Welcome to a Summer of Mindfulness: Breathe in, … Breathe Out, … Smile :)

Venue and time this week:   Sunday May 29 2016, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Moksha Yoga, London Ontario, Canada. Half hour drop-in meditations on Tuesday May 31, 8 – 8:30 pm.

Schedule:  Sunday 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:  Welcome to a Summer of Mindfulness: Breathe in, … Breath Out, … Smile JAll are welcome to either or both of these events.

This Sunday will give an Introduction to Mindfulness Activities at the London Mindfulness Community (LMC) which now starts a new cycle continuing during Spring and Summer.  The LMC is a community of mindfulness enthusiasts.  Our meditations are designed to be accessible to those who drop in occasionally.  Those wanting to know more about integrating mindfulness into daily life, can benefit from our Sunday Discussions.  These topics are presented in a self-contained way and will be posted on our website (usually by the previous Wednesday):

http://londonmindfulnesscommunity.org  (and its associated FB page, search London Mindfulness Community on FB).  Thanks to Heather for initiating the FB page, and Muneer for web enhancements coming up on the .org page).

This Sunday’s discussion includes a description of the benefits of Mindfulness and the underlying structure of LMC’s Summer Activities. Suggestions are also welcome!  We will roughly follow the 8 week program first pioneered by Jon Kabat-Zinn, with developments by Mark Williams, Mark Muesse and others.   Fun detours on are always welcome.   We illustrate some aspects of Mindfulness with a couple of small meditations, and also some videos.  The aim is to give participants an idea of the flavor of Sunday discussions at LMC, and the goals of mindfulness and its intimate relation with Yoga.

Deep Mindfulness LMC Group:    This group is for those interested in an even deeper exploration of mindfulness.  Its meetings will run outside Moksha Yoga, and are designed for those wishing to practise leading meditations, and be more involved in other activities.  Please send email to Greg   info@londonmindfulnesscommunity.org  for more information.

Preparation for Sunday evening:    You might try one-minute meditation by Mark Williams.

  1. Sitting in a relaxed but alert pose, close your eyes or lower your gaze.
  2. Focus your attention on your breath as it flows in and out of your body. Stay in touch with the sensations of each in-breath and each out-breath.   Observe the breath without looking for anything special to happen.  There is no need to alter your breathing in any way.
  3. After a while your mind may wander. When you notice this, gently bring your attention back to your breath, without judging yourself.  The act of realizing that your mind has wandered and bringing your attention back without criticizing yourself is central to mindfulness meditation.
  4. Your mind may eventually become like a calm pond with small ripples – or it may not – and the calm may be only fleeting. If you feel angry or exasperated, notice that this may be fleeting too. Whatever happens, just allow it to be as it is.
  5. After a minute, let your eyes open and the meditation is finished.

Here is an introductory short 3 minute breathing space meditation also by Mark Williams:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVW_IE1nsKE

William’s and Penman’s book warmly and lucidly written, Mindfulness: An eight week plan for finding peace in a frantic world, is highly recommended as background for those wishing to find out more about mindfulness.   Mark Muesse’s Lecture Series on Mindfulness will also serve as a main background reference (we will use videos from this series occasionally).  For an introduction to Mindfulness by Muesse see:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSOtKvlDEWM

Jon Kabat – Zinn: Science Discovers Mindfulness

Venue and time: Sunday May 15, 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 Jon Kabat – Zinn: Science Discovers Mindfulness.  Participants are welcome to either or both of these events. The scientist Kabat-Zinn is a key figure in helping mindfulness gain acceptance and traction in the West.

Just think hard enough, apply enough force and problems can be solved.  Although seductive, this approach fails on many of our everyday problems.   Mindfulness rooted in Buddhist ideas of meditation and acceptance offers powerful alternatives.  In the 1960’s a Zen Buddhist monk and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh was exiled from Vietnam to the West.  He is a lifelong inspirational advocate for mindfulness, peace, non-violence, and understanding between different faith communities.  His 1976 book The Miracle of Mindfulness  attracted much attention in the West.

Among Thich Nhat Hanh’s students of mindfulness practice in the 1970’s, was a young scientist Jon Kabat-Zinn.  Kabat-Zinn wondered if mindfulness he learnt from such Buddhist teachers, could be applied to problems, such as patients experiencing pain, and be tested by scientific methods.  In 1979 he founded the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where he adapted the Buddhist teachings on mindfulness and eventually his 8 week course Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).  He started with a study of exceptionally ill, patients, and tested its effectiveness using scientific methods.  Kabat-Zinn’s 8 week programme has been adapted in many other settings (depression, healthy daily living, relationships, etc).  The evening discussion will center around Kabat-Zinn’s contribution to the modern mindfulness movement, and some video material from the website below.

Preparation for the evening:   You might want to watch some videos about Kabat-Zinn’s contributions which can be found at the website:

http://www.mindfulnesscds.com/pages/videos-of-jon-teaching

 

Generosity and Gratitude – Marks of Freedom

Venue and time:   Sunday May 8, 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 Generosity and Gratitude – Marks of Freedom.  Participants are welcome to either or both of these events.

Once a traveler visited a well-known scholar, and was surprised by how sparse their apartment, and how few belongings they had.  The traveler asked where their belongings were.  The scholar answered: Like you, I am just passing through. I am traveling light.  This reflects the transience of our existence.  We often neglect the toll, that maintaining our many belongings take on us.  This week’s discussion takes a look at generosity, and its opposite, the accumulation of belongings.  Our two main sources will be Mark Muesse’s talk on Generosity – the Joy of Giving, and Tara Brach’s video on Generosity and Gratitude.   We will have a video of about 30 minutes from these two sources.  Most religions and spiritual traditions, emphasize generosity.   Generosity is a natural consequence of being mindful, and the Buddhist conception of the interconnection of all beings.

Preparation for the evening:   You might want to watch the youtube video by Tara Brach – some material from this video will be used in the Sunday discussion:

Just a note from last week’s discussion on Mindfulness and Communication, here is the link to the video that was shown in that discussion:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJ9UtuWfs3U