Friday, June 08, 2007

Gad Damn Hippies!

When I attended my first meditation class six months ago I never envisaged myself going on a three day retreat with a bunch of tree-hugging hippies. But here I am, all packed with my mobile and camera and Ipod and sunscreen and cowboy hat, preparing to go upstate to the Kadampa Meditation Centre to attend meditation classes and talks on Buddhist philosophy.

I've had a curiosity about Buddhism for a while, but never really explored in much depth. However, when I stumbled upon (or into) the Chakrasambara Meditation Center, a Buddhist center (located on the 5th floor of an office building), the warm, bright space, non-dogmatic approach and seemingly 'normal' people all appealed.

Since then, I've been testing out the philosophies in every day life and in particular, to how I approach challenges and mental buttresses. It works. There isn't any need to dress this up...for me, the tactics, the ways of understanding the world that come from the Buddhist viewpoint, make sense. I feel happier for having employed them...more 'myself' and noticeably calmer (according to relieved roommates, friends and family!)

(I am not without reservations on some aspects, but can come back to these later, with more knowledge).

Each session includes a guided meditation followed by a talk - ranging from the nature of reality and of self, to how to live, enjoy and use every moment wisely, to karma, death and enlightenment. Our main teacher is Kadam Morten, whose philosophical yet very down-to-earth, funny and accessible teachings pack in around 80 people per class. (He also happens to be quite a handsome man. sometimes I look around at the women in the class and wonder how many of them are using the class itself in a practice in non-attachment!!)

The classes never fail to stimulate my mind, and the meditation - which I now try to practice every morning - has been, for the most part, massively rewarding.

I'm not too sure what's going on this seeing a movie with good reviews, I haven't tried to find out too much about the content itself. I don't really even know the people that well...but it's unlikely there'll be any squabbling over who gets the most dessert. :)

Peace out.

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