Week five of the Rains season and this week we had the President of the BSWA, Dennis Sheppard. Dennis focused our attention right from the start onto one of the many things meditators like/try/hope to achieve. A stillness of the mind. By letting go of the world around us, the past, the future and even the body we can slowly but surely achieve this state, arriving very much into the present moment.

Dennis guided us in a meditation with stillness of the mind as our goal. To begin we focused on our posture, feet resting flat on the floor, back straight, head upright, body comfortable and relaxed. The meditation is slightly longer than the usual 30 minutes, well suited to beginners and experienced meditators alike.

After meditation Dennis continued his talk on the silence of the mind.

Dennis is a very experienced long time meditator and has a number of videos available on his web site specifically directed towards beginning Buddhist meditation.

 

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To find and download more Armadale Meditation Group Teachings, visit the BSWA teachings page: , choose the AMG teaching you want, then type the title into the Podcast search box.

Kathryn’s fourth and final session for the rains period of 2019, her chosen subject, Equanimity or Upekkhà. Kathryn started the session by giving us a formal definition of equanimity and then providing real world examples.

Upekkhà is the Buddhist concept of equanimity. As one of the Brahma Vihara (meditative states), it is a pure mental state cultivated on the Buddhist path to nirvāna.

Equanimity is a state of psychological stability and composure which is undisturbed by experience of or exposure to emotions, pain, or other phenomena that may cause others to lose the balance of their mind. The virtue and value of equanimity is extolled and advocated by a number of major religions and ancient philosophies.

Equanimity is something many of us tend to not recognise and to have difficulty in achieving. This occurs often for those of us dealing with suffering of family, friends or even peoples of the world. We become trapped within our emotions.

Kathryn then lead the group in meditation with equanimity as the focus. The meditation and subject is perhaps best suited to intermediate and advanced meditators.

After meditation Kathryn continued her talk on equanimity and opened to questions. Kathryn also answered questions she had not had time to answer in previous weeks. One of the last questions asked of Kathryn was “how long should we meditate for”. Kathryn’s answer was “do what-ever you’ll do”. So we should be happy with any length of meditation that we can achieve at that time.

Please support the BSWA in making teachings available for free online via Patreon.

 

To find and download more Armadale Meditation Group Teachings, visit the BSWA teachings page, choose the AMG teaching you want, then type the title into the Podcast search box.

This is Kathryn’s third of four sessions at AMG during the 2019 Rains Retreat period. Tonight's subject is compassion, specifically in 3 forms. Kathryn describes how we may feel compassion for someone that is suffering. How we may receive compassion because we are suffering. Finally, we may feel compassion toward ourselves. Kathryn continued by giving examples of the each form of compassion. Before meditation and to conclude her talk, Kathryn asked the audience to form a circle of sorts around the room. She then asked us all a series of questions and to raise our hands if we felt the answer applied to us as an individual. It was not surprising to find that nearly all present answered in the affirmative to the questions. We all need to practice both sending compassion and receiving compassion in our lives to help us deal with the stuff of life.

Kathryn then lead the group in meditation with compassion as our focus. The meditation is perhaps best suited to intermediate and advanced meditators.

After meditation Kathryn continued her talk on compassion and opened to question. At the close Kathryn suggested the following titles for those of us interested in furthering their study of compassion.

Mindful Compassion by Paul Gilbert
Compassion: Concepts, Research and Application edited by Paul Gilbert

 

Please support the BSWA in making teachings available for free online via Patreon.

 

To find and download more Armadale Meditation Group Teachings, visit the BSWA teachings page, choose the AMG teaching you want, then type the title into the Podcast search box.

This is Kathryn’s second of four sessions at AMG. The subject, or rather object of meditation is our habit of judging others, situations and circumstances. We often get it wrong and this moves us more toward reaction instead of a softer response. Reaction and often over reaction, releases chemicals into our systems that are not needed in most situations and not beneficial to our current situation. To avoid this we need to step back mentally and be mindful instead.

Kathryn then lead the group in meditation asking us to notice everything. The trucks on the highway and all other small sounds. Then to look at our thoughts, are they a suitable response, or an over-reaction? Gradually we learn to simply be mindful that those sounds are there and let them go along with the negative thoughts.

After meditation Kathryn continued her talk on “Working With a Judgemental Mind”. Kathryn also takes questions. In closing the night Kathryn mentions a number of books that she recommends for those who may further wish to explore the deeper functions within our minds.

The first title is - Being Wrong by Kathryn Schulz
The second title is - The Invisible Gorilla co-authored by
Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons
The third title is - Mistakes Were Made But Not by Me
co-authored by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson

Please support the BSWA in making teachings available for free online via Patreon.

To find and download more Armadale Meditation Group Teachings, visit the BSWA teachings page, choose the AMG teaching you want, then type the title into the Podcast search box.

Bhante Bodhidhaja always starts the session a little differently to most and tonight was no exception. He arrived carrying a bucket with a number of not often seen in a meditation class, strange props. Having been a primary Teacher with some acting experience, Bhante is adept at using props. Bhante asked us to use our imagination to do body painting. After the surprise and laughter subsided Bhante explained that the paint [imaginary], would consist of three primary paints each consisting of the sub parts;

     care             interest             gratitude
     kindness     curiosity           rejoicing
     warmth       awareness

Having mixed the ingredients, we are instructed to paint our bodies during the meditation, from top to toe using first a brush then a roller for the larger areas. As we do this, we are asked to feel the sensation on that area, of the brush, roller and paint. In doing this we will be in the present moment and most definitely focused on that particular part of our body.

Just prior to commencing the guided meditation, Bhante asks us to recite in our own minds the following mantra:

     Nothing to Do
     No-where to Go
     Time to Relax and Let The Peace Grow

Having been suitably instructed we are then led by Bhante in a slightly longer than 30 minute meditation, that surprised most if not all. At the end of the meditation there were smiles all round.

This meditation is suitable for beginners and experienced alike.

Please support the BSWA in making teachings available for free online via Patreon.

 

To find and download more Armadale Meditation Group Teachings, visit the BSWA teachings page, choose the AMG teaching you want, then type the title into the Podcast search box.

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