Saturday, January 14, 2017

Meditation Sunday January 15th, 2017

Hi all, I do plan to make my way in to the studio for meditation this Sunday,  January 15th. So, if it is safe for you to travel do feel free to join me. However, if things are slippy where you are do stay home and maybe join us in spirit.

Keep warm and safe, Chris.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Class Cancelled Sunday January 8th 2017

Hi all, we have decided that the better part of valor is discretion, and so we will be cancelling tonight's meeting due to the weather.

Please stay warm and safe, and I hope to see you as usual next week!

    Metta, Chris

Sunday, December 11, 2016

2016 Holiday Schedule

Greetings all! Please note that we will not be meeting on the following Sundays:

  • 18th December 2016
  • 25th December 2016

We will be back to our normal schedule starting again on Sunday 1st January 2017.

Hope you all have a great holiday, looking forward to seeing you in the New Year!


Monday, November 7, 2016

The Most Important Thing You Can Do This Week...

Show Love

In the next day or so this long, protracted and acrimonious US Election will draw to a close. None of us know exactly what the outcome will be - or how the country will react once a result is know. I am, however, ready to make a prediction. The prediction is simply that even once it is over, we won't see a lot of love being shared out there.

So while I hope you will vote if you are eligible, I also hope that you will strive to show love to those around you, and to those who you disagree with. Whether you have 'a side' or deep convictions, or even if you are jaded and tired of all of the pols, find a way to allow your passion - or disenchantment - be suffused with love.

In my 'day job' I work in the research Industry, and so I have a lot of exposure to the state of our culture, and one thing that all of the research shows is that we are becoming more divided, more distrustful and more antagonistic towards each other. Of course you don't need researchers like me to tell you that, you just have to turn on your TV or radio.

So it is more important than ever that we choose not to simply follow along and let ourselves get swept up by the acrimony. Yes, this is an important election, and people on both sides are highly passionate about their beliefs and positions. I am not saying that we shouldn't work hard for justice and peace - we definitely should - but that as we do so we don't let go of a true core of metta - loving-kindness.

The ancient practice of metta bhavana (cultivation of loving-kindness) is the ideal way to prepare ourselves for weeks such as these, where our grounding in love can be shaking. You can find a fully guided 30 minute metta bhavana meditation, together with a short introduction to the practice, below.

I would like to invite all of you to in your own way share a little love this week - whether it is to your peers or those you disagree totally with. Beware the dialog of hatred, and instead try to apply the lessons of loving-kindness.

It's not easy. But nothing this radical is. This is how the world is changed. Let's all try and change it just a little.

      Wishing you a loving and peaceful week, Chris

The following fully guided meditation allows us to cultivate metta - even in times of strife and conflict

If the embedded audio player above doesn't work for you, please click here.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

In Tragedy, Choose a Soft Belly Over Hatred

How Do We Choose Love Over Hatred?

It's hard to work through your feelings in the aftermath of a tragedy like the one that happened in Orlando over the weekend. It's normal to run through the range of sadness, hopelessness, anger, confusion and heartbreak. Yet if you turn on the TV or read a newspaper or blog it won't be long before you find hatred. And it is easy to kid ourselves sometimes that the hatred is justified, that when events are so overwhelming turning to hate is the reasonable thing to do. And so the narrative we witness in the media quickly turns from short-lived compassion to anger, hatred and ignorance.

We can choose to follow down the same path or we can choose to turn to love. The four "Brahma Viharas" are Love, Joy, Compassion and Equanimity. We are taught that these are the "heavenly abodes" - the places where we should learn to dwell. When we experience tragedy we can choose to move to a place of love and compassion. It's not easy, and if you are like me the path won't be a straight one. Confusion and helplessness may dominate at first, and it is these that can turn to anger and hatred.

I find that when feeling confused and helpless "Soft Belly" meditation can help calm our emotions, center us and return us to a place where we can choose love and compassion over anger. In this form of meditation we simply sit quietly and visualize breathing deep into our belly, allowing it to soften and helping us to reach a place of quiet and groundedness.

So instead of allowing ourselves to get transfixed on the narrative of hatred and anger so prevalent in the media we can instead soften our bellies and find a place to nurture love and compassion.

Having love and compassion does not mean that we become passive and heartless. Having found your ground in love you may go on to work on the root causes of the tragedy, to help heal those in pain and sorrow. But you will do so from love and compassion, not hatred. As the Buddha says:

Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.


The following fully guided meditation allows us to practice calming and centering ourselves through visualizing breathing from a soft belly.

If the embedded audio player above doesn't work for you, please click here.

photo credit: Vigil. via photopin (license)
Dhammapada quote translated from the Pali by Acharya Buddharakkhita. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition).