One-Year Program, 2023
Before Joining the
If you’re interested in joining the One-Year Program, but would like to purchase and watch the recordings of the Royal Road of Breath Awareness 4-week course before deciding, you can register for the Royal Road course here. (If you join the One-Year Program, the Royal Road purchase will be applied to your registration fee.)
Welcome message from Henry
Welcome to a brand-new year of Original Love programming.
As a little background, I want to touch on the origins of this program. It began to become clear to me that there are four key foundational areas of meditation practice, in early 2020. I was taking a 10 day break from all teaching in a cabin high in the northern New Mexico mountains, under the Brazos Cliffs. One morning as I was making oatmeal, a rough draft of an outline of this way of approaching meditation started to pour itself into a yellow pad. For the next 12 days I took down a rapid-fire dictation, and much of this approach to practice was there.
But the actual catalyst was an old Chinese text where meditation practice is described as a cart-track, having two wheel-ruts. One rut is the “Foundations of Mindfulness,” the other rut is the “Principle” – meaning “The Way,” in other words, what is revealed in awakening.
We need both ruts, this ancient Chan document insists.
The secret sauce, the magic ingredient, of the Original Love program, is actually just that combination — awakening and mindfulness, or boundlessness and human vulnerability, candor, and openness around our wounds, our challenges, our trauma, and our love for this world. To manifest both awakening and healing, to link the two – to explore how awakening and all-welcoming mindfulness practice deeply connect, seems like the most powerful thing we can do in our practice.
And it makes sense, because awakened reality is always present in everything. So we learn to reject nothing. And the promise of Original Love is to find the “love” component working in two ways:
1) It’s the love of an all-embracing awareness, which loves our wounds and challenges, our blindspots and shortcomings, as much as our creativity and generosity. (In some cases, it’s actually released from our wounds, as a kind of gift of woundedness.)
2) And it’s the single act of ‘Love” that is each moment arising – in other words, that this very moment is somehow made of love.
For sure, we can get this more or less vividly, and sometimes it’s mostly an idea in our minds. But even that can be enough to shift how we feel, enough to reset our minds in a new atmosphere, so to speak. Enough to touch the heart, so a door can open a crack, so vulnerability and gratitude are once again present. Once they’re alive and active, we’re ok. They just have to switch on the smallest amount, just a “1” on the dial, and we’re ok again, even in the midst of challenges.
On top of that, that little chink in the armor, that crack of light, if we want, if we’re interested, we can investigate it. Which really means just be with it, be aware of it, and it will expand, and it can kind of take over our experience, and we get swallowed in an all-inclusiveness.
And if we stay with that, we dissolve into it and become part of it, and are one with the whole creative act of the cosmos arising.
Phew! Big stuff! But we always start here and now, as we are. And with the parsing out of Mindfulness into three approaches – 1. present moment awareness; 2. opening to support; and 3. tasting flow states, as we do in this program – we have the best shot at a balanced, durable, sustaining practice, that in its good time will lead us into the hinterlands of our “true nature.”
I’m very excited for this year! We have retooled things so that each of our courses touches on each of all four “zones of practice” in Original Love. I’m fairly sure it will be the ride of a lifetime! Or at least, quietly beneficial in subtle but powerful ways.
With gratitude and love,
Guest Teachers in the
We welcome your interest in the Original Love 2023 One-Year Program. All our courses and workshops are recorded, so you can join at any point in the year, and receive recordings of everything that’s happened so far.
If you have any questions about the program, email Jeremy, the program manager.
I am deeply grateful for the One-Year Program. I think that we were all touched by something that has changed us in varying ways, and in many cases this has had positive affects on those around us who were not participants. I heard many stories in the group sharing of how interactions with the world outside of the program were enhanced in some way…there were real noticeable changes in relationships with others; this is not a cloistered self centered practice, but one that opens outward as well as inward, bearing in mind of course that there may be no difference at all between these two “directions”. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I felt as if the year long program was laid out beautifully, like stepping stones across a pond. Original Love is not only the name of this program, but it is what you will come to know intimately if you participate in this program. The guided meditations specifically have been like a big hug! Through those gentle, caring and ease filled meditations, I’ve been able to find a self love that I had not yet reached before.
My life is infinitely richer from this year long course. It’s as if I have come back to myself, my home within. With each course, I felt that I always had an opening, and deepened my clarity and ease. Henry always touches on my present moment awareness and reminds me of our greater consciousness, our connectedness. I have grown over the Original Love One-Year Program. I am not as separate, which fills me with joy. I am more whole, healthy. Deconstructing has been the hardest endeavor I have taken in my life, yet so rewarding. Henry has created a loving and accepting environment in which to pursue. I feel fortunate for his teaching, his giving.
Henry’s guided meditations are a powerful highlight for many students, helping to gently open the doorway to an experiential understanding of the course material. Henry offers longer guided sits during each course session and daylong retreat, and during each course, Henry will be sending out audio guided meditations to enhance your experience of that week’s teachings.
4 Week Courses
The mainstay of the Original Love One-Year program is its Sunday sessions where Henry offers a longer guided sit, followed by a talk on a range of meditation topics, ending with some Q&A time. Many participants find these Sunday mornings over the course of the year to be a soothing and grounding touchpoint as they develop their practice.
Through the year, to enhance your learning on particular topics, Henry will occasionally be inviting guest teachers. These teachers will bring their deep expertise and meditative insights about particular topics to the 6 week courses and weekends. Teachers this year include Rick Hanson, Ph.D., Roshi Joan Halifax, Michael Taft, Valerie Forstman, and Kelly Boys.
The great advantage of having five courses and five days of workshop retreats, and a year to savor them, is that we can go much deeper into each of the four “zones” of the Original Love program. This allows us to go deeper into ourselves, and to have a chance to get much more deeply grounded in our lives, our loves, and our true sense of purpose for this, our one blessed, troubled, beautiful, challenging life… As we settle enough, and find enough clarity and peace within ourselves, we will be able to serve our world in kinder, wiser, more dynamic ways.
At the same time, the deeper we go in any one of the four key areas of practice and growth, the more we discover its connections to the other three. Going further into mindfulness practice, for example, reveals hidden avenues to previously unrecognized support, and opens up flow states, and may offer glimpses of awakening.
And one further note: while this program is a comprehensive training in itself for some, for those who are interested, it can also serve as a great foundation for anyone drawn to venture into the wild territory of Zen koan training. Each of the zones is a helpful set-up for Zen awakening through koan study.
The aspiration of the whole Original Love program, and all its staff, is to be able to serve this world by helping all of us to grow as wiser, more clear-sighted and open-hearted beings. The purpose of the program is to be an environment where we can all grow in these ways – in ways the world needs. We do it through finding the intrinsic lovingness, caringness, energy, peace and joy that is always already within us, even if it sometimes feels quite hidden. Gradually, and sometimes suddenly, through our shared practice, we start to catch glimpses of ever more of the “original love” that is always here.
2023 One-Year Program Schedule:
All courses and retreats are online only. They’ll be recorded, and you’ll be able to access them if you can’t attend live.
All our courses and workshops are recorded, so you can join at any point in the year, and receive recordings of everything that’s happened so far.
Royal Road of Breath Awareness
- 4 week course: Sundays March 5, 12, 19, 26, 10am – 12pm MT
- (This course has been completed. You can purchase the recordings here).
Clouds, Rivers, Lakes and Sea
- 4 week course: Sundays April 30, May 7, 14, 21, 10am – 12pm MT
- Weekend workshop retreat: Saturday & Sunday, May 27-28, 10am – 3pm MT
In the Midst of All Things
- 4 week course: Sundays June 18, 25, July 2, 9, 10am – 12pm MT
- The Brick and the Mirror Koan Workshop retreat: Sunday, July 16, 10am – 3pm MT
Presence: the Heart of Stillness
- 4 week course: Sundays, August 20, 27, September 3, 10, 10am – 12pm MT
One Bright Pearl
- 4 week course: Sundays October 8, 15, 22, 29, 10am – 12pm MT
- Weekend workshop retreat: Saturday & Sunday, November 4 & 5, 10am – 3pm MT
- $1250 if you’d like to pay for the program in one installment.
- $1350 if you’d like to pay in 6 monthly installments of $225. This option is available via Paypal. Please contact Jeremy if you need help with this.
If you’ve already taken one or more of the courses or workshops this year, and would like to join the One-Year Program, contact Jeremy, and he’ll help you register at a pro-rated rate.
We believe meditation is a birthright. We don’t want anyone not taking our program for lack of funds or other financial hardship. We have scholarships at different levels available for those who need one. Please contact Jeremy with a brief message explaining your situation, and we’ll respond promptly.
Royal Road of Breath Awareness
We will explore and deepen our experience of the breath. We learn to:
- rest in mindfulness of breath
- taste the support of breath more intimately
- find flow by becoming absorbed in breath
- catch glimpses of awakening to breath without a breather
We will explore how breath can not only calm, soothe and center us, but also connect us with a wider all-inclusive awareness. By coming at our experience of breath from the four perspectives of Original Love, we learn how to turn to breath in the course of daily life in ways appropriate to where we’re at. Sometimes we need to steady and ground ourselves through breath awareness, and sometimes breath can open us directly to boundlessness.
Clouds, Rivers, Lakes and Sea
Here we will explore how our heartaches and heartbreaks can be turned into nourishment for our practice and life, in a way that opens us to new loving perspectives.
We learn to:
- be mindfully, patiently aware of difficult emotions
- open to a vulnerability that helps us find an intrinsic support
- find expansive awareness that can embrace our pain
- experience tastes of the boundlessness in which experience arises
As we explore this territory of the heart by moving through all four of the Original Love perspectives, we shift away from self-defensive reactivity toward open-hearted compassionate engagement.
As much as meditation is about developing and uncovering positive states of mind, a critical part of practice is learning to be with challenging emotions. Actually the deepest value of our personal practice may found in coming to terms with all aspects of our psyches, including ones we “don’t like,” and finding the healing power of a radical allowing. This turns our negative feelings and mind-states into gateways to ease and expansiveness.
In the Midst of All Things
By becoming mindful of the full range of sense-experiences going on in any moment, we start to rest into a sense of being held by all experience, then into becoming absorbed in it, and finally dissolving into a selfless space in which all things are present.
In this course we learn to:
- get grounded in outward sense experience
- become absorbed in the soundscape
- rest in awareness that recognizes all outward sense experience
- diminish, dissolve and lose the sense of a self in the middle of sense experience
As we become more intimately mindful of the full range of outward sense-experience, we tend to sink more deeply into a whole experience of now. At the same time, we start to discover the rest that comes with being held by all experience. This can morph into becoming absorbed by the whole field of awareness and experience, and even at times into dissolving into selfless space in which all things are present.
Presence: the Heart of Stillness
In this course we learn to open to a sense of presence that is always here, and to rest in it. This presence helps us to be aware of sense-experience here and now, offers its own sense of intrinsic support, and relieves us of the burden of effort in meditation. It can also expand into a sense of infinite space.
This course will help us:
- become anchored in presence through the body’s experience
- enjoy a sense of presence flowing into our awareness and carrying us
- allow ourselves to dissolve into presence
- awaken to the boundless nondual nature of presence
We go deep into resting in a sense of presence that is always here. Key gateways to it are our sense of time, and of effort. When we learn to recognize the sense of time and effort at work in us, we release our hold on them, and naturally open into a timeless, effortless, selfless, all-pervasive presence.
One Bright Pearl
Here we explore sitting directly with the wisdom of Zen, in which all dimensions of the Original Love program are manifest. We will taste the hidden beauty of some koans, and explore how they can illuminate different dimensions of our practice.
- learn how to take a koan deep into your meditation
- allow a koan to sustain and hold you in your practice
- surrender to the shifts in experience and perception that koans can trigger
- awaken to the wonder and miracle of ordinary, everyday activities and things
This course will introduce us to the wild territory that koans inhabit. We will explore how they point us directly to our experience right now, and can encourage and enliven our practice on and off the seat. We’ll also begin to harness the powerful ease they offer, and taste some of the glimpses of boundless openness they.can initiate us into, where the whole Original Love curriculum finds its fulfillment.