Each Tuesday for the last 6 months or so we have been holding a meditation class in the NOW gallery. One of the struggles for someone like me on the peninsula is finding space that is suitable to offer stuff from … and the gallery staff have been amazing in supporting what we are trying to achieve by letting us use some space to offer a free meditation class for anyone that wishes to come. We get anywhere between 2 and 12 people coming to this class each week, although recently numbers have dropped off as a lot of things seem to do in the summer months.
Following on from yesterdays happiness/Ravensbourne post I was asked if I could run a mindful meditation class in the college for students and staff to attend as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. I did and we had nearly 40 people turn up. The majority of people were students, some were staff.
Most of the 40 had not tried any form of meditation before. I shared that I have used the John Main style of meditation a lot and they were happy to try that using a word to repeat over and over again for 20 mins. John main suggests ‘Maranatha’, which means ‘Our God comes’ … I also offer ‘Metanoia’, which means ‘change my heart / mind’. I like to offer this alternative (or any other word people may be comfortable with) so people with no faith feel comfortable to join as well as those with a particular faith.
I find that 20 mins is a good length for introducing people to silent meditation … and often I give a reminder at the 5 or 10 min markers to remind people to re focus on their word and let them know how much time has gone.
Although the meditation lasted only 20 minutes I was then questioned by students for a further 30minutes as the majority of them could see that what they had just been involved with connected with them spiritually and had a positive impact on reducing their level of stress. (I should have mentioned that before the meditation started I gave everything a credit card size piece of paper with the words foe and after on. I asked them to rate their stress level out of 10 before we started and then again after the 20 min silent meditation. Everyone had decreased by at least 2 points… e.g. 7 out of 10 to 5 out of 10).
It’s been great to hear that both the college staff and students have requested that I return to run another meditation class, and some are asking whether it could become more regular. So .. that is a case of watch this space to see what further impact we can have here in supporting students and the college.
It’s just amazing sometimes how God opens up little opportunities for us to be able to have a positive impact in our local communities and individual lives.
Meditation continues every Tuesday at the NOW gallery from 6 … we usually start at 6:10pm, finish at 6:30pm and sometimes some of us go for a bite to eat or a drink … or go home a little more de-stressed then when we arrived …. why not come try it out!
Last Tuesday was a difficult frustrating day.
The kind of day when you ask whether you even know what you are doing as nothing seems to work.
Last Tuesday after months of planning I went somewhere to start a project and myself and my colleague were not expected. So the project never got started. (It will in a few weeks!)
I then led a meditation class later that day and no one came!
These two events are lynchpins in the hypothesis we are testing here to engage with people, so the very fact they stumbled felt quite major.
This Tuesday was completely different!
Today I attended a great meeting with others at Ravensbourne College where people were gathered together to see how we might work together to make a difference. I guess the roots of this meeting came form a regional RSA meeting where I take about how we build community in places of new builds such as Greenwich Peninsula.
Today we gathered as architects, research staff, innovators, entrepreneurs, developers and a vicar! WE chatted fir two hours united in our desire to name a difference, to help people, and to spark community development. It was a great meeting and one where people shared ideas and displayed a willingness to come together and try things together.
Following that I led this weeks meditation session in the NOW Gallery. We had 6 people which was a surprise after last week. At each session I ask people to record how stressed they feel on a scale of 1 – 10before we start. We then have a simple breathing exercise before we silently meditate for 20 minutes. Each person felt their stress level dropped by at least 3 points and one person even wrote a thank you on their record!
At the end of the meditation I received lots of messages about Agapai tomorrow and it looks like we will have 6 people …. which I think is the largest number ever!
My day ended with having dinner with an amazing friend … so a pretty cool day really!
It’s strange how one day in a week can be so polar opposite to the same day in the next!
Tonight we ran our first Mindfulness Meditation session on the Peninsula. It’s great to be able to do this in partnership with the people of Now Gallery.
We used the John Main school of meditation and his use of the mantra or sacred word such as maranatha or metanoia.
This was the first event HTGP has done like this …. and there was not as many there as I thought there would be based on feedback …. but also there was not as few there as my worst fear would have liked me to believe.
Tonight was a good start which I hope we will build on … not so we look good or can say how many people we are serving … but because we genuinely believe this is what the people of the area need in their lives …. time to just be and discover or rediscover ‘stuff’. In the feedback slips everyone felt their stress level had dropped which is why we are there!
So …. if you feel you missed out … same time and same place next Tuesday!
Today has been a good day.
A day of surprise conversations.
A day of unexpected opportunities.
A day of good interaction.
A day of sharing some dreams.
And even some laughter.
All the above came as a surprise.
Because today was supposed to also be the start of a new project which has had to be delayed at the last minute for a few more weeks. So, actually, I was expecting today to be a bit of a ‘meh’ day to be honest. Adding to this that I had a meeting that I needed to be at this evening which meant I would not be able to go to the Gills match with Joe meant I was expecting nothing of real value to come out of today.
But I was wrong.
And sometimes I like to be wrong.
A couple of new opportunities arouse today but the real exciting part of the day was to see this advert on the NOW gallery website. The above picture is our advertising postcard and flyer. So …. it’s official …. next week I will be leading our first meditation session in the gallery. It’s taken 18 months to get to a place where we can attempt to try to deliver stuff that we think will be a support to the local community.
18 months of listening and trying things … and I now feel that we are on the brink of a new era, a new way of working and new relationships …. time will tell …. so watch this space … tomorrow I will be sharing how you can ask get involved in this excitement!
Today was a pretty exciting day.
A little while back I met with some of the great people from NOW gallery on the peninsula.
Today we met briefly again and made some definite plans.
The image above is the resulting flyer … the photo I took from the balcony outside my kitchen with the sun setting behind Greenwich.
For a little while I have been looking for a special space to hold a meditation session for people coming home from work. In a few weeks we will be piloting a short John Main style meditation from the gallery …. how exciting is that!
This is part of HTGP‘s testing out of a hypothesis that mindfulness and wellbeing are ways that we can both support and relevantly engage with people on the peninsula.
The publicity from Now will say something similar to this:
Mindfulness Meditation is simple, being simple means being ourselves.
It means passing beyond self consciousness, self analysis and self rejection.
Meditation is a universal spiritual practice which guides us into this state of prayer which brings us to silence, stillness and simplicity.
The meditation itself will last for 20 mins and involves the repetition of single word faithfully throughout the meditation.
This is a very ancient Christian method of meditation, originating from the 4th Century and rediscovered by John Main (1926-1981), a Benedictine monk, in the 1940’s.
Recent research into the effects of mindfulness meditation found that after just four sessions participants with no prior meditation experience had improved mood and reduced fatigue and anxiety.
Join us at NOW Gallery on a Tuesday from 6:15pm until 7.00pm for Mind-ful(l)
We will be praying that this will be a real and relevant support for people who live here
Sound interesting to you? …. watch this space for the February launch date
I led the monthly Taize service in the cathedral last night. This is a calm, meditative and contemplative service with lots of pauses and silences. I enjoy this service as it allows people to simply take their time with God.
I changed the format a little last night. usually the format is that of chants interspersed by two readings and silences after the readings. Last night I chose to replace one of the readings with a guided meditation which people seemed to find quite powerful. The theme for this month was ‘meeting Jesus’.
I used a meditation that I have adapted and used before from a very old youth work book called ’40 Devotions that work with Youth’ which is a little gem I pull off the shelf now and again. A number of people asked for a copy of the ‘Meeting Jesus’ meditation and so if you are interested you can download it from here.