Whilst practising mindfulness and meditation on our own is very valuable, having the presence and practical support of others is of great benefit. When meeting as a sangha we can be a reminder to each other to live mindfully, aware of our thoughts, speech and actions.
The practice at meetings is very simple and relatively informal (so don't worry about the order of things too much, just relax and be present). A typical meeting of the sangha may include the following:
A guided meditation (for example focussing on the breath as a means of coming back to ourselves)
A walking meditation (enjoying walking without feeling we have to get somewhere else)
A silent meditation
An inspiring reading and group sharing on that reading
Reciting the Five Mindfulness Trainings (these are a personal commitment to live in ways that nurture respect, love and understanding for ourselves, others and the environment). A copy of the Five Mindfulness Trainings can be found on the Plum Village website here.
During the practice the bell is sounded to mark the different elements of the meeting listed above. However, most importantly the bell is used throughout the practice to bring us back to the present moment.
At points in the practice we bow. Many people find this action a very personal way of expressing their gratitude and respect. For example, in our discussions we bow in order to signal to others that we would like to say something and we bow again to signal that we have finished. This is a great way of allowing a person the space to speak without feeling rushed and others the opportunity to listen deeply without feeling the need to interject.
Chairs are not always available, so bring a cushion, stool or blanket to sit on. If you need a chair and do not have one to bring, please do get in touch and we will do our utmost to provide one for you.
At the beginning of the meeting we take off our shoes as a mark of respect for the space and the time together as a sangha.
The sangha is there for our collective benefit. It is a not-for-profit organisation and attending the meetings is free. If you are able to contribute towards the hire of the room then donations would be gratefully received.