Memes, Meditation and Mindfulness

A weekend retreat at Gaia House, 3-5 December 2004

44 people attended the retreat.
I hope to run more one day and will post news of them if I do.

Why is it so hard to stop thinking? And who wants to stop the thoughts? Memes are ideas, habits, skills, stories, or any other kind of information that is copied from person to person. All your favourite songs and phrases are memes; so are those persistent thoughts. Memes use our clever brains to get themselves copied, and in the process construct our sense of self.

The idea of this weekend is not so much to study the science of memetics, but to use the idea of memes in our practice. Meditation and mindfulness can be valuable ‘meme-weeding’ techniques. Seeing our thoughts as memes can weaken their power and help us let go; understanding ourselves as memeplexes can undermine our clinging to the fantasy of a permanent self.

No prior knowledge of memetics or evolutionary theory will be assumed but if you want to read something beforehand I suggest ‘Waking from the meme dream’.

The weekend will be similar to that held in Bristol in 2001 but is residential and a little longer, so there will be more time for meditation. See the Schedule