Something New

It’s been a few weeks since I last logged-in and wrote here and that also means that you’ve ‘missed’ the end to my CBT course. It was strange last week; to arrive home on a Monday evening with nowhere to go… At the same time though, it was welcome to have an evening at the start of a long week where I could just relax!

As that course ended, we were encouraged to ‘fill that space’ with something. If we’re able to allow ourselves to spend two hours of one evening each week on doing something that we want to do; an activity from which we’ll benefit then surely, that space remains available for a different activity.

I’ve been aware (and interested) that Positive Step offer an eight-week course in Mindfulness. But attending that course is not as straight-forward as you might expect… A telephone conversation/interview with the course leader is required before hand, so that you can both assess whether it will suit you personally. Because it requires quite a commitment for anyone not currently practising on a very regular basis… You’re required to practice mindfulness for forty-five minutes each and every night in your own spare time! But also, the next course doesn’t start until the new year and so, that would’ve been a rather long wait.

I don’t see any personal benefit from the Anger Management course (which they’ve recently renamed) and without repeating either of the two courses I’ve already completed, that would leave me with just the Assertiveness course to follow… Which I’ve decided to ‘postpone’ for the time being, simply because it is the one offering that involves ROLE PLAY!! :-S

Anyway, this week – tonight, in fact – I’ve begun a new regular dose of doing something that benefits me…

When I met someone new back in June and we quickly established a shared interest in meditation (among other things), she shared with me some information on a course she had attended not too far from where I live. These courses and drop-in sessions are run all over the Bristol area at one of several Amitabha Buddist Centres. Until now, I’ve only really been meditating once a month at a Triratna Buddhist Centre in Bristol (most recently, this past weekend) and as much as I do enjoy and benefit from going there, I’ve been searching and hoping to find something similar but closer to home. Well, I think this is about as close as I’m going to get.

I’m not 100% certain of the differences between both centres and methods of teaching. For one, this’ll be the first meditation course that I’ve attended, as opposing to simply arriving for regular drop-in sessions. As my friend forewarned me; the evening features a lot of listening to the teacher read direct from a book (I wish I could remember its title…).

We’re on the quest for inner peace, which is not a million miles away from what we search for at the Triratna centre. We began this evening with a ten-minute practice of the mindfulness of breathing and the only other meditation came in the form of another ten-minutes of visualisation (positive energy) before we said thank you and goodnight. So, for a ninety-minute session, you might spend the best part of an hour listening. But of course, the floor is also open for questioning and discussion.

It’s not as daunting as it might sound… It was hard to listen at first but the first meditation certainly settled me and I noticed a distinct feeling of weightlessness in my hands afterwards. It didn’t feel like an hour; as conscious as I was of frequently wanting to look at my watch. We began learning about the importance of finding happiness within ourselves first and how striving for happiness from other sources (material and interpersonal, for example) doesn’t guarantee inner peace; it doesn’t come without risk of negative thoughts and emotion. That’s about as simply as I can put it tonight.

These are things I’ve come to learn myself (although I am still practising). One area I struggled with this evening is the belief that we are all good people and that bad people who do very bad things are only doing this because of things like anger… Our seemed to be trying to say that anger and negative emotions come from external sources? It is something we will delve in to later on. Right now, I just can’t see how some people (thinking of a violent person I know of) can also be good.

This was my first attempt at trying a guided meditation (in person) in an evening after work. I was hesitating over whether or not to go; using my feelings of tiredness after a ten-hour day and a ninety-minute nap as a plausible excuse to stay laying on my bed… I’m glad I went and I’m proud of myself for doing it alone, without waiting for another day when it might be more convenient for a friend to accompany me. Trying to meditate at the end of the day seems much harder than first thing on a Saturday afternoon. My mind was already full of a day’s worth of… Work! But I’ve come away this evening feeling as though I’ve seen a glimmer of that enlightenment we all hope for.

In a room full of people who appeared to be middle-aged or over, it was hard to ignore some of the rumbling stomachs during the quiet times (especially that one across the room that sounded like a long fart… At least I heard someone else snigger, as I managed to contain my breath). My ‘actively seeking’ mind noticed that there was one woman perhaps approximately my own age and then, came all the questions… ‘Who is she??? I wonder??? Maybe??? How do I???‘ …Precisely the kind of thoughts that can quickly shift my mind in to reverse gear and back down the road in to negativity.

I have a feeling that my final paragraph might’ve slipped my mind as I finished that last one. Or, I was going to end this post simply by saying that this is currently a fortnightly course, with the hope that it might one day become weekly (fingers crossed). There was only eight or nine of us in attendance… Contrast that with the THIRTY who squeezed in to the sitting room on Saturday morning!! 😉

If there is one serious downside to this course, it’s that they don’t serve the tea and biscuits until the very end of the evening!! 😀

Thank you for reading. I hope you are all doing well.

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One comment on “Something New

  1. Well done for going by yourself! Glad it went well 🙂 xx

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