Course 2 | Insight


Earlybird offer: Book before 2 December 2020 to save £10

Book both courses at the same time to save a further £20

Having completed the first course, Health & Wellbeing, this 8 week course is suitable for those who wish to move beyond wellbeing and into the higher realms of human potential, whilst still keeping a grounded and energetic approach to life.

The practices you will learn are rooted in the ancient Zen tradition and based around developing insight into your true nature – and doing so keeping both feet firmly on the ground.

These practices include mindfulness of the breath, koan meditation (for example, meditating with the question “who am I?”), meditating on the ‘Unborn’, and a number of energy-based practices for cultivating grounding and stability.

You are required to complete Course 1 | Health & Wellbeing before signing up for this Insight course.

See below for an over view of each of the 8 live sessions. (If viewing on a mobile or small screen, scroll down after clicking to read section contents)

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Live online course begins 2 February 2021 @ 7:00 pm

Course Dates

All sessions begin at 7:00 pm and end at approximately 8:30 pm

Session 1 | 02 February 2021
Session 2 | 09 February 2021
Session 3 | 16 February 2021
Session 4 | 23 February 2021
Session 5 | 02 March 2021
Session 6 | 09 March 2021
Session 7 | 16 March 2021
Session 8 | 23 March 2021

What happens once I've booked?

Once you have made your booking you will receive two emails.

The first email:

+ Confirms you’re booking
+ Provides you with your order number and confirmation of payment

The second email:

+ Welcomes you to the course
+ Confirms the dates of the sessions
+ Provides a link to the course page, where you will find login details for each of the eight Zoom sessions
+ Includes simple instructions for joining the sessions

Session 1: Orientation

This eight-week course introduces Zen meditation and mindfulness practices aimed at developing insight into reality and who we really are. The ultimate focus is on kensho – literally seeing or experiencing your true nature, not depending on beliefs or notions.

Kensho is “a blissful realisation where a person’s inner nature, the originally pure mind, is directly known as illuminating emptiness, a thusness…” – Peter Harvey

Session 2: Stress

Prolonged stress impairs digestive system, reproductive system, suppresses the immune system, leads to burn out, breakdown, depression.

Our response to stress – the “ultimate effect on our health of the total psychological stress we experience depends in large measure on how we come to perceive change itself in all its various forms, and how skillful we are in adapting to continual change while maintaining our own inner balance and sense of coherence” (Jon Kabat-Zinn).

Awareness and insight allows us to move from an unconscious stress reaction to a conscious stress response.

Fusho, your unborn mind meditation practice: no particular focus on anything, ‘sitting like a mirror’. Open presence.

Session 3: Mental Effects of Meditation

From the ability to concentrate stems increased mental clarity, a heightened ability to learn, mental strength, more grounding, and increased empathy (with the ability to remain detached).

Several studies show meditators have an increased ability to prioritise and manage tasks, voluntarily focus on specific information, stay alert to the environment (these are three sub-components of attention).

All these effects are linked to neuroplasticity of the human brain. Both the brain and the nervous system can change structurally and functionally under the influence of the signals from the environment. Meditation changes neural paths in the brain, which can result in a dramatic change in your outlook on life events.

“Your life is the creation of your mind” – The Buddha

Session 4: Physical Effects of Meditation & Mindfulness

Meditation and mindfulness also influence you on the physical level. The first noticeable effect is on the breathing. Breathing is sensitive to stress – “fight or flight” response causes tension and shallow (thoracic) breathing, calm and relaxed “rest and digest” state is characterised by slow, abdominal breathing.

This feedback also works in the opposite direction – e.g. abdominal breathing promotes relaxation and a feeling of groundedness. For this reason, Zen places great emphasis on belly breathing.

Mindfulness in motion helps to increase body awareness, self- connection and self-acceptance; decreased self-censoring and reactivity; reduction of pain symptoms; more relaxation, energy, and pleasure; awareness of multiple, simultaneous levels of experience; and insights into relationships to others.

Session 5: Elevated Function

This session we look at some findings on the effects of meditation and mindfulness on human functioning from the research, tradition, and anecdotal points of view.

Most research so far has been done on Transcendental Meditation practitioners, but there has been an increasing interest in Tibetan Buddhist, Zen, and other meditative practices.

One of the major areas of development emphasised in Zen is that of the hara (soft abdomen, belly area). Grounding in the hara is seen in East-Asian culture as the key to success in life generally, and a well-developed hara is associated with power, energy, groundedness, and embodiment.

Session 6: Stages of Insight

The ten ox herding pictures of Zen are a road map of the journey of spiritual insight. Similar stages in spiritual practice are found in other
cultures/religions as well.

Zen emphasises developing awareness of the body which is the vehicle for enlightenment. Mindfulness plays a vital role helping us see how what’s going on in the body affects the mind and vice versa. How this ongoing work changes, expands and influences the mind is expressed in this journey.

01 | Seeking the bull
02 | Discovering the footprints
03 | Perceiving the bull
04 | Catching the bull
05 | Taming the bull
06 | Riding the bull home
07 | The bull transcended
08 | Both Bull and Self transcended
09 | Reaching the source
10 | Returning to the world

Session 7: Where is it all going?

The historical Buddha realised enlightenment fully and completely in one go (after many sacrifices and hardships). He then spent the rest of his life travelling all over northern India, teaching and helping others. However, for just about everyone else, awakening comes in stages.

But even a small experience still has the same essence as a big one – so the important thing is to keep your practice going. Little by little your life will transform, and you will find true mastery in your “way”.

In this session we introduce:
+ The progression of spiritual development
+ Zen practice is a life-long process, and regular practice is essential to develop insight
+ All “ways” have 2 things in common: a quality of happiness (or bliss), and a loosening of the grip of the self
+ Naitan energy transformation meditation: hara, circulation of energy and intention

Session 8: Changing Your Life

When you embark on the practice of meditation, you’re beginning a journey, an adventure. The adventure begins when we commit.

Meditation will change your life, but changes to the outward aspect of your life are not the important thing. Zen is emphatic that it’s in your ordinary life that the truth of what you find is proved.

People who have an ongoing meditation practice become happier, better people, have more connection and love in their life. There will be a lessening of suffering and self-obsession.

Awareness and acceptance leads to less suffering, true happiness, inner peace, connection, love, and serving/helping others is a natural
expression of this. Any practice that leads to a lessening of suffering and self-obsession is probably the right one.

“Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” – Joseph Campbell