Thursday, December 1, 2011

Advent at Great Heart Circle

This evening's monthly Great Heart Circle had the theme of Advent. After the usual relaxation to begin, we discussed the notion of life and spiritual practice as a journey, as exemplified in two of the Christian Advent stories - the three Magi following their star, and Mary and Jospeh following local political orders to travel home for the census. Both journeys end in the symbolic stable at Bethlehem. We talked about our own journeys, including sacred pilgrimages in India and Turkey, and the unexpected detours we're led into by life.

We lit an Advent Candle to start our period of silent Zen meditation, approaching the sitting practice as an expression of Hope. Then we ended with shared food and drink, with Christmas crackers and nuts and biscuits.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

November Great Heart Circle

This evening we held our monthly Great Heart Circle for training in Zen meditation in Leicester.

In place of a discussion this month, we had a movement workshop led by Marie. She had us synchronise our bodies and then introduce small changes to the movements, not only keeping together as a group but also becoming aware of how we notice the other people and their movements- how we perceive our environment, our habits of thought. As a second excercise she taught us "flocking", where we move as one unit following a leader, and then the leadership passes to someone else and we seamlessly switch to following them instead. So it was a kind of exercise both in harmonising with others and experiencing how we pass, receive and share the role of leading.

After silent meditation we had a meal again, listening to Gaelic singing about murderous lovers and romantic cows...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rumi's Birthday Celebration

This evening in our monthly Great Heart Circle, we celebrated the birthday of our 'patron saint', Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi. He was born 30th September 1207 in Afghanistan before moving to Anatolia where he lived, taught and created the poetrty he's loved for.

Mark had suggested we do something to honour the date, and by chance we ended up downstairs in the intimate room under our usual Garden Room in the Unitarian chapel. We held an evening of informal whirling training followed by silent meditation, whirling and singing together. So many cakes and sweets were brought that we couldn't begin to eat them all, so people went home with arms full of gifts from Mevlana Rumi!

Thanks to everyone for making it a very warm-hearted and enthusiastic celebration together.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

September Great Heart Circle

Last Thursday at our Great Heart Circle we had Steve Hart visiting from Leeds, who's been connected with sister groups in the North of England for several years. He led the relaxation/settling-in meditation we generally begin with, guiding us through the stages of "opening", "allowing" and "softening" with whatever arises in our experience.

As a theme for discussion, we explored Galway Kinnell's poem "St Francis and the Sow", followed by Silent Sitting meditation and a generous feast of shared food.

Saint Francis And The Sow

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Kirsty's Last Circle...

This evening we held our monthly Great Heart Circle in the garden room of the Unitarian chapel in Leicester city centre.

We made it a special leaving circle for Kirsty (centre bottom row in photo), who will be moving soon to work in Germany. People were invited to bring flowers for her, and we gave them to her in a little ceremony and then sang together.

Once again an amazing feast was had at the end - fresh bread, homemade chocolate cake, couscous, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, olives, juice and Italian family wine!

Friday, July 29, 2011


Welcome to the new blog of the Great Heart Society. We are a small and friendly meditation school based in Leicester, United Kingdom. At the moment we offer a "Great Heart Circle" on the first Thursday of every month in the Unitarian chapel in the city centre. The evening includes guided relaxation, discussion, silent Zen meditation from the Japanese tradition, and a shared feast at the end each time.

Please email or call Chris Starbuck on 07906040159 for details.

This blog is a continuation of our earlier blog at which posted events from both the Great Heart Society and the Zen Peacemaker Circles. Please feel free to visit this older blog to see our history going back to 2007.