I hope that you are enjoying the warm weather. It is lovely to get a bit of sunshine as well as a relaxation of the lockdown.
Regarding physically meeting as a group together things are still very much in limbo. Nothing is planned at the moment.
So let’s make the most of zoom for now.
Join us on Monday evenings 7.30 to 9.30
The link is the same as always which is: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/u5Iuc–pqjIpPaCyNk0DFt7eq5fZh94cHA
I am looking forward to seeing you at some of these. Beginners are very welcome.
03 August 2020 Keith (with special segment dedicated to the arts)
10 August 2020 Padmajata
17 August 2020 Amber
24 August 2020 Paramajyoti
31 August 2020 Svadhi??
Also if you can make it, the LBC are doing a lot of live classes. https://www.londonbuddhistcentreonline.com/ .
I have been doing the 8am morning meditations. It is a really lovely way to start the day.
They also have a retreat starting tomorrow: https://www.londonbuddhistcentreonline.com/summer-retreat-online/
It is free and beginners are welcome. You can just drop into the sessions that you want to, you don’t have to do the whole thing.
If you sign up for the retreat you will be asked what your local centre is. Many of us from Hertford are ticking the Cambridge box for this, and it means we are more likely to see each other in the breakout groups. I hope that you have a lovely August.
Best wishes Keith
First stage of metta bhavana
People are sometimes surprised that a meditation in which we are learning to love should start with ourselves. But the practice is just acknowledging the psychological truth that we cannot go out to others in an emotionally positive way unless we have positive emotion for ourselves. We first need a sense of our own self-worth and an appreciation of life and its potential. In our culture this seems difficult for some people. An unforgiving self-criticism, or subtle, underlying sense of worthlessness, is surprisingly common.
Most of us talk to ourselves; there is an internal voice providing us with a running commentary on our day. What is the emotional tone of this voice? Are we talking to ourselves in a way in which we wouldn’t dare talk to others? Is the voice harsh, moaning, or over-critical? If so, can we soften the voice, and let it be kinder and more forgiving?
Or is it a voice of self-pity, feeling let down by other people and blaming the world for our misery? Such self-pity is corrosive. Even if we have been let down by others, it is no use wallowing in these feelings. Eventually we need to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down, and start again. In order to be able to do this, we need to acknowledge our pain, admit to ourselves that we were hurt, and bring to this hurt sense of kindness.
Perhaps our inner voice isn’t usually so negative, but we notice that it can become so in certain situations. When things don’t go our way, this might trigger a particular way in which we speak to ourselves. It might be worth exploring all this in meditation and in daily life.
This first stage of the meditation may also help us find the emotional resources to deal with stress and difficulty in our lives. If life is currently hard or painful, we can practise ‘self-empathy’. We take the time to listen to ourselves, to hear about what is difficult, with kindness and understanding. We do the same with ourselves as we would with a friend who was suffering – we try just to listen with empathy.
Buddhism: Tools for Living Your Life by Vajragupta © Windhorse Publications