"To meditate ... is to bring body and mind back to the present moment so that you do not miss your appointment with life." Thich Nhat Hanh

General Class Information

  • Classes meet for 90 minutes once a week.  
  • Currently, classes are hybrid -- simultaneously on Zoom and  in-person at the Meaningful Life Center.
  • Most classes run for four weeks.
  • Each class includes instruction, meditation practice, and time for Q&A.  

Class Descriptions

Registration Links At End of Each Class Description 
Beginning Mindfulness Meditation

Waking up to the present moment

Many of us live with chronic stress and dissatisfaction, finding it difficult to experience peace and ease on a daily basis.  Mindfulness meditation is a practice for reducing stress and increasing one's sense of well-being. These, and many other benefits, experienced by millions over the centuries, are now confirmed by modern science.

This class is designed for beginners, but is also appropriate for those wanting to establish a meditation practice.

$70 Class Fee 
Practicing the Four Noble Truths

Suffering is Optional

Suffering is an undeniable part of the human condition.  We all experience it, but we don't understand it or know how to free ourselves from its grip.  We try various methods and techniques that help us feel better for a while, but inevitably we find ourselves snared once again -- often by the same issues.  How can we escape this circular pattern?  The teachings called The Four Noble Truths offer profound insights into our dilemma.  Practicing these insights leads to the end of suffering.

No prior meditation experience is needed to take this class.

$70 Class Fee
Opening the Heart: Metta (Loving-Kindness) Meditation

The antidote to fear

Opening the Heart is the path to well-being and happiness.  When we are caught in fear, self-absorption, and judgement, the heart feels constricted.  Freed of its fear, the heart naturally opens, and we begin to relate to ourself, to others, and to all life with love, compassion, joy, and wisdom.  The teachings and practices known as The Four Immeasureables are time-tested methods for cultivating fearlessness and allowing the full-flowering of our natural capacity to be in relationship.

No prior meditation experience is needed to take this class.

$70 Class Fee
Lojong: Tibetan Mind Training

The marriage of wisdom and compassion

In Tibetan Buddhism the practices of Lojong comprise a profound yet practical method for cultivating wisdom and compassion, the hallmarks of the awakened mind. Lojong is a concise presentation of the entire path; it is said that when we practice this, we are practicing everything. Our text will be The Great Path of Awakening: The Classic Guide to Lojong (Mahayana Mind Training) by Jamgon Kongtrul (McLeod, 2005).  Having a text is highly recommended but not a requirement for participating in this class.  Students may use a translation and commentary of their own choosing.

Prior experience with mindfulness meditation helpful.

$80 Class Fee
The Bodhisatta Path

A Life of Meaning and Purpose

In the Buddhist tradition, the bodhisattva is one who dedicates their life to awakening in order to help others free themselves from suffering.  The path of the bodhisattva begins with this aspiration.

If this vision of a meaningful life makes sense to us, we, too, can enter this path.  This path is not reserved for religious monastics; it is open to all of us.  Even as lay people with many responsibilities, we can be actively involved in life and still follow this path.

As bodhisattvas-in-training, we engage in the process of gradually transforming our mind.  Freed of the afflictive emotions that arise from our misunderstandings and distorted perceptions, the natural goodness and purity of our mind begins to emerge.  This is the mind of our innate wisdom and compassion -- generous and joyful and fully equipped with the necessary skills to benefit others.

Experience with mindfulness meditation is helpful.

$70 Class Fee
Unconditional Love

Discovering the Great Perfection

Tibetan Buddhism holds that everyone has the innate capacity both to receive and to extend unconditional love and compassion.  The meditations in this class help us access that capacity experientially. 

The meditations are drawn from the Dzogchen (Great Perfection) tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, yet they are informed by modern psychology and designed for western audiences.  The instructions are quite clear and precise, and they easily can be adapted to anyone's spiritual tradition or worldview.
$70 Class Fee
Wisdom: The Power of Investigation
The path of wisdom leads to clear seeing and liberation. Following this path requires the careful examination of one's experience.  In this class we will use the teachings of two remarkable Tibetan masters who give very clear instructions on how to practice the investigation of phenomena. 

Readings will be sent out before each class.  Students are encouraged to register early for this class so they can receive the meditation instructions before the class begins.

This class is most appropriate for students who have an established meditation practice and some familiarity with the Four Noble Truths. 
$70 Class Fee. 

Our Teacher

All classes are taught by John Blackburn, Ph.D.

John has practiced meditation for over fifty years, practicing intensively with teachers in the Vipassana, Zen and Dzogchen traditions. For many years he served as chair of the Board of Directors for Southern Dharma Retreat Center in Spring Creek, NC.