Wednesday Sangha Meditation

Teaching and Meditation 1-2pm Discussion 2-2.30pm

 Wednesdays at 1pm – join via zoom link:

 https://zoom.us/j/660498313?pwd=WGFBNmEya1YyT2lCcFdOeGNYUkppZz09

If you have problems with Zoom, email us and we will try to help techsupport@bristol-buddhist-centre.org

This term : Drinking from the well of Loving kindness

Kalyana mitrata (spiritual friendship) is a vital aspect of Buddhist practice. With the pandemic and the loss of much of our social interactions out of which this type of nourishing relationship often grows, our online classes become so much more vital. We hope that by meditating together and discussion we can enliven and contribute to a sense of community based on the Buddhist path to freedom.

Currently we are focusing on the loving kindness meditation (Metta bhavana) and in April move onto the Mindfulness of breathing and the Just sitting meditations. Each week begins with a brief period of teaching followed by a lightly led meditation.

Our aim is to support you by offering many engaging pathways into the Loving Kindness meditation to encourage it to become alive and relevant for your unique circumstances, however experienced you are. 

After the meditation there is an optional opportunity for questions and discussion arising from the session. All those who have completed an introductory course are welcome.

Programme:

3 Feb: The five stages and ‘the gap’

Staying lovingly in the ‘the gap’ with our responses to self and others – the holding of the fear of intimacy responses (friend stage), the holding of fear of the unknown responses (neutral stage), and the holding of aversion responses (enemy stage),

10 Feb: You are not alone: Love as interconnectedness     

Discovering the intimacy of all experience. Noticing the suffering that arises   when we split experience into self and other and breach the natural flow of     love inherent in interconnectedness 

17 Feb:   Metta: Distinguishing the qualities of vedana (feeling tone) 

Vedana as wanted (friend), unwanted (enemy) and neutral (neutral person)

24 Feb:  Metta and imagination:The poetry of loving kindness  

 Unguided meditation session interspersed with poetry

3 Mar:  Locating Metta and noticing the layers of the heart         

 Working with the bodily sensations of metta in and around the heart centre

10 Mar:  Metta and forgiveness 

Framing metta as the conscious release of pain and regret.

17 Mar:  Metta and the web of life

Exploring metta in relation to the animal and inanimate worlds

24 Mar: Encouraging the quality of play in meditation

The playground of metta  

31 Mar: The Wisdom of being with Metta and the ‘all-distinguishing wisdom’ of the archetypal Buddha

Find previous classes on our youtube channel

Meditation Class 17th June: Meditating with the heart. The meeting between the vertical and the horizontal axis of our embodied experience

Bhadra leads a guided body scan encouraging us to draw on the support of the axis between earth and sky and the horizontal axis of left and right, front and back. These fill out the sense of embodiment and the centrality of the open heart. The practice closes with a reading of the beautiful Metta sutta

Meditation class 13th May: Energetic approach to working with the hindrances.

Naravira guides us to recognise the hindrances and then apply specific antidotes by working with the felt sense of energy in the body. He also reminds us of the importance of finding pleasure in our meditation.

Meditation class 15th April. Mindfulness and the breathing body. Bhadra emphasises the body as a sense organ like our ear or eye

This week Bhadra reminds us of the connection between Metta and Mindfulness. He describes mindfulness as a directionality of awareness focused through the senses. He begins with an exercise to distinguish between attentively listening and hearing sounds without judgement. He then leads through the mindfulness of breathing focusing on kind attention through the feeling or tactile sense of the body and attending with curiosity to the actual arising sensations within that sense sphere that we describe as the breath.

Meditation class. 8th April. Letting go of control and the mettabhavana

Naravira introduces the idea of letting go of control as a means discover that which suppresses the natural flow of metta. The guided meditation emphasises staying with the embodied felt sense as a means to notice and release the grip arising from the desire to control as we turn towards the five stages of the mettabhavana.

Meditation class. 1st April Facing Medusa with the mirror of spacious awareness.

Bhadra continues exploring how to resource ourselves through meditation in these complex times. He offers an alternative way to approach the Mettabhavana using the myth of Medusa to describe the way we can avoid becoming frozen or overwhelmed when trying to turn towards difficult sensations. He lightly leads through the mettabhavana using the mirror of awareness itself to help us move towards our actual sensations without becoming overwhelmed or frozen by them.