Our campus is uniquely located in the Abbotsford Convent precinct in Melbourne’s inner east. We are immediately adjacent to the Collingwood Children’s Farm and nestled in a bend of the Yarra River.
Host: Chekam Baniardalan
Facilitator: Anahata Giri
Our circle began with the usual centring practice and introductions. Chekham shared this poem:
“This is a gathering of Learners*. In this gathering there is no high, no low, no smart, no ignorant, no special assembly, no grand discourse, no proper schooling required. There is no master, no disciple.” – RUMI
(* Please note we changed the original word “Lovers” to Learners to suit our group).
Anahata then introduced our theme of Meditation as Listening to our Self and to Others. Anahata guided the group through a meditation practice that focussed on feeling sensations, listening to sounds, following the breath.
By focussing on our immediate perceived experience we can let go of the habitual pattern of thinking. The practice culminated in watching the breath and mentally repeating on the in-breath “Just”, and on the out-breath “This”.
We practised simply being with our experience as it is, dropping any need to change our experience. Thoughts, emotions, sensations are all welcomed as we simply be with what arises. Then we acknowledged what qualities or ways of being we noticed began to arise in our practice. We shared our experience afterwards. Anahata also shared a poem that expresses what our meditation practice can give us, that we can then bring into our daily life:
These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here,
Opening to the life we have
refused, again and again,
Until now. – David Whyte
Then, in pairs, we did a listening practice, with one person answering the question: “What am I loving about parenting?”, the other person listening from a meditative space, listening without saying anything, listening by being present and being rested in some of the qualities that were there in our self-meditation practice. We then swapped over. We then discussed some of the challenges and effects of listening in this way. We also discussed when this way of listening as simply being present could be especially useful such as: during conflict, when someone is expressing strong emotion, when holding the space for someone during illness or dying or birthing…Our discussion lead to the question: how do we maintain this centre in the face of really intense emotions or situations? The group agreed that this would be a good question for a future session.
For the next session we agreed to explore as a group our feelings and ideas about the School Improvement Plan. We agreed not to make this too task-oriented but more a sharing of our feelings and ideas, in the spirit of the way the Parents’ College has been operating. We also agreed to discuss how to promote and run the Parents College more effectively. Jennifer and Eleni will facilitate this session. Lesley has also offered to speak about the Parents’ College to promote it, at the next School Improvement Plan meeting.
Written by Anahata Giri