SUMMARY OF PARTICIPANT FEEDBACK RE SANGHA 4TH MONDAY PROGRAM
1. Frequency of attendance at the monthly programs: 8 people attend consistently; 7 are there as often as possible, given other responsibilities; 2 attend whenever they are in town.
2. What attendees like about the program: Larissa’s dharma talks were highlighted by 14 of the respondents. Most also liked the combination of meditation and teaching during the session, and appreciated Larissa’s clarity, calm, and centeredness.
3a. Helpful dharma talks: There was general agreement that all the dharma talks were helpful. Specific topics that were highlighted were: lovingkindness, compassion, equanimity, and karma.
3b. Program suggestions for the future: 5 respondents did not care for the dyad exercises, and would either like them discontinued or only done periodically. 4 did not see a need to change some would like more guided meditations in place of the dyads/discussion.
4. Use of occasional experiential exercises: Responses to this topic were mixed, with 10 people expressing reservations or discomfort. Having said that, 7 individuals also found them useful, even with their discomfort. Use of Q&A was suggested a preferable activity. One individual stated that the exercises took away from the emotional and spiritual space of meditation.
5. Future topics for discussion: compassion, mindfulness, breathing techniques, acceptance, stilling the restless mind, non-self-nothingness, hindrances, delusion, precepts, dependent origination in action, death and fear, anger, equanimity.
6. Enhancement of understanding insight meditation and practice: walking meditation, chanting, guided intro to meditation practice, resistance to practice, dealing with difficult personalities, reinforcement of insight meditation methods, participation in longer retreats.
7. Enhancing and supporting the practice: focus on Buddha’s teachings; more guided meditations; more retreats; taking mindfulness into 24X7; less Christian slant; recording the talks; Larissa leading the entire session.
On a related note, at the recommendation of the Coordinating Committee, going forward 4th Monday sessions need not necessarily last strictly until 6pm; however long the session, Larissa will continue to make herself available to anyone wishing to speak with her.