Meditation

rupa 5
© Jeremy Peters

At our classes, we teach Buddhist Meditation practices. These are meditation techniques that have been handed down within the Buddhist tradition, and have been tried and tested by Buddhist practitioners for many centuries.

The word ‘meditation’ is used in many contexts. In the spiritual context it appears in the traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. We also find meditation used in the therapeutic context, and philosophers also ‘meditate’.

What is Meditation?

Broadly speaking, there are two aspects to meditation. Shamatha is a state of calm concentration that integrates our scattered minds and brings about a more flexible and directable state of mind. This is what is often referred to as ‘mindfulness’. Vipasana is the application of this concentrated state of mind in a directed way to explore and reflect upon the nature of ourselves and the world around us – to develop Insight.

At our classes we teach two standard forms of meditation. The Mindfulness of Breathing is bringing our awareness to the process of the breath. It is a beautifully simple practice, making us aware of what’s on our minds and encouraging calmness and tranquillity. This is a good technique for those wishing to address stress. The Cultivation of Loving Kindness (or Metta Bhavana) helps us to generate warmth and positivity towards ourselves and others. Used together, these two techniques provide a powerful framework for developing positivity, awareness and flexibility. Just what the world needs!

If you wish to learn meditation, it is very helpful to join a class and receive some instruction. Many people also find that meditating with others can be a different experience to meditating alone, and can help to keep their personal practice ‘on track’.

Books and MP3s teaching meditation are also easy to find. We have a selection of books available to borrow from the class. There is also a website called Free Buddhist Audio which includes free MP3s of discussion, teaching and led meditations.

© Jeremy Peters
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