Hello from North Carolina!

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Jennifer Hawkins Jennifer Hawkins 7 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #41785



    Glad to be here! I’ve been meditating regularly for about a year and a half and I haven’t been able to find a Buddhist community that I’m comfortable with in my area. I’m looking forward to connecting with other people who are interested in secular Buddhism!

    I’ve been interested in Buddhism since I was a child. When I first heard the 4 noble truths in a middle school social studies class, they immediately made sense to me. However, when I started to pursue more information about Buddhism I mostly found a lot of references to circles of hell and reincarnation and was immediately turned off by what I saw as just more of the same moralistic, dogmatic rigidity that I was already unable to relate to in the religion I was brought up with.

    Over the years I was repeatedly drawn back to Buddhism and deeply moved by books by Thich Nhat Hanh and Pema Chodron, but the books and teachings failed to create lasting change in my life. I now understand that this was because I wasn’t practicing anything! Just reading doesn’t do anything to change how I experience and relate to life, but I didn’t know that at the time.

    About a year and a half ago, I got a crash course in mindfulness in the thoroughly secular environment of clinical psychology. I was struggling with depression, and was incredibly lucky to have a therapist who guided me through the 8 week mindfulness-based cognitive therapy program (which is based on the MBSR program). The effects were life-changing. My depression went into remission, and I finally learned practical applications for the teachings I had so admired earlier but didn’t know how to integrate into my life.

    I’m very inspired by Stephen Batchelor’s book, After Buddhism. I feel deeply committed to dharma practice, but don’t feel comfortable enough with any of the traditional Buddhist lineages to align myself with any of them. I’m game for this experiment of forming a community of secular practitioners. Looking forward to practicing with you all!

  • #41791
    Jennifer Hawkins
    Jennifer Hawkins

    Welcome, Youngmee!

    You might be interested to hear that two of our directors, Ted Meissner and Amy Balentine, are leading a donation-based, online MBSR class starting soon. You can learn more and sign up here: https://presentmomentmindfulness.com/

    We also sit together online every other Sunday, an event called Practice Circle. For more information on Practice Circle, check out our Facebook page and this section of the forums:

    SBA Practice Circle

    Hope to see you for these!

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