Mindful Dance of Communication

Venue and time:  Sunday May 1, 2016, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Moksha Yoga, London Ontario, Canada.
Schedule:  Meditation 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm. Break for chat and tea 7:30 – 7:45 pm roughly; 7:45 – 9:00 pm; Discussion on the topic Mindful Dance of Communication. Participants are welcome to either or both of these events.
We communicate through voice, books, media, emails, skype, tweets, facebook, … In this blur, mindfulness strengthens our inner peace and compassion, so we’re not overwhelmed. Mindfulness approaches to communication are anchored in present moment awareness of reality. They are enhanced by meditation practice. Mindfulness and Buddhist practice regards truth as primary in communication. But truth, is not enough in itself. We can be truthful, but brutal in the way we deliver our communication. Mindful communication is compassionate communication. Mindfulness encourages a gentle compassionate dance with our communication partners; so that our ability to bring our attention to them, and what they are saying, is enhanced. Some of the evenings discussion will be unstructured. This is a wonderfully big topic!

Preparation for the evening:    I suggest you read the material at the link below, from Catriona Rogers, and try the mindful communication exercise.

http://www.imi.com.hk/mindful-speech-and-mindful-listening.html

Reminder: Meditation, Chat, Snacks and Discussion with Annamarie and Ian

Venue and time:   Sunday April 24, 2016, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Moksha Yoga, London Ontario, Canada.

Wishing the founders of LMC, Annamarie Ian, well, this evening.

IMG_2987Annamarie1

Dear all, the lovely Annamarie and Ian are leaving us for their new life in Eastern Canada.  You are invited to meet with them at LMC Sunday April 24.

They will lead the mediation and discussion on Sunday April 24.   After the meditation (7:00 – 7:30) we will reminisce and chat with them, drink tea and eat delicious snacks.  This will be followed by a discussion led by Annamarie and Ian. The founders of the London Mindfulness Community (LMC) have inspired and touched the lives of many through the centre at Moksha Yoga, the LMC site, and in the local community.

The LMC will continue and build on the strong foundation built by Annamarie and Ian.  There will be calls for participation and planning for the next stage of development of LMC.  We look to build the community and seek mindfulness enthusiasts, for example as meditation leaders, and other activities, as the LMC enters a new stage of its development.

Meditation, Chat, Food and Discussion with LMC Founders Annamarie Burgess and Ian Holloway

Venue and time:   Sunday April 24, 2016, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Moksha Yoga, London Ontario, Canada.

Wishing the founders of LMC, Annamarie Burgess and Ian Holloway, well on Sunday April 24:  Dear all, the lovely Annamarie and Ian are leaving us for their new life in Eastern Canada.  You are invited to meet with them at LMC Sunday April 24.
They will lead the mediation and discussion on Sunday April 24. The meditation will start as usual at 7:00 pm. Then about 7:30 we will reminisce and chat with them, while tea and delicious snacks are served. The chat, tea and food, will go longer than usual, and then they and will lead discussion.  Ian founded the London Mindfulness Community more than 4 years ago, shortly afterwards joined by Annamarie. They have inspired and touched the lives of many through the centre at Moksha Yoga and the LMC site, and in the local community.

The LMC will continue and build on the strong foundation built by Annamarie and Ian. The Tuesday and Sunday Meditations will continue as usual, together with the Sunday Discussions. This will be posted as they have on the LMC website. Then will be calls for participation and planning for the next stage of development of LMC. We look to build the community and seek mindfulness enthusiasts, for example as meditation leaders, and other activities, as the LMC enters a new stage of its development.

Mindfulness approach to Anger

Venue and time:   Sunday April 17, 2016, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Moksha Yoga, London Ontario, Canada.

Schedule:  Meditation 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm.  Break for chat and tea 7:30 – 7:45 pm roughly; 7:45 – 9:00 pm; Discussion on the topic Mindfulness approach to Anger.  Participants are welcome to either or both of these events.

Anger is a complex range of emotions from annoyance and frustration to uncontrollable rage.  We all experience anger, and usually address it with approaches rooted in our upbringing.  One way is to repress anger, which is aversion to anger, and can lead to long term ill-effects such as cynicism and depression.   Another is to react to it strongly (grasping anger), so an individual is overcome with anger.  This can result in uncontrollable rage and violent acts, some times celebrated as appropriate responses in contemporary culture.

Dealing with anger by aversion or being overcome by it are unhealthy approaches.  Just like the pain when touching a hot plate, anger is a useful early warning sign.  The mindfulness approach, by facing anger, neither averting or grasping it, instead embraces it lightly with warm curiosity.  Meditation practice helps us deal creatively and skillfully with anger.

In the discussion we will outline the main steps to the mindfulness approach to anger.  Often those with aversion to anger, are not aware of their anger when it arises, leading to long term ill-effects.  Mindful awareness helps us identify when anger first arises, by warning signs such as tension our bodies, or negative thoughts.   The basic mindful meditation approach, is of noting this and turning our focus to the breath, stabilizing us in the present moment.   A more advanced approach, which we will discuss, is to instead turn our focus to the anger, embracing and exploring it with warm curiosity (neither too tightly or with too much detachment).   In this gentle way we gain insight into the causes of the anger, and released from the impulse to react suddenly to it, can find creative and flexible ways to address it, by action (or sometimes just letting it be).

Part of the discussion will be a 10 minute guided meditation, useful for working with difficulties such as anger.

Preparation for the evening:  In your mediation try incorporating the step above of embracing a difficulty (remember just start with a small one) and exploring it mindfully for a while, before returning to your usual meditation.   I recommend listening to the following 10 minute talk by Thich Nhat Hanh (part 1 only).  He is an inspirational pioneer of modern mindfulness, peace activist and poet:

Mindfulness meditation in times of stress (exams anyone?)

Venue and time:  Sunday April 10, 2016, 7:45 pm – 9:00 pm, Moksha Yoga, London Ontario, Canada.

Schedule:  Meditation 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm.  Break for chat and tea 7:30 – 7:45 pm roughly; 7:45 – 9:00 pm; Discussion on the topic Mindfulness meditation in times of stress (exams anyone?).  Participants are welcome to either or both of these events.

Often we imagine meditation in a quiet room and tranquil environment.  The evening’s discussion focuses on mindfulness practice during even the busiest day, or even an exam (its beginning of exams at Western University).

We begin the discussion by an introduction to mindfulness – being compassionately attentive to attention.  The basic role of the breath as an anchor is described.  Longer meditations help train our mind to move to our breath, and when it wanders, gently and compassionately bringing it back to the breath.  Compassionate awareness and acceptance of imperfections are key aspects of mediation especially when we are under stress.

We introduce a short meditation, the Three minute breathing space meditation, that embodies the same principles.  In the first minute we bring our attention to the weather pattern inside our and mind and body, noting any areas of tension.  Then we focus on our breath in the abdomen for the second minute.  In the last minute, we zoom out to the whole body, as if our whole body is breathing.  This practice, can be done anywhere, and helps freshen our awareness and concentration in times of stress.

After practicing the 3 minute breathing space meditation, we discuss other ways meditation can be incorporated flexibly in even the busiest day.  Participants just need a focal point for attention, such as sensation, taste, and welcoming approach to the activity.  Among activities are possibly a Tangerine Meditation, or Chocolate Meditation.   Participants are invited to create their own short meditation.

We conclude with a discussion about embodying mindfulness more fully in our lives.