Welcome to Bristol Insight Meditation. Our aspiration is to build a community that nurtures wisdom and compassion: for ourselves, for others and for the world we live in. Through our groups and activities, we support the practice and study of Buddhist Insight Meditation also known as Vipassana (literally translated as ‘seeing deeply or clearly’). This is the practice of developing a calm and mindful investigation into the nature of experience, leading to wisdom, compassion and the end of suffering.
Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.
Chinese Zen master Wu Men
To have an unclouded mind and to see a little more deeply into life is perhaps what Insight meditation is all about. Bristol Insight exists to support us in the endeavour to see with a greater clarity and to respond to life with a deeper appreciation.
We offer a range of regular activities, a programme of day retreats and occasional longer courses to support meditation practice. Our longstanding association with Gaia House, a well-known retreat centre for Insight Meditation, means we regularly invite their teachers, as well as those from other linked traditions, to lead our own retreat days and courses. These are reputable, highly experienced teachers who commit to a code of ethics.
Our approach emphasises inquiry, experiential exploration and mindfulness amongst many other influences. It is not important to hold particular beliefs or to consider yourself a Buddhist to attend our activities and events, all are welcome. If you like the sound of what we do, then please feel free to come along and check us out.
Tuesday evening sitting group
The sitting group meets every Tuesday evening at the Central Quaker Meeting House, Champion Square, Bristol BS2 9DB. These evenings are a good way to meet others and have a taste of what we have to offer. All are welcome.
Sangha walk Portishead to Clevedon along the coastal path
Sangha walks are an opportunity to socialise with other sangha members, ground ourselves in our natural environment, take gentle exercise and to practice mindful walking. All are welcome.
Saturday self-led day retreats
These popular, well-supported day retreats are a great way to create spaciousness and stillness in our busy, daily lives. They are based sitting and walking meditation. They are not led by a teacher and no meditation guidance is given, so they suit participants who are comfortable with a basic meditation practice.
Focusing and Insight meditation have in common a willingness to sit with one’s experience from a place of presence, acceptance, warmth and curiosity. If you’d like to attend a meeting please contact Gordon to book a place.
‘Cultivating your practice, deepening in dharma’
This new 6 week ‘next steps’ course will be led by Julia Wallond. It will be an opportunity for those with a meditation practice to develop it further with the support if teachings from the Insight Buddhist tradition. Beginners are also welcome.
Annual sangha celebration day
Our Annual Sangha Celebration Day is a great way to find out all about Bristol Insight. This year we are celebrating the meaning of Sangha (community of practitioners) itself. The day includes our short interactive Annual General Meeting and shared lunch. All are welcome.
Radical dharma: a radical practice with Lama Rod Owens
In this daylong retreat, Lama Rod will explore deepening commitment to community and integrating social justice and dharma practice through meditation, discussions, small group interactions, and movement practice.
A day of soulful practice with Catherine McGee
Catherine McGee has been teaching Insight Meditation at Gaia House and internationally since 1997. Her teaching emphasises embodiment and working with whatever hinders us from living our deepest knowing in the world. She is an advisor to One Earth Sangha and a long term student of the Diamond Approach. How to book For more … Continued
Cultivating care and wisdom with Zohar Lavie
Zohar has been practicing meditation since 1995. This journey has taken her from the meditation cushion into exploring further ways of expressing truth and love and in 2004 she co-founded SanghaSeva. She now spends most of her time facilitating retreats that offer service as a spiritual path around the world. Since 2006 she has been … Continued