The Joy of Living

Wednesdays, March 22 – April 19

6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Facilitated By Jerry Webster
Cost: $100 for Whole Course

Start Date of March 15 Postponed Due To Weather!

So many of us are overwhelmed with demands on our time and energy.  If we look around the world, people are searching for sources of energy: whether through more caffeine, or one  of the latest energy drinks, through exercise or special diets, drugs, sex, “reality TV” shows, or other means.  Many of us come home after a chaotic or busy day at work, exhausted and looking for relief.  Many of us will arrive home after hours alone at a computer.  In terms of attending a meditation course, in addition to relaxation, we may be looking for inspiration, energy, and the confidence to go froward on a more spiritual path – or simply enough energy to make it through another week.

Perkiness and joy inspire a certain sparkiness, healthiness, and cheerfulness.  We could have a genuine sense of humor.

The Joy of Living course is an exploration of genuine, joyful energy, of bravery and celebration, which would be helpful and practical for many of us.

One often hears that one enters a meditation course to learn to relax, to be content.  Although relaxing is often one of the byproducts of Buddhist meditation, the true purpose is to be more fully present in one’s life, being present on the spot rather than being riveted about according to one’s hopes and fears.  It is about being open to whatever arises in one’s life.  It is only by living in the present that one can truly live one’s life and be content with one’s life.

NOTE: As support for this course, participants may want to purchase the book, The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times by Pema Chodron, Shambhala Publications, which will  be on sale at the Curious Iguana at a 20% discount before the course begins.

Meditation is making friends with oneself and developing compassion towards others. We can learn to develop friendship with our mind, skill in how to work with speed and difficulty, and a sense of humor.  The journey continues by slowly allowing that mind to relax within itself.  We let go of struggling with ourselves.  We train in being awake in the present moment.

As human beings, our minds are naturally open, aware, fresh and good.  Even though we experience agitation, difficult emotions, stress, anxiety, and anger, beneath and within all of these experiences, we can contact a state of being that is fresh and clear.  Meditation is the practice to discover and rest in this uncluttered and open state of mind.  Meditation is a simple practice, available to all human beings, which enables us to discover and rest in the natural peace and goodness of this world.

This is a program on bringing mindfulness and joy into our daily lives.  It is not about becoming a Buddhist but 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.

This program is open to both new and long-time meditation practitioners.  It will allow participants to begin a new practice or to deepen one if one has already established a practice.

Meditation practice between classes is highly encouraged.  It is an easy practice —  just being  — but as in any practice, one has to practice to learn what one is doing.  We do offer cushions and chairs as seating options.  Tea and water are also provided.

Course Schedule

  • Week 1:  Introducing Joy
  • Week 2:  Awakened Heart
  • Week 3:  The Trap of Doubt
  • Week 4:  Compassion in Action: The Paramitas
  • Week 5:  Discipline and the Virtues of the Higher Realms

Your Instructor

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 weekends and numerous programs along the East Coast, including programs recently for Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. Peace Corps, Frederick Community College, and the Frederick Meditation Center.

Register now on this event page or call (240) 397-8080 to reserve your space.