Why be unhappy?
‘Why be unhappy?’ asks the Dalai Lama, the leading Tibetan Buddhist. He is using “unhappy” as a short hand for the whole spectrum of negative mental states, such as anxious, or annoyed, upset or simply vaguely discontented and uncomfortable. Of course we would prefer not to be feeling any of these negative feelings, but they are persistent and hard to get rid of. If only it was as easy as deciding to get rid of them and being able to do so.
The Dalai Lama, and Buddhism generally, acknowledges that we all have problems and difficulties (dukkha) in our lives, indeed this is the “first noble truth”, the Buddha’s first teaching. But we often make things worse by our attitude and actions.
If we are feeling any negative mental state, Buddhism has the tools to help us trace back and look at where they come from. It looks at how we form bad habits and attitudes and how we break out of them.
Meditation Meditation is a key tool to help us become more aware of what is going on. There will be several kinds of meditation, including the classic mindfulness of breathing and a meditation on our senses.
Mindfulness is an extremely popular form of meditation as it has been much researched and shown to be effective at relieving stress, anxiety, guilt and other negative mental states. As well as changing our mood directly, mindfulness meditation can help us become more aware of how our attitudes contribute to our overall unhappiness or well-being.
The retreat will include the Buddhist understanding of Karma (actions have consequences); a very brief look at the more general Buddhist theory of cause and effect, namely Dependent Origination or Pratītya samutpāda. It may also include the four Noble Truths; and how we form good and bad habits, the five skandhas.
The sessions will be workshop style, rather than talk and chalk. There will be time to relate the Buddhist theory to our own lives.
This weekend is suitable for beginners to meditation or Buddhism, and it can also serve as a reminder for people familiar with these ideas, as it is all too easy to know in principle what to do, but get caught up in the busy-ness of everyday life and fail to be the kind of person we want to be.
To sum up:
Meditation can enable us to acquire equanimity, peace and happiness. Our attitude and actions in relation to what is happening in our lives, can help or hinder this. Buddhism provides many practical tools to take the stillness and composure we find in meditation into everyday life.
Zee-Zee Heine has been a life-long Quaker. She came across Buddhism by chance at a time in her life when she was feeling stuck in a negative relationship and was feeling disillusioned with her local Quaker meeting. She found the tools of Buddhism transforming. She has returned to Quakerism as her main spiritual home.
Zee-Zee has been a Buddhist for nearly 20 years. She has taught meditation in a variety of settings, including adult evening classes, day and weekend retreats, a prison and a college. She has taught Buddhism to children and adults.
Zee-Zee is currently a “full time” Quaker as she lives and works in the Quaker Community. She says, “Although at heart, I am fundamentally a Quaker, I find the ideas in Buddhism support my Quakerism and complements it well”
The cost for a three day retreat is on a sliding scale between £ 145-£245. “Sliding scale” means you decide what to pay based on what you think is the right and fair amount to pay and what your income is.
All our retreats take place at the Community. There will be free time and opportunity to join in the Community’s regular worship.
For further details or for a booking form contact us.
Or you can download a booking form here