What we're about
This is an open, ongoing weekly Vipassana (Insight) mindfulness meditation group for those wishing to deepen their practice with others in a group setting with an experienced teacher. Most nights, there are about 30-40 of us (even though Meetup might show that only one person is attending!) Beginners are welcome!
WHAT WE PRACTICE: We practice Vipassana, or Insight Meditation, a style of meditation that trains us to live more mindfully in the present moment. Literally meaning "to see clearly," Vipassana enables us to experience all aspects of life from a greater stillness, and to relate to both ourselves and others with increased clarity and compassion, and less fear, anxiety, and stress.
While the forms of meditation we practice are rooted in Buddhist teachings, the study and practice of mindfulness is applicable to anyone from any background or religion, and all are welcome.
THE TEACHER: Shell Fischer (http://www.mindfulvalley.com), founder and director of Mindful Shenandoah Valley (http://www.mindfulvalley.com), offers almost 30 years of extensive mindfulness practice and study. She is a Buddhist teacher, trained in the Shambhala tradition at Naropa University – the nation’s leading contemplative university – and in the Insight or Theravadan Vipassana tradition by Dr. Tara Brach – one of the world’s leading Insight teachers. She is a graduate of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction teacher-training program led by Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of MBSR and the Stress Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. She’s also an educational partner with both Valley Health and the Foundation of the State Arboretum of Virginia. Prior to teaching, Shell wrote about mindfulness and yoga for national magazines.
Shell’s main focus as a teacher is on metta (loving-kindness) practice. Her hope is to guide her students in nurturing even more kindness and compassion for themselves, and for all the situations they find themselves in throughout their lives, through the practice of meditation and mindfulness – which she believes everyone can learn.
You can learn about the daylong and residential retreats and other classes Shell offers at http://www.mindfulvalley.com .
(You can also listen to Shell’s Tuesday night talks on the Itunes podcast, via the website (http://www.mindfulvalley.com))
WHEN & WHERE: We meet every Tuesday from 7 - 8:45 p.m. in the beautiful blue sanctuary of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Shenandoah Valley, 6380 Valley Pike, Stephens City. (*Directions are below.)
(It's fine if you arrive late! Just make sure to sit in the back until meditation is finished ... and, also fine to leave early if you need, too.)
COST: In lieu of traditional "dana" (generosity practice) for the teacher, there is a suggested donation of $5-$10 to the church for providing us the space.
THE FORMAT: There is a 20-minute guided meditation, followed by a 25-minute silent meditation on wide, comfy, padded chairs (or cushions/benches if you bring your own), and a 10-minute walking meditation (instructions are given for this). Following the meditation period, a 40 minute teaching is offered by the teacher. We often close the sit with a short guided meditation based on the teaching.
If you're driving North on I-81, take the Middletown exit (302) to US 11, turn right, then continue north for about 3 miles to the church, which will be on your left.
If you're driving South on I-81, take the Stephens City exit (307). Take a right off the exit onto Fairfax Pike, then turn left at the traffic light onto Route 11. The church will be on your right in about 2 miles or so.
The white wooden entrance sign on Route 11, sits at the top of a hill, and the church is set at the end of a parking lot below it.
1. If you're driving in from Winchester, start looking for the white church sign on the right just past the white highway sign that says "All Trucks Left, 3/4-Mile." In fact, when you see the truck sign, turn your blinker on!
2. If you've pulled into the smaller "Unity" church that's in the property next to it (which, coincidentally, is the old UU church), you're at the wrong place, but you're very close - the one where we meet is just south of it, up the hill, almost on the same property.
3. During inclement weather, cancellation notices will be sent out at 4:30 p.m., so please check your emails!
Please remember to turn off your cell phones before entering the sanctuary
Be sure to bring a warm shawl or sweater during the cooler months, since your body cools quicker when you're sitting still.
Please be mindful not to wear any perfume to the sit, as it can be very distracting to others. Also, with respect to those who may be allergic, we do not use incense.
The group is not recommended for those under age 18.
Please feel free to email if you have any questions at all.