Sitting With Friends


Sitting With Friends

This group is dedicated to the practice of silent meditation. We seek to establish a loose network of people who may have taken up silent meditation through different approaches such as Theravada, Zen or Dzogchen. While we honor these and other traditions, our aims are decidedly more modest as we simply seek to support each other as friends without hierarchy, in fellowship as we try to observe the dharma. 

Members: 10
Latest Activity: Jun 30, 2016

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Comment by Gina Howard on May 1, 2013 at 20:40

Sitting with sadness and sorrow. I am visited with these arisings during some (many) mediations and just do as I have been taught and sit with them, not pushing away and not feeding them with thoughts, and I accept them as they arise, but do try to understand the purpose of these arisings as they regularly appear. There is energy behind these feelings and I am not sure it is a grasping or holding on, but maybe an impetus to action or if not action then an ability to hold the suffering of others and myself in kindness. Or maybe it is a process of healing or having courage to face these emotions? Like many of these things when the time is right, the purpose, or intention or insight will be revealed, but wondered if anyone else has had this experience.

Comment by Bob on May 1, 2013 at 21:55

I have never had quite that experience, Gina, but I don't think it is at all unusual. It's mind-stuff, which may be personally significant to you, but it won't last. If you find it really distracting or perhaps even disturbing you might want to talk to someone who is knowledgable and wise in the ways of meditation about it. Ultimately, though, you can just let it go.

Take Care,


Comment by ian finlay on May 1, 2013 at 23:00

I would have thought that these feelings of sadness and sorrow were fairly common, certainly I have felt them. Many people think that enlightenment is all about freedom and joy, but as D.T. Suzuki said, 'there are far more tears in enlightenment than people realise, because as you go into it you have to become one with the whole bombstruck mass of humanity'. Feelings of sadness show you are a real person, whether it is for the 'bombstruck mass of humanity' or more personal, and god knows I have felt a great sadness for myself and my behaviour sometimes. This is natural. Whether you should consciously delve into these feelings I dont know, just by experiencing them I tend to feel reasons will come up. But stay with them, I think its all a part of hopefully making us better and fuller human beings!  Hope this is helpful, Ian

Comment by Gina Howard on May 2, 2013 at 0:08

Hello Bob and Ian, thanks for your replies. There is something in both of your replies that resonate. Firstly the letting go you talk about Bob, and I think it probable that there is something I am holding on to that has yet to be revealed. And secondly what Ian says about more tears than we realise in this process of enlightenment, which I call waking up to a clearer reality, and how the reality of suffering sits on my heart; not causing me grief as such, but is a presence that makes itself known in meditation and when I see suffering around me. And it is a very physical thing. It starts in the deepest part of my belly and rises up like a flood, with my whole body being enveloped, but not taken over by this sorrow. I am aware of it but not swallowed by it and I can see its detail as it grips my heart and throat, and causes the tears to flow and the heat rise. This is very much a physical knowing of suffering. I do not consciously delve into this stuff but just wanted some assurance that this is OK, which I think Ian has done. Thank you. I will sit. Not expecting anything and if it arises, it arises, if not, then not. 

Comment by Bob on May 2, 2013 at 20:11

"Do no try to experience satori. Do not try to drive away illusion. Do not hate the thoughts that arise and do not love them, either; above all do not entertain them. Just practise the great sitting, here and now. If you do not continue a thought, it will not come back of its own accord. If you let yourself go in for breathing-out, if you let your breathing-in fill you in a harmonious coming and going, all that remains is a zafu under an empty sky, the weight of a flame." Ejo, August 28, 1278

Comment by Gina Howard on May 2, 2013 at 20:58

Thank you Bob for this. The most comprehensive instruction in beautiful words.

Comment by ian finlay on May 2, 2013 at 22:09

yes, very zen, my teacher Hogen said similar things, and absolutely lived it. But he would also be at one with us in our problems, and as the opening of John Crooks retreats which I use say, 'we bow in the knowledge that the way to peace may lead through hell...  Many things come up, zen is therapy, sometimes its personal, sometimes as we become more open we identify with the universe and all its problems, nothing which comes up should be denied, but nor should it be hung on to... I remember you being very tearful at the last ten day block Gina so theres probably a bit of stuff there... Anyway I am off to do half an hours sit but I will probably just worry about the ecotherapy taking place tomorrow, and maybe think of a few things I've forgotten...

Comment by Gina Howard on May 3, 2013 at 16:38

There is something around opening up to our humanity in all this, and I resonate with opening to the the problems of the world. I hope you have a good ecotherapy experience and that the weather remains kind to all.

Comment by Bob on August 12, 2013 at 14:36

Hi Friends,

Please note the next silent retreat at the Buddhist House will be with Manu Bazzano on the first weekend of October. We had a lovely retreat with Ian and I have high expectations that Manu will be able to draw from the positive energy we all shared. So I hope you all will be able to make it.


Comment by Bob on September 7, 2013 at 19:29

Hi Diane,

Great to have you as a member. Come to TBH for a retreat--we have got one in October!

Take Care,


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