The Napa Valley Meditation Group is open to individuals looking to find community support for their mediation practice. Each meeting begins with 30 minutes of insight (vipassana) meditation, followed by a short period for tea and socializing, and then discussion of various Buddhist text by authors such as Jack Kornfield, Sharon Slazberg, Thich Nhat, Hanh, Joseph Goldstein, and others.
Meetings are held weekly and individuals of all levels and experience are encouraged to join us. We primarily practice teachings and techniques based on the vipassana tradition, but are open to incorporating other traditions into our practice.
Spirit Rock co-founder Jack Kornfield provides vipassana meditation instructions
Dharma Discussion Guidelines
Our weekly gatherings include a Dharma Discussion, which provides a chance for us to connect and benefit from each other’s insights and experience of the practice. By practicing deep listening while others are speaking, we help create a calm and receptive environment. By learning to speak out about our happiness and our difficulties in the practice, we contribute to the collective insight and understanding of the Sangha.
These instructions are intended as guidelines to support our practice, not hard and fast rules.
Deep listening. When we listen carefully to the collective wisdom of the Sangha, try to listen with an open, non-judging mind. If we are mindful of our thoughts and inner dialog, we can choose to come back to being fully present with the person speaking. The practice of deep listening creates the opportunity for others to feel safe in the support of the Sangha.
Mindful speech. Our speech, like our listening, is the fruit of our practice, a response from within. Speaking from the heart about topics that emanate from our life and practice involves speaking with awareness in a way that could be of benefit to others as well as ourselves; speaking with kindness, connecting with others. We all benefit from hearing each other’s insights and direct experience of the practice.
Bowing. Before speaking we may wish to bow. When we bow we are letting the Sangha know we would like to share. When we are finished we let the Sangha know by bowing again. Knowing that we will not be interrupted creates a safe and harmonious environment.
Avoid giving advice, even if it is asked for. Speaking from our own experience eliminates the opportunity to give advice. It’s helpful to use the pronoun “I”, instead of “You”.
Share with the whole circle. Whatever we share is for the benefit of all those present. If we ask a question we ask the whole group. Any responses to a question should reflect our own practice experience with the question, not present possible "solutions" for the questioner. It's okay to let a question sit in the Sangha energy.
You may like to say your name before speaking. This can be welcoming for newcomers and refresh other friends memories.
Refrain from speaking a second time until everyone has had an opportunity to share. Some of us may need more time to be ready to speak.
All that is shared is confidential. After the session, we refrain from speaking to a person about what they said in the group without asking for their permission first.
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