When I began meditation in about 1980 it was unusual, a bit hippy and something that generally British people did not do. In reality, and as we have learned, meditation is natural to us all. As infants we spent time just listening and watching the world go by without commentary or opinion - and this is a very good start for people taking up meditation a little later in life. Perhaps we just forgot how to do it.
Religious traditions value contemplation, prayer and stillness and whilst meditation is not a matter of religious practice or belief, it shares some ground with it. For instance, if we go into a church or a location with a spiritual history, there is a palpable atmosphere, a peacefulness we all pick up on immediately. We all sense it, we all respect it - why is that? I like to think that peacefulness can be infectious. The wise say that a single person meditating in a village can influence the atmosphere of that whole environment. When I first heard this I was sceptical. Surely what might be true in India cannot be so in a busy suburban street? But the funny thing is - it does. Maybe infect is not the right word - ‘inspire' might be closer to what happens.
Vida Haus is offering a 10 week course in meditation and philosophy - but what is the ‘philosophy’ element?
It is the vital background of ideas and experience that inform us as to what is taking place when we meditate and how the mind is operating. We learn about ourselves - perhaps discover why we have a negative attitude to something, or why we struggle to get tasks done, or find ourselves constantly buzzing with unhelpful thoughts. If these seem familiar - You are not alone. The philosophy grew from thousands of years of people noting the same things. it is instructive that the texts of the ancients have not changed - nor have they been outdated by modern technology or modern life. What was observed in Japan and India two thousand years ago turns out to be still true today.
Our first lesson is offered free. It will give you a chance to see what the practice involves (and how simple it is to do, but how tricky to get established!) The ideas we discuss that accompany the practice are based on your own observations - so conversation about our observations is a key element in any group. We will learn quickly that we share a lot more than we think with others.
People who take up the practice are calmer, healthier and more able to deal with life’s ups and downs. The course is an opportunity to find out why - according to a recent journal - 15% of adults in the UK practice some form of spiritual discipline - ranging across prayer, yoga and mindfulness. If these are familiar to you, you have already begun the journey.
I am happy to answer questions if you have any - email me as below