Z60: 2 months of daily meditation practice
november 18, 2019 :: January 13, 2o20
Video Calls on Monday mornings, 9:30 am - 11 am MT
Meditation can change our lives in ways that few practices can.
Our experience of time, which seems such a fleeting commodity, can be slowed. In that stillness the reactivity and conditioning that drives so much of our lives can be seen for what it is, and we can find choice points in places where once there was only mindless thought, feeling, or contraction.
Along this path, you might discover the vast stillness at the very center of your being, so deep and unfathomable, and so very obvious, that you've been avoiding it your entire life. You might uncover your sacred heart, so huge and open that nothing and no one escapes its embrace.
But none of these things are the point.
Maybe you're familiar with ideas of Enlightenment and spiritual awakening, have meditated before, or read books on spirituality. Perhaps moving spiritual experiences have, on occasion, disrupted the story of you.
Our focus in Z60 is on creating and sustaining a meditation practice that isn't about spirituality. It's not about Enlightenment. It's not about attaining anything. It's not about anything you might experience. It's about the simplicity of sitting, and being with what is, day after day.
We commit to these three things, and agree to give the group permission to hold us compassionately accountable to them. By committing to staying in integrity with our agreements, we agree to be honest when we fall out of integrity and to hearing the impact that may have on the group. All of us are stronger than any one of us.
1. TO PRACTICE
Practice comes first: for the 60 days of the group, your practice comes first. This means that before work, lovers, children, taking care of a sick body, being emotionally overwhelmed, or anything else, practice comes first, so that you can show up in a way that really matters. You will be asked to join a two-or-three person “accountability buddy” system, where you will text each other when you’ve completed your daily practice.
We agree to practice 30-minute sits, 6 days a week.
The whole point of this program is to create and sustain a meditation practice in the midst of life. The reason we sit for 60-days is that for every single person in that group, life is going to come up. Sickness, jet lag, heartache, money triumphs or tragedies, emergencies, and 100 other things WILL occur over 60 days and, through it all, we commit to our practice with no exceptions.
2. TO ATTEND WEEKLY CALLS
We attend calls to support each other AND ourselves: the reason we practice together is because we’re stronger together than by ourselves. Showing up for your practice and for the weekly calls means not just supporting our own practice but also the practice of the whole group. We will all have days (and weeks) when we won’t want to practice; remembering this isn’t just about “me” can make getting onto the cushion and onto the calls easier.
We agree to miss no more than one of our group calls.
3. TO BE OPEN, HONEST, AND VULNERABLE
We commit to being open, honest, and vulnerable: we commit to being ruthlessly honest with ourselves and each other. In this group, we all agree to the importance of not stuffing what’s happening for us. We won’t make excuses or beat ourselves up. We choose not to sweep uncomfortable situations caused by individual or collective experiences under the rug, and we also choose to be skillful and patient in our communications.
We agree to be open, honest, and vulnerable, at all times with the group.
FIERCE, COMPASSIONATE, & (OCCASIONALLY HUMOROUS) SUPPORT
Over 8 weeks, we'll explore genuine insight through concentration meditation. We'll have weekly Zoom calls to check-in with each other, to say whether or not we are in integrity with our practice, ask questions about what has arisen in the previous week, and be held accountable.
If you agree to be a part of this group, you agree that your practice and you showing up for calls matters, not just to you but to the others in the group. If you join, you hereby give me permission to hold you fiercely and publicly (and lovingly and probably even humorously) accountable to your word. This is about all of us, not just about you (or me!).
This program offers a grounded and practical take on Enlightenment, emotional maturity, and the integration required to take one’s seat in liberation. And it all starts by sitting down, staying still, and showing the fuck up.
(adjective) Required or expected to justify actions or decisions; responsible.
"you will be held accountable to your commitments"
synonyms: responsible, liable, answerable.
Group size will be very limited.
No refunds after the program begins.
50% refund if requested after November 15.
Please read our 3 Commitments and be sure you are willing to honor them.
Monday, November 18
Week 1: Overview, Commitments, How to Sit, What to Do
Context and container
Committing to showing up every on the cushion 6 days a week, no matter what
Committing to showing up for every group call, no matter what
Rinzai-style meditation: how to practice
What we’re here to do, and what we’re here to not do
Here, now not “there, when….”
The art of not trying to be still, not trying to be quiet, not trying to be awake, and certainly not trying to be spiritual in our practice
Being with what is, without exception
Getting comfortable being uncomfortable, rather than seeking bliss, happiness, peace, or other unsustainable states of mind.
Guided Practice 1: Sitting, breathing, being
Monday, November 25
Week 2: Understanding the Territory, Deepening the Commitment
Relating to ego on the path — ego is a “process” not a “self”
Why we don’t try to overcome or destroy our egos
Consciousness versus Awareness — and ego view
Consciousness and Awareness — and egoless view
Why a spiritual practice is pointless, from a Zen perspective
A simple view of Enlightenment, and its viewless view
Guided Practice 2: Exploring 3 commitments in practice
Monday, December 2
Week 3: Understanding Ego
Deepening concentration practice through understanding our ego
Understanding the radical power of choice
Why there are no victims in Zen
What spiritual bypassing is
Why you should learn how to bypass (yes, I said that)
How to hold that bypassing inside a larger, wiser container of practice
Guided Practice 3: Learning to Bypass (without really bypassing)
Monday, December 9
Week 4: A New Map
Why maps matter
The difference between the territory and the map
Understanding adult ego development (stages of development)
What can go wrong
Understanding spiritual stage experiences
Understanding where you exist on the map
Guided Practice 4: Inhabiting healthy stages and opening to healthy states
Monday, December 16
Week 5: Developing the Capacity to be *with*
Letting "ouch" just be "ouch"
Addictions on the path (to porn, money, sex, thought, feeling, etc)
“I don’t see a problem here.”
Why we turn away from this moment
How to turn fully into this moment
What happens when the Seeker dies? Is our journey finished?
Guided Practice 5: Letting Ouch be Ouch
Monday, December 23
Week 6: Compassion and Awakening: The Role of the Heart on the Path
How our language deceives us around the true nature of our hearts
The depth of insight and the depth of one's feeling
Guided Practice 6: Around the Heart Space
Monday, December 30
Week 7: Emotional Maturity and Enlightenment
Facing your own heart
Facing what you bypassed in your practice
Finding your personal koan / place to bring choice into your life
Choice in your emotional reality
Choice in your spiritual reality
Practicing a victimless view
Uncovering and acting from choice, compassion, and care
Guided Practice 7: Finding Choice Inside of Practice
Monday, January 6
Week 8: Putting it All Together
Letting go into your practice
Guided Practice 8: Radical stillness, radical presence, radical freedom
Monday, January 13
Week 9: Closing Circle
Reflections and feedback
Former participants' words
"Do it to soften into who you really are, to learn, to enjoy, and to grow. It allowed me to deepen my practice while seeing such more more of myself and my own patterning. It was hugely valuable!" Joel Longtine
"Whatever reasons you have for not coming are the same exact reasons for coming. I was able to develop an daily sit, moving into my hardest emotions instead of away from them, which I thought meditation was 'really' about. I'm calmer and more centered, and have a greater understanding of how my emotions play into my practice." Robert Bogatin
"The money was a commitment, but more than worth it, and it was very reasonably priced. You feel welcomed by Keith/Kogen, and can be vulnerable with him and with this container. I learned to bring a sense of being 'okay' into the midst of everything and anything in my life." Marissa McKenzie Grasmick
"This program is designed for people who would like to build a foundation for their meditation practice, especially people who don't think they have the time to sit. I've learned to slow everything down, and appreciate how I can choose to respond to situations, rather than reacting." Jon Brandon
"I have a much greater capacity to welcome a variety of experiences throughout my life, and the confidence to continue a sitting practice. This is the real deal. It gets it done. Quit fucking around and sign up." Josh Zemel
"I now have regular meditation practice. The program was life-changing." Ali Shanti
"This program is hard, but you should give it a chance. It's absolutely worthwhile. I gained an increased sense off stability in life, an expanded capacity to feel, and more willingness to be with the great mystery of existence. Oh, and Keith/Kogen is reliable, kind-hearted, and supportive." Natasha Terry
Keith Martin-Smith is an award-winning author, Zen priest and sensei, and Northern Kung Fu lineage holder. He is passionate about human connection, creativity, and evolution. He is also fond of ales and of sleeping in.