Our Practice

Open meditation sessions are not based on any particular style of meditation and you may practice in any way that you like provided that you: sit as quietly as you can, and help create, as best you can, a quiet, supportive, distraction-free environment for others.

Beyond this, and the scheduled ringing of bells (see below), there are no rules, duties, or rituals. You may enter at any time and through any door. You may leave at any time and through any door. You may sit wherever you want, and once seated, you may shape your internal experience according to your own wishes.

You may meditate if that feels right.* Sitting in silence is simple. There is nothing for you to do, nothing to produce, no goal to reach, and nothing to assess. What happens is entirely up to you.

You don’t even need to sit with rock-like rigidity or in perfect abstinent silence, although attempting to do these things can be interesting. If thoughts arise, if you find yourself reflecting on or planning your day, if you get lost in the soft light and gentle noises of the chapel, or if you find yourself taking a short nap, it’s entirely alright. Likewise, feel free when the need arises to adjust your sitting posture, cough, scratch, leave, re-enter. Do what you need to do, but try to act simply and mindfully in consideration of others.

‘Sit as quietly as you can’ is an instruction, not an assignment. It doesn’t ask you to evaluate your performance before you stand up and go on to the next thing. It’s just a way to create the opportunity to be still in body, silent in sound and thought, and to experience life as you think best.

Bell ringing schedule:

  • 12:10 – 3 bells
  • 12:40 – 3 bells

* New to meditation? The Resources page contains links to materials that can get you started with meditation. If you would like to discuss these materials, receive some personal instruction, or just discuss what happens when you try to meditate, please contact Alan Shusterman (alan@reed.edu).