Posted by: madhyama | November 9, 2010

Many Changes around here

I am just about to leave my home for a few days in order to attend a portion of a 7-day sesshin led by my older dharma brother, Norman Fischer.  For some reason this imminent relocation has prompted me to think about all of the changes that have happened to our little meditation group since the last time I was moved to post on this blog.

Our original host, Queenswood Centre, has now closed its doors for good and left us bereft of a venue, temporarily.  We did find another place to meditate in the Victoria West Community Centre, though.  Our new space is very different in neighbourhood feel, in soundscape and in standard of living of residents.  Where QW is situated in an established, rather affluent area of the city, the VWCC is in an old, rather more funky part of the city with many transient people.  It makes for more distractions in our meditation sessions, I think; but also it offers a challenge to our concentration that our group has matured enough to be able to handle.  Queenswood was the perfect place to found and develop a meditation group but taking the meditation into the ‘real’ world requires a more robust deployment of meditation skills.  With a soundscape full of children playing, people talking and arguing, busses going by and young men playing basketball this new venue will help us develop this aspect.  We are not especially religious, but even so I admire and venerate the Bodhisattva Vow, which venerates all Being not just the quiet, refined and polite ones.  I knew a Geshe once who often hung out downtown with the rif-raf because this is where the suffering was greatest.  Being forced from our womb-like, beautiful home has put us closer to the suffering of real life and is going to be good for our practice.

Even though I strive to teach meditation and think it has the power to save us all, I confess to not enjoying long sittings.  I am looking forward to seeing Norman again though, and several of the students who sit with me will be there, and that will be nice.  But I have not left the island for many years and it’s a long trip just to endure a few days of discomfort.

Here’s a talk I gave at our May meditation retreat.  It’s rather long and I do not recall what I was on about, but maybe someone will enjoy it:

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