The Samatha Trust has been offering meditation classes in Cambridge University since 1963 and the two present Cambridge teachers each have over 30 years of experience of mindfulness and meditation. We are a Buddhist group, teaching a meditation with roots in Thai Buddhism and going back to ancient India, but what we offer is open to anyone, whether interested in Buddhism or not. These classes are secular, and offer practical meditation skills and ways of understanding and learning to control the mind.
The CU Samatha Society courses are primarily for undergraduates, postgraduates and post-docs. The Samatha Trust also has a meditation class in the town which is open to all, see http://www.samatha.org/cambridge.
Samatha means calm, peacefulness, tranquility, and the practice of Samatha meditation helps to settle the mind's usual turbulence and allow it to move towards stillness. The practice starts with some simple mindfulness exercises which help us become familiar with our breath, and over time we learn to use the breath to explore and engage with how we experience our body and mind. As our mindfulness becomes stronger, it helps us to be more awake to the present moment, with all its rich experience that we so often miss. So mindfulness and meditation lead to a deeper and deeper understanding of the mind and how it works. With relaxation, mindfulness and understanding together you have more and more choice: not to get caught up in what distresses you, but to use your mind in a more positive way, to be happier, less anxious, clearer in your thinking, and have more energy. But all of this can only happen if you make a little space in your life to practise meditation, and to give some attention and kindness to yourself. Just a few minutes a day can make a difference.
Those who taught us never asked for payment and the Trust continues that tradition by not charging for teaching.