Friday, June 30, 2006



SUNDAY SITTINGS OF BALLYMENA ZEN GROUP are held at 11.oo am in St John Hall

ZEN DAYS (full days of zen meditation and chanting) are held on the third Sunday of each month in Black Mountain Zen Centre on Donegall Street, Belfast from 9.00 am until 5.00 pm. There is also a shedule of sittings at this venue. See weblink for details.

MINDFULNESS DAYS (themed days of meditation and readings) are held in Drumalis Retreat Centre in Larne on the first Saturday of each month. They run from 9.00 am until 5.00 pm. (There are weekly sittings at Drumalis each Thursday at 7.30 pm.)

Sunday, June 25, 2006



Sit down; set a timer of some sort..

Go through your posture checklist
1. adjust your cushion height so that your back is relatively straight, and also relaxed
2. sway your body back and forth to ensure your back is upright and straight
3. make sure that your hands are supported on your body or a cushion or blanket to avoid shoulder strain.
4. relax your shoulders, letting them roll back to open your chest
5. adjust the angle of your head, so that the back of your neck is relaxed, long and open, and your chin is slightly tucked in
6. Make sure you knees are below your hip joint, it helps push the back forward.
7. ensure your face and jaw is relaxed and your tongue just touching the back of your top front teeth.
Take three or four, slow deep breaths. Imagine your in breath is going down your spine to your stomach just below your navel. Imagine your out breath is going up the front of your stomach.
After three or four breaths abandon this practice; instead follow the breath as it enters and leaves the body. Pay attention to the sensations for a few more breaths.
Follow the breath to see where it ends and begins in the body.
Start to focus on the out breaths. Count them repeatedly from 1 to 10. If you loose count or go past 10 this is a sign your mind is wandering. Be aware that you have lost attention and calmy bring that awareness back to the breath, starting again at 1.
Maintain this counting practice for the bulk of the meditation session. Every so often scan around your body to check your posture.
At the end widen your awareness and hear what is going on in the room without thinking about it our judging it.
When you get up , move slowly and quietly, calmly and deliberately, noting how you feel.
When you find that you can go for, say, ten or fifteen minutes of breath counting without losing your place, reduce the time spent on this practice.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Ballymena Zen Group exists to promote zazen, or sitting meditation, in the Ballymena area of Northern Ireland.
We meet each Sunday at 7.00 pm sharp in St John Hall, 11a Corlea Gardens. It is the Demesne area near the old Library and the Further Education College.
Beginners are always welcome. Try to come ten minutes early so as not to disturb others once they have started.