Category Archives: GROUPS

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.

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.


Your Email

Membership No.

Coffee Morning date


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

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



Membership No.


Outdoor Groups update

Latest guidance from National U3A
  Please note that existing restrictions continue to stand in relation to any indoor activities. This change in guidance from the National U3A applies only to outdoor activities which may be possible to restart following the latest Government guidance and subject to the completion of and agreement to a satisfactory risk assessment.

  Since the Government has updated the guidance on measures to contain the Coronavirus outbreak and limit its spread, questions have arisen about whether these recent changes permit outdoor activities.
  The U3A National Office has now issued guidance on this together with risk assessment checklists for both for the activity itself and for each member who might attend such an activity.
  There are a number of factors to consider:
► the requirement to stay 2 metres away from any member outside your household
► a limit of 6 people meeting outdoors to include people you do not live with in a public outdoor space, private garden or uncovered roof or terrace
► the particular needs of those 70+ and those clinically vulnerable, extremely vulnerable who have been advised to continue shielding
  Before any CEDU3A group decides to meet for an outside activity a risk assessment form must be completed and submitted to the Groups Co-ordinator for agreement.
  The risk assessment form may be downloaded and completed by both the Group Convener and potential participants in the activity.
  Once completed by all, the form should be returned to Groups’ Coordinator at, together with a list (initials only) of those members who having reviewed the risk check list together with their personal outcomes consider that they can safely take part.
  The Groups Coordinator will contact the Convener once it has been agreed that it is safe for the activity to take place.
Download the risk assessment form

About the form

Thes form comprises:
The Convener/group organiser should should complete the risk assessment form.This is to identify overall hazards and risks involved in the activity and how government guidelines may be accommodated.
All group members should review their Before Activity Personal Checklist, completed Part 1. Activity Checklist Outcomes and complete the attached form Part 2. Personal Checklist Outcomes.
This second part, considers the Covid 19 risks and hazards that taking part poses to the individual. It is our advice that everyone completes Personal Checklist Outcomes: this is important because of differing requirements for people with different health. You are advised that this should therefore take into account:

► a. A members physical health and underlying issues
► b. Age
► c. The health and circumstances of those they may be living with or isolating with in their household.

Important reminder to all members

Any activity organised contrary to the latest Government Guidance and U3A National Guidance will not be endorsed by CEDU3A nor covered by National U3A public liability insurance. Care should be taken to ensure that activities involving U3A members are not misconstrued as CEDU3A events. For example, by referring to it as an ‘informal activity’ as against a ‘formal activity’ the activity could still appear to be endorsed by the U3A. Any group meeting in thisway are advised not to do so as they will be doing so at their own risk, although clearly any group of friends can meet up within the terms of the national regulations.

Songs for the Day

Every day the good people from the Americana Group post two songs reflecting the huge range of music that makes up the weird and wonderful of Americana. One is from the vaults, and another more contemporary. For example, we might select something from the 1920s and 1930s that have been discovered and re-interpreted by musicians of the stature of, say, Ry Cooder.
Find out more

Old Crouch End

Once Upon a Time in Crouch End
This local history 6 month project brought together members of the Crouch End & District U3A and the Hornsey Historical Society (HHS) who had an interest in the history of Crouch End but little or no experience of local history research. The group met monthly in the Hornsey Historical Society’s Old Schoolhouse in Tottenham Lane under the supervision of John Hinshelwood (CEDU3A) and Janet Owen (HHS).
It was intended that the completed project would be on public display during April and May in the ArtHouse Cinema, 165 Tottenham Lane, N8 9BY and during June in The Haberdashery, 22 Middle Lane, N8 8PL, but because of the coronavirus restrictions, this has not been possible.
We are, however, delighted to bring the exhibition to the Crouch End and District U3A website for members and other visitors to enjoy.