Happy New Year

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone,

1) This is a very unique time of year. A time where “year in review”, “5 year plan”, “10 year plan” types of thoughts rise to the surface.

My own life never really much panned out according to my plans. It just seemed to be a succession of accidents – some fortunate, some unfortunate, most very insignificant, and a handful extremely significant.

Nonetheless, I think it is extremely useful every now and again to just take a step back from our “hamster running in a wheel” type existences and just re-evaluate our lives a bit.

Maybe our life is full of joy and meaning. In which case that is great.

And maybe it isn’t. In that case, the question arises is there anything you can do about it? Or do you just have to grin and bear it.

So many of us live our lives to keep others happy – parents, wife, husband, partner, kids, family, boss, co-workers, customers etc. So many people are making constant demands on us.

So just make sure that you realise you do actually have a degree of choice. This is not to say we have to make dramatic changes in our external life. More important is the inner change we can make in our awareness. To have more inner freedom and choice, and less running on autopilot with our voiceovers.

Did you spend 2020 wisely? Did you live from your highest ideals? Did you do what you really wanted? Is it a year that you will look back on fondly, full of meaning, kindness and growth?

In a sense, it does not really matter, as we can’t go back and change the past. However, we can use this contemplation to steer us on a better course in 2021, and for the rest of our lives.

I have personally found that what really helps give my life more meaning is when I take a step back and see things from a higher perspective. Normally I would go on a retreat, but I am waiting till the covid risk recedes a bit before I do this. Another way of doing this is to participate in a course.

2) Just like every other year, we are holding a beginners meditation and Buddhism course in January. This is ALWAYS our busiest time of the year.

People are full of good intentions to turn over a new leaf. That is of course a good thing. The bad thing is that we are not like this the rest of the year. But that doesn’t mean we should just give up and be cynical about the whole exercise.

Just like every other Tuesday evening, you are very welcome to join us. https://hertfordbuddhistgroup.co.uk/zoom

It is not about joining an organisation, having to believe in any belief system, surrender to a guru, or pay lots of money etc. You do not have to know anything about Buddhism, or know how to meditate, or anything like that.

There is no charge. We are doing this freely, as we really believe in what we are doing – becoming more conscious together, building a supportive spiritual community, creating a loving space which supports our inner journeys etc.

Maybe you have never attended one of our classes, maybe you have come once or a few times before. In any case, you are very welcome to join us any Tuesday evening. We start proceedings very promptly at 7.30pm and finish about 9.30pm. Best to get there about 7.20.

This year we are doing the acclaimed Radical Dharma course. I hope that you enjoy it and also get a lot out of it. See you there hopefully 🙂

05 January 2021 Keith
12 January 2021 Amber
19 January 2021 Nandaketu
26 January 2021 Jnanadaya
02 February 2021 Paramajyoti
09 February 2021 Padmajata
16 February 2021 Karunadhara

Future Tuesdays – to be confirmed

3) 8 week online Mindfulness courses January 2021

Helen Bond has been part of the Triratna Buddhist community for over 20 years and is a qualified counsellor. She is offering two 8-week mindfulness courses on zoom in January 2021; starting on Monday January 25th; one in the afternoon from 2-4pm and one in the evening from 7-9pm.

MBSR (Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction) and MBCT (Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy) are based on mindfulness courses developed originally by the acclaimed teacher Jon Kabat Zinn; offering a scientifically proven, evidence-based approach that demonstrates how attending to experience in a non-judgemental way can help you to face stressful situations with increased confidence and improve overall well-being

The course consists of talks, guided meditations (sitting and movement) and exercises as well as a chance to discuss your experience in breakout groups. You will be sent guided meditations and encouraged to bring mindfulness into everyday life.

Although the course is secular, it is based on Buddhist principles, and is suitable for those who are experienced meditators or those who are new to mindfulness practices – no prior experience of mindfulness is necessary.

There will be a joining fee of £40 and then by donation. If you are interested in attending a course, or would like to know more about the course please contact Helen at bondhelen7@gmail.com . Please indicate your preference for Monday afternoon or evening.

4) If you’d like to find out more about the zoom sangha yoga class please email Amber at ecogreenkashmir@gmail.com . The class is led by Amber and is every Tuesday 6.15pm to 7.15pm .

I hope that you have a wonderful New Year’s Eve and 2021.