Sunday morning sitting

LKP profile picLocal bookseller and long-time meditation teacher Ken Hood is offering a series of monthly Sunday morning sessions, suitable for everyone. Join him this weekend, October 19th at 10:30am at Living Yoga and Health, 105 Wyndham St. N., downtown Guelph. Be sure to mark your calendar for future sessions: November 16th and December 14th.

Read more about the sessions and take a bit of time to browse around Ken’s site at agoodheart.ca. It’s an excellent resource for Buddhist and other spiritual book reviews; digital and local meditation resources; poetry, quotes & inspiration. It is also home to The Lovingkindness Project — a challenge to bring a simple practice of lovingkindness into your life. (You can also find The Lovingkindness Project over on Facebook…go ahead, give it a try and give us a like!)

Sitting at home

Do this! Quick and dirty instructions for starting a daily meditation practice at home — notes from last week’s whiteboard:

sitathome

Just Sit! at home:
1. Decide to practice daily
2. Create a space
3. Minimize distractions and interruptions
4. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes
5. Sit
6. Do not get up until the timer goes off

As to the details of #5, what to do when you’re sitting: breathe. Follow the breath with gentle, firm attention. Breathe in, breathe out. (Um, that link’s just a song I like, not further instructions.)

We’re sitting again Tuesday, 7-8pm.

Just Sit! sessions for Fall 2014

IMG_7430Dates and details for the Fall 2014 sessions of Just Sit! are all set. I’m looking forward to meeting new people and seeing new faces amongst the regular meditators. The first sit is next Tuesday, September 9th.

These Just Sit! sessions are all about actually getting down to practicing. Meditating with the group once a week and sitting even just a few minutes a day at home is plenty to get you feeling the benefits of mindfulness. Sitting with the group gives you the experience, confidence and encouragement to practice at home and the at-home practice gives you the experience, confidence and enthusiasm to bring back to the group. Win-Win!

It’s not enough to have the best intention. It’s not enough to KNOW all the benefits. It’s not enough to have read tons of books. The magic happens only when you stop and sit. Learn to BE with whatever arises.

Need a little more convincing? See Mindful.org’s 5 Excuses Not to Meditate and 5 Reasons to Give it a Try Anyway.

The Just Sit! sessions are suitable for anyone. No experience necessary. Instructions will be tailored to suit needs. For all the details about what to expect and where to be and when, see Just Sit! Meditation Classes.

Summer Sitting in July

Four more drop-in meditations this summer, starting July 8th. Suitable for everyone. Bring your own cushion (chairs available). Learn to sit and just be with whatever arises.

Summer Sitting July 2014 v2 cropped

When?
7-8pm on Tuesday evenings
July 8, 15, 22, 29

What does it cost?
Pay what you can

Where?
What World Common Room
(where the Hillside offices used to be)
123 Woolwich Street, 2nd Floor, Guelph

Who is guiding the meditations?
Heather Finlayson has been practicing and teaching meditation for over 12 years. Heather is an independent (or is that interdependent?) graphic designer based in downtown Guelph.

Other questions?
Please email meditate@gentlydownthestream.org or phone 519.400.7862 for more information.

Want to print a poster to hang where you live/work?
Download a printable version of the poster here. Thanks!

Just Be! Summer Sitting

We’re going casual for the summer. Instead of a six-week commitment, June’s four meditation classes will be drop-in! Come along if you’ve started a regular meditation practice and need the weekly encouragement. Come along if you’ve been wanting to try a class but can’t commit to a full series.

Drop-in meditation classes, suitable for everyone.
Bring your own cushion (chairs available).
Learn to sit and just be with whatever arises.

When?
7-8pm on Tuesday evenings
June 3, 10, 17, 24

What does it cost?
Pay what you can

Where?
What World Common Room
(where the Hillside offices used to be)
123 Woolwich Street, 2nd Floor, Guelph

Who is guiding the meditations?
Heather Finlayson has been practicing and teaching meditation for over 12 years. Heather is an independent (or is that interdependent?) graphic designer based in downtown Guelph.

Other questions?
Please email meditate@gentlydownthestream.org or phone 519.400.7862 for more information.

Just Be! Poster v5

Just Sit! Another 6 weeks of mindfulness

Just Sit!  NEW DATES
A 6-week course in mindfulness meditation

This series of six 1-hour classes on mindfulness meditation is appropriate for new or experienced meditators. Simple instructions, lengthy in-class practice and suggested homework assignments are meant to give you the experience and encouragement to start, and/or maintain, a daily habit of meditation.

When are the classes?
7-8pm on Tuesday evenings
April 15, 22, 29, May 6, 13, 20, 2014

Where are they?
What World Common Room
(where the Hillside offices used to be)
123 Woolwich Street, 2nd Floor, Guelph, ON N1H 3V1

What does it cost?
$60 /6 classes
Space is limited. In order to encourage regular attendance and a commitment to practice, pre-registration is required and payment for course is due in full at the first class.

Who is teaching?
Heather Finlayson has been practicing and teaching meditation for over 12 years. Heather is an independent (or is that interdependent?) graphic designer based in downtown Guelph.

How do I sign up?
Please email meditate@gentlydownthestream.org for more information or to register.

Calm dot com

calmdotcomCalm.com is a super-chill site for helping you to relax. I’ve been using it to stay calm under pressure at work. It has wordless, meandering music interspersed with tracks of nature sounds. On my second monitor I’ve got the serene videos set to full-screen. So that to the side of whatever demanding job is at hand, I have calming visuals — slow motion water drops, rippling water, rain falling on green leaves, fields of wildflowers with buzzing insects. It’s lovely.

And, although I haven’t sampled them, there’s also guided and timed meditations available and an app for iPhone.

 

Life is right now

This is one of my favourite short clips of Jon Kabat-Zin speaking on mindfulness.

The whole thing is worth a listen. Starting at about 3 mins, he says:

Even in very stressful situations, you can move in to the actuality of the situation and find ways to move with it, and regulate your own reactivity to it. So that in some very, very deep way, you are not running away, and you’re not pushing through anything, but allowing things to unfold as they do. That’s the heart of creativity. And that way, we get the most work done, with the least distraction and the least effort.

It’s an art form. And it takes a while to learn. It’s not something where you just hear me say this on the web, and the next thing, ‘oh, yeah, I’ll be mindful for the rest of my life.’ It’s one of the most difficult things in the world, if not the most difficult thing in the world for us human beings to do: is to be present in our own lives, and to be kind and less judgmental of ourselves.

That’s why it’s worth doing, it’s worth practising. But it’s not a ‘doing’ really, when all is said and done, it’s a way of being, and actually, a way of being awake and yourself.