UPDATE Saturday, 9th September 2023
(This was emailed to all subscribers on Friday 8th September)
This is a reminder that, following our departure from 50 Gloucester Place, Dhyana Centre sessions will be resuming at two new venues with effect from this coming Tuesday, 12th September. OM Healing will alternate between the two venues while meditation will be solely at Essex Church, as will future introductory courses (the offer we had of a Roman Catholic school in Battersea has been rescinded following intervention by the Diocese).
PLEASE NOTE that the September sessions are not open to newcomers as there will be no time for introductory briefings. First-time OM Healers are requested to wait until October.
1. Tuesday 12th September 7pm: OM Healing @ Rudolf Steiner House, Marylebone
Doors will open for set up at 7pm. Please aim to arrive between 7pm – 7.15pm and enter the building via the Bookshop entrance (as opposed to the Theatre entrance); you will be directed to the Eurythmy Room on the 3rd floor where you will be asked to sign in. If you arrive early, the Bookshop and Cafe on the ground floor should both be open. There is a small elevator for anyone who has difficulty with the stairs. There will be no introductory briefing but we will have a familiarisation and discussion instead.
The active part of the session will consist of the usual 45 minutes of audible chant, followed by 15 minutes of silent meditation without any sort of break (in other words, there will be no separate meditation period or opportunity to leave/arrive after the chanting). We will then clear up and leave the premises by 9pm.
2. Friday 22nd September 7pm: Meditation @ Essex Unitarian Church, Notting Hill Gate
Doors will open for set up at 7pm; please arrive and sign in between 7pm – 7.10pm for a prompt 7.15pm start. We will be using the downstairs Library, a steward will direct you from the entrance lobby. There will be two periods of silent meditation, the first for 25 minutes and the second for 40 minutes. There will be the usual break at 8pm to allow participants either to arrive or leave; we will need to finish, clear up and depart by 9pm.
Please note that we will only have a limited number of cushions available for those who wish to be floor-based so you may like to consider bringing your own. Open to DC members and existing students only.
3. Friday 29th September 7pm: OM Healing @Essex Unitarian Church, Notting Hill Gate
Similar procedure as for Rudolf Steiner House above; please arrive and sign in 7pm – 7.15pm. We will be using the Small Hall directly in front of the main entrance. Once again, we will have a familiarisation and discussion but no newcomers’ briefing.
These are all trial sessions so familiarisation is fundamental at this stage, getting used to a new structure and a slightly different way of proceeding. All those who have been to OM Healing previously at 50 Gloucester Place will be most welcome to attend these new OM sessions; there is no need for booking but punctuality is essential. Click on the venue links for more details of the locations and travel arrangements.
These in-person sessions are in addition to the online classes which will continue on Zoom as normal. However, please note that there will be no DC session of any kind this coming Sunday 10th September.
UPDATE Wednesday, 6th September 2023
The offer we received of a Roman Catholic school in Battersea for our future introductory courses has now been rescinded (or more accurately, the Head has been overruled by the Diocesan authorities who decided that we were an “alternative theology”). I have now arranged instead to run future courses on Sunday afternoons 5pm – 7.30pm at Essex Unitarian Church in Notting Hill Gate. Details/dates of the next course, hopefully November, will be published when confirmed.
UPDATE Friday, 1st September 2023
The Centre has now left 50 Gloucester Place. The two new venues for weekday sessions, Rudolf Steiner House and Kensington Unitarian Church, have both been confirmed and sessions will resume on Tuesday 12th September, see here for details. The venue in Battersea for Sunday courses remains provisional.
A reminder email with more details will be sent out to all subscribers on Friday 8th.
UPDATE Friday, 25th August 2023
[This has been sent out today to all Centre subscribers as part of the monthly programme]
We now have only two sessions remaining at 50 Gloucester Place:- the Mudras & Pranayama workshop this coming Sunday 27th and the meditation class on Tuesday 29th, after which the building will close permanently while it is being prepared for sale. However I am pleased to be able to inform you that Dhyana Centre in-person sessions will continue in central London from September without any disruption, as part of our normal thrice-weekly schedule.
New venues: over the last two months, I have researched and reviewed over thirty different new venues in inner London, all either established spiritual centres, holistic/healing clinics or church/community halls. My main aim has been to keep DC activities within the West End locality that we have been familiar with for more than three decades but the problem has been finding any one venue that can accommodate all three of the DC’s functions ie. OM Healing chant (where we make a lot of noise), silent meditation (where we need uninterrupted quiet) and beginners’ courses (a quiet location on a Sunday morning). To date, I have not found any one place that can handle all this satisfactorily, although I am keeping my eyes open for the future.
However, I have come up with a shortlist of excellent venues and we will be trialling three of them over the next four months, from which I hope some permanent arrangements will emerge. Having had our own home, so to speak, at 50 Gloucester Place it is going to feel very different hiring someone else’s premises and conforming to other people’s rules and regulations; some minor adjustments will be necessary (such as new set-up timings, limited storage availability, prohibitions on candles and incense). We will also need to be adaptable regarding days of the week; but since I know that some DC regulars find the current Tuesday evenings inconvenient, I am pleased now to be able to offer Fridays as well, both for meditation and for OM Healing.
I am confident that we will all quickly habituate to the new environments. Indeed I view all this change very positively, as a new door opening rather than just on old door closing. Please bear in mind that all these venues are part of a trial – both us of them and them of us – and I will be looking to make longer-term plans in the New Year depending on how we progress up till Christmas. You will all have the opportunity to provide feedback.
The three venues we will be trialling are as follows:-
1. Rudolf Steiner House, 35 Park Road, Marylebone NW1 6XT (Tuesdays)
A well-known and established spiritual base five minutes walk north from Baker Street tube. We will be doing OM Healing here monthly 7pm – 9pm on Tuesdays with effect from 12th September.
2. Essex Unitarian Church, 112 Palace Gardens Terrace, Notting Hill Gate W8 4RT (Fridays)
A long-established spiritual and community centre, three minutes walk from Notting Hill Gate tube. Meditation will be here on alternate Friday evenings 7pm – 9pm from 22nd September, and OM Healing monthly on Fridays alternating with the Tuesdays at Rudolf Steiner House.
3. St. Mary’s RC Primary School, 7 St. Joseph’s Street, Battersea SW8 4EN (Sundays, provisional)
A modern and well-appointed school, a calm and peaceful space on weekends; excellent for public transport including Northern line tube. We have been offered use of the facilities for courses on Sunday mornings and, subject to confirmation by the school’s Diocesan governors, I plan to run the first course there in October/November.
All these venues are well-placed for public transport as well as having car parking available locally in the evenings or Sundays. Please click on the above links or go to the Venues page of the DC website where more details and maps can be seen.
Open Forum tonight: in the Zoom session this evening @ 7pm (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/526446792), after the usual reading and 20 minute meditation, I shall be using the opportunity to expand upon all these new arrangements and am happy to discuss anything related to the new venues. Please come along if you want to listen in or participate, no booking is required.
Website revamped www.dhyanacentre.org: the DC website has also been updated and pruned and the new version went live yesterday. You should spot the distinctive new green header; if your version is still showing the old blue banner, you need to refresh your browser…
Please do bear in mind that with multiple venues and different days/dates, it will be easy to make mistakes so it is imperative to check the schedule on the website to ensure you have the correct information before you make plans or travel. The most important page to bookmark is the weekly activities table on the Calendar page: https://www.dhyanacentre.org/calendar/#weekly which has details of all functions of any type for the next two weeks. This table is always accurate and up to date and you can rely upon it.
UPDATE Saturday, 5th August 2023
Arrangements for the activities of the Centre post-August are currently slotting into place very well, albeit still only provisional. It now appears that all Centre activities will be able to continue from September at new venues in central London with minimal disruption to the usual weekly schedule.
It is currently planned that details will be made public on this website on Thursday 24th August and emailed to all subscribers with the monthly programme on Friday 25th. In the evening of the 25th, the second half of the Open Forum on Zoom will be given over to a discussion of the new arrangements.
In answer to various queries that I have received over the last couple of weeks, may I take this opportunity to confirm that there is no question of the Dhyana Centre ceasing to operate after the TS HQ at 50 Gloucester Place closes. I have done a lot of research recently and already identified over 30 possible venues in central London (eg. spiritual/religious organisations, healing centres and church halls) some of which I am now investigating further and will be visiting.
So the Centre will continue for certain, but what I cannot at this stage confirm is where and on what days of the week. All this will become more apparent over the next few weeks but I am hoping to maintain the current programme of weekday evenings for OM Healing and/or meditation, and Sunday mornings for teaching workshops/courses.
[Saturday, 8 July 2023]
Dear Centre members and friends,
It has recently been announced that the Theosophical Society at 50 Gloucester Place, which has been up for sale for a couple of years, has now finally been sold. This beautiful old building has apparently been bought by a private buyer who intends to convert it for personal use it as a family dwelling. The TS also owns the rear-adjoining building in Rodmarton Street; this has not been sold and will continue to be rented off as a recording studio, so the TS does have the option to return to the West End if it ever wished to do so.
All TS activities, including the Dhyana Centre and other spiritual groups who use the building, have been given notice to cease by the end of August.
I have spoken to the TS about alternatives. There is currently no plan to retain a physical presence in London and the administrative HQ of the Society will move initially to another building it already owns in Nottingham. I have expressed a hope that the TS will use its ample funds to invest in a new building in London – not necessarily in the West End but perhaps a modest book shop with a meeting room. However, the current view of the TS Trustees is that the future is online and that in-person meetings are a thing of the past. This may be true for traditional TS lectures and study groups (and certainly the TS is doing extremely well online) but it is not true in the case of workshops, inter-active seminars and the like which still benefit from the physical presence.
The DC must now look at its own options; whilst we have embraced the Zoom craze and continue to benefit much from it, we will need to find alternative venue(s) for in-person courses etc. That does not necessarily mean moving to another permanent location but I will be open to suggestions on this as the summer progresses.
In the meantime, I have arranged with the TS to make the best of the final two months at 50 Gloucester Place by increasing our weekly presence there. Despite the fact that this is the height of the summer holiday season, I have already arranged for another Dhyana Yoga introductory course to take place over three consecutive Sundays in August (6th, 13th & 20th) and a Mudras & Pranayama workshop will take place on Sunday 27th August. All these details can be seen on the website at www.dhyanacentre.org/calendar/#courses and both are already open for booking by both newcomers and returning students.
In addition, we will be meeting every Tuesday 7pm – 9pm from now on for either OM Healing or meditation – not just the fortnightly groups that we have been running up till now. The details can be seen here. The meditation classes are only open to current members and students but the OM Healings are open to everybody. The normal weekly pattern of Zoom sessions will continue at all other times when we are not at 50 Gloucester Place.
[The above was emailed to all DC subscribers on Wednesday 14th June]