Introducing our Affiliate Groups: Mindfulness Practice Group of Annapolis

Introducing our Affiliate Groups: Mindfulness Practice Group of Annapolis

To strengthen the connections between the individuals and organizations in our planetary network, ZPI will feature newly affiliated groups.  Join hive.zenpeacemakers.org to explore the offerings of all the organizations that have affiliated with us.  Following is an introduction to The Mindfulness Practice Group of Annapolis:

 

Mindfulness Practice Group of Annapolis during a study of the Five Mindfulness Trainings, 2018

 

What is your mission?

We are a community, a sangha, supporting each other in meditative practices.

Where is your organization based?

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis, 333 Dubois Rd. Annapolis MD 21401.

How many regular members do you serve?

40

Tell us a bit about how the group was conceived?

Rev. Fred Muir asked Art Hansen to found a meditation group at the UU Church. Art (now deceased) was at that time interested in Thich Nhat Hanh’s Zen Order of Interbeing. Because of our UU origins, however, we have always been interfaith & eclectic, while taking our normal format from the Order of Interbeing.

Tell us about one exciting project, program, retreat or other offering you are currently working on?

From October 20 through November 4 [2018], we offered practices with death & loss including ceremonies of the Order of Interbeing, and a Death Cafe.¬† After two sessions for Veterans’ Day we will begin a period, running through Christmas, of working with the Dalai Lama’s & Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s The Book of Joy.¬† [Editor’s note: most recently, at time of posting this piece, the Mindfulness Practice Group of Annapolis led a pair of events focusing on observing holocaust remembrance day.]

How do the Three Tenets inform your social engagement?  

Most consistently we have had a long-standing engagement with the Light House Shelter in Annapolis (for the homeless), making, packing, and handing out lunches, cooking Saturday night dinners, contributing to drives for the pantry that hands out grocery bags to families, and contributing to appeals for winter clothes like socks. At the moment a sangha-friend runs their free laundromat one afternoon a week. This is more exacting than it sounds since it involves refereeing and spotting people who have greater needs than clean clothing, and summoning appropriate staff.  Recently he and Sensei Bob just barely rescued the possessions of a tenuously-housed sangha-friend after they had been deposited outside his transitional housing, and rain was starting to fall.  This despite our payment of his weekly rent arrears. I suspect this anecdote will have additional chapters.

What is the most meaningful challenge your organization faces?

Sectarianism. The vast majority of us over our three decades said that what they most appreciated about the MPG was its openness & respect. Still, somehow, there are occasions on which someone “instructs” another from a place of “doctrine.” As a previous, wise facilitator said, “We respect all meditative practices which respect all meditative practices.”

Your main website URL

http://mpgannapolis.org/

Your main contact email address for members

[email protected]

 

MPGA hosting a Death Cafe, number XIV, in October 2018

 

 

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