Learn meditation for free in our 6 week course starting Tuesday 15th Sep.
Last Monday class is on 7th Sep. Then on Tuesday 15th Sep we start a free six week zoom meditation course that is suitable for complete beginners as well as old hands.
We took a vote in our Facebook group and there was a clear majority for Tuesday over Monday (for whatever reason), so we went with that.
Hope to see you there 7.30pm to 9.30pm. Best to arrive about 7.20pm or earlier, as we will start promptly at 7.30pm.
It is the same link as always which is:
You can also download a meditation workbook pdf with 32 pages that accompanies the course.
It includes a meditation diary, so you can have a different question to explore every day during your meditation for 6 days each week (Wednesday to Monday) for 6 weeks (36 questions). Plus there are some very deep and useful teachings on our two meditation practices that are contained in the notes.
If you use them as guidance before and after you meditate, they will help you go deeper into the practices.
Monday 7th Sep: Helen will be leading an evening around the issue of how we as individuals can be part of a spiritual community which aspires to avoid the perils of conforming to group pressure, and towing the party line etc.
Tuesday 15th Sep: 6 week meditation course starts. Week one led by myself
Tuesday 22nd Sep: Week two led by Paramajyoti
Tuesday 29th Sep: Week three
Hope to see you at one or more of these!
all the best
p.s. from one of my favourite books:
Metta Bhavana (loving kindness meditation) Stage 1:ourselves
I’ve recently taught the metta bhavana to groups of carers – people who are caring long-term for a severely ill or disabled family member. They are ordinary people from whom so much energy and self-sacrifice is required on an ongoing basis. They relate very easily to this need for self-empathy, for the time to look at their own emotional resources, in order to be able to go on coping with the daily demands of caring. Sometimes they have to deal with feelings of guilt. If the pressures on them are great, they can understandably start to feel anger towards the person for whom they are caring. On top of this, they feel guilty about feeling anger. Self-empathy can help bring to this a kindness and understanding of one’s humanity and limitations. At other times they can feel equally uneasy about feeling good – why should they feel happy when their near and dear one is in pain? Self-empathy can help them realize that they are human beings that deserve happiness too. Also, if they are able to feel more emotionally buoyant and resilient, this is not selfish because it means they will have the emotional resources carry on helping others.
As well as working with negative feelings towards ourselves, we can also remind ourselves of our positive qualities. We can look at our lives and see that we do act with loving-kindness much of the time, even if it is sometimes mixed with other motives, or even if we don’t always feel hugely positive. But we can give ourselves credit for what is positive.
Extending on from this, we can also use this stage of the practice to strengthen positive qualities, or to develop new ones. I often work by imagining qualities that I would like to develop. I try to envisage what it would be like to have those qualities. For example, if I’ve noticed myself getting irritated in meetings at work, I imagine how it might be possible to make my points in the meeting without the irritation, and with more kindness to others. I sit trying to be open to the possibility. Sometimes this imaginative approach helps me see my potential more clearly. I can sense quite tangibly how I could be different. Then I actually start to feel different.
We might also spend time reflecting on all that is good in our lives, cultivating a sense of gratitude and appreciation (a bit like the reminder of the preciousness of life in Chapter 1). By doing this, we can gain a different perspective on the things we tend to moan about – we realize that they are not that bad. We can feel richer, more expansive, and warmed up – ready for the subsequent stages of the practice.
exercise – imagining new possibilities
You can try the various ideas and approaches suggested above in your meditation practice. It would probably be best to spread them out over a few weeks, rather than trying them all at once. You could take notes as you go, and see if there are some you find more helpful than others.
If you already do the loving-kindness practice, you can incorporate them into that. If not, you could start by spending five minutes on one of the approaches suggested above. For example, after relaxing the body and watching the breath for a while, you could try imagining new possibilities. Bring to mind particular, specific situations in which you have a desire to be different, and recall what you are like in them, how you actually feel in your heart, mind, and body. Allow a sense of how you could be different to emerge, of how you could approach those situations in a new way.
Buddhism: Tools for Living Your Life by Vajragupta © Windhorse Publications