At the Centre we offer a variety of drop-in classes, booked courses and one off events teaching meditation. Whether you are a complete beginner or have been practising for years there is something to suit everyone.
The meditation practices all come from the Buddhist tradition, however you can practise meditation with any faith, or indeed no faith at all. If you would like to learn about or practise Buddhism as well as meditation, please look at the Buddhism page or at our full calendar.
What is it?
Meditation is quite straightforward but also a bit mysterious. There are techniques involved in meditation, but it is something that you have to get a feel for gradually. To begin with you may not know what you are really supposed to be doing. Eventually, you will start to become more familiar with the overall medium in which you are working.
This medium is awareness, and the ingredients with which we work are the ever-changing objects of our awareness. Sitting still we become aware that most of these objects of awareness are uninvited; we do not choose to think of, say, what we are going to have for breakfast – but suddenly we become aware that this is what we are thinking. As an example of awareness this may not seem like much but actually it represents an amazingly powerful process if we can only harness it. The question is: how do we deliberately cultivate this haphazard occurrence of awareness. How can we deliberately wake up?
The Body in Meditation
The path to the mind is through the body. Many of us probably feel we live in our heads rather than your bodies. Meditation is not a mental exercise in the sense of something we do in our heads. It involves awareness of the mind in the body.
Mindfulness of Breathing
The breath is recognised in all spiritual traditions as the key to awareness. It links body, speech and mind. So the first practice we teach is the mindfulness of breathing, in four stages, to take us gradually deeper into concentration. It does not involve breathing exercises.
Metta Bhavana literally means ‘cultivating loving kindness’. With the mindfulness of breathing, even though the object of our attention is sensory, we cannot help experiencing emotion with it. In fact, all our experience has an emotional element to it. With the heart meditation, or metta bhavana, this emotional element to our experience becomes the object. Like the breath our feelings are always moving on, always changing, but always there. It may be subtle, it may be strong, but there is always some feeling there to be aware of. This is what we bring awareness to in this meditation.