Matt explained to us how he uses anxiety, and even anger, to focus attention on his body, leaving the external world behind.  By noticing the physical sensations that arise within us when we feel anxious, or angry, we begin to realise the effect and all too often impact, such emotions have on our body.  Whilst Matt has done, and continues to do, all manner of different meditations his favourite is a body scan.

Matt further explained the basics of meditation, such as the need to be comfortable in your chosen position, before leading us in a body scan meditation.

After the meditation Matt happily opened to a Q&A.

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Dennis Sheppard, former president of BSWA, shares his experience of stillness. He also shares the teaching of several teachers including, Ajahn Brahm, Ajahn Chah and the Buddha.

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Believe it or not the mind is naturally still, says Ajahn Brahm. It only moves because we want something or want to get rid of something. Ajahn teaches us how to relax and be kind in order to still the mind.

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Ajahn Brahm guides a meditation for approximately 30 minutes. 

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Ajahn Brahm talks about the reasons why the monks live simply and do simplistic retreats and how hard it is in religious life to keep things simple. Ajahn points out this is similar in our world culture, in that we can’t allow things to be, just simplicity and instead we complicate things. Ajahn talks about how we are afraid of simplicity and how we complicate things because we think it will solve our problems.

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Ajahn Brahm gives a talk on how to find some way through the thicket of confusion. Ajahn talks about remaining open to the potentials and opportunities that life brings, rather than allowing ourselves to become overwhelmed and lost in confusion.

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Sol spoke to us on meditation by relating his own experience over many years.  He explains meditation in a way that is different to what we normally hear from our regular Monks.  His experience ranges from a rock star to a monk and now a high school teacher.  He has dealt with his own health issues as well as the issues we all face throughout our lives.  He explains how he used meditation to simply accept those circumstances and issues for what they are, then move on.

Sol then led us through a very relaxing 30 minute meditation after which he gave a dharma talk.  At the end of the talk, he opened the floor to questions.

Relax, it's all out of control.  It's ok.  It doesn't matter so much what happens to us, it matters how we react to it and how we accept it.

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Ajahn Brahm offers a talk on finding ways of creating harmony in this world. Ajahn describes how all we need for harmony in our divided world is to see some commonality which we have, because when we see what we share together and what is in our interest then harmony flows very easily. Ajahn points out that competition is one of the greatest causes of disharmony and offers advice on how we can create a balance between competition and cooperation in order to have a more peaceful and prosperous world.

This Buddha Dhamma talk and question and answers session was given in Malaysia during 2005.

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Change is inherent in all things, but we take stability instead as the truth.  Ajahn Brahm explains how if we fully understood the Dhamma, the truth, and the nature of impermanence we would become enlightened. Ajahn says because we don’t want to see it or we think it’s so apparent, we take it for granted and we don’t notice it. Ajahn Brahm looks at the element of impermanence or change in all levels of our experience such as our internal and external world. This Buddha Dhamma talk was given in 1994.

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You can never know another person, so how can you judge? What’s important is how you relate to others and to know that the only person you can change is yourself. All that matters is what you do now, such as showing kindness, compassion and forgiveness to yourself and others. Venerable Hasapanna explains how Buddhist practise is continual day to day training of the mind through practising; keeping the precepts, living in the moment, mindfulness, stillness, meditation and so on and it doesn’t just happen overnight.

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In this talk Ajahn Brahm discussed the step by step approach to the blissful deep meditative experiences, known as the Jhānas. This included the basic methods of meditation, hindrances to meditation, the qualities of right mindfulness, the Jhānas and the nature of deep insight.

"There's no jhana for one with no discernment, no discernment for one with no jhana. But one with both jhana & discernment: he's on the verge of unbinding" - Buddha (Dhammapada-372)

This Buddha Dhamma talk was given by Ajahn Brahm in the USA during 2017.

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Venerable Vissudha gives a broad Dhamma talk on finding peace in our everyday life. Venerable looks at modern people’s lives and why we experience happiness and suffering. Venerable explains how happiness and suffering are only states of mind and because of this we can train the mind to be peaceful.

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Ajahn regaled us with his usual wit and humour for the final time before the Rains Retreat.  We look forward to his return in three months.

Ajahn used his stories and jokes to both relax us and move us to a more happy state of mind before leading us in a beginners meditation.

Ajahn used his stories to show us what we unconsciously do to ourselves all day, every day, especially when we are dealing with stressful situations and or health issues.

Following the meditation Ajahn talked about anxiety, relating it to his annual visit to the Cancer Clinic in Cottesloe.  Ajahn explained to us that our anxiety is our own mind imagining what may, or may not, happen in the future.  We focus our attention on our own "two bad bricks" to such an extent that we don't see all the other perfectly laid bricks.  We spend so much time trying to control our minds and being unkind to ourselves that we don't see what's good in life.

As Ajahn has said to us many times “Stop looking into the past, reliving bad things that have happened, or imagining a future that may never happen, and live in the moment”.

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Ajahn Brahm shares his experience of being busy and how to react to the stress that comes with it. Ajahn talks about dealing with the stress of life by making peace and being kind and gentle. Ajahn says instead of complaining you learn to let go, enjoy life and be selfless, kind and happy.

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Venerable Jhanarato teaches us the basics of meditation, how to relax and that contentment ends restlessness.

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Ajahn Sujato tells the story of what happened after the Buddha became enlightened and Ajahn reflects on what people do once they become enlightened. Ajahn explains how the Buddha worked and helped people to understand the Dhamma teachings.

Ajahn points out that each one of us has the quality of goodness, wisdom, love, caring, letting go, contentment, understanding and compassion. But the question is how do we find, manifest and draw out these seeds so we can use any situation?

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Ajahn Brahmali discusses why the suttas are important, their place in Buddhist practise and the benefits of studying them. Ajahn looks at why it is many people listen to particular Buddhist teachers but it’s not common for people to just follow the suttas. Ajahn hopes this talk will encourage us to read the suttas and become inspired from the word of the Buddha himself.

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Often, we try to make peace and joy in our meditation but that does not happen. Venerable Nitho teaches us to be passive and let everything slowly calm down all by itself, so that then you will experience peace and joy.

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Jacob Meddin a lay Buddhist offers a guided meditation for people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and/ or Fibromyalgia.

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Jacob Meddin a lay Buddhist guides a twenty minute meditation for people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and/ or Fibromyalgia. This meditation is designed to help us to become calmer, peaceful and easier to live with; both with ourselves and other people.

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