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November 24: Black Friday Nature Meditation at Central Park

Register Here

“Everything in this universe has a rhythm; everything dances.” – Maya Angelou

Need some renewal time after the Thanksgiving holiday?

Inspired by REI’s #OptOutside campaign which closes its stores on Black Friday and encourages everyone to go outdoors, we would like to take this opportunity to immerse in the season with nature meditation and gratitude practices.

Every season has its unique gifts.  With the abundance of late fall, we reflect on the work from this past year, harvest what we reap, and release what we no longer need.  It returns to the essence of our experiences and who we are, as we let go of the attachments to the beauty and excitement of summer.  As days get shorter and we are heading into winter, it is a time for introspection, letting go, and spiritual connection.

Who: Jon Aaron and Lin Gordon

When: 10:30am-12:30pm, Friday, November 24th

Where: Central Park, 100th St. and Central Park West

Meeting Location and Time: 10:15am at 100th St. entrance, Central Park West

No prior meditation experience needed.

Fee by donation: Suggested donation starts at $15 and no one is ever turned away for lack of fund.  Whatever you offer is greatly appreciated.

Register Here

Meditate and Write in the Grove: June to October (Monthly)

Register Here

Starting June 11, join Brooklyn Greenway Initiative as we meditate and free write in the beautiful outdoor space of the Naval Cemetery Landscape, co-sponsored by Breathe Read Write and Being in the Wild.

Session 1 on Sunday morning, June 11, 9:30 – 11:30am: Welcome summer, season of growth and abundance.

Sessions 2-4 on the first Thursday evening of July (7/6), August (8/3), and Sept. (9/7), 6:30 – 8pm: Tune in to the gifts and cycles of this ground and the beings that live here, such as trees, native wildflowers (Brown Eyed Susans, Asters, etc.), bees, birds, and more.

Session 5 on Sunday morning October 1, 9:30 – 11:30am: Thank summer and welcome fall, season of harvest and completion.

This park honors the past and builds toward a greener, more contemplative future. We can all participate by gathering to meditate and offer our own creativity. These sessions are suitable for everyone, from beginners to experienced meditators or writers. Each class will include meditation instruction and practice, prompts to awaken your senses, guided free-writing, and lively and supportive sharing.

At the start of each session, Lin guides nature meditation practices that cultivate a deep attention to both our inner and outer worlds. Examples of these practices include: four elements exploration (earth, water, fire and air); tree contemplation; five-sense experiencing. The aim is to nurture curiosity and loving kindness, which we bring in to our free-writing with Lisa. This involves opening ourselves to a poem or a particular piece of the park and then free-writing (Natalie Goldberg-style). Everyone who wants to share what flows through them has a chance to be heard and appreciated.

If you have a favorite notebook and pen, bring them, or BGI can provide.

Location

Classes are held at the Naval Cemetery Landscape. Enter at Williamsburg St West between Kent and Flushing Avenues.

Public Transit

  • B57/B62Bus to Flushing Av/Classon Av (2 min walk)
  • B48 Bus to Wallabout St/Wythe Av (5 min walk)
  • J/M/Z Train to Marcy Ave (11 min walk)
  • G train to Flushing Ave (13 min walk)

Register Here


Teacher’s bios

Lisa Freedman received her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the New School, where she now offers courses including “Meditating, Seeing, and Writing” (in collaboration with the Rubin Museum) and “Writing and Activism.” Her current studies focus on Shambhala Buddhism and the path of the compassionate warrior. Satya Magazine, Grabbing the Apple, and The Shambhala Times published her work in 2016. Her poem, “Notes for a Commune-Nest Personifesto,” appears in Resist Much Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the Resistance.

Lisa’s concern for the environment and threatened beings everywhere prompted her to start offering Breathe/Read/Write sessions. The way she sees it, whenever we guide our wandering minds back to the breath, we offer ourselves a fresh start. Every time we meditate and then pick up our pens to write, we are in a realm of unlimited possibilities. It’s important to cultivate our relationship with this realm these days because we’re surrounded by evidence that our current patterns of living, consuming, and relating need to change. We need new ideas. “Free-writing” (just letting the pen move, non-stop) can be their vehicle.

Feel free to contact lisa@lfwritingcoach.com for more info.

Lin Gordon’s Being in the Wild project is born out of a love for meditation and nature. Lin has been practicing insight meditation for the last six years under the guidance of Jonathan Foust as well as various teachers at the New York Insight Meditation Center. In stillness and silence, she discovers the transformative power of mindfulness practices to help live a life of flow, joy, grace and gratitude.

Recently, Lin was moved by the power of nature meditation practices to connect with a deep sense of well-being, tranquility, love and resilience. When meditating in nature, our senses are more alive. Whether it is touching tree bark or hearing bird songs or meandering on unknown paths, nature shows us the essence of who we are. Our human-centric world view dissolves, and we realize we are but a small part of a greater intelligence. Lin will be graduating from Mark Coleman’s Awake in the Wild Meditation in Nature Facilitators Training in the fall of 2017.

Besides meditation, Lin practices kundalini yoga, reiki, chakra therapy, group dream work and is certified in wilderness first aid. Out in the world, she has been a digital marketer for media and financial services industries for the last 15 years and currently serves as a board member of New York Insight Meditation Center.

More info: Email info@beinginthewild.com or follow http://www.Facebook.com/beinginthewild.

July 29: Lake Awosting – Meditative Hike & Swim

Bask in Some of NY’s Greatest Views and Cool Off in a Glacial Lake

What We Love

  • Swim in a glacial lake
  • Open views of stunning cliffs
  • Lush and colorful forests
  • Visit a local farm stand
Photo credit: Discover Outdoors

Register Here

After arriving at the beautiful glacial Lake Minnewaska, we’ll warm up with three miles through the lush and mystical forests high above the Palmaghatt Ravine. We’ll take in the sweeping views of Gertrude’s Nose and the Hudson Valley as we make our way to the cliffs of Hamilton Point.

Our next stop is Lake Awosting, where we can take a break by the calm waters and jump in for a quick swim while we enjoy lunch.  After our rest, we’ll turn to off our gentle carriage roads and join the wondrous Shawangunk Ridge Trail out to take in views from Castle Point and Litchfield Ledge, stretching out to the Catskill Mountains.  We’ll return back to our trailhead via a moderate carriage road and enjoy some final views before our ride home.

We’ll integrate sitting and walking nature meditation throughout the hike.  Some examples of practices may include the following, but actual practices will vary based on location and weather.

  • Sensory and Tactical Awareness
  • Non-Conceptual Awareness: Letting go of existing concepts and focus on direct experience
  • Expansive Awareness: Dissolving into the sky
  • Four Elements: Contemplating the elements of air, earth, water and fire
  • Tree Meditation

Most of the hike will be observed in silence.  John Muir said, “In every walk in Nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”  Silence is a critical ingredient for introspective and transformative experiences.  Turning our attention inward allows us to become receptive to both of our outer and inner experiences.  Allow your senses to come alive and watch your sense of separateness falls away in nature.  The dynamic outdoor conditions will be a perfect container for mindfulness practices.  As we become intimate with the natural world, we become intimate with ourselves.

Perfect for: Fit, new hikers up for a challenge, intermediate and experienced hikers looking for a relaxing day.  No prior meditation experience needed.

When: 7am-6:30pm, Saturday, July 29, 2017

Where: Minnewaska State Park, New York

Registration Fee: $105.  We are partnering with Discover Outdoors for this hike.  Registration fee covers transportation, an expert trail guide, and park permit.  It also covers a portion of dana for teachers and New York Insight.  At the end of the trip, if you are moved by the experience, additional dana is appreciated.

Based on the size of the van, only 12 spots are available per trip.  There will be a waitlist once these spots are filled.  If you decided to drive to meet us, you will make more spots for others to join and pay $70 ($35 less).  As soon as you register, please email info@beinginthewild.com to indicate that you’ll be driving so we can inform others of additional availability.  Please read the refund and cancellations policy.

Register Here

Facilitators:

Jon Aaron has been a teacher at New York insight since 2006. His principal dharma teacher has been Matthew Flickstein of The Forest Way. He trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, and is a certified teacher through the CFM. He has taught over 50 cycles of the seminal curriculum as well as numerous courses for alumni of the program. He completed the Integrated Study and Practice Program at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and the Foundations in Buddhist Contemplative Care at the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. He is the co-guiding teacher of the Makom Meditation Havurah program at the Jewish Community Center. He is a certified Somatic Experience Practitionertm and has most recently completed the teacher training in Mindfulness for Pain offered by Breathworks in England.

Lin Gordon has practiced insight meditation in the last six years. Her principal dharma teachers have been Jonathan Foust of Insight Meditation Community of Washington, Mark Coleman of Spirit Rock, and Jon Aaron at New York Insight. Inspired by Mark Coleman’s nature practices, she will complete Mark Coleman’s Awake in the Wild Meditation in Nature Facilitators Training in the fall of 2017.


Trip Details

Meeting Location and Time:

Meet at Paragon Sports, Broadway at E. 18th St. (Union Square area)
Meet at 7am, leaves at 7:15am, returning at 6:30pm

Drive to Meet Option:

Have your own transportation? If you would prefer to drive yourself, you can select the “drive to meet” option at check out.  You’ll meet your guide at Rock and Snow in New Paltz, NY at 9:15 AM.  From there, you’ll follow the van about 15 minutes to the Minnewaska State Park parking area. Please note there is a fee to park.

Pack List:

Bring

  • Your lunch
  • Ample snacks
  • At least three liters of water
  • A backpack
  • Bathing suit and lightweight towel if you’d like to swim
  • Sitting props if needed (thermal rest z-seat pad, light yoga block, etc.)

Wear

  • Comfortable athletic clothing
  • Hiking boots
  • Hat
  • Jacket
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses

Included

  • Expert guides
  • Transportation
  • Park permits

Distance

  • 7 miles, mostly on carriage road

Intensity Level

  • This trip is rated Level 4 by Discover Outdoors.

June 24: Mineral Springs Falls Meditative Hike – Lakes, A Waterfall, and Unique Flora

“The birds have dissolved into the sky
And the last remaining clouds have faded away
We sit together the mountain and me
Until the only mountain remains”
Li Po, Zazen on Ching Ting Mountain

What we love about this hike

  • Visit beautiful waterfalls
  • Multiple open views of the Hudson Valley
  • Unique ecosystems in Black Rock Forest
  • Stop at a local farmstand

Join us on a meditative hike through Black Rock Forest, a hidden gem in the Hudson Valley that’s home to unique ecosystems. Our hike begins as we pass Mineral Springs Falls and hike along the spring as we head uphill. After our first tough climb, we’ll pass by Jupiter’s Boulder and soon a break will await us at Sutherland Pond, where the bravest among us can dip our toes.  We will rest and meditate there for a while.

After we’ll follow winding trails through the park – a favorite place of biologists and botanists due to its high species and habitat diversity – and observe the variety of berries and wild edibles that fill the forest at our feet and the stunning views in front of our eyes.

If there’s time, a stop at one of our favorite farm stands awaits us before we head back to the city, reinvigorated and relaxed after our time in the forest.

We’ll integrate nature meditation along the hike.  Some examples of practices may include:

  • Four Elements: Contemplating the elements of air, earth, water and fire
  • Non-Conceptual Awareness: Letting go of existing concepts and focus on direct experience
  • Expansive Awareness: Dissolving into the sky
  • Sensory Awareness

Most of the hike will be observed in silence.  John Muir said, “In every walk in Nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”  Silence is a critical ingredient for introspective and transformative experiences.  Turning our attention inward allows us to become receptive to both of our outer and inner experiences.  Allow your senses to come alive and watch your sense of separateness falls away in nature.  The dynamic outdoor conditions will be a perfect container for mindfulness practices.  As we become intimate with the natural world, we become intimate with ourselves.

No prior meditation experience required.  Please feel free to bring any light meditation props that you find to be helpful (thermal rest z-seat pad, light yoga block, yoga mat, backjack, etc.), though they are not necessary.

When:
Saturday, June 24, 2017

Register at:  New York Insight Meditation Center

Registration Fee: $95 before June 1st; price goes up $10 after June 1st.  We are partnering with Discover Outdoors for this hike.  Transportation, an expert trail guide, and park permit are included in the registration fee.  It also covers a portion of dana for teachers and New York Insight.  At the end of the trip, if you are moved by the experience, additional dana is greatly appreciated but not necessary.

Based on the size of the van, only 12 spots are available per trip.  There will be a waitlist once these spots are filled.  If you decided to drive to meet us, you will make more spots for others to join and pay $20 less ($75).  As soon as you register, please email info@beinginthewild.com to indicate that you’ll be driving so we can inform others of additional availability.

Facilitators:

Jon Aaron has been a teacher at New York insight since 2006. His principal dharma teacher has been Matthew Flickstein of The Forest Way. He trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, and is a certified teacher through the CFM. He has taught over 50 cycles of the seminal curriculum as well as numerous courses for alumni of the program. He completed the Integrated Study and Practice Program at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and the Foundations in Buddhist Contemplative Care at the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. He is the co-guiding teacher of the Makom Meditation Havurah program at the Jewish Community Center. He is a certified Somatic Experience Practitionertm and has most recently completed the teacher training in Mindfulness for Pain offered by Breathworks in England.

Lin Gordon has practiced insight meditation in the last six years. Her principal dharma teachers have been Jonathan Foust of Insight Meditation Community of Washington, Mark Coleman of Spirit Rock, and Jon Aaron at New York Insight. Inspired by Mark Coleman’s nature practices, she will complete Mark Coleman’s Awake in the Wild Meditation in Nature Facilitators Training in the fall of 2017.

Register Here


Trip Details:

Meeting Location and Time:

Meet at Paragon Sports, Broadway at E. 18th St. (Union Square area)
Meet at 8:15am, leaves at 8:30am, returning at 6:30pm

Drive to Meet Option:

Have your own transportation? You’ll meet us at the parking area on Old Mineral Springs Road in Cornwall, NY at 9:45 AM.  If you drive there to meet us, you will make more spots available for others to join us.  As soon as you register, please email info@beinginthewild.com to indicate that you’ll be driving so we can inform others of additional availability.

Pack List:

Bring
  • Your lunch
  • Ample snacks
  • At least three liters of water
  • A backpack.
Wear
  • Comfortable athletic clothing, weather appropriate
  • Hiking boots
  • Hat
  • Jacket
  • Sunscreen

Intensity Level:

This is a Level 5 trip rated by Discover Outdoors.

Moderate — For Skilled Beginners and Intermediate Participants

Level 5 trips place greater emphasis challenging you physically. Whether you’re still new to the scene or have some experience, you’ll appreciate a more deliberate pace with a capable group.

Trail Statistics
  • 6.0 miles
  • 1,000 Feet Cumulative Gain
  • Clear path, no use of hands required. Some steep uphill and downhill sections.
Activity

We’ll be out on the trails for five to seven hours.

May 20: Bird Watching/Nature Meditation at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Preserve

“To see is to forget the name of thing one sees.” – Paul Valery

 

Want to spend a spring late afternoon watching birds and sunset?  With a short train ride away, we will be transported to a wild sanctuary from the city.  We will be sharing various nature meditation practices in this beautiful open space – cultivating stillness, opening our senses and our heart, and let nature help us unfold in ways that we cannot foresee.

The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge—part of Gateway National Recreation Area—is one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the Northeast and one of the best places in New York City to observe migrating species. With more than 330 bird species—nearly half the species in the Northeast—sighted at the refuge over the last 25 years.

When:

4-6:30pm, Saturday, May 20, 2017

Where:

You can meet us directly at 3:45pm at the Visitor Center at the  Jamaica Bay Wildlife Preserve.  Or if you would like to travel together to Jamaica Bay from Manhattan, we’ll meet at 2:30pm at the corner of 14th St station of the A train (downtown direction).

Directions: Take the A train to Rockaway Boulevard station (about 45 mins from Manhattan).  Transfer to the Q52 or Q53 bus on Woodhaven Blvd.  When you get off the Rockaway Blvd. subway station, look for the red P.C. Richard & Son store sign, the bus is right in front of it facing Woodhaven Blvd.  It will drop you off directly in front of the Wildlife Preserve Visitor Center in a 5-7 minutes bus ride.

Registration: New York Insight Meditation Center

This will be the part of a monthly series of nature meditation offerings from March to September, 2017. Sessions are “sign-up as you go” and upcoming sessions will be announced soon. No prior meditation experience required.

Sessions will be conducted outdoors so please dress appropriately, with closed-toe shoes, clothing appropriate to the weather, hats, etc. Please bring a water bottle to all sessions, and any meditation props that you find to be helpful (meditation cushion or bench, yoga mat, backjack, etc.). Most sessions will include some gentle movement or walking practice so please offer care for yourself around mobility issues.

For planning purposes, please register online so we know to expect you and we will send an email notification at least 24 hours in advance to in case of location change or cancellation due to weather conditions.

We look forward to awakening up in the wild together.

Fee by donation: Suggested starting donation at $20 but whatever you offer is greatly appreciated and no one is ever turned away for lack of funds.


Facilitators:

Jon Aaron has been a teacher at New York insight since 2006. His principal dharma teacher has been Matthew Flickstein of The Forest Way. He trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, and is a certified teacher through the CFM. He has taught over 50 cycles of the seminal curriculum as well as numerous courses for alumni of the program. He completed the Integrated Study and Practice Program at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and the Foundations in Buddhist Contemplative Care at the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. He is the co-guiding teacher of the Makom Meditation Havurah program at the Jewish Community Center. He is a certified Somatic Experience Practitionertm and has most recently completed the teacher training in Mindfulness for Pain offered by Breathworks in England.

Lin Gordon has practiced insight meditation in the last six years. Her principal dharma teachers have been Jonathan Foust of Insight Meditation Community of Washington, Mark Coleman of Spirit Rock, and Jon Aaron at New York Insight. Inspired by Mark Coleman’s nature practices, she will complete Mark Coleman’s Awake in the Wild Meditation in Nature Facilitators Training in the fall of 2017.

April 22: Earth Day Nature Meditation at Central Park

“We ask for the presence of the spirit of Gaia and pray that the breath of life continues to caress this planet home.

May we grow into true understanding — a deep understanding that inspires us to protect the tree on which we bloom, and the water, soil and atmosphere without which we have no existence.

May we turn inwards and stumble upon our true roots in the intertwining biology of this exquisite planet. May nourishment and power pulse through these roots, and fierce determination to continue the billion-year dance.

May love well up and burst forth from our hearts.”

– John Seed, environmentalist, founder of Rainforest Information Centre in Australia

 

On this Earth Day, April 22, join us to immerse in nature practices to connect with the Earth and your senses.  From a single leave, we see the whole universe.  Our sense of separateness falls away when we come into contact with the natural world.

In addition to sensory awareness practices, we will explore a Gaia Meditation created by Joanna Macy and Australian environmentalist John Seed, as well as an earth protection practice inspired by Mark Coleman.

This will be the part of a monthly series of nature meditation offerings from March to September, 2017. Sessions are “sign-up as you go.”  No prior meditation experience required.

Sessions will be conducted outdoors so please dress appropriately, with closed-toe shoes, clothing appropriate to the weather, hats, etc. Please bring a water bottle to all sessions, and any meditation props that you find to be helpful (meditation cushion or bench, yoga mat, backjack, etc.). Most sessions will include some gentle movement or walking practice so please offer care for yourself around mobility issues.

For planning purposes, please register online so we know to expect you and we will send an email notification at least 24 hours in advance to in case of location change or cancellation due to weather conditions.

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

When:
9:30-12pm, Saturday, April 22, 2017

(Meet at 9:15am at 100th St. entrance, Central Park West)

Where:
Central Park (100th St. and Central Park West)

Register at: New York Insight Meditation Center

Fee by donation: Suggested starting donation at $15 but whatever you offer is greatly appreciated and no one is ever turned away for lack of funds.  50% of the donation will be directed to the New York Insight Meditation Center.


Facilitator:

Lin Gordon has practiced insight meditation in the last six years. Her principal dharma teachers have been Jonathan Foust of Insight Meditation Community of Washington, Mark Coleman of Spirit Rock, and Jon Aaron at New York Insight. Inspired by Mark Coleman’s nature practices, she will complete Mark Coleman’s Awake in the Wild Meditation in Nature Facilitators Training in the fall of 2017.

March 25: Spring Equinox Nature Meditation at Fort Tryon Park

Feel the spring air? It’s time to go outdoors and enjoy the aliveness and renewal of the Earth. Join us to celebrate the spring equinox with nature practices. Whether it’s standing in front of a tree or watching a quiet sunset, we can open up our senses and find wisdom and joy by immersing in nature. Let our experiences in nature reveal the dharma and doorways to who we truly are.

This will be the first of a monthly series of nature meditation offerings from March to September, 2017. Sessions are “sign-up as you go.”  No prior meditation experience required.

Sessions will be conducted outdoors so please dress appropriately, with closed-toe shoes, clothing appropriate to the weather, hats, etc.  Please bring a water bottle to all sessions.  There will be park benches to sit on but if you prefer, please feel free to bring any meditation props that you find to be helpful (meditation cushion or bench, yoga mat, backjack, etc.). Most sessions will include some gentle movement or walking practice so please offer care for yourself around mobility issues.

For planning purposes, please register online so we know to expect you and we will send an email notification at least 24 hours in advance in case of location change or cancellation due to weather conditions.

We look forward to awakening in the wild together.

When:
4-6:30pm, Saturday, March 25, 2017

(Meet at 3:45pm at the 190th St. entrance, across the A train 190th St. stop)

IMG_0493

Where:
Fort Tryon Park, in Upper Manhattan, offers spectacular views of the Hudson River, 800 flower varieties, the Cloisters Museum and miles of landscape

Register at: New York Insight Meditation Center

Fee by donation: Suggested starting donation at $15 but whatever you offer is greatly appreciated and no one is ever turned away for lack of funds.


Facilitators:

Jon Aaron has been a teacher at New York insight since 2006. His principal dharma teacher has been Matthew Flickstein of The Forest Way. He trained in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, and is a certified teacher through the CFM. He has taught over 50 cycles of the seminal curriculum as well as numerous courses for alumni of the program. He completed the Integrated Study and Practice Program at the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and the Foundations in Buddhist Contemplative Care at the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. He is the co-guiding teacher of the Makom Meditation Havurah program at the Jewish Community Center. He is a certified Somatic Experience Practitionertm and has most recently completed the teacher training in Mindfulness for Pain offered by Breathworks in England.

Lin Gordon has practiced insight meditation in the last six years. Her principal dharma teachers have been Jonathan Foust of Insight Meditation Community of Washington, Mark Coleman of Spirit Rock, and Jon Aaron at New York Insight. Inspired by Mark Coleman’s nature practices, she will complete Mark Coleman’s Awake in the Wild Meditation in Nature Facilitators Training in the fall of 2017.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Foust, 2016