Christmas & New Year 2019/20

Just to let you know that the Monday evening sessions at Santosa have now finished for this year and we will meet again there from Monday 13 January 2020

The final Thursday session at St Marks for 2019 will be on the 18th December and then we will be off until Thursday 9th January.

In the meantime our Unitarian friends are offering a series of events over the Christmas period:

Or it is a lovely time to go for a walk:

There’s no Peace Walk, the Peace is the Walk.

Sex, Spirit & Sangha: The Third Mindfulness Training A Day of Mindfulness with Jane Ellen Combelic

“True love… is an infinite force of light and of love that speaks
of our interconnectedness with all things.”

Love’s Garden: A Guide to Mindful Relationships by Peggy Rowe Ward and Larry Ward

Together we will investigate the third of Thich Nhat Hanh’s five mindfulness trainings (precepts), “True Love,” which begins: “Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivating sexual responsibility and learning ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society.”We will look deeply at the creative and destructive power of sexual energy, and see how spiritual practice can enliven and enhance our most intimate relationships.

Jane Ellen Combelic is a storyteller, writer, and artist who teaches mindfulness and embodied spirituality. She is a senior student of Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh and former editor of The Mindfulness Bell. After being ordained into the Order of Interbeing in 2006, she founded Lotus Blossom Sangha in her hometown in Colorado. Since her move to Scotland in 2010 she has been an active member of Northern Lights Sangha at Findhorn, where she frequently leads days of mindfulness. For the last three years she has also been a student of Living Tantra, a deeply spiritual practice integrating body and mind. Jane is the author of a memoir, No Coming, No Going, about the year she spent at Plum Village and in Vietnam with Thay, and she’s at work on a sequel—about finding true love.

When: Saturday 30th November 2019 – 9:15am to 4:00pm (please try to arrive a little earlier so that we can start at 09:30; stay for the whole day or just the morning)
Where: St. Marks Unitarian Church, Castle Terrace
Booking: Just turn up.
Bring: Small amount of vegetarian food to share if that is easy.
Cost: By donation – to cover the cost of hiring the venue etc. Suggested: £10 (£5).

Morning of Mindfulness Saturday 2nd November 2019: The Fading of Desire

Breathing: Our Way to FreedomBreathing Exercise 14: The Fading of Desire

This session will continue our exploration together of the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing. Having contemplated impermanence in the 13th breathing exercise, any desire we may have had for fame, power, wealth and sensory overindulgence is likely to have waned, having seen how transient they are. In fact, seeing from afar the hazards of a celebrity lifestyle, we may not feel the slightest desire to be rich, famous and powerful!

But what kind of power are we talking about and to what use do we wish to put it? Thay has spoken of the power of understanding, love and letting go. He has also spoken of the power of stillness.

If we change the language slightly and speak instead of recognition, influence, security and intimacy, then we encounter powerful volitions that affect us all in one way or another.

We will explore our own experiences of seeking recognition, influence, security and intimacy using guided meditation, readings and sharing in small groups. We will also investigate the causes and conditions of contentment.

We will share a mindful lunch so please bring a little vegetarian or vegan food to share.

Tea will be provided. Cushions, mats and blankets are available at the venue, but you are welcome to bring your own if you prefer.

The session will be facilitated by Pete and Gustaf and will run from 09:15 for a 9:30 start until 1:00 pm at St. Marks Unitarian Church.

When: Saturday 2nd November 2019 – 9:15am to 1:00pm (Please try to arrive a little earlier so that we can start at 09:30)
Where: St. Marks Unitarian Church, Castle Terrace
Booking: Just turn up.
Bring: Small amount of vegetarian food to share if that is easy.
Cost: By donation – to cover the cost of hiring the venue etc. Suggested: £10 (£5).

Practising in Unsettling Times Mindfulness Retreat Thursday 19 September – Sunday 22 September 2019 The Burn, Edzell, Angus

The Touching the Earth Sangha in Banchory are delighted to invite you to our special retreat at the Burn, near Edzell, during the 3rd weekend of September 2019. 

Led by Teri West, an experienced mindfulness practitioner and lay teacher in the tradition of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh. (You can find Teri’s Facebook page at ). We will be offered a range of opportunities to discover life in the present moment. For beginners as well as for those with experience, this is a rare chance to enjoy learning about mindfulness through practice in a most beautiful environment.

The retreat will run from 18.00 on Thursday 19 September (arrival from 16.00) until 15.00 on Sunday 22 September 2019.  Although, our facilitator is a lay teacher of the Zen Community of Interbeing, the weekend will be run in a largely secular manner. Everyone is welcome including those from all religious traditions as well as agnostics and atheists.

We are anticipating a high demand for this retreat so we recommend early booking using the form below.

Teri has pursued various occupations since leaving home as a teenager. By her mid 40s she began working as a professional storyteller, singer, part-time poet and as a member of an improvising clown group in the Nose to Nose school of clowning. She currently takes to the stage at every opportunity, using song to take a dharma message into the unlikely environment of the world of cabaret and has co-led the weekend course, ‘Clown and the Art of Mindfulness’, on three occasions at the European Institute for Applied Buddhism in Germany. Further such courses are scheduled for June and September this year.

Teri was fortunate to be invited to Plum Village in 1988 as a guest with friends of Thay who had worked with him in the ‘70s on founding a charity for Vietnamese refugees. This was a powerful experience. Teri bought ‘Breathe, you are alive!’ which, together with ‘The Miracle of Mindfulness’, brought Buddhism into a grounded, practical form that Teri could relate to, having previously read somewhat intellectual, complicated theories.

She’s been a student of Thay’s since that time, working on various retreats, particularly those that welcome families and founding the Westcountry Sangha (which brings together practitioners from the South-west and provides a base where members of all the local sanghas in the region can come together to share practice). She’s a member of the North Devon Sangha.

Teri was ordained into the Order of Interbeing in 2000, receiving the dharma name ‘True Door of Virtue’ (chan duc mon) and the Lamp Transmission as a dharma teacher in 2016.

Listen to Teri explain why she writes Haiku poetry.

Watering Seeds of Creativity & Joy: 5th October 2019

Our friends in the Poppy Seed Sangha are hosting a Mindfulness Day with Susanne Olbrich on Saturday on 5th October 2019 from 10am to 4pm at Westbank Natural Health Centre in Strathmiglo, Cupar.

A group of us Wild Geese are planning to fly North and help make this a joining of the Sanghas. Near the time we will try and synchronise travel arrangements. If you are going please drop Orla an email as numbers are limited. If you could offer a lift, or need one, please speak out at one of our regular meetings or use the contact form.

We all have the seeds of creativity and joy in us and this day will be an opportunity to water them. Let’s come together for mindful breathing, sitting, walking and eating to slow down and reconnect with the source of peace and joy inside. By coming home to ourselves, relaxing body and mind, and allowing the senses to open up, we will embark on a journey of discovery with sound, music, words, colour and nature materials. Through simple creative activities, weather permitting outdoors, we will nurture awareness, openness, playfulness, curiosity, kindness and a spirit of adventure in ourselves and each other. You are invited to explore and experiment, to be receptive, to be. Everyone welcome!

Susanne Olbrich, True Ever-present Stability, is a musician, music educator and mindfulness teacher based at Findhorn, where she co-founded the Northern Lights Sangha. In 2016 she received the Lamp Transmission as a dharma teacher in Plum Village. She loves offering retreats and days combining mindfulness and creative expression.

If you use Facebook you could register your interest on the Facebook event.

Please bring:-

  • A musical instrument if you have one (whether you can play it or not), crayons or pastels.
  • Food for the day. We will provide teas/ coffees.
  • A meditation cushion/ stool if you have one, don’t worry if not, we have a few spare and some chairs (these are quite hard so a small cushion can be beneficial).
  • A favourite blanket or shawl for warmth. Slippers or warm socks can also be nice.
  • Outdoor shoes and coat.

There is no fee for the day but the opportunity will be there to offer dana (a voluntary contribution) to our visiting teacher.

Summer Break for Thursday Evenings

It is summertime and the livin’ is easy. It is also the time of the Edinburgh International and Fringe Festivals. During August St Marks is used as a festival venue in the evenings and so we will not meeting on Thursday evenings in August.

The good news is that all our other meetings continue as usual, including Mindfulness@Lunchtime at St Marks on a Tuesday. If you haven’t done so already why not check out our Monday nights at Santosa.

Enjoying the buzz of the city in the summer from the peaceful island in myself.