Those interested in learning more about meditation and mindful listening can stop by the Portneuf Sangha Meditation Center on Sunday morning.
The center, which recently moved to 424 W. Lewis in old town Pocatello, will hold a 30-minute silent meditation period at 10 a.m. — there will be guidance available for those who want it — followed by a presentation on mindful listening.
“We welcome anyone who is interested to attend. Our meetings are open to everyone,” said Paula Seikel who, along with Tony Seikel, will be giving Sunday’s presentation. “We encourage people to wear comfortable clothes and to come on time so we can start together.”
There is no cost to attend the meeting, but donations are accepted to help with rent and utilities at the center that is run by volunteers, Paula said.
The Seikels and Kristin Fletcher started the Portneuf Sangha in 2006.
“Sangha means ‘spiritual community’ in Pali, the language of the Buddha,” according to the center’s website. “The Portneuf Sangha is a group of individuals interested in exploring mindfulness, meditation, and Buddhist teachings (the Dharma).”
On Sunday, the Seikels, who have been involved in meditation for approximately 15 years, will talk about using mindfulness in communication and how mindful listening applies to the Buddha’s teachings on the interdependence of all beings and the precepts of non-harming and wise speech, according to Paula.
“Mindfulness is moment-to-moment awareness that we can cultivate in order to live more intentionally. It is paying attention on purpose to what is happening in this moment rather than living in memory of the past or anticipation of the future,” she said. “Mindful listening is applying these practices to listening to others so we are fully present and able to really understand that person.”
Paula believes mindful listening can help people in their relationships.
“Mindful listening can lead to increased peacefulness, connection and compassion while mindless listening can lead to misunderstanding, disconnection and conflict,” she said.
Paula feels it’s important for people to practice mindful listening, especially right now.
“It seems our world is becoming more polarized with people unable to hear and understand others,” she said. “Buddhism offers a wide variety of non-sectarian practices to cope with these ills, which require no belief or adherence to any tradition, even Buddhism itself, just a willingness to try them out and see if they work.”
Paula encourages people to join them for the meditation period and presentation, as well as light refreshments, on Sunday.
“If you are curious about mindfulness, meditation or Buddhism, we invite you to come and meet us,” she said.
The Portneuf Sangha Meditation Center holds meetings on Sundays and other activities throughout the week. Those interested in learning more can visit www.portneufsangha.org. They can also call Tony and Paula at 208-775-3183 or Bill Haines, a scholar of Buddhism and South Asian religion who teaches at the center on the first and third Sundays of the month, at 208-406-2013.