Thursday, February 16, 2012

New Monthly 'Metta Circle' Begins...

This evening we held our first 'Metta Circle', a monthly training in the ancient Buddhist practice of developing universal love for all beings. On the third Thursday of each month we'll have a short teaching on "metta" (love/kindness), a period of metta meditation, and a 'council circle' on the theme of love. We'll also sing together an old Buddhist chant "Sabbe Satta Sukhi Hontu" which means "May All Beings Be Well And Happy".

Keeping in mind that we're not simply a Buddhist group, though we use "Buddhist" practices, we dedicated this new circle to the memory of the late Shaikh Muzaffer Ozak of the Helveti Jerrahi Sufi tradition from Istanbul. He's a great teacher in one of the lineages we're born from, and was himself a particularly wonderful example of creating a community of love and appreciation for one another. He was also a lover of the "Divine Feminine" (for want of better words), as was his student the late Lex Hixon who also inspires our Great Heart Society.

We appproached Metta practice as the song of the Divine Mother who loves all her children, the Divine Feminine in all of us which is there waiting to be discovered and expressed in our lives.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Second Annual Burns Night, and New Ceremony!

This evening in our monthly Great Heart Circle we celebrated the poetry and spirit of Robert Burns, reading and singing together some of his most famous works- A Red Red Rose, Westlin' Winds, A Man's A Man and the Gowden Locks of Anna. We talked about Burns' detailed appreciation of nature, how he knew the names and lives of so many creatures, and how in our modern lives we lose so much of that, by not seeing the world around us as richly as we could.

At the end of the Zen meditation session, we held a small new ceremony. Our group has no membership, anyone coming along is as much a part of it as anyone else. So to find a way to celebrate our connectedness, we'll be giving a small ceremonial gift to anyone who's been coming along regularly for a year or more. This doesn't make them more of a member, it's just a way of appreciating the connection they've made with us all. For this first ceremony, where there were seven people who've been coming along at least a year, we each received a handmade coloured Indian scroll with a line from a Zen poem written on it.

Next month will mark 2 years of us meeting in the Unitarian Chapel in Leicester, and on the third Thursday of this month we'll be starting a second circle, in someone's house, to work with the Buddhist meditation practice of developing universal Love, called "Metta" in the old language of Pali - the wish for all beings to be well, happy and that their heart's wish be fulfilled.

So let us pray that come it may,
As come it will for a' that,
That sense and worth o'er all the earth
May bear the gree and a' that.
For a' that and a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That man to man, the world o'er
Shall brothers be, for a' that.

Robert Burns