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.

Kathryn's first of four weeks at AMG. Kathryn began meditating over 25 years ago at the Armadale group (AMG). She is the founder of “Mind and Movement”, a leading provider of mindfulness programs for individuals and organisations and is a certified teacher of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s program, “Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction” (MBSR) and recognised as a Senior Teacher by the Meditation Association of Australia.

We humans have a tendency to react rather than respond to all manner of situations, both internal and external. Kathryn explains why this occurs and how best to retrain the mind to respond rather than react. When we react to stimuli, both internal and external, a chemical is generated and released within our bodies. Kathryn details ways of shortening the time it takes for us to return from those situations that cause us to remain in that stressed state of mind. Mindfully being aware that it is happening will allow us to return to normal in a shorter period of time or, at the very least, shorten the time it takes for those chemicals to dissipate.

Kathryn then guided the group in meditation asking us to observe what occurs and how we react to it. Be it to a small sound or part of our body, how we react is what matters. This meditation is a smidge over 30 minutes and suitable for beginners and experienced alike.

After meditation Kathryn continued her discussion and talk on our reactions to the sensations we felt during the meditation with a focus on what we noticed or became aware of and not over-reacting.

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.

Kathryn begins her third of four weeks at AMG by explaining why we need, or rather when we may need, to change our perspective. Kathryn uses examples such as the need for very focused perspective when doing surgery as compared to when we need a broad perspective on those occasions when something negative has occurred in our life. The benefits, to our health and well being, of positive emotions and the chemicals our bodies release when we have a positive experience have been the subject of many recognised research studies around the world today.

Kathryn then leads the group in three separate meditations. The first meditation is aimed at recognising when the mind tries to narrow our focus or perspective, putting us into a well known loop of negativity. By recognising when this occurs we can learn to deal with it and return to our broader perspective.

The second meditation highlights our feeling and belief of being independent when, in actuality, we are interdependent on so many people in our lives. Gratitude is used to focus our attention during this meditation. To bring this to mind Kathryn recited a poem by Jane Kenyon (1947–1995), former Poet Laureate of New Hampshire in the US, titled “Otherwise”. The object was to encourage us to realise that despite our trials and tribulations things could be worse and that perhaps our lives aren't quite as bad as we believe.

The third meditation brings to mind equanimity; the calm amidst the storm; the idea of being able to maintain balance and a sense of being grounded when the proverbial is hitting the fan. During the meditation Kathryn helps us to broaden our perspective by reading the “Serenity Prayer”;

“May I have the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.”

 

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

 

 

Kathryn begins her second of four weeks at AMG by asking all to do a standing body shake - starting with the upper body and finishing with the lower body. This exercise is one practised by the director of Paliative care at Royal Perth Hospital to help patients dissipate the physical signs of stress that has built up in the body during day.

Kathryn then continued her talk on reactivity to external stimuli and what actually happens chemically within our bodies. She then details ways of shortening the time it takes for us to return from those situations that cause us to remain in that stressed state of mind. Mindfully being aware that it is happening will allow us to return to normal in a shorter period of time or, at the very least, shorten the time it takes for those chemicals to dissipate.

We all endure daily situations where we'd rather not be. Being able to be there without over-reacting and, to some degree, reducing the time that we are stressed, can be achieved with mindfulness.

Kathryn then guided the group through a 30 minute body scan meditation using mindfulness.

After the very relaxing body scan meditation Kathryn continued her discussion and talk on our reactions to the sensations we felt during the meditation with a focus on what we noticed or became aware of and not over-reacting.

Kathryn then talks on perception and conditioning within our lives. Kathryn openly relates from an example in her own life when she was nine and how this has changed her perceptions. Our conditioning affects our perceptions and our reactions to reality.

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

 

Kathryn Choules is a regular meditator at the AMG and teaches meditation professionally. Once a year [during Rains], we are blessed to have Kathryn speak and guide our meditation.

This talk and guided meditation is part 1 of a 4 week beginners' course.  The emphasis for the  first week was on the role of Attention, Intention and Attitude in meditation. Kathryn gave examples of each and the resulting effects on our meditation as an introduction before guiding our 30 minute meditation.

After the meditation Kathryn opened to Q&A and provided good explanations to all questions.

 

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

Load more