Dear Fellow Mindful Seekers,
Greetings to the new year, the winter season, and the growing light in the sky each day (even though we’re only gaining a minute or so each day, it feels good and right!) After taking some time off to focus on work, navigate personal and collective transitions, and recharge batteries, we’ve become inspired once again to resume our Monday night weekly mindfulness meetings.
Mindfulness is more that just meditation, it is a pathway for living an open, aware and compassionate life the leads to general well-being and abiding inner peace. The Monday night gathering is not a strictly Buddhist group, although we do use many Buddhist teachings because of their clarity and long tradition of helping people on the path to wholeness and acceptance. During our meetings, in addition to hearing from some Buddhist teachers, we will also be engaging with teachings from non-Buddhists like Ekhart Tolle and Jon Kabat-Zinn, to name a few. We also hope to have other mindful events organized by meetup group members and community resources.
We’d like to start off the meetings on Monday, January 28th with an introductory mindfulness course. This is a six week course for all levels of meditators, even the true blue beginner, and will run from 6:00 to 8:00pm. The course includes pre-recorded audio instructions, discussion and feedback, and (gulp) homework - no worries, we’re not grading. We’ve used these recordings before and find them to be clear, insightful, and well measured. The teacher of the course is Gil Fronsdal, principal meditation teacher at the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood, California. Here’s a brief description from the website - audiodharma.org:
“At the heart of insight meditation is the practice of mindfulness, the cultivation of clear, stable and non-judgmental awareness. While mindfulness practice can be highly effective in helping bring calm and clarity to the pressures of daily life, it is also a spiritual path that gradually dissolves the barriers to the full development of our wisdom and compassion. During the six-week introductory course, the basic instructions in insight meditation are given sequentially, each week building on the previous one. The first week focuses on the basics of meditation and on mindfulness of breathing. The second week discusses mindfulness of the body and expands the area of attention to include all our physical experiences. The third week introduces mindfulness of emotions, the fourth week mindfulness of thinking, the fifth week mindfulness of mind, and the sixth week focuses on the role of mindfulness in daily life and in deepening one’s spiritual life.”
The course will be facilitated by Tom Cannon, licensed counselor at Community Counseling Center, and Kerry Dunn, Professor of Social Work at UNE. We join the group both as facilitators and learners, and our intention is to co-create an inspiring and safe environment to learn from our teacher Gil as well as each other. Following completion of the course, the Monday meetings will continue, providing an opportunity for us to hear from other teachers and share the joys and challenges of mindfulness practice. We’ll be posting the meetup shortly as soon as we lock-in a venue somewhere in Portland.
As always, we welcome feedback, so if you have ideas, thoughts, concerns, please let us know. We’re excited about getting these going again and wish you all peace, health and happiness in the coming year.
Tom and Kerry