To experience ourselves – our breath, the sensations in the body, the pain in the knees, the feeling of the wind or the rain on our cheeks – all of this is utterly pertinent to the question I am suggesting you ask: ‘What is this?’ But please remember that ‘this’ refers to what is so close to you that you tend to completely overlook it.
After many years of Soto Zen practice, John Danvers created a home for secular Buddhists by establishing the Exeter Meditation Circle in England in October 2016. The meetings of the group are simple and non-ritualistic, non-dogmatic and free of attachment to any particular teacher or tradition. Together, the group members are developing a secular Buddhist way of life that is of our time and place.
Our challenge is to remain lucid, aware, and present. This is Gotama’s injunction and one of his main teachings. To understand this reality means, in traditional Buddhist terms, to understand the middle way, emptiness and not-self. It means entering the stream of the river of life to go against the current.
Touching the Earth groups aspire to treat participants as equals, where no one is paid to lead or facilitate, and each participant takes responsibility for cultivating their own path and for supporting others in cultivating theirs. The basic format involves meditation, journaling one’s meditation experience, and then exploring the meditation in triads.
Meditative practice enables us to develop a more present, lucid and conscious connection with what surrounds us, in the precise moment and place where we find ourselves. Meditative practice does not take us beyond that present moment in its totality. If anything, it leads us deeper, to union with it.
Dave Smith is an internationally recognized Buddhist meditation teacher, addiction treatment specialist, and published author. We recently interviewed Dave about his approach to being a meditation teacher and his Secular Dharma Foundation.
This unconventional glossary provides us with grounded, experienced-based definitions of qualities, attitudes, skills, and concepts which are relevant to all meditators.
A moment of freedom is a freedom from something, but it’s also a freedom to something. It’s not just that you’re freed from something, let’s say, attachment or anger or self-centredness, but that that freedom clears a space to act in a way that is not conditioned by your anger or self-centredness.
Martine Batchelor discusses how concentration and experiential enquiry are the two basic elements of all forms of Buddhist meditation.
Emotion-Focused Mindfulness Therapy (EFMT) is a new psychological approach to addressing internal conflicts like harsh self-criticism. The approach emerged out of a dialogue between Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) and the secular and contemporary Buddhist perspectives of Stephen Batchelor, Winton Higgins and Jason Siff.