This week I had the pleasure of meeting and discussing the project with two teachers of meditation, both conversations were very illuminating, I hope to speak to many more in the coming months.
I started out by attending a free introductory evening into Vedic meditation run by Michael Miller. Vedic the historical starting point of the famous TM meditation practised by the Beatles among others. It’s quite a different school then what I practise, which is MBSR based Mindfulness, but it’s wonderful to learn as much about the many, many different shades and schools of meditation as possible. I want to undertake a full filmed interview with Michael at a later point, his introduction was full of warmth and wisdom, I particularly liked his comparison to a meditator spreading awareness and stillness like a stone in a pond spreads ripples. This is a big part of what drives me to work in this field in the first place, that I feel and see that it may a way to improve the world really, emanating outward from individuals.
Next I went to a drop in meditation class at the West London Buddhist Centre. After the class I had a long and fascinating talk with the director of the centre, Ratnaprabha, or Robin Cooper. Whilst studying physics and the history of science Robin Cooper discovered Buddhist meditation. He curtailed his career in science to train for ordination into the Triratna Buddhist Order, where he was given the name Ratnaprabha. He has published two books that I have just ordered to read, The Evolving Mind: Buddhism, Biology and Consciousness and Finding The Mind: A Buddhist View. His scientific background makes him an extremely interesting figure to me, he was very generous with his time and I will certainly be returning to the centre in the future to continue our discussion. One of the most interesting take aways was his explanation of the three jewels of Buddhism, which I will go into in a separate post. Photo of him below with some images of the interior of the centre.