformation with social engagement. In this time of pandemic, and ecological and social crisis, the earth calls upon us to do what we can in response.

In the first few days, we will connect deeply with the natural world, grounding ourselves in the joy and healing of being and practicing outside, while building a supportive and safe sangha. Then we will begin to explore the more challenging side of our relationship with nature: the grief, fear, anger, and guilt we feel while watching the earth’s climate and ecosystems deteriorate, along with increasing social, economic and political unraveling. Together we will touch into eco-trauma and eco-grief, including the trauma and grief of the pandemic; working with them while supported by deepening nature practice and sangha relationships. Then, after detailed preparation, there will be a two-day/two-night solo, in which solitude and silence increase our individual capacity to see, hear, and feel the connections between our inner and outer nature, building strength, resilience, and joy. Afterwards we gather in sangha together for integration and finding our ways forward.

This training retreat is not about learning a set, prescribed method, and a lot of the program is experimental and flexible. Both individually and collectively, we will respond appropriately to the situation at the time we gather. Our goal is to support and catalyze deep personal learning that you can apply to your own dharma practice and leadership, in order to develop ecodharma in your own way. The uniqueness and authenticity of our own experience shapes how each of us understands dharma, and this training will reflect that in everything we do. Our hope is that this experience informs, motivates, and empowers you to bring ecodharma into your own dharma and your own life.

The retreat is often but not always silent, and will include instruction and practice in both sitting and walking meditation in nature, Q&A, discussion, sharing, a dharma talk, individual one-to-one meetings with the teachers, and open practice time as well. The intention is to co-create an ecodharma lab, where we are all experientially learning together and discovering the best ways to do this crucial work.

Note: The retreat is half full as of end of January, 2022.

Sun. 11/28/2021: Thanksgiving Weekend Hike to Hook Mountain, Rockland Lake State Park (on the Long Path)

“In every walk in Nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir, naturalist

Enjoy a fall day in the peaceful beauty of the Hudson Valley with a guided, meditative hike to connect with nature and ourselves. This hike takes the scenic route along the Long Path—into the Rockland Lake State Park and up Hook Mountain. Enjoy expansive vistas only 1.5 hours outside of the city, and an extraordinary space designated by the New York Audubon Society as an Important Bird Area.

Much of the hike will be observed in silence but we will integrate meditation practices throughout the day — allowing our senses to come alive and our sense of separateness fall away. Turning our attention inward allows us to become receptive to both of our outer and inner experiences. The dynamic outdoor conditions will be a perfect container for mindfulness practices.

The hike will be approximately from 10am – 3pm.

When: 9:45am-3pm, Sunday, November 28, 2021

Who: Lin Wang Gordon

Where: Rockland Lake State Park, South Entrance on Route 9W and Lake Road, Valley Cottage, NY, 10989. (Use “753 Route 9W” for Rockland Roots GPS. The park entrance should be one block ahead). It’s parking field #4. There is a picnic table under a big tree near the toll booth of the parking lot. 

Length and Elevation: Approximately 5.8 miles, 698 ft elevation – Relatively moderate hike, but there are sections of ups and downs, pls bring hiking poles and wear proper hiking shoes.

Meeting Time: We’ll meet a picnic table right next to the park lot at 9:45am.  Restrooms will be available.

Drivers: Expect an $8 parking fee. Arrive by 9:45 a.m. and drive into the Rockland Lake State Park, South Entrance on Route 9W and Lake Road, Valley Cottage, NY. (299 Lake Rd. Valley Cottage, NY, 10989).  There is another parking lot about a mile further north on Route 9W (parking lot #2).  Please make sure you’re at parking lot #4.  South Entrance parking lot is an open space with a lots of picnic tables and a large building complex.

Carpool: We will send out a carpooling sign up sheet 7 days before the hike. Please register by 11/21 to be on the carpool list.

We aim to start the hike at 10am and will walk to the trailhead together from the parking lot.

COVID-19 Protocols: We will remain 6 feet apart when hiking. When we gather for discussion, we will wear a mask. Please cancel and request a refund if you have any symptoms listed by the CDC as Covid symptoms. You will be requested to sign a health declaration form and a waiver.

Maximum enrollment: 18 people

Registration Fee: Sliding scale from $30 – $80. Registration opens soon through New York Insight.

No prior meditation experience needed.

Bring

Wear

  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • Comfortable athletic clothing in layers so you can adjust accordingly – (cottons are discouraged)
  • Wool socks (if possible)
  • Hat
  • Jacket
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses

Sun. 04/24/2022: Hike to Black Rock Forest Mineral Springs Trail

“In every walk in Nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir, naturalist

Enjoy the magnificent fall foliage in the peaceful beauty of the Hudson Valley with a guided, meditative hike to connect with nature and ourselves. This hike takes us to the Old Mineral Springs trail of the Black Rock Forest. Located west of Route 9W in the town of Cornwall, NY on the west side of the Hudson River, we will explore a forest that has been extensively preserved and researched for a century. In a short 4-mile hike, we will get to explore a varied landscape where waterfalls, streams, ponds, wooded areas intertwined, resulting in a highly diversified and rich habitat for plants and animals.

Much of the hike will be observed in silence but we will integrate meditation practices throughout the day — allowing our senses to come alive and our sense of separateness fall away. Turning our attention inward allows us to become receptive to both of our outer and inner experiences. The dynamic outdoor conditions will be a perfect container for mindfulness practices. We will have lunch by a pond.

The hike will be approximately from 10am – 4:30pm.

After the hike you can also stop by the nearby Jones Farm to pick up farm fresh bakery goods and produce, as well as visit the animals.

Who: Lin Wang Gordon and Jon Aaron

When: Sunday, April 24, 2022

Where: Black Rock Forest – Mineral Springs Trail

Length and Elevation: Approximately 3.9 miles, 725 ft elevation – Relatively moderate hike featuring a waterfall. There are sections of ups and downs, please bring hiking poles and wear proper hiking shoes.

Meeting Time: We’ll meet at the trail head at 9:45am. 

Meeting Location: 2-16 Old Mineral Springs Rd, Highland Mills, NY 10930

Carpool: Use the sign-up sheet to coordinate

Car Rental: With the cost of bus tickets and logistics of coordination, it may be more economical and easier if some of you could coordinate a car rental and split the cost among 4 people.

Public Transporation:  

Shortline Bus: Port Authority bus terminal to Storm King Art Center bus stop. Morning bus leaves at 8:30am. Ride from bus stop to Black Rock Forest is about a 6 mins ride.

However, there may not be a bus running on weekends at 8:30am to Storm King Art Center. In this case, you would need to get off at the Penie Ln – Highland Mills bus stop at Woodbury. Leave at 8:30am and arrive at Highland Mills at 9:45am. Return at 5:14pm and arrive at Port Authority at 6:25pm. Ride from bus top to Black Rock Forest is about a 15 mins ride.

We aim to start the hike at 10am.

Bring

Wear

  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • Comfortable athletic clothing in layers so you can adjust accordingly – (cottons are discouraged)
  • Wool socks (if possible)
  • Hat
  • Jacket
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses

Mon. 10/18/2021: People of Color Sangha Sit at New York Insight

Photo Credit: National Park Services

Date: Monday, 10/18/2021

Time: 7-9pm ET

Location: Zoom

People of Color Sangha

First and third Mondays of the month | 7:00pm-9:00pm ET

This sitting group provides instruction in insight meditation and fosters mutual support and understanding among the growing community of people of color who find nourishment and inspiration in the practice of meditation.

No previous meditation experience is required.

Teacher schedule:
Sep. 6 – Nakawe
Oct. 4 – Peace
Oct. 18 – Lin Wang Gordon
Nov. 1 – Angela
Nov. 15 – Julie
Dec. 6 – Lin Wang Gordon
Dec. 20 – Julie

Join our sangha via Zoom: http://bit.ly/nyipoc
Meeting ID: 895 2597 1179
Passcode: 123

Or, dial by your location
+16465588656,,719498730# US (New York)

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kdx7GxkQXP

Register and donate at: NYIMC – POC Sangha

Sat. 9/25/2021: Tending Grief in Nature – Jamaica Bay Wild Life Preserve

Photo Credit: National Park Services

Date: Saturday, 9/25/2021

Time: 10am-4:30pm ET

Location: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Preserve, Queens, NY

Teachers: Peace Twisegye and Lin Wang Gordon

In the past year, many lost loved ones due to Covid-19 or other causes.  Yet the pandemic put barriers into holding many rituals that help us process grief, individually and collectively.  Grief, if not attended, could often hold us hostage to life’s uncertainty and losses.  How do we open our heart and continue to let our life energy flow while facing and tending our grief intimately?  How do we establish a sense of connection with our loved ones when their bodies are no longer here? We will spend this day  outdoors to meditate, to free write, to experiment with the elements, and to share dreams. We will explore nature-based practices, learn, and find support and healing forces in nature as we share a space to mourn and grieve.


This daylong is not limited to those who experience human loss but also animal companions.  No prior meditation experience necessary.

Subway: Take the A train to Rockaway Blvd., get off at the last cart on the train to exit the train station. Take the Q52/Q53 bus from there and get off at the Cross Bay Bl & Wildlife Refuge stop. The bus will drop you off directly in front of the entrance.

Bus: Take the Q53 from 61st and Roosevelt Avenue (Woodside) to the Refuge. Please note that the Q53 is a +select bus service.

More info: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Preserve

Registration closed 3 days before the program start (Wed. Sep. 22, 12:00 PM)

NY Insight COVID Protocol for outdoor In-Person programs:
All participants must be vaccinated – Proof of vaccination is required.
All participants must register before attending NYInsight all forms of gatherings (sanghas included.)
All participants must wear masks.
All participants must follow social distancing guidelines by keeping 6’ apart.

Disclaimer: Procedures adhere to current CDC guidelines.
Changes may be applied at any time, based on CDC guidelines.
For the health and safety of our staff and community, please do not come onsite if you are feeling unwell.

Maximum participants: 20 people

Please bring:

  • Mask
  • Water
  • Lunch
  • Snacks
  • Rain Gear
  • Hiking shoes or trail runner (good for muddy or wet trails)
  • Sitting prop if needed (Crazy Creek, foam pad, etc.)
  • Journal and pen

Sun. 9/19/2021: BIPOC Embodied Refuge Sit

Photo Credit: National Park Services

Date: Sunday, 9/19/2021

Time: 10am-11:30am ET

Location: Zoom

Guest Teacher: Lin Wang Gordon

BIPOC Embodied Refuge, a sangha (community) for those who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, facilitated by Lissa Edmond and Guests, meets on Sundays 10-11:30a ET online via zoom. Closed Captioning available.

These gatherings are intended to support studying the dharma together alongside healing collective and intergenerational race-and oppression-based trauma via the body and in community as well as cultivating communal and intergenerational resilience and reclamation.

The meetings will begin with a guided meditation and will also include embodied practices, dharma reflections, check-ins, and song. Space will be held for all that’s present in a way that supports a trauma-responsive approach, self and collective care, and community and connection.

This week’s topic:

How do nature-based practices support us in practicing and understanding the dharma?  How do we connect to the natural elements while living in an urban environment? What is our relationship with our ancestors and how do we connect to them? We will explore nature-based practices and our relationships with ancestors this morning.  These practices could help us connect to a larger presence that we inherently belong to.  


No prior meditation experience necessary.

For more information, please visit: BIPOC Embodied Refuge

Register at: https://bipocembodiedrefuge.eventbrite.com

Sat. 9/11: Sacred Earth Sangha in Greenwood Cemetery (Brooklyn)

Photo Credit: Harrison Jacobs/Business Insider

Date: Saturday, 9/11/2021

Time: 2-5pm ET, meeting at 1:45am

Location: Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Since its beginning, every session of SES has begun with three honorings: honoring native land, honoring Asian lineages, & honoring ancestors. For the past few months, we have been exploring these three honorings as foundations for sacred earth awakening. In April, we explored honoring the Asian lineages of our practice. In May, we gathered in Central Park to explore honoring Native Land.

What does it mean to honor ancestors? Join us in September as we cultivate relationships with our personal genealogical ancestors as well as practice reflections and meditations that touch the truth of the whole of nature as “all my relations.”

We look forward to exploring our inner and outer world together with you in nature.

Location and Time:

Greenwood Cemetery Main Entrance at Fifth Avenue and 25th Street, Brooklyn

Meet: 1:45 pm in front of chapel to the right of the main entrance — we will leave the chapel promptly at 2pm

Subway: Take the R train to the 25th Street station in Brooklyn. Walk east/uphill one block to our Main Entrance.

Free parking is available within Green-Wood. Please park all vehicles on the right-hand side of the road. Parking on the grass is prohibited.
Additional info: https://www.green-wood.com/visit/

Participation Requirements:
• Vaccination is required – Please present proof of vaccination to the teacher on-site.
• Mask Wearing at all times.
• Social Distance at all times, at least 6’ of distance.

Maximum participants: 25 people
Cancellation: Since we tend to have a waitlist, if you don’t plan to attend the event, please cancel at least 72 hours in advance so others on the waitlist can have a chance to be notified and attend the event. It will also cost staff time to coordinate. We encourage you to be thoughtful of your intention to register and respect others’ opportunities to practice together.

Please bring:
-Mask
-Water
-Your favorite snacks
-Sitting prop if needed (bench, yoga mat, etc.)
Fee by donation: Suggested starting donation is $15

8/6 – 8/15/2021: Inner Outer Nature – Ecodharma Training Retreat – with Johann Robbins and David Loy

Date: Friday, August 6, 2021 – Sunday, August 15, 2021

Location: Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center, Jamestown, Colorado

Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center is an ideal location for nature meditation retreats. The area is extraordinarily beautiful, pristine and peaceful, with a wide variety of trails, wildflower-covered alpine meadows, creeks, and rocky crags. The mountains, forests and river naturally work to settle the mind, while living and practicing together creates personal connections and mutual support.

The Combined Retreat, which includes the Ecodharma Training Retreat and the Silent Meditation Retreat, is for Dharma Leaders and Experienced Practitioners.

Part 1: Ecodharma Training Retreat, August 6 – 15, 2021

The ecological crisis is the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. And now it has spawned the Coronavirus. Are you feeling overwhelmed? How does modern dharma help us understand and engage with all of this? New teachings and practices are now emerging in response to the realities of the current situation: ecodharma.

This is a ten-day experiential immersion into ecodharma, specifically for dharma teachers, leaders, and committed practitioners. Our sense of separation from nature is at the root of the ecological crises our civilization faces, and ecodharma is a path of deconstructing that separation, reuniting our inner nature with outer nature. Ecodharma practice is about healing our relationship with the rest of the natural world, so that an appropriate and authentic response can arise, which unifies our personal and spiritual transformation with social engagement. In this time of pandemic, and ecological and social crisis, the earth calls upon us to do what we can in response.

In the first few days we will connect deeply with the natural world, grounding ourselves in the joys of being and practicing outside, while building a supportive but safe sangha. Then we will begin to explore the dark side of our relationship with nature: the grief, fear, anger, and guilt we feel while watching the earth’s climate and ecosystems deteriorate, along with increasing social, economic and political unraveling. Together we will touch into eco-trauma and eco-grief, including the trauma and grief of the pandemic; working with them while supported by deepening nature practice and sangha relationships. Then, after detailed preparation, there will be a two and a half day/two-night solo, in which solitude and silence increase our individual capacity to see, hear, and feel the connections between our inner and outer nature. Afterwards we gather together again for integration and finding our ways forward.

This training retreat is not about teaching or learning a prescribed method, and a lot of the program and forms are experimental and flexible. Both individually and collectively, we will respond appropriately to the situation at the time we gather. Our goal is to support and catalyze deep personal learning that you can apply to your own dharma leadership and teaching, in order to develop ecodharma in your own way. The uniqueness and authenticity of our own experience shapes how each of us practices, leads and teaches dharma, and this training will incorporate into that process as well. Our hope is that this experience informs, motivates, and empowers you to bring ecodharma into your dharma and your life.

The daily schedule will include instruction and practice in both sitting and walking meditation in nature, Q&A, discussion and sharing, a dharma talk, individual one-to-one meetings with the teachers, and open practice time as well. The intention is to co-create an ecodharma lab, where we are all experientially learning together and discovering the best ways to do this crucial work.

There will be a one day solo on Sunday, August 15th.

If you would like to do a longer retreat, you can stay for a silent retreat for the second week. Find more detail on RMERC.