Meditation and mindfulness
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’.
Is it the same as mindfulness?
They are linked in many ways. Mindfulness is the practice of being present to yourself, and to whatever is going on in your life. It’s a way of learning to cope with the many different thoughts and worries that sometimes overwhelm us. Mindfulness is about being aware of our bodies and minds, and learning to let go.
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 meets every Tuesday lunchtime. 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 meet at the back of the Christchurch premises, where it’s a bit quieter. The church welcome area is open for coffee and conversation on Tuesday mornings from 10am to 1pm. Just turn up
any time during the morning and we’ll go through to the meditation room together at 1pm. Come a bit early if you want a cuppa first…
So do we have to be quiet for a whole hour?
We usually begin with ten minutes of chat, as we share what’s going on in our lives with each other. We then have two periods of silence. The first is a 15-minute guided mindfulness practice,
where we calm ourselves down and pay attention to what’s going on in our minds and bodies. Then we have a short reflection (readings are taken from a range of secular and religious sources)
followed by a full 15-minutes silence. We finish with a brief opportunity for anyone to share their reflections or insights. 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 email@example.com