Stillness & Meditation

Mindfulness and Mantra-based meditation. 

Stillness

Develop greater awareness, discover the present

Mindfulness

Practising ‘mindfulness’ or awareness in various forms has been an intrinsic part of our Practical Philosophy courses since they first started in the 1950s. From the first evening of the introductory course, we aim to support a more conscious and attentive way of living. 

Two simple practices

With the help of two simple practices, the Awareness Exercise and the Pause, our students gradually become more connected with the senses and the present moment, better able to turn the attention out to whatever or whoever is in front of them and a little less subject to mental agitation and circling thoughts.

How do mindful practices and Philosophy support one another?

The answer to this lies in the difference between academic philosophy and Practical Philosophy. Rather than seeing philosophy as primarily an exercise in thinking that develops logical and intellectual reasoning, we prefer the holistic approach taken by the ancient Greeks and Eastern philosophers, for whom philosophy was and is not only studied but put into practice on a daily basis as a way of life. This opens up a realm of experience that would otherwise remain untouched by a purely academic study.

Practical philosophy employs observation, experimentation and practice and develops faculties such as attentive awareness, concentration and self-discipline.

As these develop, and in particular as the mind attains a deeper level of stillness, so one is better able to penetrate the big questions of life, such as “what am I?” and “what is my relationship with the universe?”

Living and Working Mindfully

We understand how difficult it can be at first to live with full awareness, at home or at work. It requires some perseverance and practice and also some specific guidance. But, as with any new skill, the more we do it, the more natural it becomes.

Our experience over many years has shown the real value of practice sessions, in which we work together in a small group, under the guidance of an experienced student or tutor, and work fully in present awareness with full attention.

Opportunities for such practice are an integral feature of our courses after the introductory course.

Mantra Meditation

This authentic mantra-based meditation originates in a centuries-old tradition. 

Regular Practice

The technique is very simple. It is given in a simple traditional ceremony and is practised for two short periods a day.

The time taken for the practice to become established varies with each individual and much depends on the regularity of the practice. As with learning a musical instrument, deepening and refining the practice is an on-going process.

Introduction to Meditation

The meditation is given in a short, traditional ceremony designed to bring the mind and heart to rest. The ceremony is non-religious and it ensures the accurate passage of the mantra from teacher to student and from generation to generation.

You will be asked to bring four things to the ceremony, each one symbolic: some flowers, some pieces of fruit, a piece of white cloth and a donation of money. The donation is not a fixed amount but depends upon individual capacity. The donation symbolises the offering of material things and is an expression of the value in which the candidate holds meditation. All donations are used by the School of Meditation to make meditation available to others.

School of Meditation

The method of mantra meditation is given through the School of Meditation, with whom the School of Philosophy has a long-standing relationship. There is an opportunity for students to take up the practice usually on one day each term. If you are interested in meditating and would like to know more, do get in touch. Contact us here.

Life-time Support

Once you’ve started to meditate the School of Philosophy will support you in the practice by offering one-to-one tutorials with an experienced meditator. This support will be available for as long as you wish, and is completely free of charge. Tutorials take place in person or online as the student wishes.

Find Out More

Each term we hold meetings, so that anyone who is interested in starting to meditate can ask questions and find out more.  For further details speak to your tutor or email us.

Registered Charity

     The School of Meditation is a registered charity funded by donations, and its purpose is to make meditation readily available to anyone who wants it.

What some of our students say...

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“Absolutely loving the course!! …Really changing how I think about things and life in general.”
“...I am benefiting greatly from the content and the practical nature of it. Thank you, it is enriching my life.”

Why Meditate?

The Awareness Exercise

From the first session of the introductory course, our simple awareness exercise helps our students gradually become more connected with the senses and hence the present moment and less distracted by mental agitation and circling thoughts. This naturally leads many students on to the practice of meditation in Terms 4-6 or before if requested.

Mantra Meditation

We recommend this meditation practice to all our students. The aim of meditation is to connect with deeper realms of being within oneself.  It makes it possible to transcend the mind and find rest, to recharge oneself and meet life with greater energy and happiness.

“Through meditation I feel a connection to the wider universe around ‘me’ and more and more begin to experience an inner peace which I can keep returning to regardless of the tumult in my own head and in the world around me.”                  University administrator

Meditation is not a quick fix.  Slowly but steadily it works to transform life. Students say:

“Meditation is the single most useful thing I ever came across.  Over time its practice has helped me to see the movements of my mind more clearly, free from my ideas about them.  In my experience it eliminates fear and produces freedom to act more naturally.”                     Design engineer

“Meditation puts you in touch with yourself. All the surface things, all the trivialities of life, tend to take you away from yourself. But in meditation you leave these things alone as best you can and come back to yourself. It is like a thread which is always constant although everything else changes.”     Civil Engineer.

“Meditation brings us to the bedrock of our being, a place of lightness, confidence and peace.”    Drama Therapist.

Students in the School have been practising mantra meditation for over 60 years.  Throughout that time, invaluable advice has been received from two great exponents of non-dual philosophy and meditation, Shri Shantananda Saraswati and his successor, Shri Vasudevananda Saraswati.

“The system of meditation is not religious.  It is designed for the human spirit which is not bound to any religion.”                                                   Shri Shantananda Saraswati

“Through the ages a number of systems have been given. Some are hard compared with others, some are long in relation to time. The system of meditation which has been given to us is the culmination of all simplicity by which the evolution of mankind is most easy.”
Sri Shantananda Saraswati

“By going into meditation, one recharges oneself with finer energy and comes out with extra energy imbued with consciousness and bliss.”                              Sri Shantananda Saraswati

The meditation is introduced in a traditional way.  Students are asked to make a donation, which is how it has been possible to make it available for over 60 years.  The requested donation is £150; but may be less in cases of hardship or of course some may wish to give more.  The intention is that the donation be generous, according to people’s circumstances.

Students in the School are introduced to the practice in the second year, or earlier if they wish.  After the second year, meditation, as introduced in the School, is an essential part of the ongoing philosophy courses as it connects with deeper realms of being within oneself.

TRANSFORMATIONAL

Many of our students tell us how our courses continue to transform their lives.

We are a Charity and we want to make our Practical Philosophy ‘Introductory 10-week course’ affordable for as many people as possible, we are offering the ‘FULL 10-week Introductory Course’ for…

…only £50, nothing more to pay!

(ie. £5 per week).

Please note: This offer gives you a relatively risk-free opportunity to try it out for yourself. 

Please book early to avoid disappointment as places are limited. We look forward to meeting you.