Sunday, October 3, 2010

MY MEDITATION QUALIFICATIONS, EXPERIENCE AND TRAINING

Let me introduce myself.

A certified meditation teacher, with a doctorate in philosophy (in law, religion and philosophy) from the University of Technology, Sydney, I have been practising meditation continuously since 1984 when I first began attending lunchtime meditation classes twice a week at
Unity of Sydney, a New Thought centre. My regular attendance at those classes continued for 6 or more years.

I studied Meditation, of various kinds, in my four-year Diploma in Religious Studies course at the Australian campus of the
Liberal Catholic Institute of Studies. I was awarded the diploma "with Distinction" after submitting, among other work, two theses, one of masters, and the other of doctoral, length and standard.

I have received formal training in mindfulness (insight) meditation at the Blue Mountains Insight Meditation Centre (BMIMC), having attended courses and retreats conducted by BMIMC, which is Australia's most renowned and respected centre for mindfulness training and instruction. BMIMC teaches the practice of satipatthana vipassanā or insight meditation in the tradition of the world-renowned meditation teacher, the late Most Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw Thera [pictured right] of Burma. (Of all the Southeast Asian Buddhist nations the meditation centres of Burma are reputed to be the best.)

BMIMC seeks its inspiration in the Buddhist Theravādan tradition and aims to develop an Australian Buddhism. I also attended weekly sessions of the Sydney group of BMIMC, meeting in Glebe, New  South Wales, for a period of time.
 

In 2001 I completed a course in Zen Meditation (Zazen) at the Lane Cove Meditation Centre, Lane Cove, NSW, Australia. In more recent times, I have received meditation experience and instruction under the auspices of the Buddhist denomination Shinnyo-en (of which I have been a member) in both Australia and Japan.

I have also received formal training in Centering Prayer, another form of meditation, from, among other places, the Apostolic Johannite Church in Sydney, NSW. Centering Prayer is drawn from ancient prayer and meditation practices of the Christian contemplative heritage. However, I generally prefer the practice of mindfulness and mindfulness meditation because of their naturalness and their proven benefits as regards improved health, empowered leadership abilities, and so forth. Other training in forms of meditation received over the years includes training in New Thought meditation and spiritual mind treatment at Unity in Sydney, Australia, training in various forms of meditation and spiritual healing at Chatswood Spiritualist Church in Chatswood, N
SW, Australia, as well as training in Christian meditation (in the way of the late John Main OSB) at Christ Church St Laurence in Sydney, and at Christ in the Desert Monastery [pictured below] in Abiquiú, New Mexico, USA.


I have conducted, and still conduct, numerous meditation classes, seminars and workshops for progressive church groups (eg Unity, Unitarian) and the like over the years. I now teach mindfulness meditation in private practice, receiving referrals from, among others, clinical psychiatrists in the Sydney metropolitan area.

I am a member of the Australia and New Zealand Mental Health Association.

A minister of the Unitarian Church in New South Wales
, I was for several years the Senior Minister of the Sydney Unitarian Church, Sydney, NSW, Australia, which was founded in 1850. (See the statute under which the Church is constituted.) In more recent times I was a member pastor of 
Unitarian Ministries International (UMI), having been ordained as a Unitarian Christian minister with UMI, then based in Columbia, South Carolina, USA. Pursuant to a charter from UMI, I became---and still am---the minister and convener of the Sydney Unitarian Chalice Circle meetup group and house congregation. The group is now totally independent and autonomous, although I have an association with the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations through my membership of its member congregation, the Church of the Larger Fellowship.

A retreat leader, spiritual director and counsellor, interreligious collaborator and meditation master, I have a special interest in exploring the spirituality of the moment.
I also have an abiding interest in native Hawaiian spirituality and healing, having attended classes on those topic areas in Hawaii.



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