We have finally finished our 6 week course. We will have another course starting in January, but we have not nailed down all the details yet.
But don’t wait till then. Coming along to our drop in class is actually the perfect way to spend a cold November Tuesday evening! Newcomers and beginners are always welcome. Full meditation instruction is always given.
Coming up we have:
5th November: Jayaka (male mitra convenor of the London Buddhist Centre)
12th November: Mangala and Keith
19th November: Akashamitra (leads the London Buddhist Centre Monday night class sometimes)
26th November: Not yet decided
3rd December: Khemananda
10th December: Leah
17th December: Not yet decided
24th December: No class
31st December: No class
7th January: Jnanavaca (ex chair of London Buddhist Centre, and president of Cambridge Buddhist Centre)
I hope you can make all or some of these. See you there!
p.s. Also, don’t forget our drop in yoga class lead by Amber. Every Tuesday up till and including December 3rd, then it will start again in January.
Yoga for the Sangha is every Tuesday from 6 pm to 7 pm at:
The Quaker Meeting House,
50 Railway Street,
All levels are welcome
£5 per session
Contact Amber 0794 261 2117 for more information
You will need to bring your own yoga mat.
The timing of this course is designed so that you have time to walk up to the Millbridge rooms to come to our Tuesday Sangha night class afterwards if you would like to do both!
p.p.s. Here is an excerpt from Vajragupta’s book “Buddhism: Tools for living your life”, which we recommend to people new to Buddhism (as well as more experienced people)
But cultivating mindfulness also takes time. Sometimes, when teaching meditation, I’ve asked people why they want to learn. A common reply is, ‘I just want to be able to switch off.’ I have to disappoint them. Our minds are not computers. We cannot just click on an icon, or flick a switch, to quell the activity of the mind. In the previous chapter we saw how what we are is the product of all our previous thoughts, words, and acts. This is true on many levels: on the macro-level, when we look back at our whole life and see the kind of person we have become, but also on a micro-, or day-to-day, level. The thoughts and images that may be swirling round our heads right now are the product of what we’ve been thinking, saying, and doing this very day. There is no magical technique to just stop all this; we have to sit with the mind, letting that karma-vipaka (see p.14) gradually play itself out.
There is a lovely traditional image for this. Imagine your mind is like a glass vessel of water. Perhaps the water is muddy and unclear, with various bits and pieces swimming about in it. Meditation is sitting quietly and still so that the sediment gradually starts to settle. It takes time, but after a while the water becomes crystal clear and still. This process cannot be hurried. Anything you do to the water to try to make it clear will actually stir it up again.
Since meditation works gradually, consistency of practice over time is also very important. Meditating every day for a short period, or at least most days in a week, is much better that a long meditation only once or twice a week. You can also experiment to see what works best for you: meditating first thing in the day, or at another time? Is meditating for about twenty minutes right for you, or could you usefully go a bit longer?
exercise – daily meditation practice
You might find the following helpful in encouraging you to establish a daily meditation. Try to meditate once a day, or as many days as you can manage, for the next two weeks. It doesn’t have to be a long meditation. If you miss a day, don’t give up, but get back to it as soon as you can. It is often recommended that we alternate the mindfulness of breathing that we explored above with the loving-kindness meditation described in the next chapter. But for now, if you’ve only learned one meditation, just do that one every day.
Perhaps you could even keep a meditation journal for these two weeks, briefly recording at the end of each session what happened, and anything you learned or noticed that you want to remember and take forward to the next meditation.
After two weeks, ask whether you notice any difference in yourself. You might be surprised at what you find. You could even ask your friends if they notice any difference. Other people sometimes notice more quickly than we do!
Daily practice allows the meditation to have a cumulative effect. Establishing a daily practice is a significant stage in making meditation a central part of our lives. We try to develop a positive habit in which we meditate every day when our practice is going well, but also keeping going when it seems harder.
© Windhorse Publications