There is a lot coming up this month, so please read this carefully 🙂
1) Starting tonight ( Tuesday 6th Sep) we have a new 6 week course coming up called “Mind Reactive and Creative”. It is suitable for newcomers, as well as more experienced people. Approximately half of each evening will be devoted to a guided meditation.
It is the first time we have done this course, and it is based on a lecture that our founder did in the early days, that got turned into a seminar, and then course. It takes a deep dive into an analysis of how our mind is usually very reactive. It draws inspiration from the Buddhist Wheel of Life which is included in this message.
Fortunately, there is a way out of this reactivity known as the Spiral Path which we will cover in a few weeks, later on in the course.
If you want some background reading there is a 44 page pdf “Mind Reactive and Creative ebook” that you can download from https://hertfordbuddhistgroup.co.uk/downloads/
2) Starting on 15th September, and every Thursday evening after that, our friend Hayley Brown will be offering yoga classes at the Millbridge Rooms, Hertford. SG14 1PX. Most attendees will probably be from our Buddhist group, but actually the classes are open to everyone.
Please bring a yoga mat if you have one, although we should also have a few spare if you are unable to bring one .
Classes are one hour long and will start promptly at 7pm, so please get there about 10 minutes beforehand.
3) Hertford Sangha Day Retreat, Exploring Fearlessness
You are invited to join Vimaladipa and the day retreat team, exploring Fearlessness through meditation, talks, discussion, creativity and puja (a devotional ritual) on Sunday 25th September, 10am – 4pm at Place House Hall, Bluecoat Yard, Ware SG12 9HL.
There is no charge, but we will ask for donations on the day
chilli and baked potato provided for lunch. Please bring other stuff to accompany if you would like to
Beginners are very welcome
Chairs are provided. You are welcome to bring meditation cushions and a mat if you want but we’re not planning long meditations
4) Coming up on Tuesday evenings we currently have booked in (subject to change):
06 September 2022 Keith Course week 1
13 September 2022 tba (to be announced) Course week 2
20 September 2022 tba Course week 3
27 September 2022 Amber Course week 4
04 October 2022 Amber and team Course week 5
11 October 2022 tba Course week 6
18 October 2022 Padmajata
See you at one or more of these hopefully.
p.s. Excerpt from one of my favourite books: “Buddhism: Tools for Living Your Life” by Vajragupta © Windhorse Publications
I was once lucky enough to take part in a four-month retreat at a place called Guhyaloka in southern Spain. The name, which means ‘secret realm’, was certainly appropriate. Far into the mountains, the retreat centre is in an area of woodland surrounded by dramatic limestone cliffs. During the retreat we would sometimes climb up these cliffs so that, in effect, we formed a circle and faced each other across the valley. We would chant mantras as loud as we could and listen to them echoing and re-echoing around the valley walls. Part of the significance of the retreat was that we were indeed coming to a secret place. We had left our ordinary lives, our country and our homes, friends, work, family – all the things we normally rely on to give us a sense of who we are – far behind us. This is what is known traditionally as ‘going forth’. It gives us a different experience of ourselves outside of our usual conditioning, which can be extremely valuable in finding out who we really are and who we want to be.
Towards the end of the retreat something else happened. At dusk we again went up on top of the valley walls, but this time we all faced outwards. The rock face was golden in the dying sunlight. The twinkling lights of towns and villages were starting to emerge in the distance. Each of us read favourite texts and inspirational verses out towards the world. We were doing this to signify that we were shortly going back to the world, and we wanted to take something back with us. We wanted to have something new to give once we returned to our familiar lives. This is what it is like with a retreat: you go away, but you do so in order to come back again.
Getting the right balance between calm and activity is far from easy. For most of us, the life of activity will probably take over, and we may feel we have lost sight of the life of calm! In fact, it might be rare that we get the balance exactly right. This is not a problem as long as we are aware of the dynamic and do what we can to right it. It is when the imbalance goes on for too long that we might run into trouble, such as stress or burnout. But gradually, through trial and error, we learn how to remain at least in some sense of contact with that inner spaciousness; we get to know our limits and how much busyness we can deal with before our practice becomes thin. It is like keeping a boat on course. We keep an eye on its direction, the wind, and the weather, and we turn the rudder. Sometimes we turn it strongly to bring about a big change of direction. Later, only small adjustments are needed to remain on course.