Developing your practice

Learning the basics

There are a couple of free online courses that you may find helpful to learn about the practice.  There’s no need to work through both although each approaches the material from a slightly different viewpoint.  You may just find that you feel more comfortable with the style of one over the other.   There’s no obligation to follow either course but the course goes into a level of detail aimed at beginners that our group can’t cover in its weekly practice meetings.

Gil Fronsdal’s course

Gil is a long-established US teacher.  You can access Gil’s programme of instruction at  on the section of the page headed “Introduction to Meditation Online Course Talks”.  As you will see, there are six approx. 90 minute talks that you can download or stream.  (There are transcripts you can download but we suggest listening to the talks rather than reading the transcripts).  Gil delivered this course over a six-week period with a talk each week and homework for participants to do.   We suggest that this is a reasonable timescale to cover the material but feel free to take much longer if you find it helpful.   It’s best to listen to each talk straight through rather than breaking it into chunks and you may well want to listen to each talk more than once.   Please do the homework for a week at least after listening to each talk – as you will get most out of the course by practising!

Jake Dartington’s course

This is also a very good course and again it’s recommended you work through it gradually, working with each instalment over about a week.

What the courses will and won’t do!

Mindfulness and meditation are practical skills.  Learning them needs some instruction, plenty of practice and the availability of people who you can help you with questions and offer support. The courses will give you the first two of these. The programme of instruction will explain the fundamentals of the practice in a structured way with each talk and homework session building on the previous week.   Following the programme will also give you the opportunity to practice and to find out what you find easy and what you find difficult.

Our group can help you with encouragement and support in your developing practice and answering your questions.

The course won’t make you an expert meditator in six weeks any more than a six-week painting course would make you a David Hockney!  Meditation and mindfulness are a lifetime’s practice and for each person they open up on a different timescale.    You will find the “aha” moments will come as insight arises.  Please don’t be discouraged if you don’t feel you’ve made much progress after six weeks.  Be kind to yourself.