The reality of impermanence in our daily life is a core teaching of the Buddha, as we recognize that nothing is ever permanent. That goes for meditation circles, too! After a good long run of more than 20 years, The Meditation Circle of Charleston WV will be closing down for good its in-person meditation meetups in Charleston WV at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation building, effective the end of this month of June 2022.
We are doing this as a result of health issues and ongoing scheduling conflicts with the group’s longtime co-facilitators. We have had a good long run of gathering, sitting, experiencing and discussing meditation and mindfulness together, encouraging one another to deepen our respective practices. As we go our separate ways with this particular circle, we encourage you to seek out other meditation circles, groups, and gatherings. A ’sangha’ or group of fellow practitioners is important as a means of supporting and diving deeper into the remarkable spiritual benefits of building one’s life around meditation and mindfulness practice.
To that end, we recommend a couple of resources:
BHANTE G ZOOM MEDITATION SESSIONS
Bhante Gunaratana, the 94-year-old abbot of the Bhavana Society Theravada Buddhist Monastery in High View, W.Va., leads Buddhist meditations and talks from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on most Saturdays and Sundays at the ZOOM link below. Type in the password ‘metta’ (a Pali word that signifies ‘loving-kindness or loving-friendliness’). On Saturday, the half-hour guided meditation is followed by a talk on Buddhist teachings. On Sundays, people in the session can ask questions on spiritual practice directly of Bhante G.
ZOOM LOG-IN: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/668674778
BHAVANA YOUTUBE PAGE
An excellent, constantly updated roundup of videos on meditation, mindfulness and Buddhist teachings for both adults and youth. Bhante G’s guided meditations and talks from his weekend ZOOM sessions are uploaded here.
THE MINDFULNESS TREE
The Mindfulness Tree, an online meditation group led by Dr. Christine Blice-Baum, is now based in Charleston. Dr. Blice-Baum is an ordained Lutheran pastor, a student of Buddhism, and meditation practitioner. She received an MA in Religious Studies (Buddhist Studies) from the University of the West in Los Angeles CA, a Buddhist institution, where she is currently a PhD student. She served as an active duty chaplain in the United States Air Force for more than 20 years.
“START HERE, START NOW: A SHORT GUIDE TO MINDFULNESS MEDITATION”: A master of mindfulness, who has taught thousands to meditate, Bhante G. will show you exactly how to start your own practice and make it a part of your daily life.
“MINDFULNESS IN PLAIN ENGLISH”: A longer version of the book above. If you’re just starting out with meditation or looking to explore more deeply a recently-begun experience with meditation, we cannot recommend highly enough the book “Mindfulness in Plain English,” by Bhante G, a book that Jon Kabat-Zinn has called a “masterpiece” and which has been translated into more than 20 languages since it was published more than 20 years ago.
We intend to keep The Meditation Circle website up and running and updated with inspirational quotes and resources. The following meditation resource link is full of helpful guides and encouragement to deepening one’s meditation practice.
TEACHERS and RETREATS
As the founders and longtime co-facilitators of The Meditation Circle, we have long emphasized we are not meditation teachers and Buddhist instructors. If you’re wishing to deepen your experience and understanding of meditation in the Buddhist insight or vipassana tradition, we encourage you to seek out lay and ordained teachers and to try out meditation retreats. Doug and Thad have both experienced retreats in a wide variety of traditions. See what speaks most to you!
NOTE: If you have been or are interested in Bhante Gunaratana’s Bhavana Society in the West Virginia hills, the monastery and retreat center resumed retreats this year. Retreats open for sign-up 30 days in advance of the first day. Register fast! They fill up quickly as people come to Bhavana from around the country and world:
Be well and sit on! With metta,
Doug and Thad