There are many influences that have shaped Linda's views on life, death and dying. She was raised as a Mennonite, and her family had a very open view towards death. The Mennonite values of deep community and pragmatic acceptance of the cycle of life continue to resonate with her. For decades her parents completed their advance care plans and had family discussions about their end of life wishes over Christmas dinner, with all kids and grandkids present. They talked openly about death, and children of all ages attended funerals.
Years later, Linda began practicing meditation and studying Buddhism. She finds Buddhism so rich in acceptance practices and appreciates how it encourages everyone to face impermanence and their own mortality. She has been meditating for more than 20 years, and studying Buddhism with her teachers, Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat. In 2009, she completed a 2 month silent meditation retreat at the Clear Sky Meditation and Study Centre, in Cranbrook, BC, In 2014-15, she commuted to New York every month for 9 months to study with the New York Zen Centre for Contemplative Care and develop her end of life contemplative care skills. She became a lay Buddhist Chaplain endorsed by her teachers, and supports many persons, both Buddhist and non-Buddhists, at end of life. She is the co-founder and Senior Teacher of Awaken in Toronto, a Sangha of connected students who gather to support each other and their meditation practices and explorations. She is also a Co-Director and Teacher for the Toronto Centre for Applied Buddhism, and provides Buddhist clinical supervision to Buddhist psychotherapists.
Linda teaches meditation classes regularly with the Toronto Sangha called Awaken in Toronto. She has training in Buddhist Psychotherapy from the University of Toronto and integrates mindfulness and Buddhist practices into her psychotherapy services when requested. She is deeply committed to her own daily meditation practice, and reports that she cannot imagine where she would be in her life if she did not have this grounding practice.
Awaken In Toronto
Awaken in Toronto is a dedicated community of individuals committed to awakening in this lifetime. They work together to overcome the isolation of contemporary urban life, and create a space where we can safely explore the workings of our minds. They have a weekly meditation class, and host regular discussion groups on topics such as death & dying and integral spirituality. They offer weekend meditation retreats at the Dharma Centre of Canada that allow them to explore some of life’s deepest questions, and hold regular social events to build friendship and community. Last but not least, they are honoured to host their root guru teachers, Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat, for longer meditation retreats. All classes and discussion are based on Daná, which is a pay-what-you-value model.
www.awakenintoronto.org or www.meetup.com/AwakenInToronto/
Short Dharma talk on a given topic + 30 minute meditation. Dharma talk includes themes of Buddhist principles, Western psychology, and greater connection to ourselves and others.
Wednesdays *** NEW DAY AND TIME
Boomerang Pilates Studio on the 3rd Floor
Death, Dying, & Community
Discussion on various topics related to thinking about your own mortality and how you might help yourself and others better prepare for their own eventual deaths.
4th Thursday of the month
3rd Floor, Room #5
Weekend retreats out of the city at the Dharma Centre of Canada. Opportunities to take a deeper dive into silence and greater self awareness. Covering topics related to Vajrayana Buddhism as well as general meditation themes.
Next dates: April 3-5, 2020
Meditation and Buddhist Resources:
Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat
Inspiring Buddhist teachers intent on helping people awaken in this lifetime through intentional practices of dãna, karma yoga, and spiritual community. They connect with students through a virtual community and on-line webinars, and are based on-site as spiritual leaders of the Clear Sky Meditation and Study Centre in BC.
Clear Sky Meditation and Study Centre
A centre for awakening using a balance of conscious interaction and silent reflection. This 300 property sits at the foot of majestic Bull Mountain in south-east British Columbia, in a stunning forested valley of pine trees and farmland. They offer individual and group retreats and courses throughout the year, with resident teachers Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat and other senior students.
The Dharma Centre of Canada
Located in Kinmount, Ontario, the Dharma Centre of Canada is a non-sectarian retreat centre dedicated to awakening, compassion, awareness, and wisdom. It is affiliated with the Venerable Namgyal Rinpoche, the first Canadian recognized Rinpoche, and the Namgyal lineage of Western Vajrayana Buddhism.
Toronto Centre for Applied Buddhism
A Buddhist site for Contextual Education for students attending the University of Toronto Masters of Pastoral Studies (MPS) in Buddhist Studies. Linda provides group clinical supervision to persons offering paid or volunteer counselling services to fellow Buddhists in the community. Supervision may qualify for CRPO (College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario) Supervision hours necessary for certification as registered psychotherapists.
New York Zen Centre for Contemplative Care
The organization is based in Manhattan and delivers contemplative approaches to end of life care through education, direct service, and meditation practice. They offer a 9 month Foundations in Buddhist Contemplative Care Training Program involving 100 volunteer hours in a hospice or palliative care unit as well as individual and group learning opportunities.