What is meditation?
There are lots of different ways to practice mediation. But basically, it just means sitting still and being quiet. We often don’t make time for this in our hyper-busy lives. And certainly, sitting quietly with other people feels very different from sitting quietly on your own. The Quakers call it a ‘gathered silence’.
Do I need a proper technique?
Some people like to focus on their breathing, as a way to calm the mind. Some people like to repeat a mantra (a short, simple phrase or word) over and over again in their head. Some people like to focus on tensing and then relaxing each part of their body in turn. But you don’t need a technique: you just need to be there, and to be willing to give it a go.
What if I keep thinking about my to-do list?
That’s entirely natural – we all do it. Our ‘monkey brains’ are hard wired to fill up with thoughts. We will never learn to stop that, but we will gradually learn to be able to let the thoughts go. We will be learning together.
Do I have to come every week?
No. This group will meet every Tuesday lunchtime from September until Christmas 2021. You are very welcome to come every week, or just to drop in when you are free, or when you feel you need a bit of peace and quiet. You will be made welcome whenever you are able to be there.
Does it cost anything?
No. It’s free. Just turn up. You don’t need to book.
Where is it?
We’ll meet in the Lounge, which is the glass fronted room at the front of Christchurch, facing the road. There’s a door about half way along the path from the car park.
Will it be COVID safe?
You can see our COVID risk assessments on the Christchurch website. Chairs will be 1 metre apart, and we will all wear masks while moving around. Once we are sitting, masks can be removed. Please do not come to the group if you have any COVID symptoms, or have been pinged by the NHS app.
Does it matter if I get there a bit late?
From 1pm to 1.15pm we’ll arrive, introduce ourselves, and chat about life, the universe and everything. You’re welcome to arrive during that time. At 1.15pm we’ll settle down, listen to a short reflection, and then spend 25 minutes in silence together. It’s better not to arrive after 1.15pm, as it will disturb the quiet.
Can I bring my lunch?
If you want to bring your own packed lunch, you are welcome to eat it during the first fifteen minutes of the group, while we are arriving and chatting. The kitchen is not in use, so please bring your own food, drink and utensils. Please don’t eat during our time of quiet, starting at 1.15pm.
What sort of ‘reflection’? Will it be a sermon?
Our time of silence will begin with a short reading. Readings will be taken from a range of secular and religious sources. We’ll start with ‘Do/Pause: you are not a to-do list’ by Robert Poynton. Different readings will work for different people, so we’ll aim for a variety.
What does ‘responses’ mean? Do I have to speak?
For the final ten to fifteen minutes, people will have the chance to say something if they would like to. Some people like to share an image or a thought which has come to them during the silence, or a response to the reading. We won’t get into a discussion, or an argument! But we will listen respectfully to anything which is shared, and see whether it might have something to say to us. No need to say anything if you don’t want to. And if no-one feels the urge to speak, we might enjoy another few minutes of quiet…
Will we finish on time? I have to get back to work…
Yes. We will always finish promptly at 2pm. Most weeks, the group will be led by our minister, Val Reid. If you want to talk to her about anything which has emerged for you during the quiet time, have a word with her at the end of the group, and she’ll agree a time for a conversation. Or you can contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org