About NotChurch

We are a community of people, mostly American expatriates, living in a small coastal town in Baja California. Though some of us come from 'church' backgrounds, many bristle at the thought of organized religion. That doesn't, however, mean that we are not seeking something more out of life, and to connect with the spiritual--though that takes many different shapes for us. Not Church has emerged as a way for us to continue on that journey together.

Book Study – Jump Right In!

When I was asked to write something about the book study groups, the one Nadine leads in La Misión and the one Mary Conteras and Carol Clary have in north Rosarito, the thought that inspired me to do this was about fear. Fear and aging.

I’m remembering that the idea of posting something was to make sure everyone who may be considering joining who’s new and never been before, or hasn’t been for a while, knows it is easy to join right in where you are. Even though the La Misión group is in it’s 4th year, Nadine uses past as well as current books as illustrations which ties things together. Even though the Rosarito group is newer, I imagine Mary and Carol do something similar. So if you’re thinking of getting in touch with them about joining as these new books are beginning, both on Tuesday afternoons, please feel free to do that.:

Buddha is as Buddha Does by Lama Surya Das in La Misión
Judgment Detox by Gabrielle Bernstein in the north
(Click on the book images to purchase books on Amazon)

Buddha is as Buddha Does by Lama Surya Das

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And a great reason to do that is to learn alternatives to the fear based living that most of us were indoctrinated into by just living in today’s world. We are learning and experiencing that there are simple ways of changing the way we think, our perceptions turn out to be choices! Who knew. So when we become aware of that, we can consciously make different choices and that can just automatically and naturally change everything. Yep, pretty much everything—relationships of all kinds, from life partners to kids, neighbors, even people you only see on TV!

Most of the people in these groups will tell you they are freer of fear in general, more peaceful and happier, kinder, gentler.

Observations have shown over these many decades that if we’re fearful in our thirties, forties etc., unless we do something about it, unless we really take on learning new ways of being in life, fears, insecurities, feelings of vulnerability increase exponentially. You know older people who are angry, hostile, depressed, and the basis for most of that is in fear.

It does take time, like reading and getting together to discuss and share experiences every week. Those of us who are doing it are here to tell you it’s worth it—for us. Might be for you too. You’re welcome, jump in!

~Anna Zimmerman

NEW BOOK – March 27, 2018

Buddha is as Buddha Does by Lama Surya Das

The Happiness Study Group will begin a new book, Buddha Is as Buddha Does: The Ten Original Practices for Enlightened Living by Lama Surya Das on March 27th.

About the Author

From the Amazon Description: The Dalai Lama who calls Lama Surya Das the American Lama, said to an American audience, “It is not enough just to meditate and pray, which are always good things to do, but we also must take positive action in this world.”

The Buddha realized that all of us, deep within, are inherently perfect and whole, with the capacity to overcome suffering and transform ourselves into forces for good. In this book Lama Surya Das offers a thorough, tried-and-true map to the richest treasure a human being can find—Buddha’s advice for living to your true potential. By following these guidelines, you will enter into a life of greater joy, clarity, peace, and wisdom than you ever thought possible.

Whether you consider yourself a Buddhist, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, atheist, or agnostic, Buddha Is as Buddha Does enables you to reflect more deeply upon how you think, speak, and behave in each moment and to explore more intently your relationships with others. Accompanied by lively anecdotes and practical exercises, this is  accessible book delivers timeless wisdom of the Buddha and is for everyone who seeks to become a better person and share in the bounty of true Buddha nature.

Learn more about Lama Surya Das in this Wikipedia article and here on Surya.org, his own organization’s website .

The book is available at Amazon in all formats.

Please check the Happiness Study Group  Facebook page for updates and information about our weekly meetings.

February Not Church Norte

Please join us on Wednesday, February 28, 4pm at The Beaccomber Restaurant in Rosarito.

Directions:
Turn left (west – toward the beach) at the traffic light just south of central Calimax (the trraffic light past Smart & Final across from the camels) and go through the arch.

Hope to see you there!

A LOVE-LY February Not Church

Love was in the air…Erin, as always offered some meaty considerations sprinkled with a good dose of self-effacing humor on the topic of blaming.  We had sharings on the importance of self-love, some helpful hints from Anna (see below), Carol and Jim’s readings of four short and poignant Mary Oliver poems,  Kevin’s metta meditation on extending loving thoughts to others and Steve’s deep talk on how our attitudes about our self and lack of compassion for ourselves manifests in our words and actions directed to others.   Ellen and John led us in a group sing of the Nat King Cole’s L.O.V.E. complete with flashcards and Ellen finished off our meeting with a powerful heartfelt rendition of La Vie en Rose. It was a beautiful day…Paul left us with a sweet taste of home-grown citrus (yum!) and Felix and crew at Poco Cielo served up a tasty brunch menu. It was a great one!

10 Simple Ways to Practice Self-Love Daily

From The Self-Love Experiment by Shannon Kaiser

1. Lighten up.
Emotionally, spiritually, mentally, even physically, ask yourself, “Where am I taking life too seriously and how can I lighten up more?”

2. Look at yourself the way your dog (or cat) does.
Ever notice how your furry friends seem to think you are the best thing on the planet? They see your greatness—it’s time for you to see yourself the same way. If you don’t have a pet at home, learn how to see yourself the way loved ones do.

3. Listen to your inner guide.
Your inner voice is your truth, and it’s always giving you guidance. Whether it’s to reach out to a friend you haven’t seen in years or change careers, the most loving thing you can do is to start to trust your inner guide, because it knows what will make you the happiest.

4. Replace judgment with curiosity.
When you feel as if you are judging yourself (or even another person), go inward and ask yourself, “What does this situation bring up for me? Why do I feel the need to attack emotionally?” When we judge, we remove ourselves from love. Return to love by turning to curiosity instead of fear-based thoughts.

5. Smile more.
Look at the things that are going well in your life instead of what isn’t working. Smile at the good and grasp it daily.

6. Share your story.
Being honest and open about your experiences will help you heal and grow. When you share your experiences with others, you connect on a deeper level, which gives you purpose. Plus, your personal story can help others.

7. Write a letter to your future self.
Sit down and visit future you, the one who is through the struggle, over the pain, and has it all figured out. She/he will offer you guidance and comfort.

8. Schedule “Me Matters” time.
Creating a “Me Matters” list—a feel-good list of the situations when you feel like your best self—and doing some things on that list daily will help you feel more balanced and alive.

9. Start speaking kindly to yourself.
What you say to yourself matters. You can start by looking in the mirror and saying nice things about yourself.

10. Listen to your body and give it what it needs.
Your body has infinite wisdom and knows exactly what you need to feel better. Don’t feel guilty for taking an afternoon snooze or for needing to skip a workout. If you are listening to your body, everything will feel better. Maybe it’s guiding you to start a new diet or change your environment. Listening to your own body is one of the most loving and nurturing things you can do.