Samatha means calm. We practice calming the body and mind through mindfulness of  breath. Through calming the mind, we find greater clarity. 

Whether you think of yourself as a naturally calm person or a more restless or anxious person, samatha meditation can help you find stillness, clarity, and calm, both during out outside of meditation practice. One of the first benefits students report is noticing they feel less reactive to things in life that used to bother them more.

By practicing mindfulness of breath and attention on the breath, over time joy and energization of the mind naturally arises. Through maintaining mindfulness and attention, that joy and energization naturally tranquilizes, transforming into stillness and clarity. That stillness and clarity spills over into our day-to-day life, transforming our lives. Over time, the chattering, unruly mind settles down and we begin to notice and understand more about the mental habits that keep us from happiness, freedom, and understanding. We become kinder to ourselves and others. We learn to become both open to change and rooted in ethics; we become more curious about the world around us.

All regular classes are free of charge, always.  Donations are warmly accepted and go back into supporting the practice.

 

Time and Location of classes

Beginners meet on the first Sunday of each month at 5pm Central, both in-person and online. There will be a brief introduction to the practice. After the introduction, we will all sit together for about 30 minutes. After that we will have a brief chat about the practice. Expect the intro, sit, and chat to last up to 90 minutes in total. If you cannot stay the whole time, please be courteous and let me know ahead of time and then leave so as to not disturb others. After your first Beginner’s session, you are welcome to attend weekly to continue learning and practicing.
In-person class meets at Culture of Safety Dojo & Wellness Center (6961 N Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60626). Try to arrive a few minutes early to give yourself time to settle before we begin. Street parking only. The 22 bus drops you off right next to the center. The Morse Red line stop is only a few blocks away. Cushions are available for everyone. If you have a cushion or bench of your own that you prefer, please feel free to bring it. If not, no worries–we will support you in finding comfortable ways to sit.
If you are joining by Zoom, feel free to log in anytime after 4:45pm central.  Fill out an inquiry for more information or for a Zoom link.

Giving

The practice is always freely given. There is no charge for the practice, nor will there ever be. We

encourage generosity (dāna). If you are so inspired, you may either give online, or donate by cash or check in-person to the following organizations:

Culture of Safety Dojo & Wellness Center, which donates space for weekly classes.
Chicago Samatha Management Group, which supports local practice weeks and weekends, especially for those who couldn’t otherwise afford it and pays for purchase of cushions and other supplies.

Lineage and Organization of Samatha Meditation practices

We practice meditation classes in the samatha tradition as taught through the Samatha Foundation of North America and the Samatha Trust of the UK, which are both non-profit organizations, run by experienced meditation teachers on the basis on dāna (generosity).

Samatha meditation has its roots in Buddhist practice. You can learn more the lineage and history of this samatha practice here. Many discussions in groups will center around teachings from Buddhism which directly support our meditation practice. There may occasionally be some chanting in Pāli as well. Identifying as Buddhist is neither a requirement, nor expected. All are welcome, whatever your religious beliefs.

In this tradition, we practice in groups, led by–but never centered on–a teacher. Samatha teachers help support each person in their meditation practice through both group and one-on-one conversations, and in turn are supported by the community of samatha teachers, in North America, and worldwide. Through practicing in groups, all who practice samatha meditation are supported both by peers and more experienced meditators. As a community of meditation practitioners, our focus in conversations is how to deepen our meditation practice and connect what we learn from our practice to life experiences.

The Rogers Park weekly class is taught by Kyren Epperson, PhD, AOBTA-CP, LMT (they/them). In addition to their meditation background, Kyren has extensive scholarly training in Buddhism (MA, PhD South Asian Languages and Civilizations, UChicago 2017;  BA Religious Studies College of William & Mary). Kyren is also a certified Shiatsu Bodywork therapist, specializing in bodywork for LGBTQIA+ folks and trauma survivors. They teach empowerment-based violence prevention and karate classes, specializing in trauma-informed, trans-affirming, and neurodivergent-friendly approaches to teaching. They are currently a third-degree black belt in Jin Sei Ryu Karate-Do. Kyren routinely incorporates their deep understanding about the body, the breath, and its healthy movements in all of their classes.


Samatha meditation inquiry
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