The first community offering I explored was the Insight Mediation Community of Charlotte. This organization utilizes the techniques of insight, or Vipassana, meditation and lovingkindness, or Metta, practice. Insight meditation focuses on attention to breath to calm the mind. Through Metta practice, people are guided to open their hearts and deepen their connection with all beings. This class encourages mediators to be in the present moment and be fully open to everything going on around them. Meditations take place every Wednesday at 7:30 for 30 minutes, with an instructional session from 7:00-7:30 for newcomers. After the 30 minute meditation is over there is a dharma talk and discussion.
My experience with this offering was definitely a positive one. I was a little intimidated by the 30 minute silent meditation but once I got settled it was much easier than I expected. The instructors were very welcoming and the instructional session was helpful to attend before the meditation. After we meditated there was a 30 minute dharma talk and the topic of discussion was mindful eating. The leader explained that in order to fully experience something you need to take your time and pay attention to all the sensations that are present. His example was trying chocolate for the first time. Many people have tried chocolate and explained their experiences with it, but in order to really experience a new food it is important to forget about what you have heard and let yourself navigate the tastes blindly. I thought his talk was very interesting because I often find myself avoiding certain foods because of the opinions of others. I also tend to eat very quickly and the instructor stressed slowing down in order to enjoy the food and the experience that goes along with eating. Overall, I think that this class would be a great option for those new to mindfulness and meditation, although it might be useful to have some experience with meditating before attending because of the 30-minute session.