Karuna: I am Karuna, I’m the founder and Executive Director of Mind Oasis, and this is Meditation Happy Hour Tea Talk and Truth with Karuna. And my guest today is a friend and a colleague and a wonderful partner in crime on Mind Oasis. And her name is Jane Coburn. Jane, how are you doing today?
Jane Coburn: I’m good. I’m so glad to be here.
Karuna: Good. Tell us first about your wonderful earrings. They’re dangly and I can’t tell if they’re like a jewel or are they like turquoise. What are they
Jane Coburn: They’re. There’s turquoise in the middle there.
Yeah, beautiful. All of them.
Karuna: Yeah. I wear a lot of turquoise. It’s good for protection. And in the world that we have right now, that ain’t a bad thing. So tell us where in the world you are.
Jane Coburn: I live in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina.
Karuna: Cool. And for those of you who have listened to our community meditation teacher Spotlight Jane has been spotlight before and she’s told us about those wonderful mountains that she lives in. Tell us a little bit about your family.
Jane Coburn: Well, I have I’ve been my husband and I will be celebrating 30 years of marriage in January.
Jane Coburn: Which blows me away. I don’t know where the time goes. And we have two sons. They are twenty four and twenty two and they are wonderful.
Karuna: Cool, and when you’re not teaching meditation and when you’re not sharing insight into the mystics, which we will get to, what else are you up to in this world?
Jane Coburn: I love to. I love nature, I love to go hiking, I love to go kayaking. I’m actually headed out for a weekend at a friend’s lake house this weekend, hoping to hike and kayak and just being out in nature brings me peace. I love it.
Karuna: Good. Very cool. And so, Jane, you came to Mind Oasis through the meditation immersion, but I think prior to that, maybe the main meditation challenge. Can you tell us a little bit about your journey to finding my oasis?
Jane Coburn: Sure. Well, in the fall of 2019, I, a friend of mine, was teaching a kundalini yoga class on Mind Oasis, and I didn’t know anything about Kundalini. I didn’t know anything about it, and it sounded really interesting. So I took that class, and because of that class, it was wonderful. And because of that class, I started getting your emails. And then in March of 2020, when COVID hit and everything was shutting down, I was really looking to get my meditation practice to be more consistent and just, you know, make it more of a daily thing. I had been meditating on and off for about 10 years, but never consistently. And so I just went on community meditation, you know, through one of the emails, I joined community meditation and started meditating. And I’ve absolutely loved it ever since and decided a year ago now to do the meditation immersion. And it really transformed my life and has made my meditation practice a daily practice and really potent and has changed my life off the cushion and a lot of ways.
Karuna: Yeah, I I get up at five so that I have an hour of quiet and then at six I go out and run and it didn’t used to be my routine. I’m kind of a mid-day runner, but because of the wildfires in the West, the smoke is so bad by midday. I’ve had to kind of change up my routine, and even though I’m the person who facilitates the meditation immersion, it was really interesting this morning. You know, we have a new fleet of people in the immersion and and so I’ve been working on not just my own personal practice, but also engaging in a Shamatha practice that’s a little bit more traditional, looks a little bit more like what students do in the immersion. And so I set my little timer and I had 10 minutes and my mind was like all over the place, and I just kept going back to my own instruction and I was kind of cracking myself up because it was like, Who’s the teacher and who’s the student here anyway?
Jane Coburn: Yes, I understand that completely.
Karuna: Yeah, it was really fun. So yeah.
Jane Coburn: I’m forever telling my students that if your mind wanders, that’s the point, you know, that’s basically the point is to notice that and come back to your breath, you know, and my mind’s all over the place, all the time, and I’m always bringing it back.
Karuna: Yeah, that’s great. That’s great. So you have a couple of offerings coming up on Mind Oasis. But before we go there, you chose to go through the teacher training in the immersion and so you became a community meditation teacher. What when is your slot? And tell us a little bit about what people can expect when they visit you?
Jane Coburn: Yeah, I was thinking about it, I’ve been teaching on Mind Oasis for nine months now. I can’t believe it.
Karuna: It feels like five years.
Jane Coburn: Well, my voice is just such a wonderful community. You know, if you keep showing up, you just really it’s like a family, you know, you just really become a part of Mind Oasis. You know, I just love it. So my regular meditation guide is Sunday evenings at eight p.m. Central. And it’s funny because before I moved into that slot, I usually meditated in the morning and I still meditate in the morning for my personal practice. But I’m finding that I’m loving these evening guides and I’m loving going to some of the community meditations in the evening. I’m finding that it’s just this beautiful way to end my day and kind of lead me into sleep. I sleep better. It’s really been wonderful, so I’m enjoying that Sunday night slot and then I sub all the time Tuesday nights. I’m doing Tuesday at eight p.m. for the month of September for Lena, and I’m doing a couple of Thursday, noon times and a couple of Monday nine o’clock times.
Karuna: Yeah, so whats great about commuting meditation that you can go on to MindOasis.org and go under the Meditate tab and there’s a schedule and so it gets updated. So if if you want to check out where Jane is in all of her beautiful subbing, you can find her there, which is awesome.
Jane Coburn: And I tend to my I do at least once a month, I do a loving kindness meditation. I lead people through loving kindness, especially nowadays. I just feel like the world needs that. And then a lot of my guiding is about presence, the present moment, joy. I do a lot about joy, inner knowing. Listening to your inner knowing, tapping into that and following that and shutting out the noise of the world. Love, self-love. Compassion for others. Those are the themes that I kind of come back to often and my guiding
Karuna: Awesome, I see that playing out in your life, so it’s really beautiful. I think that’s one of the things that’s unique about Mind Oasis is that we. That we are householders, so we’re not like in a teacher student, upper echelon and the lower echelon, we’re in sort of a symbiotic relationship with the people who show up on any given day. And, you know, we’re playing it out in the kitchen and with partners and pets and friends and all of that stuff, just like anyone else who’s shown up looking for a little calm, you know. So I think that’s something that’s really beautiful about Mind Oasis, and you definitely embody it.
Jane Coburn: Thank you.
Karuna: So, beyond community meditation, you have two offerings coming up, and there is a common word in both of them. You have a mini workshop. These are free on Mind Oasis. It’s a way for you to get to know the teacher ahead of time. Get to ask some questions about the upcoming full series. So you have Just Another Mystic Monday, which of course always has me singing the song.
Jane Coburn: 80s girl, you know,
Karuna: 80s girl, yeah. And it takes place on the 20th of September, which is a Monday at nine a.m. So tell us a little bit about Just Another Mystic Monday.
Jane Coburn: Well, well, my series coming up in October is a four week series and I’m going to each time I’m going to talk about a different Christian Mystic. But on Just Another Mystic Monday, I have 30 minutes, so I’m just going to talk a little bit about one of the mystics, one of my all time favorite Christian Mystics, Teresa of Avila, and she was a 16th century mystic in Spain. And so on that Monday, I’m going to just introduce my students to a little bit little bit of background, just a little taste of Teresa of Avila, because I’ll I’ll cover her in an October class and then we’ll just do maybe a 15 minute meditation around a quote of hers that I like a quote that speaks to me of Teresa’s.
Karuna: Do people need to be Christian to attend?
Jane Coburn: No. No, I’m not trying to make anybody, Christian, I don’t I don’t even know what I am, I’m the spirit. I call myself spiritual, you know, smorgasbord. So I was raised Catholic, but I’ve always been a spiritual seeker from the time I was little and I continue to be so. And the interesting thing is that I first learned about Saints when I was a kid, and it was more in the sense of like worshipping them, you know, and like this goal that was like unattainable like the saint was. You’re never going to be a saint. You know, they were like godly.
Karuna: But on the other hand, like, you might become a sinner, I don’t know.
Jane Coburn: And then about 11 years ago, I got introduced to Father Richard Rohr and his writings and his Center for Action and Contemplation, and I started taking courses there and learning all about the Christian mystics. The thing that stood out for me is that they’re so human and they really embrace their humanity, and they are through their brokenness and through life, hard crap that happened to them in their lives. They found God and found an inner, you know, God inside them and then found that love and then brought that out into the world, in their teachings and in their daily life. And I just that really spoke to me and I thought, Oh, they’re not just this saint in the sky. These mystics were real people that went through real shit, you know, and through that reached out to others and found a closeness to the divine and helped other people. And so that really spoke to me. And then the interesting thing is, you know, I read about them and yeah, they’re great and everything and then hadn’t really thought about it for a while and then actually being on Mind Oasis and being in your Thursday morning class Karuna and other classes around Buddhism, a lot of the things that I was hearing in those classes were things that the Christian mystics were teaching and had taught me. And it was almost like this full circle moment. It’s like studying Buddhism brought me back to this, you know, these Christian mystics. And so that’s what called to me to teach these classes because it was like, Oh, the universality of these teachings, you know, is just. Just beautiful to me, and if more people from all different backgrounds could learn from different backgrounds, maybe we would find the commonality rather than the differences.
Karuna: Yeah. So for those of you who are listening to the podcast and couldn’t see my expression, I was totally cracking up as Jane was describing it. St. Teresa of Avalon
Jane Coburn: Avila, A.v.i.l.a.
Karuna: Thank you, Avila. I was cracking up because as you were describing her life and her way of being in the world, it sounded to me like the embodiment of bodhicitta, which we’re studying about on Thursday mornings in my Thursday morning Tibetan Buddhist class. But you know, Bodhi is, let’s say, awakened and citta mind. That’s a kind of oversimplification of the word, but it’s the wish, the aspiration that all sentient beings are happy and free. And then if you take on the challenge as a saint or warrior, you embody that and you go out in the world and you’re a helper. So when I think of folks who are embodied sort of Bodhisattvas, it sounds like she is one. And I think of Mr. Rogers, I think of Jesus. I think of all of these people that we, Mother Teresa, who maybe we think of as humans who’ve done extraordinary things. But when I hear they’re extraordinary things, I think of them as Buddhas.
Jane Coburn: Mm hmm. It’s funny because I was prepared for this class I was watching. There’s a scholar, Mirabai Starr, and she’s translated one of Theresa’s books. And she actually used that language. She said, Oh, she’s a Bodhisattva. She said the Buddhists would would consider her a Bodhisattva, you know, and I just was like, Karuna would love this.
Karuna: Yeah, I do love it. My heart’s all warm right now, and I’m really excited. Ok? And people don’t have to have a meditation practice. You’ll guide them gently and all that good stuff. So really, this this first free mini workshop is for just it’s just for anyone, Yeah?
Jane Coburn: Yes, it’s for anyone who just wants to come together and just learn a little bit about one some wonderful people and just have a little peace in their day and, you know, start to stoke the fires of self-love and and compassion and knowing.
Karuna: Awesome. Ok, so you can go to MindOasis.org and you’ll see there’s a Learn tab, and then you’ll see that specifically, there are free mini workshops, and Jane’s is one of many that you’ll find there. The cool thing is, if you’re like, I’ll be dropping off kids at school or I have to work or honestly, I sleep in. These are all, this is all OK because it will be recorded. So if you register for that, that mini, you can watch it later. Of course, we always encourage you to come live because it’s best. So then tell us a little bit more about Into the mystics. Which, of course, then I’m singing Van Morrison now, so this is amazing. The Spirituality and Wisdom of the Christian Mystics, and that’s your four week series. It starts on the 4th of October. And is on Mondays at 9:00 a.m..
Jane Coburn: Yes. Yes. I’m excited. So it’s 75 minutes 9:00 Central on Mondays, every Monday in October. And the funny thing is is that I could literally do a six month course on each one of these mistakes. I mean, you could just go down the rabbit hole. You know, there’s so much they’re writing. They’re all prolific writers, you know? And so this is just this tiny little taste each week into one of them. So I picked four, two women and two men. I’m going to I think I’m going to do it chronologically. So the first one would be Julian of Norwich, an English Christian mystic from the 14th century, and she lived through the plague through the Black Plague and was isolated in a tiny room with the window, and the villagers would come and get advice from her. And so she was very, very ill. How timely? Yeah. And she I think she really speaks to this time. And in her illness, she thought she was going to die and she saw visions. And that’s what she then came out of that and then, you know, started writing and she actually was the first female published. Oh, so and so we’re going to talk about Julian of Norwich. And then the next week it’ll be St Teresa of Avila, 16th century Spanish and then her buddy a little bit younger than her. But they were very, very deep, loving friends.
Jane Coburn: Saint John of the Cross is the next one, so they were both Spain 16th century and then we’re going to go way forward to the 20th century and talk about Thomas Merton, who was a monk and wrote prolifically in the 50s and 60s, 1950s and 1960s. So each of them have their own life experience, they all have, they’re they’re a product of their time. The St John of the Cross and Saint Theresa were products of the Inquisition in Spain and the turmoil around that. Thomas Merton talked a lot about social justice in the sixties and civil rights and was very good friends with Thich Nhat Hanh. And so they’re very much a product of their time. And yet they all pretty much have the same message in a different way. And the message basically is God is love, and it’s all about love, you know, and that we are born, loved and we are enough. So each week, I’ll introduce a little autobiographical lesson about the person and then read maybe a poem that they’ve written or a quote that really speaks to me. And then we’ll do a meditation around that quote and then maybe a little journaling. Let people kind of get down on paper a few thoughts after the meditation, whatever came up for them. And then a little sharing with each other. And that’s how I see each class going.
Karuna: I’m sitting here thinking, you’re right, my God, this could be like a year long study, I feel like with like two months dedicated to each of these amazing human beings. And I love I had no idea that Teresa and Saint John of the Cross, like were compadres or like in the same.
Jane Coburn: Yeah, I think I forget I’d have to look at my notes, but they’re like, you know, she was in her early fifties and he was in his mid-20s when they met and they became very, very close. In line friend, spiritual friends and he she actually recruited him to reform his, his order of priests and actually gotten thrown in jail for it. They’ve all either been chronically ill, imprisoned, tortured. You know, death threats. Thomas Merton got death threats in the sixties because of what he was saying and writing and, you know, trying to have peace, you know, bring peace to the world. And his writing is against the Vietnam War. So that’s what I mean from the beginning when I said, they’re like human, you know, these people lived life they were in, they weren’t sitting in a cave somewhere, you know, they were in it. And despite everything they went through, they stuck to their to what they believed and brought it out into the world and service. So. Can you tell I’m passionate about this?
Karuna: Yeah, and I’m getting all teared up, so I was like trying to take a breath and a gulp of air so that I could remain composed. So, so Jane brings her four week series to Mind Oasis so you can go to MindOasis.org. Go to the Learn tab. If you just punch in the word mystics, you’ll find both of her offerings. It starts on the 4th of October. It’s a four week series. It’s on Mondays at nine a.m. Again, you could listen to the recording always better if you can just carve out the time, take that PTO, it’ll be worth it because you will learn that you are God and God is love and everything in between. And even if that doesn’t resonate with you, you’re going to learn a bunch of historical interesting stuff, which is amazing. And if that doesn’t interest you, I don’t know. I guess we’re going, come anyway and just have some fun with some with with in community with Jane. Exactly. Jane’s a stellar human being. You can ask anyone who knows her. Jane, what’s your truth?
Jane Coburn: Oh, gosh, what’s my truth? I would say my truth is that life is really hard. And so. Find joy, find love and joy where you can get it and really imprint it on your heart because that’s what life’s about for all the hard stuff that we have to go through.
Karuna: So what Jane failed to mention is that she’s this amazing life coach and and we’re friends. But this week I had a difficult time for a couple of days and then like I decided, Well, hell, I’m just going to wake up and find the joy because Jane says, find the joy. And so I I I made my partner a cup of hot tea yesterday morning and I infused it with love and Bodhicitta, and I took it up to him and I decided to do it in silence because every time we speak, we seem to be going around and around right now. Which is OK, like we’re Capricorns. We just kind of have to lock horns once in a while. So I just brought him this cup of tea and and he said, thank you and I walked away. And about an hour later, we went for a really nice hike together and then, you know, had sort of this nice day of reconnecting. And so what started out the week was kind of rough. And then, you know, yesterday was really sweet, and now I’m here with you. And who the hell knows what’s going to happen for the rest of the day? It’s planned out that it’s going to be great, but you know, the sky could fall. Covid could hit, right? So this idea that Jane just shared her truth about, you know, life is hard, to find the joy. It’s like, not tomorrow. You got to find it when you’re in it.
Jane Coburn: Exactly, people think of joy as like, oh, you know, this big whole thing, but it can just be, you know, I sit on my porch and I listen to the birds and I smile, it’s just like, I can’t believe I get to sit here and sip this tea and listen to these birds or, you know, just a nice, little kind thing someone says to you in passing. Or, you know, take it into your heart and just take a breath for a moment and really feel that because we’re rushing around all the time and we’re not noticing.
Karuna: I love it. I love it. All right, so Jane Coburn brings two offerings to Mind Oasis both of them around the mystics. They will involve some nerdy stuff, some loving stuff, some meditation stuff and everything in between. You can go to MindOasis.org. Go to the Learn tab. You can see both of them. I think that the Free Mini is coming up pretty quickly on the 20th of September.
Jane Coburn: Yes.
Karuna: And then the four week series starts on the 4th of October. Jane, thank you so much for taking time to be our guest.
Jane Coburn: Thank you so much.
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