Location: We send a weekly email to our google group with practice location- zoom, in person and hybrid.
Practice : The first hour includes silent sitting and walking meditation; the second hour includes mindful tea followed by dharma sharing.
Comfort during meditation: During sitting meditation, feel free to sit on a cushion, sit in a chair, stand up, or lie down. During walking meditation, you can walk in your room or outside.
Transitions: When it's time to change activities, the facilitator will signal the transition with the sound of a bell.
Gathas, incense, and candles: We use 'gathas' or short mindfulness sayings at different points in our practice, especially when lighting incense and candles.
Bowing: Bowing is a greeting of respect and a reminder to be mindful in that moment. This is a practice of putting your hands together at your heart, making a lotus with your hands and bowing forward slightly. Bowing is used before speaking, when we finish speaking, and as a greeting.
The Five Mindfulness Trainings: The Five Mindfulness Trainings, a set of principles that date back to the Buddha's early teachings. The Buddha offered these as principles meant simply to guide us to more mindful ways of living; they are not 'commandments. We recite the 5 Mindfulness Trainings every other month.
Tea and Snacks: We take time for tea as a way to practice the Fifth Mindfulness Training, "mindful consumption". Eat quietly, mindful of each bite, each sip, and all of the sensations of taste, texture, and temperature from moment to moment. In person practice does not have currently have tea and snacks.
Dharma sharing: This helps us practice of the Fourth Mindfulness Training, "deep listening and loving speech". It's a time to listen deeply and speak from your heart about your own experiences; it's not a time to give advice or to engage in debate.
Closing: The practice comes to a close with three bows and three bells. The bows honor the Three Jewels: the Buddha (our ancestral and current teachers), the Dharma (the teachings, old and new), and the Sangha (our community of practice). Finally, we dedicate the merits of the practice, honoring our commitment to practice mindfulness for the benefit of all beings.
For Newcomers To join or email list, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. When requesting to join, let us know why you are interested attending our group, and any experience you have with meditation and Zen practice, and the Plum Village tradition. Feel free to arrive early to speak with one of the facilitators.
Lazy Sundays Occasionally, we will cancel a weekly practice and encourage you to practice on your own. We'll share suggestions for on-line resources, other study materials, and practice activities.
Meditation Tips In meditation, it matters more what you do with your mind than what you do with your body. Sitting on a cushion cross-legged, sitting on a chair, sitting on a small bench, standing, lying down -- these are all matters of individual preference and physical capability. The goal is to find a position for your body that will free you to pay attention to what is going on in your mind.
While meditating, maintain awareness of your entire being. When sitting, keep your spine in an aligned and lifted position to allow deeper breathing. Periodically scan your body for signs of discomfort and quietly adjust yourself as needed.
One way to meditate is to "follow" or pay attention to your breath. When you notice that your mind has wandered, bring it back by gently re-focusing on your breathing. This helps you settle the restless activity of the mind so you can begin to notice what is happening within you in the present moment.
Inevitably, you will be distracted by additional sensations, thoughts, and emotions during meditation. Don't fight or judge them. Simply observe them, letting them come and go. You might want to examine one of them more closely to see what it has to say to you. Listen to your thoughts and emotions with respect, curiosity and love. Practice letting go of judgments when you can.
You might also choose to silently repeat a gatha or short phrase to help you focus your mind. Here are some short gathas offered by Thich Nhat Hanh to coordinate with your breath: In-Out; Deep-Slow; Calm-Ease; Smile-Release; Present Moment-Wonderful Moment. Slowly say the first word to yourself, as you breathe in, then say the second word as you breathe out.
During walking meditation, take each step at a gentle, mindful pace, paying attention to how the sensation of slow walking shows in different parts of your body. You might want to coordinate your steps with the rhythm of your breathing. Walking meditation helps us learn to be more mindful "off the cushion."
Donations The sangha supports itself by accepting donations or "dana" in the spirit of sharing resources generously. There is no obligation to contribute, nor is there a fee to attend practice. We use the dana to cover our costs. We also make donations to our larger sangha and offer scholarships for sangha members to attend retreats.
Other Local Activities
Peaceful Heart Sangha is part of a network of sanghas in Colorado and Wyoming. We occasionally help host "Days of Mindfulness" as well as longer retreats with teachers in the Plum Village tradition.