meditation

NEW from April 14th – Newcomers’ Evenings

We are changing our programme this Summer and instead of running courses (where you need to book a place) we will be changing to a weekly Tuesday Evening Drop-In class (which you can join anytime without booking) NEWCOMERS EVENINGS Learning about meditation and Buddhism Every Tuesday Evening from 14th April Starts at 7.00 p.m. Finishes 9.15 p.m.  This is a drop in event and no previous experience of Buddhist meditation is required.  If you’ve already learnt to meditate this is also an opportunity to deepen and build a regular practice and connect with other people.  Each evening will consist of a guided meditation and an introduction and exploration of the Buddha’s teachings and their relevance to our lives. You are welcome to attend whenever you can, for as many weeks or months as you like. This is a rolling programme so if you miss some weeks you will be able to catch up on what was covered at another time.  Over a number of weeks we shall be exploring the following areas:  Meditation and mindfulness Introducing our four main meditation practices.  Mindfulness of the body and its senses, the Mindfulness of breathing, the cultivation of kindly awareness (metta) and just sitting.  We will also explore mindfulness in our everyday lives.  Buddhist practice in the world  (ethics and action ). Exploring what we value and care about. How can we strengthen our connection with these values and express them in our lives and actionsThe Buddha and his teachings ( Dharma). Who was the Buddha? What did he have to say and what relevance has it to our lives? An exploration of this through talks, discussions and workshops looking... Read more

Learning from Stillness

T.S.Eliot was not influenced by Buddhist teachings as far as I’m aware, but in this verse from the ‘Four Quartets’ he captures something that to me feels very alive with the Dharma. He talks of ‘the still point of the turning world’ – a place of pause where we might find ourselves spun out of the dance for a moment. It might be a place we recognise from our own experience – climbing a hilltop, finding ourselves alone by the sea, a place where just for a moment the world doesn’t press on us so strongly. It might be an involuntary pause – sometimes illness or loss forces us to a different pace. It might be a place we seek out. There is something different to be found there. Meditation is for me one such still point. We can sit with different aims, which are appropriate at different times in our practice. It might be the right thing simply to be learning to practice, finding out what it’s like. We may want to be calm, have a refuge from a busy or difficult life. We may be exploring deeper meditative states, the ‘dhyanas’. We may be using it as a basis for insight practice, observing, even enquiring about our experience. For me, answering the question why I sit has become simpler over the years. I ask less and less of my practice and I’m learning simply to let it be. It is a space where craving and aversion are given a chance to fade away, or to play out their dance in their own time. Here I can let... Read more