I survived my first Buddhist meditation session, going along with my friend, Ted, who is a regular practitioner.
Just like I go to Mass every Sunday morning, he’s at his dhamma group on Sunday evenings. So it was good to check it out.
The meditation sessions are held in a yoga studio in downtown Takoma Park, so easy to get there by bus. (Ted also doesn’t have a car.)
When you enter, the women go into a small room to remove their coats and shoes, and the guys go into another room to do the same.
We then join in a large room where people choose whether to sit lotus-position on the floor (only a couple of women), sit straight-legged on the floor with a wall for back support, or sit in a chair.
We started with a chant in Pali, which was the language of Buddha’s day, I’m told. Then the teacher led us in a little guided meditation, to focus us on our breath and then to help us wander around our minds to explore there in a detached way that I can’t even begin to understand yet, and so can’t explain. The remaining half hour we just sat, with me seeing it as a time of meditative prayer.
The teacher then spent another half-hour on one of the Buddha’s teachings, translated into the modern psychological concept of how we get “hooked” on things and need to “unhook” ourselves. It was all pretty interesting, and Ted and I talked about it all afterward.
He gave me a little booklet on meditation, which I’ve glanced through and see how it can be helpful in making my prayer time more meditative, rather than so focused on readings and experiences.