We continue our series of sessions looking at the meditation practices of faith traditions. Meditation Australia has a unique role of representation of all meditation practices. The faith and spiritual traditions are an important part of the long history and lineage of meditation and its place in our modern community.

This session explores the meditation practices of Tibetan Buddhism with Damien Busby.

Damiens first encounter with meditation was in a beach resort in Tahiti. He was the only student to the Yoga class on that day and the teacher decided to do a breathing meditation. “I promptly fell into a deep sleep. However it was an unusual experience and has stuck with me ever since. I was an avid reader of different spiritual traditions.”

Several years later he came into contact with the Tara Institute Buddhist centre through a share house, and since then has been studying Buddhism and attempting to meditate.

In 1986, he started teaching some of the Introductory meditation classes at Tara Institute in Melbourne, and has been doing monthly blocks each year since. As well as that he has given talks on Buddhist meditation and philosophy at many schools, interfaith gatherings and has led secular meditations in the workplace.

Introducing a new series of professional development events from Meditation Australia focusing on expanding inclusivity in the teaching of meditation.

These sessions will focus on practical strategies for teachers around making their classes more inclusive for some of the groups within our communities that may find it harder to participate for many reasons.

We will look at topics such as:

  • The physical teaching space
  • Online teaching space if not teaching in person
  • Language usage in class
  • Messaging/Advertising language and images when promoting classes
  • Course content
  • Managing adverse responses
  • How to manage if you make a blunder (we are all human!)
  • A teachers own fear of offending or getting it wrong

Each session will explore the needs of specific communities while addressing the more universal idea of inclusivity at the same time.

Our first in this series deals with physical disability.
We are joined by:

Dr Hannah Macdougall, a dual Paralympian and previous World Record Holder.
She has represented Australia on an international level since 2001 in numerous international, national and state competitions in both swimming and cycling.

Hannah seeks to create meaningful change within peoples lives drawing from her career as elite athlete and well-being science. Her aim is to help change the narrative around inclusion, well-being, gender, and disability. Hannah provides a respected voice within a number ofcommunities, including the sporting, educational, corporate, and inclusive sectors. She is an individual who walks her talk and has a genuine excitement for life that is highly contagious.

Professor Zane Diamond is a recognised Dharma teacher in theTheravada tradition. She is also a qualified teacher, and a Professor in Wisdom Studies in the Faculty of Education at Monash University, researching the relationship between Buddha-Dharma and education. She has been teaching meditation for more than 30 years and uses it to inform everything she does.

The pilgrimage continues!

We invite you to join Meditation Australia council member Asher Packman in deep exploration, reflection, listening and nurturing of the inner being.
Our Inner Pilgrimage focuses on a return to Self and the Sacred, making use of a variety of practices including meditation, breathwork, gentle movement, journaling, poetry and storytelling. Each session will allow time to connect and share with fellow waymakers in an intimate setting.

Sunday August 4th 2 – 3pm AEST
Online via Zoom
*Please note this is a live event, no recording will be made to share afterwards.

This session explores the meditation practices of Sufism with Hazem Omran

Hazem, an Australian born in Sydney in 1976, carries the rich cultural heritage of his Egyptian roots. Raised in Melbourne, he now works as a product manager at a well recognised company in Sydney, where he lives with his wife and three children.

Hazem’s upbringing was deeply rooted in spirituality, in a household that embraced and respected all faiths. This inclusive environment played a pivotal role in shaping his worldview, both in his formative years and as an adult.

During his youth, Hazem had profound spiritual experiences that led him to his mentor, the esteemed Naqshbandi Sufi Master, Sheikh Nazim. He remained a devoted disciple of Sheikh Nazim until the latter’s passing in 2014.

Today, Hazem continues to share his wisdom and teachings when called upon, but he primarily leads a life of solitude, dedicating his time to contemplative practice. His journey is a testament to his commitment to spiritual growth and understanding.

Ashok Nayak – exploring Himalayan Meditation practices

Ashok has built a successful corporate career over nearly 30-years. Amid the challenges of a demanding corporate life, he embraced daily meditation from 1994. His journey involves extensive travel, long workdays, and managing stress. Through diverse meditation practices, he found peace, strength, creativity, and resilience.

 Ashok was fortunate enough to benefit from a deeply knowledgeable lineage of Himalayan masters.  After being deeply influenced by the book, Living With The Himalayan Masters by Swami Rama, Ashok was seeking a master.  He was fortunate to be accepted by Shri Dev Babaji.  During the course of his time in the Himalayas, Shri Dev Babaji was a direct disciple of Swami Rama.  Born in Northern India, Swami Rama was raised from early childhood by the Himalayan sage, Bengali Baba. Under the guidance of his master, he travelled from monastery to monastery and studied with a variety of Himalayan saints and sages, including his grandmaster who was living in a remote region of Tibet.

Since July 2021, Shri Dev Babaji has taught Ashok Himalayan practices including Dhyan, Shynua Dhyan, Kriyas, Antar Yoga Nidra, Pranayama, Shivoham and Transcendental Meditation. Ashok continues to learn from Shri Dev Babaji and is offering his knowledge on his guru’s gentle encouragement.

Sr Antonia Curtis is a nun from the Benedictine Abbey Jamberoo NSW. She has extensive experience in teaching lectio divina having spent many years being responsible for guiding the new members of the community and also guests in our retreat cottages here at the Abbey. She attained a certificate in spiritual direction from the Centre For Religious Development Cambridge, Massachusetts USA and 1995. She is presently involved in giving online retreats for the abbey website, spiritual direction and serving as chronicler for the Abbey community.

Sr Antonia published a Manual for Facilitators of lectio divina in April 2024. It is titled I Give You My Word and is a practical guide to teaching lectio divina.

Lectio divina is a contemplative practice with its Christian roots in the Benedictine tradition. It combines slow, conscious reading of a biblical or sacred text with contemplation and silent prayer. During Lectio Divina we put aside thoughts of studying the text. This is not the time to consider the historical or theological meanings of what we are reading. We read with a willingness to enter into text in a felt sense.

For many meditation teachers and practitioners, a book is often our first teacher, and we have those texts that we return to again and gain for nourishment and inspiration. The Lectio provides a framework where the reading can become a meditation practice of its own.