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Opening the Door of the Body: Untying the Knots of Limitation:
May – June 2020

Each of us has a unique starting point on the path of self-transformation: the patterns and tendencies particular to our history and conditioning that form what we call the “pain identity.” Sometimes the manifestations of this core identity are easy to see but many times they remain hidden in plain sight, as close as our own skin. We might recognize, for example, how our strong responses reflect this identity but might not always notice how it shapes our ordinary life—the way we move, speak, and think. We see this even in meditation practice. Though we try to bring our reactions and disconnections into our practice, sometimes we get so involved in the techniques we are using and our experiences on the cushion that we don’t remember to reflect back on the one who is practicing. This allows the pain identity, that hidden I, to guide the practice away from anything that threatens its control.

Presented by 3 Doors Senior Teacher, Laura Shekerjian, this course is about unmasking this I. There are many ways to do this but our focus here will be on using the tangible experience of our physical bodies and breath to recognize how this identity manifests in how we sit, breathe, and meet ourselves. What is our capacity to meet whatever arises in our experience? What kind of relationship does the pain identity allow us to have with ourselves? How can we use practice to lighten our habitual identity to create a warmer, more open self that can accept all aspects of our experience?  We’ll look as well at how we can use practice and self-reflection in everyday life to lighten this identity and uncover a warm, open self, able to engage the world more freely.

Program Design

There will be six pre-recorded classes with guided practices (approximately 90-minutes each), as well as two 90-minute live sessions that include guided practice and open group discussion.

We form various relationships with ourselves ranging from struggle to preoccupation to disconnection. In this session we clarify our starting point. How do we connect to our body, the most tangible manifestation of ourselves and what is the quality of the awareness we bring? How are the limitations of ordinary self reflected in the body and in everyday actions?

The blockages and disconnections revealed in tensions of body and breath are fueled by three energetic tendencies or root “poisons” that block our connection to the openness and clarity of our essential nature: aversion, attachment, and the ignorance of self-disconnection. When we can support breath and awareness to travel together into the places that hold our patterns in place, we lessen their grip on us, allow the energies to flow into more constructive paths, and bring the openness of possibility. This will be our focus in the practice of The Nine Breathings of Purification.

Here we take a step back to recognize more fully how we are practicing. As we deepen our connection to ourselves through body and breath, we come to recognize the tensions and interference of the controlling mind that wants to evaluate and correct. In this session of practice, we’ll use the breath to explore the difference between allowing and controlling, between letting ourselves be as we are and being caught by the mind’s conceptions of what our experience needs to be.

Once we clear the root poisons and catch the activity of the controlling self, we can return our focus to the door of body. We are now more able to recognize and release the densities and disconnections of our embodied limitations and connect to the stillness that lies within the restlessness of the small self, that ordinary I. From here we can expand into the stillness of being and enter the unpatterned openness of the essential self.

In this session we continue exploring the pain identity by seeing not only how it manifests as blockage or obscuration, but more subtly, how it manifests as the practitioner or the experiencer who tries to deal with pain while being caught in pain. Using the support of the stillness of the body, we deepen into an inner space that is free of habitual agenda. From here we can be with or host whatever arises in a clear, open way. Once we experientially recognize the difference between hosting from limitation and hosting from openness we are able to come into a warm, accepting relationship with all aspects of ourselves as well as with whatever we experience in our lives.

We have worked in different ways to loosen the limitations that hold us within a particular way of perceiving and responding so that we can come into a larger sense of being. In this final session of practice, we will use everything we have worked with to more fully embody the openness of release and rest within a more expansive, authentic space of self. We will pay particular attention to the liveliness of this expansive space from which we can experience the world and express who we are in a freer, more spontaneous way.

Course Details:

TEACHER: Laura Shekerjian

DATES/TIMES: 6-weeks self-guided with two live zoom practice and discussion sessions.
Prerecorded modules will be released on six consecutive Fridays: May 1, May 8, May 15, May 22, May 29 and June 5.
Live Zoom sessions will be held on Sunday May 17 and June 7, from 10 – 11:30 a.m Los Angeles time/1 – 2:30 p.m. New York time/7 – 8:30 p.m. Central European time

WHAT YOU WILL RECEIVE:  In this six week program, you will receive 9 hours of teaching and guided practice audio files that may be streamed or downloaded, two live guided practice and discussion sessions of at least an hour each (the guided practice portion will be recorded), and access to email Senior Teacher Laura Shekerjian to ask your program practices questions at any time. Her email will be sent to you in the program confirmation letter and she will respond to your program practice questions during the length of this course.

CANCELLATION POLICY:  Prior to the program’s beginning, refunds for cancellation will be made in full (minus a $25 processing fee).  After the official start of the program, no refunds will be given.

Please contact chelsea@the3doors.org if you have questions.

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Teacher Bio

Laura Shekerjian
Laura ShekerjianSenior Teacher
Laura Shekerjian is a Senior Teacher for The 3 Doors, a psychotherapist practicing in Berkeley, California, and a long-time practitioner of Tibetan meditation and various yogic disciplines. She holds master’s degrees in Counseling Psychology and Buddhist Studies and has worked for over twenty years in individual, group, and classroom settings to actively engage her clients and students in the process of self-discovery. Laura was adjunct faculty for many years in the Departments of Somatic Psychology and Counseling Psychology at John F. Kennedy University and the California Institute for Integral Studies.