John Orr is an interfaith teacher, retreat leader, meditator, and chanter. Ordained as a monk in the Forest Tradition of Ajahn Chah (Theravada Buddhist Tradition), John spent eight years in the 1970s training in Thailand and India. Drawing from an inclusive range of wisdom teachings, John’s work supports individual growth and exploration while deepening awareness of non-duality and how spiritual practices impact our individual and collective lives. John leads advanced mindfulness courses for practitioners who have already completed the Basic/Foundations Mindfulness course and are interested in deepening their practice.
Foundations of Mindfulness, with John Orr:
The practice of meditation is the oldest relaxation technique known to humankind. Today, Mindfulness Meditation is widely used to increase the focus of attention in the present moment, thus allowing our innate calmness and clarity of mind to come forth. This is an excellent aid in responding skillfully to the stressors in our lives. Historically, Mindfulness Meditation is based upon Four Foundations:
(1) Mindfulness of the Body: We are aware of posture, breathing, and other sensations we experience as we “wear” our bodies from day today. There will be instruction in mindfulness of the body in sitting, standing, and walking meditation. There will be special instructions for those who have difficulty standing and walking. We will also explore how to work with physical discomfort and pain when it arises.
(2) Mindfulness of Feelings: We come into contact with pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral situations that give rise to corresponding sensations in our minds and bodies throughout the day. How can we skillfully navigate the broad range of circumstances and feelings that arise for us without clinging to the pleasant ones and pushing away what is unpleasant in our experience? This is where we find true equanimity and balance in our lives.
(3) Mindfulness of Mind: Much of our stress can be released when we are mindful of thoughts and emotions that arise in our minds. Fear is the basis for the anxiety, worry, tension, anger, and other forms of negativity that we experience. The compulsively wanting mind also creates suffering. The practice of mindfulness and a deep intention to non-harm and compassion liberates us from suffering. We are mindful of the habitual response to fear and negativity, such as body contraction and judgmental stories like, “I shouldn’t be angry; I shouldn’t feel fear.” There is compassion for the human feeling this emotion and, at the same time, resting in spacious awareness. Gradually that spaciousness grows so profound that we don’t so often get caught in the objects of simple mind that used to bother us.
(4) Mindfulness of Mind Objects: Through what we see, hear, taste, smell, feel and think, we know we are alive! Here we bring awareness to the whole sensory realm as it is experienced through the body and mind from moment to moment. With cultivating presence, we begin to discern between mindfulness and the object we are mindful of, such as a body sensation or thought. As we rest ever deeper in mindfulness, many of the knots in our lives begin to untangle, and unneeded stress is released.
Foundations of Mindfulness, online via Zoom, with John Orr
- Class Dates: Wednesdays, July 19 through August 9, 2023, | 7-8:30 PM EST
- After registration, you will receive a Zoom link and instructions.
- For more information, please call 919.966.8586 or email email@example.com.