Newcomers to Meditation may be hesitant to join us due to uncertainty about our practice, fears that they might commit some embarrassing faux pas, or have no idea how to begin meditation. We have all been in the same place.
But if you are new to meditation, we encourage you to join us on Wednesdays at 3:30 PM before our meditation session and dharma talk.
One of our community members will welcome you and give you a quick primer on how to begin meditation.
To further ease anyone’s uncertainty, we offer these suggestions about how to participate in the community’s meditation practice.
FOOTWEAR: Shoes are removed before entering the meditation hall. We do so as a sign of respect as well as to keep the floor clean.
SILENCE: When meditation is scheduled, we maintain noble silence inside the space as well as adjacent outside areas. The exceptions are when there is discussion or dialogue following the formal meditation period, or when there is an immediate and urgent need for assistance of some sort.
BOWING: Some people who practice at The Heart of Awareness bow at certain times. Bowing when entering the meditation hall, to a Buddharupa (image of the Buddha), to one another, at the beginning or end of a meditation period, or at other times is totally optional. Bowing may be an expression of respect, of reverence, of recognition, of gratitude, or of humility, and is a very personal form of practice for each of us to adopt or not.
FRAGRANCES: To respect those with sensitivities and allergies, we request that you not wear scented products while participating in activities at HoA.
CUSHIONS: Pillows and cushions are provided for your comfort when sitting in chairs or on the floor. You are welcome to bring your own cushions. Please do not place bare feet on cushions. Clean socks or a small towel should be used and “loaner socks” are available in the basket in the rear of the hall. Place used socks in the basket on the floor in the interior bathroom.
ENTERING AND LEAVING THE HALL: It is respectful to be seated and settled when meditation begins and to stay until it has ended. The same is true of the period when there is a teaching or talk. If it is necessary to enter late or to leave during a meditation period or teaching, please do so with consideration for others. During retreats or live teachings, do not enter the hall once a period of meditation or teaching has begun. Take a seat outside and wait until there is a transition to enter the hall.
LIBRARY: The Heart of Awareness has a small library and all are welcome to make use of library items, following the procedure for checking them out. It is not appropriate to browse the library during practice periods (including walking meditation periods), or when a talk or other teaching is occurring.
ELECTRONICS: Electronic devices are silenced and are not used during periods of meditation or teaching.