MEDITATION AT TARASTONE
”Sherab Chödrön is very dedicated to her practice and has high expectations for my success. I love that since this is not something I have done before. She is genuinely accepting of me and my funny, stressful life and helps me to move myself from the craziness, and busyness of it all. My base heart rate dropped 10 points after 4 or 5 sessions.”
– JH, former Police Officer and entrepreneur
OUR MEDITATION STYLE
Is based in authentic Buddhist teachings and at times draw from other traditions too.
- Wonderfully beneficial for the mind.
- A beautiful and uplifting retreat centre. Tarastone has meditation at its heart. Our clients love the serene, conducive atmosphere.
- An emphasis on progressive training that builds as you learn.
- Support and encouragement from dedicated and experienced staff. It is much easier to learn to meditate with focused support. Our teachers are deeply committed dharma practitioners with many years’ experience.
- No beliefs necessary. It is said that Buddhism is not a religion* but more a science of mind, or philosophy that applies to all.
- We offer Self-Inquiry alongside meditation. Self-Inquiry is another term for questioning one’s experience.
- Sitting is on chairs or mats, depending on what is comfortable for you.
We take pride in our meditation courses being progressive rather than drop-in. This key difference means learning valuable techniques that build on each other. Tarastone students receive ongoing interaction and support. More complex teachings are accessed as students progress.
“Really appreciated the structure and direction but also like the space to go with the flow at times and allow for unexpected diversions. Felt safe. Thank you.”
- S B, Oxford
PERSONALISED, EMPATHIC TEACHING
The mood of classes can vary from the light and fun to profoundly moving.
It is usual to sign-up for a term of classes and the commitment is mutual. We find that this serves our students best. Homework is offered and feedback discussed. Individual care and attention is one of our hallmarks.
“The approach, deep understanding of the human condition and thoroughly empathic and compassionate viewpoint can make such a positive difference for anyone. Speaking as someone who needed, and struggled, to understand the benefits of practice before being able to even contemplate accessing it, Sherab Chödrön’s patient approach and her own living example of someone with such huge gentleness of soul, I have found the difference in my life to be both fundamentally changing and improving.” Andrew Scott, Systems Developer,
AN INSPIRING PLACE
Tarastone’s meditation room or gompa is a sacred space set within a dedicated retreat centre. Great care goes into maintaining the special atmosphere on a daily basis. The feeling delights newcomers and is treasured by regulars. Staff and students find Tarastone extremely conducive to practice.
Having a beautiful environment is a rare and valuable advantage. One that our tradition considers beneficial as it helps us remember our truer selves, or Buddha nature.
Typical classes at Tarastone are in small groups. Students can join together to form their own group. At other times, we create a class from people at a compatible stage. It is possible to start again at the beginning of the curriculum where a student feels that would be helpful. An old Buddhist saying is that you can never hear the “pith instructions” too many times.
Group costs Up to six people £20 each per 2-hour class
7 people or more £15 each per 2-hour class
10 people or more £10 each per 2-hour class
Terms are 10-12 weeks
Class times vary from term to term, depending on students and staff availability. We usually have one or two evening classes per week, two daytimes classes per week and sometimes we have a weekend class.
If your lifestyle or other factors prevent you from attending regular classes, private tuition may be for you. In this case, we agree a time and frequency of class, whether that is during the week or weekend . Private Sessions are like having a personal trainer for the mind.
It is also possible to mix and match – for example, a series of classes with an occasional private session.
Private tuition costs: Guideline is £60 per hour
“Challenging, informative, one-to-one was perfect for me. Space to think, practise, comfort, honesty and information. I learnt what I needed to know and am looking forward to what comes next.” – CM, Andover
“Another amazing session. This is the one I come back to again and again.”
– EP, Gillingham
“I feel more at ease with myself after having taken part and meditating is definitely something I will take with me and use in the future when times get hard.”
– RL, Manchester.
WHAT TO BRING
Chairs or mats are provided though you are welcome to bring a favourite of your own if you have one.
Water is provided though it is helpful if you bring a non-spill cup or bottle.
Pen and paper are useful.
With the variability of temperatures, it is recommended that you wear layers. Comfortable, loose clothing is preferable. Jeans are not ideal, as they are less flexible than, say, yoga trousers.
Self-enquiry is the process of questioning the veracity of the beliefs we hold. All the suffering in the world is experienced through thought. How we meet those thoughts can make all the difference.
Using enquiry we can learn to meet our thinking in a less reactive way. The Buddhist term, “Sky Mind” denotes the pristine quality of a mind not hooked by stressful thinking. Those thoughts can be likened to passing weather formations. Self-enquiry gets to the heart of the matter quickly and easily. It is powerful yet gentle enough to deal with the most stressful issues.
Self-enquiry is highly encouraged for the maximum benefit of meditation. The Tarastone method is to use both classical meditation training and enquiry techniques. Without an understanding of one’s motivation, meditation can be like removing the heads of weeds. While the surface looks tidier for a while, the roots of the problem only get stronger. Inquiry is the process of understanding the mind instead of distracting or numbing it. Lifting the proverbial weeds by their roots.
With its live interaction between student an experienced practitioner, this approach can have benefits that come from addressing causes rather than symptoms. Such things are not currently possible with apps – as far as we know!
Self-Enquiry is not therapy though its effect may be therapeutic.
If you prefer to book a series of Self-Enquiry sessions without meditation, they are available in blocks.
Self-Enquiry sessions cost £60 per hour for individuals or groups.
Tarastone has free parking.