Course Fee: $25
One often hears that one enters a meditation course to learn to relax. Although relaxing is often one of the byproducts of Buddhist meditation, the true purpose is to be present in one’s life more fully. It’s about being present on the spot rather than being riveted about according to one’s hopes and fears. It’s about being open to whatever arises in one’s life. So, one could say that a goal of meditation is to be present to whatever comes up in one’s life. It is only by living in the present that one can truly live one’s life. Meditation is making friends with oneself and developing compassion towards others.
In this one evening, we will focus on attitude, posture, breathing, and thinking within the context of the meditation practice.
This is a program is on bringing mindfulness into our daily lives. It is not about becoming a Buddhist, but rather searching into the very techniques which Gotama Buddha employed over 3,000 years ago. Well, it worked for him, and it has worked for many people since him in a variety of spiritual traditions. This is not a religious course, but it is about working with techniques that will allow one to enter one’s life more fully through the benefits of a mindfulness practice.
In terms of posture, instruction will be provided for participants who prefer either to sit on a cushion or a chair. Chairs and cushions will be provided. Our breathing pattern will be utilized as a focus to bring us back from our thoughts into the present again and again. Finally, we will analyze our thinking processes to see how they influence our participation in everyday life. So often, we can be Talking Heads, completely disassociated from our bodies, caught up in both the past and the present. This practice allows us to connect our mind and body and thoughts in such a way as to be fully present to whatever comes up in our lives. When we do that, we allow ourselves to be more fully human.
This program is open to both new and long-time meditation practitioners. Participants may begin a new practice or to deepen an already established practice.
Jerry Webster presently serves as the Shastri, or head teacher, with the Shambhala Buddhist Meditation Center in Washington, D.C. He began meditation with a ten-day retreat in India with the Burmese teacher Goenka in 1974. Since 1976, he is a student of the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, and he has taught in this tradition since 1977. He obtained his PH.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Maryland. He has taught numerous courses in literature for the University of Maryland and numerous courses in multiculturalism for Montgomery County Public Schools. He has taught English full-time in public school systems for forty years, beginning with the Peace Corps in Afghanistan in 1973. During the past year, he has led three full-day week-long meditation weekthuns and numerous programs along the East Coast, including programs recently for Johns Hopkins University and the U.S. Peace Corps.