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Jan 12
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Virtual Cushion in January: featuring Jeff Scott

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

By Camren Von Davis

Welcome back to Virtual Cushion – a space for open meditation sessions and meditation instruction happening throughout Shambhala’s global community. The goal of Virtual Cushion is to offer a space where meditators at any level can see and tune into sessions and instructions happening around the world. 

This month I talked with Jeff Scott in Boulder, Colorado, who is leading a Virtual Learn To Meditate this coming Saturday, January 16. Register here to join this special session hosted by Shambhala Online and learn or refresh your experience with mindfulness-awareness (shamatha-vipashyana) meditation.

jeff scott on virtual cushion

Jeff Scott

When I had the opportunity to talk with Jeff about the upcoming Learn to Meditate, I talked with him about his own path and experience of meditation. Jeff is the Associate Director of Practice and Education for Shambhala. As an experienced and long-time meditator, he has experience with many meditation techniques, from the simplest to the most complex. Those of us that have known Jeff through the years know him as someone that is a true example of the peace, kindness, care and humor which meditation has the power to infuse in one’s being. Interestingly, his personal practice of late has been the simplest, and perhaps the most profound, practice of shamatha-vipashyana, or mindfulness-awareness.

“Prior to this, I was doing a lot of sadhana (visualization and chanting) practice,” Jeff says, “but now I’m asking ‘what is it that I’m doing?’ So with the pure practice of sitting meditation, I’m able to ask ‘how long am I actually following the instructions?’ Maybe simply following the instructions will do something.”

Register here for this Virtual Learn To Meditate with Jeff Scott

For myself, as I get really into the instructions, I can sometimes experience a side-effect of becoming entrenched in thoughts of “am I doing this right?” or “I’m no good at this” or “I’m so good at this” or “I think I’m getting good at this” or “am I getting any better at this?” or “I used to be so good at this, but now I’m not so sure.” 

I asked Jeff how he works through this with himself and with meditation students. Jeff explained, “Care is the environment in which the mind relaxes. In meditation, the way we care is by following the instructions. I would never say this on a pamphlet or anything, but I guess I’ll say it in this interview… meditation is somehow embodied love, embodied care. According to the tradition, the way we approach whatever is coming up is to love into that space. So really we’re just pausing in our lives so we can do that.”

Check out the other Virtual Learn to Meditate sessions hosted by Shambhala Centres and Groups around the world here.

Jeff continues, “Meditation is taking time in our lives to go inward, so that we can go out. That’s what strength-of-mind is – the ability to stay and go out. So, let’s be here first, and fundamentally create a caring space.” 

The way that Jeff describes meditation, as an act of care, for me, helps to quell so many of those internal ramblings about if I’m doing it right or not. Maybe it’s not so much about being a good meditator, but about continuing to care throughout the practice.

For the upcoming Virtual Learn to Meditate that Jeff is leading (register here for this special session), Jeff will introduce the practice of shamatha-vipashyana, or mindfulness-awareness technique rooted in the body, as well as a piece on motivation, or tuning into our motivation to care and create a caring space with our meditation practice.”

View the full Virtual Cushion calendar for December here.

You, your friends – anyone – are invited to attend any sessions in this calendar, as they are open to everyone – new and seasoned meditators alike.

Visit the full Virtual Cushion calendar here.

Want to have your Centre or Group’s open meditation sessions featured on Virtual Cushion so that they are available to meditators from around the world? Email Camren at [email protected]

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