All posts by CE&DU3A

July’s Mindfulness Guide

Guided Mindfulness Practice

Listen to Andy Metcalf’s Guide to Mindfulness Practice

Nick Carroll’s Reflections for July

 

Life in Awareness
 
We are often taught to bring mindfulness into our daily life. In fact, it would be better to state it the other way around. We should see if we can bring our whole life into mindfulness.
 

Actually, daily life is already in our awareness as we go about our business, doing one thing after another as we work through our ‘to do’ list, or being bored and not knowing what to do with ourselves. If we weren’t mindful of what we were doing most of the time we would have endless accidents and mishaps, for to live our life safely we have to notice what we are doing.
 

But we are so preoccupied with what we are experiencing that most of the time we don’t notice that we are actually aware. We take it for granted and do not realise its significance.
 

Noticing is another word for being mindful and we can also use the word awareness But whatever word we use we can all agree that we have been noticing from the moment we had the capacity to do so, even from before we were born and in the safety of our mother’s womb.
 
Whether we are an infant, a child, adolescent or an adult, whenever we notice pain we instinctively tense up, and if the pain is considerable, perhaps cry out. When we experience a pleasant sensation, again irrespective of age, we might smile inwardly or outwardly and perhaps even laugh.
 

In our practice we can expand our field of awareness so that it includes more including what we often don’t want to know and by straightening out the perceptual distortions by which we make things and experiences more acceptable. Our likes and dislikes of how things are are the real obstacles that prevent us from knowing how it really is.
 
We can go further with our enquiry. Our body, our sensations, our emotions, our perceptions and our thoughts, are all experienced in awareness. This we can know and agree with, but we can go deeper. We call them ‘ours’. But are they in fact ‘ours’ to own?
 
To say they are ‘ours’ is more a turn of phrase rather than a fact. It identifies a body with all its attributes to the consciousness in which all these attributes arise. What we can recognise is how strongly we all identify with what we experience; so much so that we believe and declare that this is ‘my’ body, ‘my’ feeling, ‘my’ thought. When examined further we can see that this a questionable belief.
 
We cannot even say that mindfulness or awareness belongs to anybody. We don’t possess it; but everything that we experience, without exception, is experienced in it. This is true for all sentient beings.
 
We can ask if mindfulness or awareness is even an ‘it’? What attributes does ‘it’ have? It is only present in the moment, a unit of time that can’t be measured. It is always present whilst we are alive. Like space it is boundless and includes everything that arises within it. It is not affected by anything and yet it contains all sensations, feelings, perceptions and thoughts. It includes everything we consider personal and yet ‘it’ itself is quite impersonal. And, by containing everything it is unitive.
 

In all the above sentences having to use the word ‘it’ to identify it, makes it into an object. But awareness or mindfulness doesn’t fall into any categories that could make it into an object. It can be inferred, it can be experienced and known directly, but it is not possible to quantify it as an object. It can exist as an idea or a concept, but an idea or a concept is never the thing itself. An idea can only be a representation and is therefore one removed from the ‘thing’ itself. Here we can see the limitation of words and ideas.
 
We can investigate and reflect on these questions, not just intellectually, but experientially. Rather than being an armchair philosopher we can be a scientist in the ‘laboratory’ of our life observing the flow of our transient experiences. We can be observers of our own subjectivity.
 

Our inquiry practice begins to reveal the impermanent nature of all that we experience, as well as the constancy of awareness in which we experience life. As we begin to see how things really are, our present moment mindfulness increasingly becomes a transformative practice that reveals our likes and dislikes, or resistances and preferences, all that which prevent us from accepting the true nature of reality.
 
When we know and learn to accept that what we consider to be ‘ourselves’ is also a temporary coming together of ever-changing impermanent elements and attributes, we begin to release ourselves into the freedom of selflessness and greater harmony with existence as a whole. Acceptance of how things really are, a process of ever-changing phenomena experienced in timeless awareness, is a state of true well-being.

Monthly Talks Online

A series of regular monthly talks that take place on the first Tuesday of every month at 11.00 a.m. online via the video conferencing application Zoom.
 
  To enjoy the talks you must have access to a desktop or laptop PC, or a tablet or a smart phone loaded with the Zoom app.
 
 
About Zoom
 
 
  There is limit to how many members may join each talk : registration is required to reserve a place.

Upcoming Talks

Tuesday 7 July 2020
11 a.m. – 12.15 p.m. via Zoom

Janet Sutherland : Our Homes for Our Future


 
Will our homes support our independence as we grow older? Or do we want to move? Let’s each do a ‘Homes for Life’ review: Will my home be easy to live in and maintain, close to amenities and transport? What changes do I need to make, and when should I make them?
 
If we would like to move, what would we like to move to, and when is the best time to make the move? I will provide some examples of moves made by local CEDU3A members and some images of inspirational ideas, in the UK and beyond. Our ideas could help shape our future choices, together we can influence. The right home can add years of independent living.
 

Janet Sutherland is a CEDU3A member and freelance consultant specialising in housing, urbanism and regeneration, with an interest in housing for older people, and is part of a national U3A group ‘Future Lives’. Janet has held senior housing positions with Lewisham and Camden, and was Director, JTP Cities and a Board Member and Chair of the Services Delivery Committee of Aldwyck Housing Group. She is a Director of the Academy of Urbanism and a member of Catalyst’s Customer Experience Committee, London Housing LIN’s steering group, Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum and the Chartered Institute of Housing.

Fully booked

Tuesday 4 August 2020
11 a.m. – 12.15 p.m. via Zoom

Gordon Hutchinson : A History of Alexandra Park

For some of us, Alexandra Park has played a larger than usual part in our lives during the Covid-19 lockdown, providing the opportunity for desperately needed exercise and relaxation. However, this is just the latest episode in the Park’s 157-year history. Alexandra Park often has second billing to the Palace when the stories of their pasts are written: the Friends of the Park are trying to put the record straight. Gordon will relate some of the highlights of the Park’s fascinating history – both in terms of the changes to the Park and the sports and entertainments which have taken place there – amply illustrated by images from the Palace and Bruce Castle archives and other sources.

Gordon is a CEDU3A member and Chair of the Friends of Alexandra Park.

Registration details to follow

Tuesday 1 September
11.00 a.m. – 12.15 p.m. via Zoom

Sheila Hayman : Senseless: is Artificial Intelligent?

In the past few years, we’ve been threatened, enticed and confused by the promise of superintelligent computers, that can do everything humans can, only better and faster. But can a disembodied calculating machine, that knows nothing but one and zero, really replace the evolved, embodied, animal intelligence of humans? Sheila Hayman’s documentary work in progress will make you radically rethink everything you’ve been told and emerge with a new respect for your own extraordinary abilities.
 

Sheila Hayman is a BAFTA and BAFTA Fulbright winning documentary filmmaker, and now Director’s Fellow at the MIT Media Lab. Her work reflects a lifelong interest in the relationship between us and our technology: her 1993 BBC Horizon The Electronic Frontier introduced the world to the death of the High St, the computer in your pocket (ten years before the iPhone) and DeepFakes, including their political risks. After twenty-five years of screenwriting, novel writing and Guardian column writing, Senseless is her return to that world.

Registration details to follow

Previous monthly talks

Our first virtual monthly talk took place on Tuesday 2 June, when art historian Peter Webb delivered an illustrated lecture: Vincent Van Gogh: a personal journal through the places he painted

Bulletin no. 31 (July 2020)

In this issue:
Welcome from the Chair
Annual General Meeting
Risk assessment for outdoor interest groups
Monthly talks online
New book group
Volunteer needed – Bulletin Editor
Facebook
Coffee morning

Welcome from the Chair

I hope you are enjoying the summer sun and are able to see more of your family and friends now that lockdown restrictions have been eased. Although the recent relaxation of restrictions have made little difference to the resumption of our activities, we can of course now stand a bit closer to each other and will be able to go restaurants, pubs, museums and galleries if we choose. You will see below that National U3A guidance permits us to restart outdoor activities provided group and personal risk assessments are undertaken and agreed – please read this carefully and refer to our website.
 
We are continuing with our monthly online talks and have speakers up to September, which is great. There are still some places available for Janet Sutherland’s talk, Our homes for our future (details below). We have provisionally booked the Union Church Hall for monthly meetings from October in case it is possible to hold them there again by then. We shall see!
 
I am hoping that many of you will sign up to and attend our online Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 16 July, details are below and on our website. It will last for no more an hour, there is no limit on places but we need at least 80 members present at the meeting to be quorate. If this is not the case, the meeting will have to be abandoned and reconvened, so please try to find the time to join in on Thursday 16 July.
 
I have, again, to end with some very sad news about one of our members. Marilyn Sparrow passed away on Saturday 20 June, having been diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of the year. Marilyn was an active member of CEDU3A, attending the Singing for Fun and Art groups and other events. Our thoughts go out to Stephen, who many of you will also know, and their two daughters at this difficult time. I have written to Stephen on behalf of CEDU3A expressing our condolences.
 
Take care everyone. I look forward to seeing you the AGM – if not before at Janet’s talk.
 
Sally
chair@cedu3a.org.uk

Annual General Meeting (AGM)

online via Zoom: 16 July 2020 from 11.00 am -12.00 noon.
 
As a registered charity, we will be holding our second AGM, online, on Thursday 16 July 2020. It is important that as many of you as possible join us because we need a minimum of 80 participants to be quorate. Please note that you need to register for the meeting. This meeting replaces the original date of 2 April, which was of course cancelled due to Covid-19 emergency restrictions.
 
 
At the beginning of the AGM you will be asked to approve an amendment to the Constitution to allow for an online AGM. If that is agreed we will move on to elect officer and non-officer Trustees, approve the accounts and hear a brief overview of our progress to date and plans for the future. The meeting will last no more than one hour. A booking system, to enable us to keep track of numbers, has been put in place on Eventbrite.
 
The number of places is not restricted – we would like as many members as possible to participate. A link to the Zoom session will be sent to you before 16 July. If you have not already, you will need to download the Zoom app. Please see our website for more information on using Zoom at https://cedu3a.org.uk/zoom/. Those who are not familiar with using Zoom will find the detailed instructions there extremely helpful.
 
The agenda and papers for the meeting have been emailed to all members and will be available on the CEDU3A website. Please pay particular attention to the additional clause inserted into the Constitution which allows for the online AGM to go ahead. If you wish to register concerns about this amendment please contact Jackie Langford, CEDU3A Secretary, at secretary@cedu3a.org.uk.
 

We will be posting comprehensive information and arranging for telephone access into the AGM for those members who cannot access the internet.
 

Risk assessment for outdoor interest groups


We recently received updated guidance on outdoor activities from the National U3A, which means that it may now be possible for these groups to restart following the latest Government guidance and subject to the completion of, and agreement to, a satisfactory risk assessment. Please note existing restrictions on indoor activities continue to stand. 
 
The guidance, which includes risk assessment checklists for both the activity itself and for each member who might attend such an activity, is available on our website https://cedu3a.org.uk/risk-assessment/. If you are thinking of restarting your outdoor group please read this very carefully. If you have any queries please contact Diana Pavey via groups@cedu3a.org.uk.

Important reminder to all members


Any activity organised contrary to the latest Government guidance and National U3A guidance will not be endorsed by CEDU3A nor covered by National U3A public liability insurance. Care should be taken to ensure that activities involving individuals who are also members are not misconstrued as CEDU3A events. For example, by referring to an ‘informal activity’ as against a ‘formal activity’ the activity could still appear to be endorsed by the U3A. Any groups meeting in this way should be advised that they are doing so at their own risk.
 
Clearly though, any group of friends, family and/or neighbours are able to meet up for exercise and relaxation in the open air within the terms of the national regulations and we would not want to discourage you from doing so. However, such cannot be classed as a CEDU3A activity and this should be made clear to any of our members attending.

Monthly talks online

Peter Webb: Vincent Van Gogh – a personal journey to the places he painted
 
We had the pleasure of a repeat (sold-out) talk from Peter. The talk was recorded and copies of the recording can be obtained from Carl Parker via cedu3a@gmx.com. Peter has also agreed to give a talk on Erotic Art, his specialist subject. Peter taught the first ever degree course in the subject at Hornsey Art College in the 1970s. Date and registration details to follow soon.
 
Tuesday 7 July 2020, 11.00 am – 12.15 pm via Zoom
 
Janet Sutherland: Our Homes for Our Future

 
Will our homes support our independence as we grow older? Or do we want to move? Let’s each do a ‘Homes for Life’ review: Will my home be easy to live in and maintain, close to amenities and transport? What changes do I need to make, and when should I make them? If we would like to move, what would we like to move to, and when is the best time to make the move? I will provide examples of moves made by local CEDU3A members and images of inspirational ideas, in the UK and beyond. Our ideas could help shape our future choices, together we can influence. The right home can add years of independent living.

 
Janet Sutherland is a CEDU3A member and freelance consultant specialising in housing, urbanism and regeneration, with an interest in housing for older people, and is part of the national U3A group ‘Future Lives’. Janet has held senior housing positions with Lewisham and Camden, and was Director, JTP Cities and a Board Member and Chair of the Services Delivery Committee of Aldwyck Housing Group. She is a Director of the Academy of Urbanism and a member of Catalyst’s Customer Experience Committee, London Housing LIN’s steering group, Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum and the Chartered Institute of Housing. Register here.
 
Tuesday 4 August 2020, 11.00 am – 12.15 pm via Zoom
 
Gordon Hutchinson: A history of Alexandra Park
 
For some of us, Alexandra Park has played a larger than usual part in our lives during the Covid-19 lockdown, providing the opportunity for desperately needed exercise and relaxation. However, this is just the latest episode in the Park’s 157-year history. Alexandra Park often has second billing to the Palace when the stories of their pasts are written: the Friends of the Park are trying to put the record straight. Gordon will relate some of the highlights of the Park’s fascinating history – both in terms of the changes to the Park and the sports and entertainments which have taken place there – amply illustrated by images from the Palace and Bruce Castle archives and other sources.
 
Gordon Hutchinson spent 35 years in the energy industry, in a variety of roles and countries. He moved to Crouch End in 1973 and Muswell Hill in 1979. He is a CEDU3A member and has been Chair of the Friends of Alexandra Park since its foundation in 2006. Registration details to follow.
 
Tuesday 1 September 11.00 am – 12.15 pm via Zoom
 
Sheila Hayman : Senseless: is Artificial Intelligent?
 
In the past few years, we’ve been threatened, enticed and confused by the promise of superintelligent computers, that can do everything humans can, only better and faster. But can a disembodied calculating machine, that knows nothing but one and zero, really replace the evolved, embodied, animal intelligence of humans? Sheila Hayman’s documentary work in progress will make you radically rethink everything you’ve been told and emerge with a new respect for your own extraordinary abilities.
 
Sheila Hayman is a BAFTA and BAFTA Fulbright winning documentary filmmaker, and now Director’s Fellow at the MIT Media Lab. Her work reflects a lifelong interest in the relationship between us and our technology: her 1993 BBC Horizon ‘The Electronic Frontier’ introduced the world to the death of the High St, the computer in your pocket (ten years before the iPhone) and DeepFakes, including their political risks. After twenty-five years of screenwriting, novel writing and Guardian column writing, ‘Senseless’ is her return to that world. Registration details to follow.

New book group – Reading Race

Convener – Rebecca Harrington
 
“Would anyone like to join me in reading and thinking about current writing on racism, the history of white privilege and what being an ally might involve in retirement?

 I’m white, was brought up in Dorset and for 40+ years have lived and worked in social care and health in London, where understanding diversity, race and power has been of critical importance, both personally and professionally. Now retired, I’d like us to explore some of the new writing by black authors and discuss how their knowledge and experience can deepen our current understanding of racism and how we can contribute to change.

Mostly non-fiction – such as Reni Eddo-Lodge, Afua Hirsch, Jeffrey Boakye, and maybe fiction like Colston Whitehead, but open to ideas. Provisionally monthly, last Wednesday of the month starting 29 July, 10.30 am -12.00 noon, by Zoom to start with. To join and for information go to https://cedu3a.org.uk/reading-race/

Volunteer needed – Bulletin Editor

We are looking for a volunteer to edit our monthly bulletin. This is an enjoyable and rewarding role, involving you in the heart of our activities for a few days at the end of each month. Working closely on the content with the Chair, Sally Whitaker, the person volunteering for this valuable role will compile the copy for each edition, from a range of contributors, to agreed deadlines. You would edit copy where necessary, maintaining and adapting house style as required.
 
If you are interested in helping us in this important role, please email Sally at chair@cedu3a.org.uk. She will make arrangements to ‘phone you to discuss what is involved and answer any queries you might have.

Facebook

We now have over 250 members in our Facebook group, which is very encouraging. Initially the group was set up to promote CEDU3A activities and members were encouraged to share posts and photos of their interest groups. Obviously, our activities have been restricted in recent months, but we would still like you to share what you have been doing during the lockdown. Perhaps you have been on a socially distanced walk with friends you made through the U3A? Is there a book you have read and then discussed via Zoom, which you could now recommend to the rest of us? Have you made something as a result (or not) of taking part in one of our creative groups? Have you shared plants with fellow members? Is there a film, downloadable theatre production or online exhibition you would like to recommend? Keeping in touch is vital during these difficult times and broadening the scope of our Facebook page, by encouraging a wider range of posts, could certainly enhance the lockdown experience of others and help us all continue to ‘learn, laugh and live’.

Coffee mornings

We are now holding virtual coffee mornings, via Zoom. The next meeting is 11.00 – 11.45 am, Wednesday 8 July. If you would like to join this, or future, mornings please contact Jacki via https://cedu3a.org.uk/coffee-mornings/

Online National U3A Events

National U3A is delighted to offer a brand new series of online events, complementing our already established face-to-face events when they are able to restart. Registration is required for these members-only events which will be conducted via Zoom.
 

Friday 3 July 2020

Love or Betrayal : join the National Gallery’s Dr. Carlo Corsato and Alex Teng to explore Rubens’s Samson and Delilah. Free event.
 
 
Register ►
 
 

Thursday 23 July 2020

Discovering Children’s Literature : a virtual study morning with three experts presenting their research about the history and development of children’s literature, and the treasures held in the British Library. Free event.
 
 
Register ►
 

One Foot in the Rave


 

From CEDU3A member Parminder
 
My dance party the other Friday was a success and great fun. By popular demand the DJ’s have agreed to do the Zoom party for me every Friday.
 
Our aim is to beam non-stop dance classics from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s straight into your living room. We call it One Foot in the Rave because it’s grown up grooves … for grown ups! So if you love the classics like we do join us every Friday. The Zoom link is below or you can use meeting ID 849 2305 6363. See you on the dancefloor!
 
ZOOM LINK
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84923056363
Meeting ID: 849 2305 6363
 
 
Check out the Facebook page ►
 

Coffee Morning

Our coffee mornings are organised by Jacki Reason.
We are currently running virtual coffee mornings, via Zoom.
 
The next one is on Wednesday 8 July 2020.
 
To book please complete the form below. Jacki will then confirm your booking, or if there are no spaces available reply that you have been put on a reserve list.
 
If you are unable to attend a coffee morning that you have booked, please let Jacki know via this form.

Name



Your Email



Membership No.



Coffee Morning date



Message




About Zoom

Dylan covered


 
The theme of a recent Americana Group meeting via Zoom was favourite covers of Bob Dylan songs. The songs heard were, with the name of the member who selected it:
 
1 – The Byrds : You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (Ian)

2 – Norah Jones : Forever Young (Roger)

3 – Fairport Convention : Si Tu Dois Partir (Alison)

4 – Tedeschi Trucks Band : Don’t Think Twice (It’s Alright) (Paul)

5 – Jimi Hendrix Experience : All Along The Watchtower (Helen)

6 – T-Bone Burnett & Friends : Kansas City (Ed)

7 – The Byrds : Mr Tambourine Man (Noeleen)

8 – Ben Sidran : Everything Is Broken (Kay)

9 – Eliza Gilkyson : Love Minus Zero/No Limit (Julian)

10 – Taj Mahal : All Along The Watchtower (Rod)

11 – Joan Baez : Love Is just A Four Letter Word (Jeff)

12 – K.T. Tunstall : Tangled Up In Blue (Charlie)

13 – Spirit : Like A Rolling Stone (Carl)

14 – Roy Harper : North Country (Carl)
 
 
Join the Group
 

Bulletin editor

We are looking for a volunteer to be editor for our monthly bulletin, which is distributed to all members. It will be an enjoyable and rewarding role, involving you for a few days at the end of every month in the heart of our activities. Working closely on the content with the Chair, Sally Whitaker, the person volunteering for this valuable role will compile the copy for each monthly edition, from a range of contributors, to agreed deadlines. You would edit copy where necessary, maintaining and adapting house style as required.
 
If you might be interested in helping us in this important role, please contact Sally Whitaker at email: chair@cedu3a.org.uk. She will make arrangements to phone you to discuss what is involved, and answer any queries you might have.

New Group : Reading Race

Would anyone like to join me in reading and thinking about current writing on racism, the history of white privilege and what being an ally might involve in retirement?
 
  I am white, was brought up in Dorset, living and working in social care and health in London for 40+ years where understanding diversity, race and power has been of critical importance personally and professionally.
 
  Now retired, I’d like us to explore some of the new writing by black authors and discuss how their knowledge and experience can deepen our understanding of racism now and how we can contribute to change.
 
  Mostly non-fiction – such as Reni Eddo-Lodge, Afua Hirsch, Jeffrey Boakye, and maybe fiction like Colston Whitehead, but open to ideas …
 
  Group Convenor : Rebecca Harrington

The Group will meet on the last Wednesday of the month, 10.30 a.m. – 12 noon, initially via Zoom, starting on 29 July

Apply to join the Reading Race Group

Name



Email



Membership No.



Message