City Week

The Buddhist Brain "The Science of Enlightenment, the Enlightenment of Science"
7 to 9 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 19
Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 2331 E. Adams St.

Religion and science often don't go together. But according to Vipassana meditation teacher Shinzen Young, one religion--Buddhism--is a conspicuous exception, and the path to enlightenment is actually science-like. First of all, says Young, the Buddha encouraged a healthy, scientific skepticism in his students, even when it came to faith and spirituality. Second, the Buddha took an analytic approach to enlightenment by figuring out how the sense of self arises moment by moment from elementary sensory events.

Young sees a lot of potential in the similarities of science and Buddhism, and thinks each can benefit the other in a multitude of ways. Modern neuroscience, for example, could expose new ways to sharpen Buddhist meditation techniques and understand mindfulness. And Buddhist meditation skills could be very beneficial to scientists, increasing their intellectual clarity and vitality. In fact, Young insists that his current competence in math and science is the result of 35 years of meditation practice.

In any case, the correlation between Buddhism and science could have major implications. "When I look at the really big picture," says Young, "... two peaks of human achievement stand out as most impressive and relevant: the method of science for clearly explaining the natural world, and the method of meditation for directly experiencing one's spiritual source. If these two methodologies ... were to cross-fertilize, they might give birth to a totally new paradigm, a paradigm with the power to deeply and perhaps quickly better the lives of much of humanity."

If you're part of humanity, you might want to hear details at Shinzen's lecture next Thursday. Admission to the lecture is $12, but nobody will be turned away for lack of funds. So you know these people are serious and are well on their way to enlightenment. --A.M.

Art Works "Healing Through Art" Workshops
7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 18; 11 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 19
Building Health, 2830 N. Edith Blvd.

Whether you're recovering from cancer or you just got dumped by your significant other, life can be very trying sometimes. But don't lose hope. Art can help.

Deborah Mayaan, a local artist and energy work practitioner, knows all about pain as well as how to heal from it. After going through a serious illness and almost dying, she eventually found her way back to health through energy work, sound healing and--most of all--a transformative art experience. Ever since, she's been dedicated to teaching others how to use art to encourage physical, emotional and mental well-being, and this week, she'll offer two sessions of a special workshop combining art and therapy.

As far as the art part goes, Mayaan says her workshops are very open-ended. She'll simply introduce a topic and provide several project ideas, encouraging students to use a range of materials to explore and express their feelings about setbacks they've undergone. She'll also spend some time explaining the relationship between positive thinking and health, responding to specific issues individual students are dealing with.

Don't worry if you're not an artist: "This is art for the sake of healing, not for presentation," Mayaan insists. "I work a lot with people who think they can't do art. They've received negative messages from teachers. Making art is our birthright. All kids draw. Adults often need help reclaiming their artist-selves, and I'm happy to facilitate this."

The theme of the upcoming workshop will be increasing resiliency in our bodies and our lives. So if you could use a new source for inner strength, check it out. It costs $20, including all materials and equipment. --A.M.

Dogs Have More Fun Pet Fiesta Fundraiser
10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14
Plaza Palomino, Fort Lowell and Swan Roads

If you're a pet owner, the idea of having fun with your animal probably appeals to you. And the thought of an animal being maltreated or put to sleep probably doesn't. So wouldn't you like to frolic with your own pet and help save the lives of those without homes at the same time?

Then you'd better go to the second annual Plaza Palomino Pet Fiesta, a day of excitement for animals and their owners to benefit the no-kill Hope Animal Shelter. The event will feature all kinds of weird and fun activities like pet massage, pet psychic readings, pet art and even "doggy dancing" (led by a professional "canine freestyle" trainer). There will also be a variety of contests, including a "Howl-O-Ween" costume contest, a pet/owner look-alike contest and competitions for the best pet trick and loudest bark.

Obviously, the fiesta will be fun. But more importantly, it's taking place for a good cause--to help the Hope Animal Shelter, a local haven for unwanted dogs and cats. "(This shelter) offers a clean, loving environment that allows socialization and a smoother transition into a permanent home," says Hope volunteer Rita Smith. "Hope ensures that (its animals) are well cared for both physically and emotionally during this trying time in their lives. We absolutely will not put any animal to sleep for lack of space."

In fact, the shelter was built on the foundation of ahimsa, a Sanskrit word literally meaning "nonviolence" and used by Gandhi to describe the way humans should behave toward animals--with kindness, gentleness and respect.

All types of animals will be welcome at the event, from cats to gerbils to snakes--but it will be geared toward dogs, which must be on leashes. Admission is free, with a small fee for each activity and contest. --A.M.

You, Me and Media Amy Goodman Talk and Book Signing
6:15 p.m., Friday, Oct. 13
Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St.

Are you looking at the world through a corporate lens? Unfortunately, most of us are--whether we know it or not. Let's face it: Most media just aren't in the hands of the people. And things are getting worse. Right here in Tucson, a number of public-access television channels are in danger of being cut by Cox Cable, even though the company originally promised to support those channels. What will happen to our ability to see local and alternative news programs? The outlook isn't good.

If anyone can help us rescue independent media, it's journalist Amy Goodman, who hosts the national radio and TV show Democracy Now!--one of the Access Tucson programs that could potentially be affected by Cox's schemes. Luckily for us, Goodman is currently touring the nation to launch her new best-selling book, Static: Government Liars, Media Cheerleaders and the People Who Fight Back, which she wrote with her brother. This Friday, she'll treat Tucson to an educational rant about how the corporate media have allowed Bush and his puppeteers to manipulate and fabricate news, stifling the facts about what's really going on in America, Iraq and elsewhere.

"We live in a globalized world," Goodman reminds us. "And yet the U.S. is so isolated in terms of information. We've got to break those barriers--it's words over war."

Yes, Goodman says, there are things we can do to take a stand for truth in the news--using the good media to fight the bad. "The media provides the forum for us to begin the dialogue. ... Information is power, and power is hope. Being informed is the beginning of a meaningful democracy."

You can get informed about Goodman's brand of "trickle-up journalism" and benefit Access Tucson and KXCI 91.3 FM at the same time. Admission is $10. --A.M.

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