Sitting with Zoom

Posted Posted in Information
Each week we offer a meditation practice session on  Sunday 9am  Atlantic time. Members and friends of MBMC should receive invitations to these events.  If you did not and you wish to attend, please email us. Note:   As of September 2020, previously offered Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evening sessions are no longer offered via Zoom, but in-person sessions take place on Sunday and Tuesday mornings.

Sunday morning 9am

The session is 3 hours long, alternating sitting and (optional) walking.  You may join or leave the session at any time.  Please leave your microphone muted unless you have something critically important to say! Our session leader will lead the morning chants.  We encourage you to chant along, but once again please be sure your microphone is muted!  A group chant in Zoom is an absolute cacophony.

Using Zoom

Theoretically you just click on the link in the Zoom invitation and follow instructions.  However, there are a number of things that can go wrong, especially the first time you try this.  We recommend you download the Zoom client program  and install it before you accept an invitation.
The Zoom Client for Meetings should get you something suitable for a desktop or laptop computer.  Further down the page there are Zoom Mobile Apps which you could use on an iPad, iPhone, or Android gizmo.  Follow whatever instructions there are for installing the program (app) on your system and then launch (open) it.  This will allow you to test your microphone, speakers, and camera, which will avoid a number of potential technical difficulties later on.
If all went well during the installation and testing process, clicking on the invitation link should work smoothly.  If it fails for some imponderable reason, launch your Zoom program, “Join a Meeting”, and enter the Meeting ID and Password from the invitation in the relevant boxes.

Why Zoom?

We have chosen Zoom for these events because it is widely available, familiar to many people, and generally free to end users.  There has been a lot of discussion in the news and on social media regarding Zoom security failings, “Zoom bombing”, and other issues that may put you off using it. This is, of course, a personal choice and we are not going to try to change your views, whatever they may be.  No communication channel is ever 100% secure:  telephones can be tapped, mail and email intercepted, telephone numbers and addresses spoofed, and so on.  Video conferencing software is no different, and the risks must be weighed against the benefits.  However, some of Zoom’s shortcomings have (in our opinion) been somewhat overstated.  For example:
  • Most of the Zoom bombing incidents arise because invitations to Zoom meetings were made public – published on web pages or otherwise widely distributed.  MBMC does NOT do this, and we ask all of you not to share the invitations we send out!
  • MBMC meetings are set up with shared file and shared screen access disabled.  This eliminates any easy ways for a malefactor to gain unintended access to your personal information.  You can avoid almost all such concerns if you run Zoom on a computer (or tablet or phone) which has no highly personal information stored on it.
  • Many concerns about Zoom are only relevant when highly confidential information is being shared in a meeting.  That does not apply to the stuff we do.
  • We do not record meditation sessions, so there is no prospect of anyone finding such a recording on the Internet.
For those of you who are interested in the more technical details, here is an overview which may be of interest to you and which advises:
Unless you’re discussing state or corporate secrets, or disclosing personal health information to a patient, Zoom should be fine to use. Just require that meeting participants sign in with a password.
If you would like to discuss any of these issues, drop us a line.

Isolation Resources

Posted Posted in Information

Self-isolation is very nearly the definition of individual retreat.  Here are some suggestions for activities you can practice, material you can study, and inspirational offerings to help you get the most our of this enforced retreat time.  We will update this page from time to time, so check back and see what’s new.  If you think of anything that you would like to share with the rest of us, please drop us a line, and Thank You to all who have already done so!

Online Interactive Sessions

… from MBMC:

We hope some of you can join us for one of our Zoom sessions.  Invitations will be emailed to everyone on our mailing list.

Starting in September we will be offering Zoom sessions on Sunday mornings only.  Sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday have been discontinued.

Those of you who wish to join in the Sunday morning 9am chants, here is the text so you can read along.

… from Elsewhere:

  • Atlantic Contemplative Centre – support local contemplation 🙂
  • Online dharma talks etc. from Insight Meditation Centre
  • Zen Nova Scotia – practice sessions
  • OMG Chester – contact Julia Creighton directly
  • A Virtual Salon 
    for This Time of Radical Uncertainty: 
    Conscious Living, Dying, and 
    the Deathless—Together 
    & Alone: 
    Profoundly Practical Guidance & Insight
    from Buddhism, Science, & Other Wisdom Traditions
    Saturday May 30th ~ 10:00 am – 12:30pm PDT / 2:00 pm ADT
    & Sunday May 31st ~    11:30 am – 1:00pm PDT / 3:30 ADT
     
    dana: offering on a sliding scale : $42-216 US$
              via your PayPal or use this link: 
                   WisdomAtWork paypal.me/Leveys

Online Dharma

Uplifting Items

Individual Offerings

“What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.”
By Lynn Ungar 3/11/20
 
this poem arrived via WisdomatWork.com
in spirit, Armand
_____________________________________
“The quieting of our mind is a political act.
The world does not need more oil or energy or food.
It needs less greed, less hatred, less ignorance.
Even if we have inwardly taken on the political bitterness
or cynicism that exists externally,
we can stop and begin to heal our own suffering,
our own fear, with compassion.
Through meditation and inner transformation,
we can learn to make our own hearts
a place of peace and integrity.  Each of us knows how to do this.
As Gandhi acknowledged,
“I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and non-violence are as old as the hills.”
It is our inner nobility and steadiness that we must call on
in our personal and collective difficulties.”
— Jack Kornfield
_____________________________________
“When a system is far from equilibrium
small islands of coherence in a sea of chaos
have the capacity
to lift the entire system
to a higher order.”
— Illya Prigogine

Covid-19 Closure

Posted Posted in Information

The Meditation Centre was CLOSED effective IMMEDIATELY due to Covid-19.  All regular programs were suspended.  The Centre remains available to members who have the door code, but please observe all best practices for dealing with the virus.

This also means the Gourmet Dinner fundraiser scheduled for April 18 was postponed until September 19, and subsequently cancelled entirely.

We wish everyone health and wellness, and look forward to welcoming you back when it is safe to do so.

 

2020 Annual General Meeting

Posted Posted in Information, Members

The Annual General Meeting of the South Shore Buddhist Meditation Society was held on Saturday, March 14 2020 from 10am – noon.  If you are currently signed up for a membership at the Mahone Bay Meditation Centre, you are a member of SSBMS.

At this meeting:

  • the director’s annual report  and the 2019 financial report were presented
  • financial auditors for 2020 were appointed
  • vacant director positions were filled by acclamation
  • feedback on recommendations from the Decor Committee was received

Our by-laws allow us between 5 and 7 directors, approximately half of whom will resign (and maybe re-offer) each year.  This year 3 directors stayed on, 1 director resigned and re-offered, 3 directors resigned outright, and we had 3 nominations for new directors.  Members were invited to email us before March 7th if they wished to nominate anyone. 

A light lunch was served following the meeting.

Close to 30 people attended in person or via Zoom.

A Taste of Meditation

Posted Posted in Program, Special

Everything you always wanted to know about mindfulness…

Free classes for beginners and those wanting a refresher led by Claire Bowers. 

Friday, Nov. 15 2019, 10-11:30am with a followup class on Friday, Nov. 22 10-11am.

It can be confusing or even intimidating to begin a new meditation practice.  How do you start?  Close your eyes, take a breath, then thoughts flood in, taking over your best intentions.  It’s easy to give up in frustration.  It’s honestly that way for everyone, you are far from alone.  Cultivating a calm mind is a skill that comes with time and practice.  Every time you sit with the intention to meditate, no matter the immediate results, you have indeed begun to nurture the practice that will grow over time.

Joining us for this morning session will provide you with the tools you need to begin a meditation practice at home, and to join a group of meditators with confidence,  You will learn how to make time and space in your day for meditation, what to do when the mind fills with thoughts and won’t let you focus, and the benefits (there are so many) of a daily meditation practice.  Time to ask your questions and offer your reflections (if you choose), will be woven around short practice sessions.

The holidays are fast approaching.  It can be a time of anxiety and frustration for many of us.  Learning to be in control of our reactions to others, to busy schedules, and external expectations of us is a gift of cultivating a meditation practice.   It is not necessary to repeat the same old behaviour and thought patterns of the past.  We will spend some time focusing on the holidays and how to best navigate them in ways that invite joy and peace.

Claire Bowers, our guide, has been practicing meditation since 1983 and has facilitated meditation groups in various formats since then.  She studied the contemplative traditions of the west at the University of Toronto as part of her Master of Divinity degree and continued on to receive a Master of Arts in Creation Spirituality at Holy Names Collage in Oakland California before turning her focus to the east and studying the practices of Tibetan Buddhism.

Green Buddhism

Posted Posted in Program, Special

A workshop led by Andrew Rock, Saturday, Nov. 2nd 2019, 9am – 3pm.

In this workshop, we will rely on meditation, deep sharing & listening, collective wisdom, creative exercises and our own open-heartedness to look deeply into our grief and concern for our ailing world, and how we can practice and act to help restore harmony and well-being.

We’ll begin by stopping and calming with silent and guided meditations. Together, we’ll explore obstacles to awakening to the reality of what is happening in our world, and to taking skillful action.  We’ll discuss the Buddhist teachings of interbeing, ethics, and well-being.  We’ll examine our own consumption habits and ways to simplify our lives.  Finally, we’ll talk about how we can take meaningful action to help heal our ailing society, ecosystems and planet.

Bring your own mug or water bottle.  There will be a lunch break of about 1 hour around midday.  Please make your own meal arrangements. 

Opening Our Hearts

Posted Posted in Program, Special

A Day of Mindfulness in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh

Sunday, Sep. 29 2019, 9am – 3pm.  Please plan to come for the whole day.

This is an opportunity to open our hearts more fully to the suffering in ourselves and the world to help heal and transform it with compassion.  This Day of Mindfulness is a gift to yourself and others – to calm and nourish your body and mind, to share from your heart, and to practice compassion!

The day was conducted in noble silence (no unnecessary talking), and included sitting and walking meditation, guided meditations, dharma discussion, a sharing circle, and a simple vegetarian lunch.

2019 General Meeting

Posted Posted in Information, Members

September 21st 2019 from 10am-noon was the first official General Meeting of the South Shore Buddhist Meditation Society. 

This was also a meeting for the whole MBMC community, so non-members were strongly encouraged to come and participate.  We asked everyone:

  • do you find our programs useful?
  • what changes would you like to see?
  • should we have a pot-luck lunch on Bonus Sundays?
  • what would you like to offer to the community?
  • is Pepsi better than Coca-cola?

A pizza lunch was served afterwards.

Tuesday Morning Sit

Posted Posted in Program

Starting on June 4th 2019 we started conducting two consecutive half-hour sitting meditation sessions on Tuesday mornings.  These are listed in our calendar as “Simple Sit” which reflects the nature of the event.

At 10:30, after a brief introduction, we begin sitting meditation.  If novice meditators are present basic meditation instructions are given.  About 10:55 we practice a little walking meditation, and the door is opened to allow people to leave or to join us.  Shortly after 11:00 we resume sitting in silence, and at 11:30 we finish with an informal chat about our experiences.

If you are new to meditation, please come for the basic instruction at 10:30 at least once.

This is one of our Regular Programs:  everyone is welcome.  Drop-in guidelines apply.

Grand Opening

Posted Posted in Information

On Sunday May 19th 2019 we officially celebrated the opening of the all-new MBMC.

The Sunday morning meditation ran from 9am till 11:15am and was followed by an open house to celebrate the open space.  May 19th was also Vesakha Day, the festival commemorating the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautama Buddha.

There was an Indian themed potluck lunch at noon to which the the public was invited.  MBMC members and friends brought dishes to share with others.  The buffet included:

  • Curried chickpeas and broccoli salad
  • Samosas
  • Lentil soup
  • Dal (lentil stew)
  • Lamb stew
  • Tandoori chili
  • Chicken curry pie
  • Raita
  • Rice
  • Curried potatoes
  • Naan bread
  • Assorted fruit
  • Birthday cake!

Approximately 60 members, friends, and guests were welcomed and fed.