Learn more about different meditation traditions and find profiles of the teachers who will host the guided meditation sessions.
Buddhist | Korean Seon (Zen)
Zen is a three-pronged practice of concentration, mindfulness, and enquiry. It calls us to be fully present to ourselves and to each situation, listening for what is being asked of us, trusting that the answer will reveal its wisdom in our actions and its resonance in the world around us.
Wayapa® is an earth connection practice that is based on ancient Indigenous wisdom that focuses on taking care of the Earth as the starting point for creating Earth Mind Body Spirit well-being.
Meditation forms part of the rich tradition of contemplative prayer in Christianity. It is a way of simple presence that opens to the depths. The monk Thomas Merton describes it as “…life itself, fully awake, fully active, fully aware that it is alive, and spiritual wonder…spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life, of being.”
Contemporary Insight Tradition
These secular meditations are drawn from foundational teachings from the Insight tradition. The practices employ different techniques to anchor us into the body and support us to settle the mind. In quietening the mind we can see freshly and insight is given room to arise.
Buddhist | Tibetan
In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, meditation is about more than just improved health. Developing the ability to calm and control the mind helps the Buddhist meditator to lead a simpler life and progress towards being a kinder and happier person.
Buddhist | Theravada
In the Theravada Buddhist forest tradition, practitioners are encouraged to ‘read their own minds.’ Rather than only reading books and acquiring intellectual theories about ourselves and our world, one develops the ability to know one’s own mind – and the world it creates – through direct, non-verbal experience. This is done by cultivating our innate capacity to be clearly aware in the present moment, the ‘classroom’ in which we can learn about our body and mind, and how to make peace with their constantly changing nature.
Zen practice comes alive, not in concepts or words, but in the body of experience, insight, and intuition. It becomes powerful only in the wild humus of our encounter as part of the world. Zen describes itself as “a mind-to-mind transmission outside of words.” Zen koans are a ‘gateless gate’ to see the mind afresh. In koan encounters we become aware of the intimacy that extends its taproot far down, where words and concepts do not reach.
The foundations of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) can be found in what is now called Insight Meditation in the West. This tradition is largely a contemporary expression of the Theravadan (or Vipassana) Buddhist tradition from Asia.
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Why should I join?
There are hundreds of scientific articles that report numerous benefits of mindfulness practices across a broad variety of domains, including improvements in anxiety, depression, chronic pain, well-being, emotion regulation, and many other areas. Beyond that, the practice has the potential to lead to profound transformations in the way that you relate to and indeed experience, your experience.
It is important to note, however, that mindfulness is not relaxation and while it is simple, it is not an easy practice. It’s not a thing that you do, it’s a way of being with yourself and your world. Try to let go of your expectations for how the practice will be or what you will experience and give yourself permission to just experience whatever arises. That doesn’t mean you will resign if the experience is bad, unpleasant, or seriously negative but it does mean that you put aside, just for a short while, all your roles, identities, and obligations. Think of it as you might a weary traveller who puts down their bags to rest. We invite you to put down the “baggage” of all your roles, expectations, tasks, responsibilities, whether defined by you or others, for the time that you are practicing.
When the practice is over, you can (and in some cases, probably should) pick “the bags” back up. For the period that you join us, know that you needn’t do anything or be anywhere other than you are. You just need to be.
What should I consider before joining?
Mindfulness is not for everyone.
While mindfulness practices can be profoundly helpful for some, it is not universally beneficial. Not only do some people dislike it but some people actually see a worsening of existing problems or the emergence of entirely new problems. Estimates of negative events seem to range from around 5% (more serious) to as many as 20% (broader definition of discomfort, distress, etc.) of people, depending on how you define them. These problems are varied and we encourage you to carefully think about them before jumping into a mindfulness and/or meditation practice.
Mindfulness practice is not a substitute for medical care. If you are experiencing any of the following, we would actually discourage you from attending:
- Active or recent physical addiction to alcohol or other drugs
- Current depression
- History of unexplored/untreated trauma or Post-traumatic stress disorder
If you are experiencing any of these things, you should seek help from standard medical professionals:
Below is a diagram that entails some benefits and drawbacks for you to consider.
Anderson et al. (2019). Journal of Cognitive Enhancement.