Throughout the year the School of Meditation runs Introductory Courses for those who want to take up meditation. The courses are held once a week in the evenings over a period of four weeks and cost £50. The dates of all upcoming courses are shown here.
Each course offers a gradual introduction to mantra meditation which in essence consists of listening to a sound that is repeated internally. Simple exercises, such as listening to the breath, provide a foretaste of this and are a feature of each session. So too are different readings that touch on the purpose of meditation and the simple philosophy that underpins it.
The course encourages participants to observe and accept distracting thoughts, rather than struggle with them. There are opportunities throughout the evening for questions and discussion.
Often, the course tutor suggests a mindfulness exercise to try between sessions, usually around a daily activity that is habitually undertaken without much attention. The group reflect on their experiences the following week. As there is no ‘failure’ in meditation, participants are free to share what they found difficult and what they forgot to do as well as what was enjoyable.
The course also describes the different activities that the School engages in which includes the running of weekly meditation groups during term-time and an annual retreat.
An important feature of each course is supper in the School’s dining room half-way through the evening. Those taking part in the course have the opportunity to mix, not only with other course participants but also with those who have been attending the School for a number of years.
The mantra that the School uses is traditionally passed onto those who wish to take up meditation in a short, simple ceremony held on the School’s premises. This process, including further information about the ceremony, is described during the course, at the end of which participants are welcome to opt to receive the mantra if they wish to. There is no pressure.
These are the words of somebody who decided to take up meditation with the School:
‘Meditation is a foundation, a base, a calm centre from which I can do whatever needs to be done in the normal course of my life. I know that this foundation cannot be harmed. It isn’t mine, so I need not fear that somebody or something will take it away from me; neither did I grasp it from somewhere outside myself; so I need not worry about losing it. It is just there – not me, yet within me. It has been there all the time really. Meditation did not add it to me, but helps to put me in touch with it.’
To book a place on our next introductory course, which runs from 10th June to 1st July, please click here.
Written by Simon Richey