Tools to Till the Soil

This week we explore the practice of gratitude. This feels timely as there has been much talk in the CMP community lately about all the tools we feel grateful for that support our meditation practice.  These supports come in the form of books, podcasts, talks, teachers, retreats, TV shows, apps, cushions, chairs, spaces, and loved ones who encourage us to practice. 

Here is a list of some of the tools that CMP facilitators have mentioned recently:

  • Noted meditation teacher Sylvia Boorstein’s wisdom and humor, including the quote, "I am thankful that thus far today I have not had any unkind thoughts, or said any harsh words, or done anything that I regret.  However, now I need to get out of bed and so things may become more difficult.”   Boorstein’s books include Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There, and Happiness Is an Inside Job. Bringing humor into our practice can help us stick with it, and treat ourselves with kindness in the process.

  • Learning about the Jewish practice of Mussar, including through the book, Everyday Holiness by Alan Morinis, noting the universality of the heart-opening practices like compassion and loving kindness across faith traditions.

  • The book, Just Breathe, by Dan Brûlé exploring polyvagal theory, a theory about how our nervous system functions, and in which bringing attention into the body plays a key calming role. When our practice slides into a cognitive or rote exercise, we can remind ourselves to bring it back into the body, exploring what it’s like to let go of control of the breath and let it flow at its own natural rhythm, for example, rather than controlling the breath.

  • Going to the gym!  Working with body awareness:  awareness in motion, emotions in the body.

  • The Netflix series “The Mind, Explained”.

  • Kevin Griffin’s book, One Breath at a Time, which discusses how meditation can be supportive of recovery and sobriety.

  • The quote “We source each other’s’ lives” and its implicit nod to the importance of understanding that we are all connected.

  • A Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness course offered by David Treleaven.

  • A 2 year-old grandchild who reminds us that humans are naturally joyful creatures and of the importance of play, including bringing a sense of play to our meditation practice.

  • Stephen Bachelor’s Buddhism Without Beliefs, its invitation to “live life as a question”, and its excellent third chapter on the psychology of meditation.  

  • A 5-day silent Insight Meditation retreat led by Oren Sofer, DaRa Williams and Jozen Tamori Gibson (which is why this post is arriving a bit later than normal : )).

  • Father Greg Boyle’s book, Tattoos on the Heart, The Power of Boundless Compassion, stories about his work with gang members in LA.

  • The podcast “10% Happier” with Dan Harris, in which he interviews meditation teachers like Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg and many others.

  • The poetry of John O’Donohue and Patrick Overton.

  • The movie Emanuel and its invitation to create space for forgiveness.

For a list of books, websites, apps, and meditation retreat centers, see the Resources tab on the Community Mindfulness Project website.

What tools are you using to support your practice? We’d love to know!

Lastly, we feel a deep sense of gratitude for all of you - you put the “community” in Community Mindfulness Project!

May all beings, without exception, feel supported and resourced in their pursuit of well-being,

Your friends at CMP

Please note:  No Darien meditation until January, due to construction and no Waveny sits until spring.

This Week’s Schedule

We hope you can join us at one of our community sits this week.  All sessions are free and open to the public, suitable for new meditators and people with an established practice.  There is no need to bring or wear anything special, and all sessions offered in libraries are done in chairs unless you prefer to bring your own yoga mat or meditation cushion.

Please note:  There are no Darien meditation sessions until January, due to construction, and no more formal Waveny sits on Thursdays until spring.


Monday 7:30 PM - Sama Yoga, 45 Grove Street, New Canaan 
Tuesday 1:00 PM - Ferguson  Library, 1 Public Library Plaza, Stamford 
Wednesday 12:00 PM - New Canaan Library, 151 Main Street, New Canaan
Thursday:  Please note there will be no more formal Waveny sessions on Thursdays, but we encourage you to gather and sit at Waveny on your own.
***Saturday 9 AM - 4 PM - St. Paul's on the Green, 60 East Avenue Norwalk.*** 3rd Annual Fall One Day Silent Retreat.

Upcoming Events

Saturday October 5th 9AM - 4PM: Fall Silent Retreat at St. Paul's on the Green in Norwalk. We hope you can join us for a day of guided meditations. Visit CommunityMindfulnessProject.org for information and to register.

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