This 50-day online course offers a step-by-step guide
that will lead you into deep states of calm, relaxation, joy. Jhana (or
dhyana) is a joyful state of f ocused attention that can arise in
meditation. It’s what modern psychology calls a “flow state.” Very few
modern teachers are able to explain how to consistently experience this
state, and so it's commonly thought of as being unattainable for all
but "elite" meditators, or for those in on long and intensive
retreats . None of these things are true. Jhana is doable! It can be
experienced by ordinary meditators, and all that is necessary is to know
the steps involved.
Join Bodhipaksa on this course, and learn how to
bring greater calm and joy into your meditation practice — and your
This event can accommodate complete beginners, but is
aimed at those with an established meditation practice.
How do we make the most of life? This course is for
anyone who wants their life to be a journey. With humor and profundity,
mixing poetry and myth with down-to earth instruction, Maitreyabandhu —
a well-known Buddhist teacher and a prize-winning poet — describes what
it means to set out on the Buddha’s journey and how you can follow it,
day by day and week by week.
This course leads participants step by step along the
Buddhist path from mindfulness and emotional strength to receptivity,
spiritual death and rebirth. On the course we will be learning how to
put spiritual life into practice here and now.
Course participants will receive a discounted copy of
Maitreyabandhu's new book "The Journey and the Guide" as part
of the course.
Research shows that we spend, on average, 48% of our
time in distracted thinking , and that these thoughts are often
detrimental to our wellbeing and happiness. In many cases, compulsive
thoughts create out-of-control states of depression or stress.
Stress Reduction Through Mindfulness is a 28-day
online meditation event — a practical guide showing how the power of
mindfulness can reduce stress in your life and offer you access to
peace in every moment. You'll learn how to relate more healthily to
stressful situations, how to avoid "catastrophizing," and how
to become more emotionally resilient.
This event is suitable for people of all levels of
experience, including complete beginners.
It was late in the evening when my son told me he'd
left his backpack in the car. That's not a huge deal, but there were
things in it that he needed for camp tomorrow, and because of
where I live my car's parked a few minutes' walk away from my apartment.
Again, not a huge deal, but I was tired and I was in the middle of
getting both kids together for bed, and would have to wait until they
were asleep before I went to retrieve the backpack.
So, with the kids asleep, and my energy failing, I trudged downstairs to
fetch the forgotten backpack. I was grouchy and a little resentful —
you know, where you have to do something you hadn't expected to do
because someone didn't do what they're supposed to. Grumble, grumble.
I was just exiting the building when I realized that I was making
myself unhappy with this train of thought. I noticed that my state
of mild resentment had eroded my wellbeing, making me
feel weary and put-upon. It wasn't a pleasant state to be in.
Fortunately a wiser part of myself stepped in. If this part of me had
been verbalizing, it would have said, "You're making yourself
suffer unnecessarily. Drop the story. Look at your actual experience,
and you'll find that there's fundamentally nothing wrong."
So, first of all I recognized that I was making myself suffer. That's
key. A lot of the time we don't realize we're doing this. Maybe we
think it's life that's making us unhappy, and so we think we don't have
any choice about it. But it's not life that makes us suffer: it's our
reactions to the things that happen to us in life. Realizing that we're
making ourselves suffer gives us the freedom to stop doing that. It
gives us the freedom to act differently.
One of the things we can do differently is to drop our stories. It's
our stories about events that make us unhappy. I had a story about how
my son "should" have remembered his backpack, and how I
"should" have remembered to check he had it, and how I'd
"failed" in that task. And the story was also that going to the car was an unpleasant task and that I could be doing better things
with my time. Those stories were making me feel mildly miserable. To
drop our stories, we need simply to turn our attention to something
else. In this case, "something else" is our immediate sensory
When we focus on what's arising in our present-moment sensory
experience, we reduce our capacity for rumination —
overthinking that creates or increases our suffering. The mind has
limited bandwidth, and the more attentive you are to the
body's sensations, to perceptions from the outside world, and
to feelings, the less capacity there is for the mind to carry
thoughts — thoughts that make us unhappy.
So when I turned toward my attention in this way, I was aware of the
movements of my body, the rise and fall of my breathing, the coolness
of the night air, the darkness outside, the smell of the river nearby,
the sound of traffic on Main Street. I was aware also that unpleasant
feelings were present. There was a tense, knotted ball of resentment in
my chest. Now the important thing here is just to accept these unpleasant feelings. React to them or try to get rid of them, and
you'll just make things worse. So you need to find a way to remind
yourself, "There's an unpleasant present, and that's OK.
There's nothing wrong with having an unpleasant feeling present. "
You just allow that feeling to be there.
This is a radical thing to do. Our mental reactions are attempts to
escape or fix unpleasant situations. It seems counter-intuitive to turn
toward painful feelings. But turning toward our suffering reduces
Once you're no longer bolstering your pain with reactive
thinking, you're still left with the feeling. It may still be
strong, or it may be that now all you experience is a just a kind of
"echo" of the original, which quickly dissipates. But even if
the suffering is strong and persistent, in the absence
of obsessing about what you think is wrong, each moment
now becomes bearable. (If you think your feelings are unbearable,
you're back into rumination. So drop the thinking and turn back to the
feeling again.) Simply let go of thinking, observe painful
feelings, and you feel more at peace.
In fact you may become aware that there are pleasant things happening
too. The night is cool. the darkness is soothing. You're getting a
little more exercise than you expected. You're alive. You're breathing.
Fundamentally, everything in this moment is OK. You're OK. There's just
this moment, and this moment is fine.