"The mind is everything.
What you think you become."
WEEKLY MINDFULNESS MEDITATION –
Weekly class at Innerlight Center for Yoga and Meditation from 8am to 9am on Wednesdays. The hour consists of a 30-minute silent sit, short reading or talk, and discussion. Some experience with meditation is recommended. This is a dana only class. Innerlight Yoga is located at 850 Aquidneck Avenue, Middletown, RI. phone is 401.849.3200.
MONTHLY MINDFULNESS MEDITATION –
Monthly Mindfulness Gathering is a meditation session offered once a month at All That Matters – South Kingstown. Join a like-minded group of people for a 30 minute guided sitting practice, a reading and short discussion.
Sessions are from 6:30 to 7:30 on the second Thursday of the month. No sessions during the MBSR program (October, November, December). Sessions scheduled for July 11, August 8, and September 12.
All That Matters is located at 315 Main St, Wakefield, RI. Phone is 401.782.2126.
The practice of meditation has existed since antiquity. At one time or another meditation has been part of all spiritual traditions, but it is not rooted in any. It can be described as a discipline of not engaging with the thinking mind but getting beyond the internal chatter into a mind state that is completely aware.
Insight meditation (known as Vipassana in the Theravada tradition) starts with focusing attention on the breath, or other object, to cultivate concentration as well as calming the mind. We then have the opportunity to be with what is occurring without reactivity.
Included in this process of developing concentration are the precepts, or ethical standards such as non-harming. The characteristics of kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity are also integral to the process of awareness. As we become more anchored in self-awareness, wisdom can then arise, allowing us to see our conditioning of grasping, aversion, and delusion and how best to respond to this conditioning. We start to see things as they really are.
Meditation improves health and well-being. There are both physiological and psychological benefits to meditation. They include stress reduction, decreasing blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol levels, boosting the immune response, and decreasing anxiety. Used as an adjunct, patients with chronic pain have been better able to control their pain. Meditation can develop self-acceptance and personal insight.
What are the deterrents to meditation? Meditation may put us very close to who we really are and not who we think we are or who we want to be. Our Western way is to “do” and therefore, we try to fix things, including ourselves, rather than accepting them as they really are. Many people think they can’t afford the time and energy to meditate, but in fact we can’t afford not to meditate.
MINDFULNESS MEDITATION – This is an opportunity to meditate with a group in a supportive environment. Practice in your own tradition or learn new techniques and reap the benefits of a quiet mind. We start with a reading, sit for approximately 30 minutes, and then have the opportunity for questions and sharing. Beginners please arrive 10 minutes early for additional instruction. See Meditation Classes listings below for dates, times and venues.
PROGRAMS – Seventh Element, directed by Priscilla Szneke and located in Jamestown, RI, offers a number of programs that cultivate meditation practice. In addition to those listed below, please see the WORKSHOPS PAGE.
This awareness, free from an inside or an outside,
Is open like the sky.
It is penetrating Wakefulness free from limitations or
Within the vast and open space of this all-embracing
All phenomena of samsara and nirvana manifest like
Rainbows in the sky.
Within this state of unwavering awareness,
All that appears and exists, like a reflection,
Appears but is empty, resounds but is empty.
Its nature is Emptiness from the very beginning.
Tsogdruk Rangdrol, ‘The Flight of Garuda’
Since the time of the Buddha the teachings were offered freely. Inherent in this giving of the teachings is the concept of interdependence between those who offer the teachings and those who receive them.
Today, Insight meditation teachers continue to offer the teachings freely and the monies that they received are called dana. Dana (dah-na) is a Pali word that means generosity.
Gil Fronsdale explains dana beautifully:
“There are two ways of understanding generosity. One is as a spontaneous and natural expression of an open mind and open heart. When we are connected wholeheartedly with others and the world, it is not a matter of deciding to give; giving simply flows out of us. The second way of understanding generosity is as a practice itself, which we can undertake even though it may not automatically be flowing out of us.
As a practice, generosity is not done simply because we think it is a virtuous thing to do. The practice has two important functions. First, it helps connect us with others and with ourselves. Giving creates a relationship between the giver and receiver, so acts of generosity help us to learn more about the nature of our relationships. It also develops those relationships. Practicing generosity together with a meditation practice helps ensure that our spiritual practice doesn’t occur aloof from others.
Second, through the practice of generosity we begin to understand where we are closed, where we are holding back, where we feel our fear. We learn what keeps us from being generous. We take on the practice to see where we resist it.
The freedom of the Buddha is the freedom from all forms of clinging, and the most obvious antidote to clinging is letting go. Because giving certainly involves letting go, it develops our capacity to relinquish clinging. However, the practice of giving entails much more than letting go. It also develops qualities of heart such as generosity, kindness, compassion and warmth. Thus, giving leads us to the heart of Buddhist practice, while helping our practice to be well rounded and heartfelt.”