Evening meditation sessions and Sunday beginners’ courses have both resumed at 50 Gloucester Place. Bookings for meditation can be made here (password protected, details have been emailed to subscribers). See here for details of courses, plus online sessions on Zoom.
Update October 2020: new restrictions are now in force, including the so-called “rule of six” which limits meetings with other people to a maximum of six whether indoors or out. These new rules are aimed at social gatherings with friends and family and not at activities like ours. Groups such as the Dhyana Centre are exempted under several categories ie. voluntary/charitable activities, religious worship and education. I am more than satisfied that the existing protocol by which the DC is operating is suitable and commensurate with the risk and we will therefore continue to meet at the Theosophical Society as currently planned. As always, this will be re-assessed in the light of new developments and guidance from HM Government.
[This email was sent to all Centre subscribers on Sunday 12th July]
I am delighted to be able to tell you that arrangements have now been made for the Dhyana Centre to resume limited activities at 50 Gloucester Place with effect from next Saturday, 18th July.
These interim sessions will be Tuesday and Saturday evenings 7pm – 8.30pm and at intermediate-level for existing members and associates only. This is an initial toe into the water which will expand as and when the medical situation allows and I would hope to be able to offer beginners’ courses again in September.
Following an on-site risk assessment, the DC submitted a proposal to the Trustees of the Theosophical Society Charity at their monthly board meeting yesterday and they have now agreed to allow 50 Gloucester Place to resume hosting DC events subject to certain specific precautions to ensure that we are operating as a “Covid-19 secure venue” as defined by Government guidelines.
The salient points of our agreement are as follows, and these will form the operating basis for all DC meetings in the short-term:
Symptoms: it goes without saying that those with any symptoms will not be allowed to participate, nor those shielding or especially vulnerable (a non-contact thermometer will be available on site but temperatures will not be measured by routine).
Attendees: open to existing DC members and associates only ie. those already registered, not to newcomers. Details of participants (both the TS Reception signing-in book and the DC booking log) will be retained for 4 weeks in case of any subsequent contact-tracing requirement.
Booking: all places must be booked online in advance (this will be the subject of another email to all intermediates).
Distancing & numbers: required social distancing will be ‘one metre plus’, two metres where conditions allow: to ensure this, meetings will be limited to 10 persons (including me).
Face coverings: all attendees must wear face masks on arrival and while moving about inside the building if social distancing may be compromised. Once appropriately seated in the Lecture Room, face masks can be removed.
Hand sanitiser: to be applied on arrival as a condition of entry to the building, and ideally on exit and at any other appropriate time.
Type & duration: silent meditation only, not OM Healing chant. Sessions will be reduced from the usual two hours to one and a half.
Ground floor: attendees will be restricted to the ground floor of the building ie. no access to 1st floor toilets. The water dispenser in the Members Room will be available but there will be no access to tea/coffee in the kitchenette.
Reception: 50 Gloucester Place will not be open to the public until September at the earliest, so there will be no TS receptionist or book shop facilities (as distinct from the DC’s own lending library which will be available). The DC will be responsible for its own access control and stewarding.
Ventilation: the Lecture Room can become unhealthily stuffy so will be ventilated before and after use by opening the rear windows and doors, and using a fan if necessary.
Cleaning: localised disinfection will be undertaken by TS staff after each meeting.
Reporting: anyone who subsequently develops symptoms after attending a DC meeting must report that fact to Alan Perry as soon as practicable.
I am confident that if these precautions are followed (and I can see no reason why they should cause a problem for anybody) we can resume meditation sessions safely and effectively. I am in the process of setting up an online booking system via the DC website and when this is ready I shall email the details to all registered intermediates.
Video meetings on Zoom will continue as currently planned, see www.dhyanacentre.org/calendar for details.
Join us for online meetings on the Zoom platform
During this lockdown period, regular video meetings on Zoom are being hosted by Alan Perry on Thursday evenings, open to all Centre members, associates and registered students. These Open Forums are not intended as actual meditation sessions but involve a spiritual reading followed by a discussion period for about one hour.
The details of these Zoom meetings are circulated by email to all subscribers in the monthly Newsletter. Any non-subscriber wishing to participate in these video chats should contact the Centre by email.
Alan Perry is also running regular Atma Dhyana meditation practice sessions on Sunday mornings, but again these are open only to existing Centre members, not to newcomers as yet.
Details of all Zoom meetings can be found on the Calendar page.