Meditation takes many forms; in Zen it means sitting still in silence, alone or with others – known as zazen. People meditate for many reasons and there is growing research which shows that people who meditate are more relaxed, deal better with stress and are healthier.
But there is so much more to Zen than relaxation or stress management. Zen practice addresses the very basic issues of life and death. It deals with our essential nature and cultivates appreciation of life and well being, kindness to oneself, to others and the environment.
We welcome people from all walks of life and from all religious and non religious backgrounds to sit with us, practising the path of awakening.
Beginners are welcome at Liverpool and at the associated StoneWater local groups. We view introducing meditation as a public service, regardless of whether or not you decide to continue. In Liverpool the Beginning Zen course consists of 3 sessions.
Session 1 takes place once a month on a Saturday afternoon,1.30 to 3.30pm. This informal session includes instruction in zazen, correct posture in different sitting positions, and basic meditation techniques. Our aim is that you will immediately be able to do zazen comfortably at home. Instruction is tailored to individual needs and there is opportunity for informal discussion over tea and biscuits. There is no expectation or pressure that you have to sit cross-legged on the floor if this is not comfortable for you.
Session 2 is held as part of our weekly Saturday morning zazenkai and reviews your experience of zazen and introduces the form and practices associated with sitting as part of a group. We encourage you to do this within a month of Session 1.
For session 3 we encourage you to attend one of our regular Wednesday or Thursday evening sittings which are normally led by our teacher, Keizan Sensei, and to do this soon after session 2.
This form of introduction is the result of much experience and we have found this is the best way to give the full flavour of zen in a supportive way. Every sangha has its own form and style and for this reason, everyone who is new to Stonewater is asked to attend an introductory session regardless of previous experience of meditation or Zen.
The suggested donation for the 3 sessions is £15 paid at the first session. But we do not want money to be a barrier, if this is not possible give what you can afford – we will understand.
After you have attended the course, you will be welcome to join us at our regular morning or evening sittings, or to continue to attend on a Saturday morning, or attend our retreats. But please be assured that there is no pressure on you to continue attending or join anything if that is not your wish.
The dates for 2017 Beginning Zen are as follows:-
August: No introductory session
For further information about Beginning Zen, or to book a place, please contact us via the web site.
No local group near you?
The best way to learn meditation is from a teacher or experienced practitioner but if you are not able to come to the Liverpool centre or visit a local group, help is still available. See the Meditation section for details of comfortable meditation postures and suggestions on how to meditate at home. The Recommended Reading page also provides further ideas for books on Zen and meditation.