The purpose of meditation is to cultivate positive states of mind, conducive to peace and well-being, and overcome negative habits of mind.
If we examine our life, we can see that most of our time and energy is devoted to seeking material and emotional security. Although these things can make us happy for a short time, they are not able to provide the deep lasting contentment that we long for.
Happiness is a state of mind; therefore the real source of happiness lies in the mind, not in external situations. If our mind is peaceful, we will experience happiness, regardless of our external circumstances. But if it is unpeaceful, we will never find happiness, no matter how successful we are in improving our external conditions. When we meditate we are making our mind peaceful and we can carry this peaceful mind into our daily life when we are not meditating.
What will I get from these classes?
The classes will allow you to unwind your mind and return home relaxed and refreshed. They will provide you with new tools for dealing with stress, anxiety, and problems. They will also help you to overcome negative states of mind such as anger and jealousy, and to cultivate positive minds such as patience and love.
The talks and guided meditations will provide you with the foundation for developing a powerful meditation practice which has untold benefits. Meditation helps us to develop clarity and perspective so we can solve problems and deal with difficult situations in a positive and constructive way.
Where to start?
We may have a wish to learn how to meditate, or to find out about Buddhism, but where do we start?
The General Program (GP) classes at AKBC and its branches are the perfect place to start a meditation practice. The classes are designed both as a series and as stand-alone classes, so you can attend any class even if the series has already started. Initially, training our mind through meditation depends on guidance from a qualified instructor. It is also invaluable to have the support of fellow practitioners. All General Program classes are based on Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche’s books. This also gives us the opportunity to deepen our familiarity with the topic by engaging in follow-up study.
What happens at a class?
Classes begin with a simple guided breathing meditation to reduce stress, tension and distractions. This meditation is followed by a talk on how to incorporate meditation and Buddhist principles into daily life. Teachings may include topics such as: improving relationships, developing confidence, gaining peace of mind, coping with stress, or dealing with anger.
There is guided meditation at the end of the class to help us gain deeper experience of the class subject. The class concludes with a question and answer session which offers the opportunity to clarify any points or answer any questions you may have.
“When the turbulence of distracting thoughts subsides and our mind becomes still, a deep happiness and contentment naturally arises from within” – Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche