By 4:15 we come together in a circle, sitting or lying down on pillows and we formally open our practice by lighting a candle, inviting a bell to sing and anchoring on our breath for a few moments. For the next quarter hour or so we engage in Mindfulness Games that are anchored in our weekly theme. For example, Mindfulness of Speech was introduced with games like Silent Ball and Telephone. We explored what it felt like to want to talk or encourage or even express disappointment while playing a game of catch in total silence. Following that we discovered how easy it is to misunderstand what is being said and how words and meaning are changed the more we continue to pass on a message. This was a good foundation for understanding the impact of rumors and gossip.
Our formal practice this week was a guided meditation about Loving Kindness and cultivating compassion for ourselves when we inevitably make the very human mistake of misusing words as well as practiced offering the same compassion to others when they misuse words and cause harm to us or others.
Next week we will continue our exploration of Mindfulness of Speech by creating a talking stick. This aboriginal tool of democracy is an invaluable tool for tribal people to honor the space of others when they speak. We will cultivate our own awareness of the power or words and listening.
In closing, we again return to our circle of pillows. Anchoring on the sound of the singing bowl and the sensation of our breath, recognizing the practice we have just completed. Each participant leaves with a summary of what they have done along with supporting practices that may be done at home until we meet again.