Against the Stream Meditation Society

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http://www.againstthestream.org/about-us/who-we-are

Against the Stream Meditation Society was founded by mindfulness master Noah Levine to make teachings of the Buddha available to all who are interested. It has many groups/classes in the Bay Area.

Classes:

Fridays 7:30-9:00pm

 2650 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA

Weekly class taught by Vinny Ferraro, Gene Lushtak, Matthew Brensilver and others. Meditation and dharma talk. No registration necessary, just drop in. By donation

NEW – Mondays 7:30-9:00pm – Starts March 10

302 Silver Ave., San Francisco, CA (at the Jewish Home of San Francisco)

Weekly class taught by Gene Lushtak. No registration necessary, just drop in. By donation.

NEW – Wednesdays 7:30-9:00pm – Starts March 12

302 Silver Ave., San Francisco, CA (at the Jewish Home of San Francisco)

Weekly class taught by Matthew Brensilver. No registration necessary, just drop in. By donation.

Oakland ATS Sitting Group – Wednesdays 7-8:30pm

 Peace Center – Patio Room

111 Fairmount Ave. Oakland 94611

Refuge Recovery – Thursdays 7:00 – 8:30

 Buddhist Recovery Meetings
Ongoing weekly meetings open to anyone interested in Recovery and Buddhism.
3359 Cesar Chavez, San Francisco
***Starting Oct 17, this group will meet at The Gratitude Center 1320 7th Ave., SF
The time will change also: 8-9:30pm
These meetings will focus on Buddhist teachings, traditions and practices that can be helpful to people recovering from all addictions. There will be an emphasis on meditation practice and waking up to the habitual patterns that drive us and our unskillful behaviors.
These meetings are appropriate for anyone in recovery, or interested in recovery. No meditation experience is necessary.
Donation only, no preregistration -just drop in. For more info, please contact Enrique

Punk Rock and Buddhism

I found a blog of someone’s interview with the punk rock mindfulness meditation teacher, Noah Levine. Below are his comments that I believe really portray his experience with mindfulness meditation.

1000 Voices of Dissent: INTERVIEW WITH NOAH LEVINE (DHARMA PUNX)

  • My search for happiness, acceptance and freedom led me to punk rock. Punk had the energy, the information and the politics that I resonated with, but I took it to the nihilistic, self-destructive, drug-addicted, crime side of things. To that extreme. There definitely was an intense drive to escape from my own mind, from my emotions and my body. Drugs and alcohol offered that escape for a long time. To the point where I was so numb that I wasn’t even aware of the crimes and the pain that I was causing myself and others. And on a whole other level I just didn’t care, because I had really lost hope and wasn’t able to take responsibility for my actions. There came a point where I was strung out and locked up and I had even lost my punk ethic in the pursuit of oblivion.
  • But that same energy of dissatisfaction and suffering eventually led me to start meditating while I was in prison. At the time, I thought that doing spiritual practice would be like completely fucking selling out. That was for hippies and that was for my parents and brain-dead religious followers. That was the masses to me. But I had lost all other hope. I felt like I had nowhere else to turn. Meditation was a profound experience for me. I was able to just be present for that moment in my cell, rather than in the terror of prison and shame and regret for the crimes I had committed. I had been looking for that experience of freedom in punk and drugs and sex and crime, but I hadn’t found it there, that real freedom.I found a teaching where the Buddha said that practice is “against the stream,” or an act of rebellion. Most people are suffering and don’t even know it. They are so attached to pleasure and seeking pleasure all of the time that they will never wake up. So, I understood that teaching, because my whole life has been against the stream! There was a resonation, a deep knowing and reminder of something that I already knew. So I began integrating the punk ethic – that anti-establishment acknowledgement of suffering in the world – with the Buddhist philosophy that awakening, happiness and freedom are possible by acknowledging suffering and its causes, and cultivating awareness, morality and wisdom.
  • My experience is that meditation develops slowly, over years. In no way is it a good time, all of the time. It is not like every time I meditate I feel great. What it is, is that every time I meditate I get in touch with the truth. And I am very interested in the truth. I get in touch with the truth of how distracted I am, of how crazy my mind is and how much pain my heart is in. I begin to take it all less personally. I understand how impermanent all phenomena are. And that I don’t have to do anything, to push it away or hold onto it. And that when I do try to push it away or hold onto it, it creates this extra level of discomfort, of suffering, of dissatisfaction. I certainly wasn’t someone who came to meditation peaceful, looking for more peace. I came to it in tremendous suffering, looking for freedom. And I’ve found that. And it is not freedom from pain. It is freedom from identification. Freedom from the dissatisfaction that is inherent in trying to control the uncontrollable – the mind, the body, the world. Meditation has, in my experience, led to an incredible sense that everything is unfolding in its own way. And I can have total intention without expectation on the outcome for my happiness. I can have full acceptance of what is happening in the present moment, with the intention to go somewhere else. Which I think is a huge, yet subtle distinction. People come to spiritual practice, and I have done this myself a lot, and say, “It’s all about letting go, it’s all about acceptance, so I just have to accept how fucked up everything is.” But, it’s more about how, “I don’t accept how fucked up everything is and I want things to be better. I want to be happier, I want to be peaceful. I want to help other people.”
  • So, my practice arises simultaneously through the intention to purify my own mind and heart and to find freedom, along with the intention of discovering how I can use the freedom that I find to serve others. These two things have to be married, in my mind, in any kind of mature spiritual life.

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Noah Levine

In his teenage years he was part of the rebellious youths who listened to punk rock, and experimented with drugs and alcohol. In prison he came to a realization that his destructive protests to society weren’t going to get him anywhere. He looked for an alternative to release his anger and suffering. Although at first put off from meditation, thinking that it was only a new age hippy thing to do, he gave it a try and discovered that it calmed his anger and awakened his inner compassion.

He is now a Buddhist teacher, author of the books “Dharma Punx” and “Against the Stream”, and has a masters in counseling psychology from CIIS . He teaches meditation classes, workshops, and also mindfulness to groups in juvenile halls and prisons.

http://www.dharmapunx.com/

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