MEDITATION AND ITS SPIRITUAL HOME
About the Session
This half-day, in-person retreat at The HeartWell Institute will be a journey into the heart of Buddha’s foundation teachings. We will learn and practice meditations together and deepen our understanding and appreciation for the rich and transformative power of the Buddhist meditative tradition.
This retreat will provide active meditators and persons interested in establishing a meditation practice with an understanding of the specifically Buddhist context in which meditation becomes transformative for alleviating suffering beyond the important and deeply beneficial stress reduction gains provided through secular Mindfulness practice. Please join us!
Participants are kindly encouraged to wear comfortable clothing and bring a brown bag lunch.
Retreat Date and Rate
Keeping our program affordable to all is part of our mission.
If you are in financial need, we invite you to contact us.
We do not want to turn anyone away who is committed to cultivating inner healing.
Saturday, March 25
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Beyond increasing skillfulness in handling the many stresses and challenges of modern life, what does Buddha intend as the ultimate purpose of meditation? In short, why meditate instead of doing yoga, practicing relaxation techniques, engaging in psychotherapy, learning peaceful visualizations, or reciting positive affirmations? Regardless of one’s personal goals, if meditation is part of one’s daily practice both on and off the cushion (in and out of formal sitting practice), deepening one’s knowledge of Buddha’s ultimate intention can enhance, expand and add power to one’s practice.
On a daily basis, what are we trying to accomplish when we meditate, and for whom are we accomplishing it? Practically speaking and specific to 21st-century life in the world, what does Buddha mean when he speaks of “Liberation” and “Enlightenment?”
The answers to these questions are vast, profound, and life-changing, as transformative now as they
were 2600 years ago. The Buddhist Path of meditation turns ordinary thinking upside down and
challenges us to let go of entrenched and powerfully conditioned views and beliefs about the nature of
reality, the nature of suffering and happiness, and the possible solutions to the overwhelming and
increasing problems of the world.
Buddha taught an estimated 84,000 specific teachings. Amongst these, he offered many different
meditations for the purpose of changing our minds in specific ways, changing the way we think, the way
we view ourselves, our world, the way we view others, the way we understand events and the news of
the day, and the way we live our lives. These meditations are designed to change our priorities, our
understanding of what is important and what is not important, our understanding of time, and of the
very meaning and purpose of human life. When practiced in context with its spiritual roots, meditation
shakes our ordinary life and offers both a vision and detailed map for the attainment of what Buddha
called the “supreme inner peace of full awakening.”
The teachings of Buddha are neither antiquated nor irrelevant in the modern technological age. On the
contrary, they are more important and applicable to modern life than can be imagined. The problems
presently facing humanity have not diminished or gone away over time. In fact, they have increased to
the point where we are now teetering on the brink of self-destruction across many different levels. New
diseases, international conflict sparking wars across the planet that are endless and perpetual, global
warming, sea level rise, super fires and storms, mass flooding, drought, diminishing fresh water supplies,
mass migration of populations, mass refugee encampments, the rise and spread of autocracy, racism,
white supremacy, fascist movements and overt corruption in government, the instability of established
democracies, a widening disparity between the haves and have-nots globally, a degeneration of values
such that world leaders openly and overtly lie, steal and cheat in front of their people with no shame
and almost no accountability - these problems are increasing daily and at a rapidly accelerating speed in
spite of all good efforts to contain and overcome them. It is precisely this degeneration of values that
Buddha speaks to and within which his teachings on the Path to Freedom take on such great meaning
for our lives now in modern times.
Please join us on March 25, 2023 for a journey into the heart of Buddha’s teachings, for meditation
practice together, and for a morning of deepening our understanding and appreciation for the ground in
which meditation is firmly rooted.
About the Instructor
From 1986 until 2019, Lloyd Williams worked as a clinical social worker in Worcester, MA, providing counseling support for youth, families, couples, and adult individuals. After working for a total of eight years in community mental health, he went into full-time private practice in 1994 and remained there until he retired in 2019. For the past 22 years, Lloyd has devoted increasing time and energy to Buddhist study, meditation, and practice within the New Kadampa Tradition, founded by the great Tibetan Buddhist master Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche. Within the NKT, Lloyd teaches an ongoing drop-in class on Buddhism and meditation for the general public every Thursday evening at the Worcester Friends Meeting House on Pleasant Street. He very much appreciates the saying, “If you want to seriously learn something, teach it.” Lloyd's 20-year devotion to Buddhist study and practice is a natural fit with his long years in mental health. “Buddha is the quintessential psychologist; his profound analysis of suffering and the end of suffering is rooted in a radical and revolutionary understanding of the mind."