Redding Meditation Center: An Oasis in the Woods
Dec 05, 2016 03:27AM
By Negin Royaee
"Peaceful, inspired and connected.” That is how Sandra Centorino of Cheshire described feeling after her first visit to the Redding Meditation center. Having traveled over an hour with a friend on a Thursday afternoon for regular meditation, she immediately decided to come back for the weekend retreat the following month with her daughter.
Located just off Route 7 in Redding near the Ridgefield border, the center provides its devoted members and the larger community with a serene and spiritual space in which to practice meditation and mindfulness. Mahasati insight meditation is taught and practiced by Thai monks who reside on the property. Instead of focusing on breathing in silence, the Mahasati form utilizes small, rhythmic hand movements to create self-awareness. Developed by Thai Meditation Master Luangpor Teeang, this dynamic form of meditation is appropriate for beginners as well as seasoned practitioners, regardless of nationality, race or religion. All visitors are welcome to the center.
The center’s main space was transformed from a barn to a vast open space, with wood flooring, exposed beams and tall ceilings. Mats, cushions and towels face a large window where nature provides a relaxing view for insight meditation. During daily meditation, practitioners can focus within while kneeling, sitting or walking. Some also walk outside to meditate in the garden when the weather permits. The classes offer just over an hour of meditation in silence, followed by a Dhama talk given by one of the resident Thai monks. Beginners can attend an introductory class offered on Saturday mornings with shorter meditation in silence and additional guidance.
The Center calendar is filled with various events open to the public, including an informal discussion group on Buddhist teachings and a family program to introduce children ages 4 to 12 to Theravada Buddhist concepts of loving kindness. Mindfulness of breath, art, yoga and meditation are on the schedule as well as monthly one-day and quarterly weekend retreats for those who wish to deepen their practice. Members socialize at month-end potlucks following meditation. An art exhibit brings works of talented artists to the center during the holidays and again in the summer.
The space is also utilized by private teachers who instruct yoga, Chakradance, Tibetan Bells Sound Journey and traditional healing exercises. High schoolers, health teachers, traditional medicine practitioners and other groups may also use the tranquil space for various wellness programs.
Negin Royaee is administrative director at Redding Meditation Center. Connect at ReddingMeditation.org. See Community Resource Guide listing, page 59.