For those who attended the workshop the past two weeks, you have a taste of the seated meditation called "the great sun," sometimes known in the seven-point posture or in the Buddhist literature, the blue sky meditation. Without dwelling on the specifics of the name, the participants are asked to keep their senses open. The idea is that nature is full of vitality, the mind is no different. As per the biking analogy, you do not ignore the surroundings nor suppress one senses. The seated meditation is a first step to be at ease with one's mind, and eventually, with one's day-to-day reality.
For those who might be unsure what to do with their visual attention, we introduce methods to place a slight emphasis on the breathing or to begin with one visual focus in front of you. Note that it is less about how well you can keep your attention on this focal point. (There are seven points, after all, bridging the body, the breathing and the mind.) The practice is a convenient way to guide you, step by step, to observe how the mind works.
One thing that is worth emphasizing, if not clear at the workshop itself, the meditation can been seen as adding an element, sometimes seemingly disruptive, to what is natural, such as breathing. Take breathing as an example. Not a single moment you are not breathing, but you are not always aware of it. Through this extra element, one can become aware of something that is always there but unobserved previously. That said, like adding a new member to an orchestra or a rock in the river flow, a natural flow can still emerge from it.
The general message is that whatever you have, likes and dislikes, value system, they form who you are. You may or may not like them, but there is no reason to discard them. The Buddhist practice is very much about making use of what you have and to expand oneself. When your mind is wide open like the blue sky, this open space also gives you possibilities, and room to explore.
The written word is ultimately a surface description and not a substitute to the doing itself. We will be running follow-up sessions, beginning in October or November. The format is likely to be in a weekly or biweekly format, such that the participants are allowed the time to try things on their own.
Our volunteers, myself included, have regular day jobs. I suggest a slot, say, 6:30pm-8 Monday or Wednesday or 10:30am-12noon on Sunday, subject to the availability of a venue.
Note that we do have a permanent location in Scarborough (750 Middlefield Road, McCowan and Finch). If you would like to visit us, the best time to come is our general meditation class on Saturday 10:30am-12noon.
If you read up to this point, hope you don't find the email too longwinded.
If you (or your friends) would like to participate and have a preference for a specific time and venue, please do not hesitate to contact me (Vivian: firstname.lastname@example.org).