I hope all is well with you.
I am just letting you know what is coming up in our weekly Tuesday zoom groups. Newcomers, regulars, non-Buddhists and Buddhists are all very welcome.
Every week we will give full instruction in the meditation, so you do not need to “know how to meditate” or anything.
I 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. You can always leave early if you need to.
It is the same link as always which is this one – Click here
There is no charge for these events.
The next three weeks (up to 20/10) we are focussing on meditation:
6/10 – Amber
13/10 – Padmajata
20/10 – Nandaketu
27/10 – Danapriya will talk about his new book that is being published on 2nd Oct – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Its-Not-Out-There-extraordinary/dp/1911407597/ref=sr_1_1?
3/11 – Paramajyoti
10/11 – Keith
Hopefully I will see you at some or all of these.
Also I wanted to mention that one of our friends (Helen Bond) has been trained to teach Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) courses. MBSR is an evidence-based approach to help people deal more effectively with stress and anxiety and improve their overall well-being. The course meets for two and half hours, weekly for eight weeks. No prior experience of MBSR or mindfulness is necessary.
It does not include any Buddhism.
She is going to offer two 8-week courses. From mid-October to mid-December 2020. One at a venue in Cheshunt on Saturday mornings and the other at a venue near Hertford on Monday afternoons.
The cost will be about £120 for the 8 week course. If you are interested in attending either of these courses, or would like to know more about the MBSR course please contact Helen at firstname.lastname@example.org
That is all for now. I hope you have a great October.
all the best
p.s. from one of my favourite books – Buddhism: Tools for Living Your Life by Vajragupta © Windhorse Publications:
Loving Kindness Meditation
a good friend
In the second stage of the loving-kindness meditation, we bring to mind a good friend, someone towards whom it will be relatively easy for us to feel warm and appreciative. In this phase of the practice, we can work to see them more deeply, see what their qualities are – their own, unique sparkle that makes them the person they are. Maybe we can imagine this sparkle, this quality, shining in them more and more brightly. This is what we desire – for them to be at their very best and happiest.
If our friend is currently happy and healthy and life is going well for them, we bring their good fortune and good qualities to mind and try to respond with a sense of gladness and celebration. On the other hand, if we know they are experiencing difficulties and unhappiness, we can bring that to mind, be as fully aware of them and their situation as we can. We can then try to cultivate a response of empathy and well-wishing.
When this practice is taught to people for the first time, it is often recommended that we do not put someone to whom we are sexually attracted in this stage of the practice. It is also recommended not to include someone who has died, or who is a lot older or younger than us. This is so that our feelings of loving-kindness can be developed without confusion with feelings of a sexual or romantic attraction, grief or remorse, or parental or filial feelings. It is not that there is anything wrong with such feelings, but that we are trying to cultivate loving-kindness to someone with whom our relationship is relatively straightforward, so that we can get a clear idea of what the practice entails.
However, it is also important to emphasize that this is only the case when you are new to the practice. Once you have got an idea of how it works, it is good to include all sorts of people. Indeed, we want to be able to respond with loving-kindness to everyone and anyone, including those we are close to and with whom we are enjoying an intimate relationship. People can sometimes get into the habit of not including certain people, and go on not including them when it would be very appropriate to do so.
exercise – celebrating friends
You could start off this phase of the practice with an emphasis on celebrating and appreciating your friend’s good qualities. It might seem obvious what their strengths are, and what you value about them, so that thinking about it doesn’t seem necessary. However, if you allow time for reflection, a deeper appreciation can emerge. You can start to discern what combination of qualities it is that is uniquely theirs. In other words, they become more special, more loved for who they really are.
You can do this by bearing a friend in mind, or seeing them in your mind’s eye. Think of them at different times and in different situations, and with different people. What are they really like?
Do they have distinctive qualities you’ve not fully noticed before? Are there aspects of them, or memories of times spent with them, that you have not thought about for a long time? We can bring all this to mind and allow appreciation to emerge.