Full Moon Meditation in Montecito Mountains

By Steven Libowitz   |   August 15, 2019

The new Santa Barbara Hiking Meditation Meetup is joining forces with the also newish and very active Purnamaya Ayurveda & Sound Healing Meetup in Ventura for a 4 1/2-hour Full Moon Hike, Meditation and Sound Healing event in Romero Canyon Thursday night, August 15. The gathering is meant to mimic practices from other cultures throughout the world where the full moon is considered an auspicious occasion, including tales that the Buddha and his disciples would stay up late into the full moon nights to practice meditation and reflect upon the teachings the Buddha had imparted.

For August’s full moon evening, Meetup members (and guests) will first gather for welcoming remarks and introductions, then mindfully (and likely mostly silently, we imagine) hike up Old Romero Canyon Road to a saddle in the trail, where the group will practice a brief meditation. Returning partway down the trail, attendees will sit on a small cluster of boulders under the light of the moon and be invited to gaze out upon the silvery ocean while listening to the Buddha’s very first teaching being chanted in the ancient Buddhist language of Pali, with the sound of Tibetan prayer flags rustling in the wind creating an additional soundscape. After another short period of meditation, the group will return to a small waterfall near the trailhead to enjoy a 45-minute sound healing session using Tibetan singing bowls. The evening comes to a close after another meditation period and an exercise in Deep Listening, a beautiful practice from the Thich Nhat Hahn community, followed by a closing circle.

The Ventura group’s Natalie Maharjan, a NAMA Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and graduate from the Ayurvedic Institute, and guest Sujan Maharjan, who is a Tibetan Singing Bowl Sound Healer, classically trained in Nepal, as well as an Ayurvedic Chef, co-host the event with the Hiking Meditation Meetup’s Courtney Purcell, who is associated with the American Buddhist Meditation Temple in Santa Barbara. Gather at the Romero Canyon trailhead on Bella Vista Road for the 7:30 pm start. 

More Moving Meditation

The month-old, 79-member strong Santa Barbara Hiking Meditation Meetup, which also visited Romero Canyon for last month’s full moon and explored Elings Park for a half-moon event two weeks ago, has also scheduled a short flat hike on More Mesa followed by a Boon Khoa Pradupdin traditional Thai/Lao ceremony at the American Buddhist Meditation Temple from 8:30 am to 1 pm this Sunday, August 18, and a half-day meditation retreat at Temple, located at 1251 Orchid Drive, for Saturday, August 24. More information, details and (optional) registration online at www.meetup.com/meetup-group-QntIYfmO.

Meanwhile, the crowded calendar just in the next 10 days from the Ventura-based Meetup – which has offered 52 events since launching in March – includes an indoor Full Moon Sound Bath session at 4 pm Thursday, August 15 (just before the Romero hike); Cooking for Self-Healing on Friday, August 16; Ayurvedic healing remedies, routines and techniques to reduce stress and insomnia on Sunday, August 18; a group Sound Bath & Meditation on Friday, August 23; a healing women’s circle on Saturday, August 24; and an open house at its Purnamaya Ayurveda & Sound Healing Center, located at 670 East Thompson Boulevard, Suite C, in Ventura. Visit www.meetup.com/Ayurveda-and-Sound-Healing. 

Moving on a Monday 

The next foothill foray from the Get Unstuck & Create an Awesome Vision Hike Meetup takes place 2-4 pm on Monday, August 19, when organizer Jesse Brisendine leads a short trek up the Tunnel Trail toward Inspiration Point. Participants are invited to bring pen and paper to jot down “Aha” moments and other insights that may arise via the visit with nature. you have down. Either way, Brisendine – the creator of “Zero Limits Coaching” – asks that hikers come with an open heart and open mind, and an intention to work through where you might be “stuck” and excitement to create a vision for your future. Visit www.meetup.com/UnlockYourGreatness. 

Mandala Workshop at Sunburst

All are invited to a special workshop at the Lompoc sanctuary where participants will learn about and create their own personal mandala, a spirituality tool used in many cultures. A guided meditation will endeavor to put participants in touch with your “higher self” and open to your creative processes, followed by sacred music and viewing of beautiful works of art. Rev. Dr. Ron Gibbons, who developed this workshop and has led various spirituality workshops and classes for several years for Unity of Santa Barbara and at Sunburst, leads the 2-4 pm event on Sunday, August 18, that is presented on a “love offering” basis. Registration requested at www.sunburst.org.

A ‘Miracle’ Returns

I have no explanation how a Christmas Eve talk and meditation with Marianne Williamson at the Arlington Theatre more than 20 years ago, sponsored, as I recall, through the local “A Course in Miracles” community, turned into one of the four or five deeply spiritual experiences of my life. What I can only (and far too feebly) describe is that a feeling of pure love and connection to others took up unmistakable residence in my body-mind in a state of ultimate presence that lasted for hours.

Now, of course, Williamson, the author of Return to Love and many other spiritual/self-help books, is running for president. This surely isn’t the space to talk about her qualifications or an endorsement one way or the other, even if we wanted to blur the lines between politics and personal spirituality. Suffice it simply announce that Williamson is making a rare Santa Barbara appearance on Saturday, August 17, at Unity of Santa Barbara, with locals Tia Walker, Sarah Uma Kane, Ani Ahavah, and Greyson Kirby serving as co-hosts of the 6-8 pm talk titled “Cultivating Love in Action.” (Williamson will also attend a fundraising lunch in Mission Canyon and an afternoon tea event aimed at local community connection back at Unity.)

Reiki Share in SB

Darren Marc’s next Reiki offering is a gathering to share the Japanese method of energy healing that was started by Zen practitioner Dr. Usui in the 1920s. Both practitioners and those who just want to receive are welcome to attend the 7 pm event next Thursday, August 22, at 2906 La Combadura Road. The evening begins with a short Gassho meditation (a meditation that Dr. Usui taught to his students) and recitation of the five Reiki principles followed by all to receive the method to bring chi into the body to promote deep relaxation as well as recovery from physical and emotional trauma, either on chairs or Marc’s treatment table. The event closes with a group energy exercise. Tea, water, and treats will be available. Admission by suggested donation of $10. Nobody turned away for lack of funds. Visit www.facebook.com/events/438728303644901.


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