The Meditation Circle of Charleston recently changed its monthly format. Here is our new ‘About’ Page with details on the changes.
WHO WE ARE:
Welcome. The Meditation Circle is a meditation group in the Buddhist tradition, practicing vipassana or insight meditation. We’re based in Charleston, West Virginia and meet every Tuesday from 6 to 7:15 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 520 Kanawha Blvd. The group has been ongoing in Charleston for more than a decade and is facilitated by founding members Douglas Imbrogno and Thad Settle. Although our meditation style is derived from the Theravada Buddhist tradition of Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, you do not have to be a Buddhist to join us or benefit from mindfulness meditation. Beginners are welcome and will be offered basic sitting guidance. We’re a lay support group for people interested in meditation or who wish to deepen their practice through the support of a meditation sangha. Our members come from a wide variety of spiritual traditions and backgrounds. We encourage people to seek out seasoned teachers to further their practice. Bring a cushion if you have sat in meditation before or chairs are available.
WHAT WE DO:
We practice Insight Meditation, or Samatha-Vipassana , a style of meditation that helps the mind attain deeper levels of calm concentration (samatha) through sustained attention on the breath, then combines this with the crucial aspect of insight (or vipassana ) through contemplation of the mind and body and all of its changing and impermanent senses, emotions, and thoughts. Literally meaning “to see clearly,” Insight Meditation trains us to live more mindfully in the present moment, enables us to experience life from a greater stillness, and aids us in relating to both ourselves and others with increased clarity and compassion, and less fear, anxiety, and stress. Along with these and a long list of other psychological benefits, meditation has also been shown to reduce stress in the body, lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, alleviate depression, prevent and reverse memory loss, and boost the immune system. It also increases the size of areas in the brain associated with attention, compassion, calmness, and creativity.
Guided Meditation Night: Every 1st and 3rd Tuesday from 6 to 7:15 p.m:
The evening begins with a 20-minute guided meditation, followed by 10-15 minutes of silent meditation. There is then a short period of meditation in movement based on simple Qigong or yoga exercises. Following the meditation period, a 10-15 minute teaching may be offered from a meditation text/book. The remainder of the session is discussion, where participants are encouraged to talk about their meditation experience, the reading, and how they’re using mindfulness practice in their daily lives. We close the sit with a 10-minute Metta meditation. (Metta is the Pali term for loving-kindness or friendliness.)
NOTE: These are good nights for newcomers to attend although you are welcome at any time.
Noble Silence Night: Every 2nd & 4th Tuesday from 6 to 7:15 p.m:
We sit in silence for two periods of approximately 20-25 minutes each this night. There is an opportunity to stretch and move quietly between rounds of meditation. (Folks who may not be ready to sit two periods may do one and then depart at the end of the first round). Questions about practice that may arise during the Noble Silence can be addressed at the end of the meditation. This period is followed by a Metta meditation.
NOTE: Newcomers who attend on these nights are invited to follow the signs for beginner meditation instruction in one of the building’s back rooms, including a short orientation and a chance to ask questions.
If there is a 5th Tuesday in the month, we follow the Noble Silence Night format.
Come join the Circle! (Although sometimes it resembles an oblong or parallelogram, but the Meditation Parallelogram of Charleston didn’t have quite the right sound.)