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Introduction to Meditation: Tuesdays at 5-6pm Online

December 22, 2021

The beginner’s mind is the mind of compassion. – Shunryu Suzuki Roshi

The new year is an opportunity to recognize that we are always beginning. Beginning now. No boundary, no basis for comparison, no preconceived notion on which to base expectation. That’s the invitation of this practice, to sit in silence with thoroughgoing attention and entrust ourselves to the unfettered newness of this moment. To sit and find our home in ‘the mind of compassion.’ Such an inexhaustible welcome!

Our weekly Introduction to Meditation class offers a great way to get support in starting a meditation practice. To help you learn the basics, develop your meditation skills, and plant or deepen a practice, we’ve crafted a series of 6 class topics to cover the essentials.

Day and time: Tuesdays, 5pm MT
Cost: Free
Registration: No registration, just show up
Zoom link to join:

The curriculum will follow this general outline:

  • Why we sit
  • Thoughts
  • Present moment awareness
  • Three fruits of practice
  • Four aspects of practice
  • Methods of practice

Our ideal is for you to attend all 6 sessions, to enjoy the benefit of continuity and to explore these 6 topics on the way to setting up a solid and sustainable meditation practice. If you’ve arrived here in the middle of a six-class series, not a problem! Join whenever you can. At our next 6 class series, we hope you’ll be able to join us for the other topics.

And if you’re not a beginner, but would like to come — excellent. You’re onto one of the great secrets of meditation training: the basics are some of the most potent constituents of the meditation canon. Worth revisiting on an ongoing basis.

Meet our Teachers
Our Introduction to Meditation class is overseen by Sanbo Zen Teacher Valerie Forstman  and includes the following roster of trained teachers from our sangha….

Mary Ann Bennett
Mary Ann writes, “I landed in my first Zendo about 20 years ago and felt I had come home. After studying yoga for 10 years and becoming a new yoga teacher, this was the next right thing for my spiritual journey. I fell in love with Zen. The grounded, ordinary, ‘Chop wood, carry water’ quality of this practice drew me in.”

Mary Ann became a member of Mountain Cloud and a student of Henry Shukman’s in 2014. She writes, “I treasure the sangha at Mountain Cloud. Even though I haven’t sat with them in person since Covid, the online support, inspiration, and learning feels like a family. It is an honor and a joy to lead some of these Intro to Zen classes. I look forward to meeting you!”

Bill Bruce
Bill is a senior student who has been an active member of Mountain Cloud for many years. He writes, “I have been blessed with guidance from Henry Shukman Roshi since 2011, and more recently, with Valerie Forstman Roshi.” Bill is a self-described family man with a background in home construction and carpentry. He is a welcoming presence at MCZC, now joining the cohort of teachers to welcome students to the weekly Intro Class.


Lisa Lincoln
Lisa is an avid meditator who started sitting at the age of 16 when her father asked her to try out meditation for stress relief. After years of trying to maintain her practice, she discovered Mountain Cloud, became a student of Henry Shukman (and then Valerie Forstman as well) and felt she had found her home. 

Lisa has a passion for teaching. She works as a voice and theater teacher. Lisa writes, “I feel blessed to be able to teach the Introduction to Meditation Class with all the wonderful teachers at Mountain Cloud and share the life-changing gift of meditation and mindfulness with the students.”

Kathryn Stedham
Kathryn has taught Intro to Zen classes, in-person and online, for seven years at Mountain Cloud. She is also a frequent teacher for the Rio Grande Mindfulness Institute and has facilitated a weekly Mindfulness Class for patients at a local physician’s complex.

Kathryn began her training in the SanboZen lineage twenty-three years ago, first under the guidance of Bruce Harris and then, since moving to Santa Fe in 2011, with Henry Shukman. She has participated in numerous sesshins, NASZ retreats, as well as sits in Japan. Kathryn is a member of SanboZen International.  A former MCZC Board Member, Kathryn has been active in the life of the sangha since she arrived. Kathryn is an oil painter by profession. She is an avid equestrian and enjoys traveling internationally.

Photo by Bekir Dönmez on Unsplash
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