Welcome to Community Meditation

For the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, all groups are meeting online using Zoom (details below).

Community Meditation is non-profit network of meditation groups. We bring mindfulness and wellness into people’s lives through courses, meditation sittings and group discussions, both in-person and online. By sharing the benefits of meditation and mindfulness, we support the evolution of a wise, caring, and healthy world.

Our network has existed for over a decade and we have groups in several cities including Mississauga, Oshawa, and Owen Sound.

Our roots are Buddhist, but we draw on many wisdom traditions as well as contemporary wellness, psychology, and neuroscience. Community Meditation is  completely volunteer-based and guided by a council of experienced teachers.

Community Meditation is a Canada Revenue Agency Registered Charity No. 73107 5719 RR0001.

 

Online: Week of July 4th

Mon, July 4 – Loneliness & the Middle Way

Zoom session begins at 7:00 PM EST. Meditation starts at 7:15, with informal talk and discussion from 7:35 to 8:30.

Please join Jim Fitch and Sharon Wesoky as we continue our discussion of Pema Chödrön's When Things Fall Apart. This week we'll read chapter 9 and we'll explore the relationship between loneliness and the middle way.

We might feel that somehow we should try to eradicate these feelings of pleasure and pain, loss and gain, praise and blame, fame and disgrace. A more practical approach would be to get to know them.
- Pema Chödrön

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Tue, July 5 – Mindfulness in Plain English

Zoom session begins at 7:00 PM EST. Meditation starts at 7:15, with informal talk and discussion from 7:35 to 8:30.

This week, join Bob Hollett as he continues to delve into Bhante Henepola Gunaratana's delightful book, Mindfulness in Plain English. No previous reading or copy of the book required.

If you learn nothing else from meditation, you will learn patience. Patience is essential for any profound change.
- Bhante Henepola Gunaratana

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Wed, July 6 – Mindfulness & Friendships

Zoom session begins at 7:00 PM EST. Meditation starts at 7:15 PM, with informal talk and discussion from 7:35 to 8:30.

While there is evidence that mindfulness can lead to deeper, more meaningful relationships, can it also lead to some awkwardness, odd looks, and hurt feelings? Join Adam Wilkinson to explore this from both angles. How has mindfulness has made for feelings of connection in your life, and have you experienced instances of distancing and disconnection?.

"Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
"Pooh!" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you.".

- A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner

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Fri, July 8 – Endings & Beginnings

Zoom session begins at 7:00 PM EST. Meditation starts at 7:15 PM, with informal talk and discussion from 7:35 to 8:30.

Do you find yourself longing for something to end–an ache, a season, a task? Or consumed with the anticipation of a new beginning? This week, Debbie McCubbin taps into the wisdom of Sylvia Boorstein to consider how we habitually deal with endings and beginnings, and whether alternative approaches could offer more balance.

In the truth of what has ended, I see displays of what might be beginning.
– Sylvia Boorstein

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Sun, July 10 – At Home in the Muddy Waters

Zoom session begins at 10:15 AM EST. Meditation starts at 10:30, with informal talk and discussion from 10:50 to 11:45.

This week, Debbie McCubbin continues to read and discuss Ezra Bayda's book, At Home in the Muddy Waters. Join this week's session for sitting meditation and a group conversation.

Having gratitude for being alive, being able to experience an inner delight in the moment, is one of the essential roots of happiness.
- Ezra Bayda

 

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Expanding Our Awareness

Dr. Robert Kegan is a developmental psychologist known for his Subject-Object Theory, a way of understanding psychological and spiritual growth. The subject is the one observing, and the object is who or what is being seen. For example, while reading this you are the subject and these words on a screen are the object.

What Kegan observed is that major changes in our level of development are typically accompanied by a change in our perspective. As Keegan puts it, the subject of one level becomes the object of the next level. In other words, you become able to see aspects of yourself in a way that wasn't possible before because the vantage point of "you" has shifted to a wider view.

There are many different ideas about the stages of human development, but as a general illustration here is a diagram of Richard Barret's seven levels:
 


If you think of your personal evolution like the levels in a game, it's easier to understand the levels you've completed than the one you're on. Using the example above, if we'd moved from Barret's Relationship level to Self-esteem, we'd see the nature of Relationship more clearly than Self-esteem because we're living inside Self-esteem. It's like the two fish in David Foster Wallace's story:

There are two young fish swimming along who happen to meet an older fish. The older fish nods at them and says: ‘Morning boys, how’s the water?’ The two young fish swim on for a bit and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and asks: What the hell is water?>

Meditation is a way to discover water. Instead of being caught up in our conditioned thoughts and emotions, we pause and notice them. Little by little, they become the object of our attention instead of who we are (the subject). As that happens, we're more and more able to make different choices and take different actions.

Kegan formalized his theory in the 20th century, but Dogen Zenji put it this way back in the twelfth century:

You should therefore cease from practice based on intellectual understanding, pursuing words and following after speech, and learn the backward step that turns your light inwardly to illuminate your self.

Stepping back from our habitual thoughts, emotions, and behaviours in meditation is how we bring them into an expanded awareness that positions us for the next step. Stepping back and expanding our awareness is, as you might guess, not a one-and-done thing!

So have a seat, take the backward step, and prepare to level up 😊

PS. Thinking in levels can be helpful but easily slips into rigid higher/lower, better/worse judgements. So...don't do that 😉

🙏

Ken & the Community Meditation Team

COVID-19 Statement

Our hearts go out to everyone — all of us are experiencing disruption of our normal lives and various levels of increased anxiety and sadness. It is an important time to pause, be present, and open our hearts.

We at Community Meditation will have completely transitioned to online sitting, discussion, and programs. These new online sessions are available to everyone, not just the local group, creating more opportunities for you to participate. Discussions are led by local teachers, including Debbie McCubbin, Ken Dow, Bob Hollett, Tammy Russell, Stephanie Stewart, Erin Vanderstelt and Adam Wilkinson.

For those of us working from home or self-isolating, these sessions provide a much-needed chance to connect with others in a heartfelt way. We have four sittings a week at this point and will keep you informed as new sessions and programs are launched. All are welcome!

Our future discussion topics will include ways to work with with anxiety and the current situation, along with our usual offerings about meditation, Buddhism, awareness and emotions.

We invite everyone to come together as a community to support each other in working towards a wise, caring, and healthy world.

Sincerely,
The leaders and teachers of Community Meditation

Using Zoom

if you’re new to Zoom, check out The Art of Zoom page we put together.

Good to go with Zoom already? You can join a Community Meditation session using the button below.

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Our Aspiration

We started this meditation network to help you bring more clarity, balance, caring and joy to your life and your community.

What We Offer

  • Free meditation instruction and one-on-one follow-up sessions
  • Regular online sittings
  • Online wellness courses on Joyfulness, Mindful Leadership, Buddhism, Mindfuless & Anxiety, Compassion, and more

Quotable

Experiencing, rather than trying to have special experiences, is where real freedom lies.
- Ezra Bayda