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This list includes resources from my research and reading as well as the recommendations from the Happy Circle meditation group. It has been heartwarming to hear how helpful the talk and meditation have been in the healing process within the group. As more recommendations come in over the weeks, they will be added to this list.

HAPPY CIRCLE MEDITATIONS

RESOURCES FOR MAKING PEACE WITH GRIEF

Bearing The Unbearable by Joanne Cacciatore (her foundation is Missfoundation.org)

When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron

It’s OK That You Are Not OK: Meeting Grief And Loss In A Culture That Doesn’t Understand by Megan Devine

The Year Of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

Counseling Strategies For Loss And Grief by Keren Humphrey

When Bad Things Happen To Good People by Rabbi Harold Kushner

A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis

Wild Comfort: The Silence OF Nature by Kathleen Dean Moore

Option B by Sheryl Sandberg (foundation OptionB.org, also has a Facebook page)

Understanding Your Grief by Alan D. Wolfelt Phd

Organizations

The Grief Recovery Method

Missfoundation.org

OptionB.org

Locally: St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church, 169 Fairmount Road, Ridgewood, NJ, has a healing service on Wednesdays from 12/noon to 1 PM. Phone 201-444-2299

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wave-320755_1280In compiling this list, Ridgewood’s hidden diversity has become apparent in the number of private meditation groups that offer oases of peace–from Centering Prayer to Vedanta and Zen/Buddhist teachings to Yoga meditations.  These are quietly welcoming communities that practice, and keep alive, the ancient traditions of meditation in a contemporary society. Some do not charge anything.

These are the groups I am aware of–please get in touch with me if there are other groups in Ridgewood so they can be included on this list.

Arya Samaj of New Jersey

105 Cottage Place

Ridgewood, NJ 07450

The mission of Arya Samaj is to bring harmony to the community through Vedanta teachings. The group meets every Sunday and offers yoga classes from 1:30 to 2:30 PM. It is followed by Havan (fire ritual) and 15 minutes of meditation.

Contact: Sanjeev Kumar 201-527-5700.

www.aryasamajofnewjersey.com 

Centering Prayer

Westside Presbyterian Church (Gathering Room)

6 S Monroe Street, Ridgewood, NJ 07450

Centering Prayer is a form of Christian silent meditation that has been practiced for many years. It is a form of “resting in God” and letting go of anxieties and fears—as well as any emotions that keep the Love of Christ from flowing through us. This class meets regularly at 9:25 am, ending at 9:50 in time for participants to gather upstairs for the 10:00 am service. Please direct any questions to Susan McBrayer at susanmcb4@gmail.com or Heidi Ahlborn at heidi.ahlborn@gmail.com. We welcome you to join us as we celebrate the loving, compassionate, forgiving, non-judgmental and inclusive Spirit of God.

Heart Circle Sangha

451 Hillcrest Road

Ridgewood, NJ 07450

877-442-7936

Heart Circle Sangha fosters the practice and study of Buddhism through meditation, study, services, retreats and workshops. Our purpose is to awaken the spirit of living in the present moment and appreciating our life just as it is. We are committed to serving our communities and the world. Our practice schedule is as follows: Sunday 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, Monday 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm, Wednesday 7:00 am to 8:00 am. For beginning instruction come on Sunday at 9:00 am.
WWW.HEARTCIRCLESANGHA.ORG

Mahasri Yoga

The extensive website, founded by Meena Modi, a longtime Ridgewood resident, yoga and meditation teacher, is committed to serving the local as well as global community—peace begins with each one of us. The website is a free resource for numerous Yoga Nidra and other meditation tracks, book reviews, and articles on Yoga and Yoga-based meditations. The accompanying blog informs on research.

Currently, Mahasri Yoga conducts free Happy Circle meditations through Parks and Recreation, The Village Hall, Ridgewood.

Contact: Meena Modi info@mahasriyoga.com

www.mahasriyoga.com and www.yogamedblog.wordpress.com

New Moon Zendo

The Unitarian Society of Ridgewood

113 Cottage Place, Fellowship Room

Ridgewood, NJ 07450

The Zen group New Moon Zendo is led by Carl Viggiani, Sensei, on Mondays from 8 pm to 9:30 pm. New arrivals must call ahead and come at 7:30 pm for instructions. The contact person is Marcia Spitz at 201-652-0313, phone contact preferred (email mbpianopots@aol.com) or Ralph Pleasic at pleasic@optonline.net.

Ridgewood Meditation and Buddhism

Christ Episcopal Church

105 Cottage Place

Ridgewood NJ 07450

Classes held on Wednesdays from 7:30 pm to 9 pm, $15, no registration. Ridgewood meditation and Buddhism classes are offered by the Dharmachakra Buddhist Center, and are suitable for both beginners and more advanced meditation practitioners. These classes offer meditation techniques and teachings on the fundamentals of Buddhism, with an emphasis on their practical application in everyday life. The center also offers classes through the Ridgewood Community School on certain Tuesdays. Please call the Community School for those details.

Contact: contact@meditatenj.org phone: 973-847-5421

www.meditatenj.org

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Happy Circle May 26 Yoga Nidra is cancelled as it is the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. We will meet Friday, June 23, from 2-3 PM at the Senior Lounge, Village Hall, and then regroup in the fall. Please email me any thoughts, questions you may have.

Have an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend!

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We meet Friday April 28 from 2-3 PM at the Senior Lounge, Village Hall. As it gets warmer, it may be more comfortable to lie on the floor for those who wish to do so.
This will be a special meditation with new elements. Please come a few minutes early to settle in. Here is a poem for contemplation for the meditation:
Green Mountain
You ask me why I dwell in the green mountain
I smile and make no reply for my heart is free of care
As the peach blossom flows downstream and is gone into the unknown
I have a world apart that is not among men
By Li Po (translated by A S Kline)

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Southeast Asians may add yoga and meditation to this title as well. In the US, 67 percent of Buddhists are Asian. Yet, the face of American Buddhism is predominantly white as Asians have been marginalized. Funie Hsu, an assistant professor of American Studies at San Jose State University and a board member of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, addresses this in a frank and forthright manner in the Lion’s Roar. This post highlights major points but interested readers should read the whole article. As we resist the inequality, racism, and bigotry, let us not forget that they all exist even in the space of mindfulness and meditation–in complete contradiction to the teachings. It is worth contemplation! Hsu suggests: deep contemplation on this can help shatter the fragility of the false self and the delusion of racial colorblindness. 

The points Hsu makes are valid in many ways to yoga which includes meditation. A major difference is that Southeast Asians did not suffer the internment that the Japanese Americans went through.

Hsu writes: it’s time we recognize the contributions of Asian American Buddhists and address the racism and cultural appropriation that marginalizes their ongoing role in transmitting the dharma in the West.

White supremacy has systematically alienated Asian and Asian American Buddhist communities and diminished the validity of our relationship to Buddhism in the U.S. The erasure and exclusion of our communities is not merely about a lack of inclusion; to put it so simply would be dismissive of the facts of history. The exclusion of Asian and Asian American Buddhists from conversations on American Buddhism is cultural appropriation. It renders invisible our foundational role in establishing and maintaining Buddhism in America despite white supremacy. Thus, such erasure denies our right to claim our deep and specific connection—indeed, our centrality—to American Buddhism. It appropriates our historical authority in order to promote the white ownership of an indigenous Asian practice for liberation.

The white ownership of Buddhism is claimed through delegitimizing the validity and long history of our traditions, then appropriating the practices on the pretext of performing them more correctly.

Hsu concludes: In the U.S., that path (the three gems of Buddha, dharma, and sangha) includes the liberation of suffering from white supremacy. This is American Buddhism.

It is also American yoga and meditation.

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The sun shines over all life without distinction
The water flows with no attempt at prejudice
The earth holds us all without labels
The tree gives fruit and shade without judgement
The breath flows from one to another giving life to all
The sky covers us with the umbrella of infinite space
Rich or poor, dark or light, man or woman
No East, West, North, or South
Seeing no country or religion
Just Being
Why let the mind divide what Nature does not

Poem: Meena Modi

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2016/02/01/21/53/weapons-1174491_960_720.jpg

In meditation we experience oneness. Nothing separates us from life, all beings.Can we carry that inner awareness into our outer world, our daily lives? If the inner light cannot shine on thoughts and behaviors that arise from fears and insecurities, conditioned thinking, then one must question the quality and motivation of meditation. Fears arise from lack of understanding. They imprison and painfully dissect minds, people, and communities. This poem from the March 27, 2013,  blog post is copied to renew awareness in this polarized world.

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