Monthly Shamatha—Purpose and Principles
Monthly Shamatha is a group of like-minded people who meet on a regular basis and do a retreat once a year. We are a collective of those committed to contemplative ways of life. As a group we share the common goal of learning and developing regular shamatha practice as a foundation for ongoing contemplative living. Although Buddhism is a common source of inspiration for many of our members, as a group we do not follow any particular religion, teacher or lineage. We use various methods (including art and science) to explore new ways of contemplative living. Usually we meet every third Saturday of the month to practice shamatha meditation together in the morning and share and discuss the challenges of various contemplative paths in the afternoon.
At the end of last year, we reviewed our 2017 activities and explored different possibilities for future meetings. People shared their continuing energy to keep up the monthly meetings at the Convent in 2018. Everyone present agreed that the unifying activity of shamatha meditation continues to be our core and abiding interest, with the aim of creating (and maintaining) a secular common
ground upon which to base a rich variety of contemplative practices. There was a renewed commitment and re-articulation of our
“The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of judgment, character, and will…An education which should improve this faculty would be the education par excellence.” William James, (1842-1910)
Plans for 2018
In 2018 we have scheduled two full days of practice in February and September (Shamatha Intensive). We are also planning another five day Urban Retreat in June. This will be non-residential, but with an expectation of keeping retreat commitments at home during the five days. As in previous years, this is primarily a practice retreat, but this year we will also explore the heart practices of Loving-kindness and Compassion drawn from the Buddhist tradition. Numbers will be limited so please register early. We are again planning a rich program of Saturday afternoon sessions in 2018 which includes: a panel discussion on ethics, various teachers sharing contemplative ways of working with the body, further forums on the science of meditation, and more explorations of contemplative poetics. Watch out for flyers coming out at the start of each month.