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Ehipassiko — Come and See for Yourself


Free at Last: Identifying Our Suffering Around Race, Ethnicity, Culture and Class While Understanding How to Use The Dharma To Set Us Free
Bill Woodson, DaRa Williams
Friday-Saturday, October 17-18
Friday: 7-9pm, Saturday: 10am-5pm
Participants must attend both sessions

October 17, 2014
07:00 pm - 09:00 pm

Online registration is now closed.
Walk-in registration is available via cash or check.

Come join us for this 5th annual exploration into finding freedom from the suffering we experience as the result of race and racial oppression. In this Free At Last workshop we will explore our individual and group level relationships to race, ethnicity, culture and class and understand how we can integrate wisdom from the Dharma with contemplative practices to find freedom from our suffering. We will create connection in community as we cultivate a safe, inclusive, accepting environment across the various racial and ethnic groups represented by those of us who identify as People of Color. We will examine the range of pain and suffering many of us continue to experience in regard to race. We will spend an equal amount of time reflecting on those teachings of the Buddha that can be particularly helpful as we search for freedom and for skillful ways of responding to the pain, dissatisfactions and discontents we have been experiencing.

We will practice sitting and walking meditation, engage in guided inquiries into the stories we create about “self” and “others, reflect on the Dharma, have large and small group discussions, make use of journaling, and engage in other experiential activities that will support our examination of the ways we have armored ourselves in meeting an often-oppressive society. Most importantly, we will investigate how we can free ourselves from our reactivity that has emerged as a result of our armoring. This combination of activities will allow us to see how we might establish deeper and healthier connections across the barriers that have been erected and enable us to walk fully present and content in our awareness of our relative identity as People of Color.

This weekend is open to all self-identified People of Color. Beginners to Advanced Practitioners are welcome (please have some experience with meditation) – those who attended any of the previous sessions as well as first timers.  However, it is required that all participants attend both the Friday evening and the all-day Saturday session.

Excerpts of post-workshop reflections from previous participants:

•   It was such a powerful experience to be around amazing people who are thinking about these ideas and still coming from a place of love. I feel that these conversations are important and a safe space to do what is powerful.

•   Being surrounded by People of Color, acknowledging our pain, having the intention to share and be free from it -- provided a lot of support, recognition, and hope.

•   I have been practicing for a while, but the workshop was the first time I was able to engage with my practice in a deeply emotional way. It was very uncomfortable, but I gained some incredible insight as a result.

•   I was very moved by the workshop and found the sharing by leaders and participants quite powerful. Deeply felt the collective pain and suffering of our community. Appreciated the tools provided to address these issues.

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Bill Woodson

Bill Woodson Bill Woodson has a doctorate in psychology and has worked, domestically and internationally, as an organization development consultant specializing in assisting corporations and organizations develop highly productive work teams that value diversity and inclusivity. In that capacity, he has developed and facilitated a number of diversity and inclusion training programs exploring several salient dimensions of diversity. Currently, his professional life consists of his mindfulness-based psychotherapy practice in New York City. He has had a spiritual practice since 1971 and has practiced Vipassana meditation since 2005.  In recent years he has been on the board at NYI and Insight Meditation Society.  He is currently co-chairperson of the Diversity Committee of the NYI Board of Directors.

DaRa Williams

DaRa Williams DaRa Williams is a trainer, meditation teacher and wellness coach. She has been a clinician and administrator in the field of Mental Health for over 25 years. DaRa currently maintains a private practice in Manhattan. She is a certified Complex Trauma Focusing Oriented Therapist and a practitioner of Natural Force Healing, a vibrational energetic healing system. DaRa has been a meditator for the past 20 years and is a practitioner of both Vipassana and Ascension meditation. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts,  graduate of the Community Dharma Leaders Program, and in the current IMS/Spirit Rock Teacher Training program with Jack Kornfield.

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