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Meditation is a natural state of the human mind—at rest, open, alert. The practice of meditation has been taught for over 2,500 years as a vehicle for realizing the beauty and magic of the ordinary world without aggression or manipulation.
The teachings of Shambhala Buddhism emphasize the potential for enlightenment inherent in every situation or state of mind. Through discipline, gentleness and a sense of humor, the practitioner is invited to let go of conflicting emotions and wake up on the spot.
Mindfulness/awareness meditation is the foundation of all that we do at the Birmingham Shambhala Meditation Center. This ancient practice of self-discovery is rooted in the simple but revolutionary premise that every human being has the ability to cultivate the mind’s inherent stability, clarity and strength in order to be more awake and to develop the compassion and insight necessary to care for oneself and the world genuinely.
About Meditation Instruction
Meditation instruction is available to anyone, free of charge. We offer introductory instruction to newcomers and follow-up instruction to other practitioners on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights, as part of our Open House program, and at other times by appointment.
Not just for “new” meditators, instruction is also recommended as part of our ongoing practice. You are always welcome to come in and speak to one of our Meditation Instructors (see below) about your regular practice and you may even ask to form a working relationship with the Instructor of your choice. Depending on a student’s interest and experience, meditation instruction might include:
Introducing the practice of meditation – Introductory meditation instruction presents the basic meditation techniques taught in the Shambhala community.
Clarifying the view of meditation – In our tradition, meditation instruction involves more than the communication of a technique; it is, at heart, about the transmission of the revolutionary view that unconditional wisdom and compassion are the very ground of our being, and that by learning to relax more and more fully, we allow this fundamental nature to flower.
Instruction on working with obstacles to meditation – Common obstacles to meditation include disheartenment, resistance, procrastination, discursiveness and spacing out. The obstacles are well documented in the Shambhala Buddhist teachings—and so are their antidotes.
Guidance on the path of practice and study – Shambhala presents many opportunities for students to deepen their practice and study—public meditation sessions, weeknight classes, weekend programs, retreats and seminaries, to name a few. A meditation instructor can help you decide what to do next and when to do it.
Guidance on joining meditation and daily life – The workaday world is where the rubber meets the road. Getting the tools to meet life’s ups and downs with a strong and pliable mind and an open heart is another potential benefit of working with a meditation instructor.
What is a Meditation Instructor and How Do I Get One?
A Meditation Instructor (MI) is a senior student at the Shambhala Center who has completed intensive training and practice. MIs function as your individual mentor and guide to help you with your practice. They also are a source of information about the Center and the greater Shambhala community. If you are interested in working with an MI, contact anyone on the list of BSMC Meditation Instructors below.