Archive for September, 2010

Meditation Group on September 18, 2010

During this past session, we tried to discuss the connection between meditation and everyday life.  However, we probably didn’t spend enough time on the topic.  So, I want to review a few relevant points.  First, during mindfulness meditation, we train ourselves to be aware of subtle changes in the body/mind which are happening at every (present) moment.  This ability is helpful for us to realize how we react to various external/internal information.  By just realizing this, we can reduce, say, craving for things we like and aversion to things we don’t like (without repressing our likes and dislikes).  Even such a small change can make our lives easier and more peaceful.  Then, through informal practice (i.e. trying to be mindful whenever possible during everyday activities, e.g., waiting, walking, eating), we will be able to cultivate the same mental quality even outside formal meditation.   More details are in  our Meditation Guide 3: Meditation and Everyday Life (earlier guides are available on our meditation group page).

The next session will be on Saturday, October 16 from 10:30 am to 12:00 noon in Meeting Room #4 (all the way to the left) at the Lawrence Branch of MCLS (map), not the Lawrence Community Center (where Wellness Expo will be held all day).  The theme of the next session will be “Continuing Practice.”  Let us discuss how to establish regular meditation practice.  As with the past session, we will try to do a relaxation practice, but due to the small size of the room, we will need to see what we can do.

Note:  Since yoga was mentioned during the session, I want to add the following.  Although yoga is most commonly seen in this country as exercise/fitness, yoga (asana/posture) is just a part of the complete spiritual pursuit and was actually developed as a means to maintain appropriate postures for meditation.  There are links to a detailed yoga web site and a free on-line yoga meditation course on our meditation group page.  For a concise introduction, see David Frawley’s Yoga: The Greater Tradition (available at MCLS).

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Meditation Group on August 28, 2010

Continuing on the previous session, we are still scratching the surface of concentration (“escaping” the normal) and mindfulness (“facing” it) meditation.  But this time, we did try mindfulness meditation, focusing on how our minds wander with various distractions.  We noticed the sound of air conditioner turning on, chilled air, medley of thoughts, etc.  During mindfulness meditation, distractions are welcome.  We simply note as they occur.  However, too many of them are simply overwhelming.  So, it would be practical to start with concentration meditation and after the mind is calmed, we can shift our attention towards mindfulness or awareness.  For more information, we have our Meditation Guide 2: Concentration and Mindfulness.

During the next session on Saturday, September 18 (2:00 – 3:30 pm at the Lawrence Community Center [map]), we will discuss the connection between meditation and everyday life.  For this topic, there is Meditation Guide 3.  A new feature from the next session is that we will have a relaxation practice during the first 30 minutes or so.  Please bring a yoga mat or a towel, if possible.

For the links to the recommended books (available at the Mercer County Library System), sample meditation web sites, free local meditation activities, etc., please visit our group page.  If you have questions/comments/suggestions, please leave a comment so that other participants can share yours.

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Facilitator Comment: Healthy Kid & Parent Cooking

I truly could not have hoped for a better experience facilitating a program for MFS! I have been teaching and coordinating programs in the Princeton/Mercer County area for over a year now, and am used to dealing with various complications and obstacles that arise along the way. I can say without exaggeration that my program with MFS was a wonderful exception to the rule. The process of scheduling the class could not have been smoother, and the class itself was a true delight. The children were engaged and excited, and it is so fulfilling to provide a service, especially for children, and have it so thoroughly enjoyed. I cannot wait to schedule another class to facilitate, as I can already anticipate the continued joy I will experience with working with MFS.

Anthony Dissen

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The Money Delusion

In his article (The Money Delusion, May/June 2008), Satish Kumar points out the following: (1) money is not wealth, and (2) instead of money serving us, we are serving money.  His argument equally applies to the case of education.  First, money is not education.  Although some people might think that the more we pay, the more we get, this is hardly true.  How many of us would think the skyrocketing cost of higher education is fully justified?  Second, while money is supposed to be used to enhance our education, the unfortunate trend is that education is increasingly serving money.  That is, commercialism has been creeping into genuine educational opportunities.

By suspending the involvement of money in our learning process (except sharing material cost), free schools are trying to bring back the essence of education in the modern context.  We are not denying the benefits of using money.  We are just denying becoming its servant.

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