Transforming self and world: street meditation in ShrewsburyOn Thu, 22 June, 2017 - 10:28
‘We have far more in common than that which divides us’ (Jo Cox)
It was a sunny Saturday morning at Taraloka when Maitrisiddhi and I loaded up the community car to go to the street meditation in Shrewsbury. When we arrived on Pride Hill we were met by enthusiastic members of the Shrewsbury Sangha, ready to help us unload and get started. We set up meditation cushions and chairs in the heart of the pedestrianised shopping area, and waited for the band playing next to us to finish their session. We started by reciting a dedication verse and then a metta bhavana meditation.
It was the first time I’ve done a street meditation and it felt radical. There was the heat of the sun, the sound of people passing by, the sense of the group of us practising together. It was inspiring to be taking our meditation practice out into the community and to the heart of the commercial city centre – a still group meditating while around us people walked briskly between shops. When my eyes were slightly open I could see people stop and take pictures and I heard several children ask their parents ‘what are they doing?’ There was lots of interest from people passing by, some just turning to look, some stopping to take information about classes in Shrewsbury and retreats at Taraloka. A couple of people sat down and meditated with us.
Those of us who took part really enjoyed the street meditation. It was an expression of our aspiration to cultivate more love and awareness through our practice, not just for ourselves but for all beings. We also wanted to stand up for hope, tolerance and love in solidarity against the fear and intolerance both in our own hearts and in the world. At the end of the meditations we transferred our merits – we dedicated the benefits of our practice to all beings, hoping that the positive effects of our practice as Buddhists will continue to ripple out, leading to transformation both within ourselves and in the world.
The street meditation was part of Buddhist Action Month, connecting with the wider community, as well as linked to The Great Get Together – connecting people on the anniversary of Jo Cox’s murder.