Logistics and Group Guidelines
- Please arrive on time. When we are at the church: if you arrive after 7:20pm on Wednesdays, the door to the church may be locked. If you know you will arrive later than 7:20pm, consider attending another week.
- Check the Meetup page to know when we are meeting. All of our meetings will be posted in the Events section. (We sometimes skip weeks for holidays or if the church is closed.)
- Unless you need to keep your phone on, please turn off or silence your phone for the duration of the meditation gathering. Please do not text or use your cell phone in the room during the meditation gathering unless truly necessary.
- Chairs are provided. There are also several yoga mats available if you prefer to lie down. You are also welcome to bring your own yoga mat or meditation cushion or bench.
- Please make yourself comfortable for meditation. Choose a posture that is kind and supportive to your body (sitting, standing or lying down).
- You can leave your shoes on, or take them off. If you use one of our yoga mats, please remove your shoes.
- Unless medically necessary, please refrain from eating in the meditation room. It is fine to bring in drinks in closed containers.
- We do not take official breaks during our sessions, so please use your wisdom for bathroom, food, stretch, sensory breaks, etc.
- Refrain from wearing strongly scented products like perfume, cologne, hand lotion, etc, as there may be participants with allergies.
- You do not have to live in Astoria (or even in Queens) to attend one of our gatherings.
Guidelines for Group Participation
- Participate in an authentic way. In doing so, you contribute to the health and longevity of this community.
- Exercise consideration and respect in your speech and actions. Try to refrain from advice-giving. Speak from your own experience. To the best of your ability, please speak and listen with an attitude of love, care and respect.
- Please practice confidentiality regarding what community members may share during the meditation gathering. If you wish to approach other participants outside of the gatherings regarding what they shared within the group, first ask them if they are open to discussing it further.
- Make space/take space: share your experience with others, and leave room for others in the group to share theirs. Be mindful of others’ needs in communication.
- Refrain from demeaning, discriminatory, or harassing behavior and speech.
- Be mindful of your surroundings and of your fellow participants. Alert community leaders if you notice a dangerous situation, someone in distress, or violations of the guidelines.
- Remember that event venues are shared with members of the public; please be respectful to all people present in these locations, and respect the space, furniture, etc. Clean up any spills, throw away food containers, etc.
- We stand for ending racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ageism, religious discrimination, discrimination against people with disabilities, and discrimination against immigrants. We stand with our diverse neighbors in Queens, and we want to have each other’s backs. Read here about the practice of inviting participants to share their gender pronouns at our gatherings.
The following behaviors are unacceptable within our community:
- Violence, threats of violence or violent language directed against another person.
- Sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist or otherwise discriminatory jokes and language towards others.
- Personal insults, particularly those related to gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, or disability.
- Inappropriate physical contact. You should have someone’s consent before touching them.
- Unwelcome sexual attention. This includes, sexualized comments or jokes; inappropriate touching, groping, and unwelcomed sexual advances.
- Deliberate misgendering or use of ‘dead’ or rejected names.
- Deliberate intimidation or stalking (online or in person).
- Sustained disruption of community events, including talks, meditations, and discussions.
- Posting or displaying sexually explicit or violent material.
- Posting or threatening to post other people’s personally identifying information (“doxing”).
- Inappropriate photography or recording.
- Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior.
To report a violation of the guidelines, let one of the group leaders know in person, and/or email the Leadership Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will respond as promptly as we can. We will respect confidentiality requests for the purpose of protecting victims of abuse, and we will not name harassment victims without their affirmative consent.
This code of conduct applies to Mindful Astoria spaces, but if you are being harassed by a member of Mindful Astoria outside our spaces, we still want to know about it. We will take all good-faith reports of harassment by Mindful Astoria members, especially the Leadership Committee and Teaching Team, seriously. In order to protect the Leadership Committee volunteer members from abuse and burnout, we reserve the right to make the judgment to the best of our ability and reject any report we believe to have been made in bad faith.
Participants asked to stop any of the above behaviors are expected to comply immediately. If a participant engages in harassing behavior, the Leadership Committee may take any action they deem appropriate, including expulsion from all Mindful Astoria spaces.
Mindful Astoria prioritizes marginalized people’s safety over privileged people’s comfort. The Leadership Committee reserves the right not to act on complaints regarding:
- ‘Reverse’ -isms, including ‘reverse racism,’ ‘reverse sexism,’ and ‘cisphobia’
- Reasonable communication of boundaries, such as “leave me alone,” “go away,” or “I’m not discussing this with you.”
- Communicating in a ‘tone’ you don’t find congenial
- Criticizing racist, sexist, cissexist, or otherwise oppressive behavior or assumptions
Ethics Guidelines for Teachers and Community Leaders (Based on the Ethical Guidelines of the Interdependence Project)
Our teachers and leaders share the view of interdependence and recognize their great responsibility to act with decency and compassion in their community and the world. To support this intention, we practice ethical principles as detailed below, to create and foster harmony personally, interpersonally, and collectively. We are also committed to the ongoing creation of a safe and welcoming community for all.
- We commit to be of benefit and refrain from causing harm. We understand that every thought, word, and deed have an effect on countless beings, and we vow to cultivate compassionate and wise actions for the benefit of all. This includes respect for other people’s rights and dignity, regardless of age, physical limitations, race, creed, gender, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.
- We commit to the practice of generosity and refrain from stealing. We will not possess anything that belongs to others. Meditation teachers and community leaders will acknowledge the limitations of our skills and scope of practice, and where appropriate, refer students to seek alternative instruction, advice, treatment, or direction.
- We commit to honesty and careful listening, and refrain from divisive and harmful speech. We understand gossip and malicious speech affect individuals as well as the entire community. We agree to speak that which is true and useful, and to hold in confidence what is explicitly told to us in confidence. We agree to develop conscious and clear communication, and to cultivate the quality of loving-kindness and honesty as the basis of our speech.
- We commit to practicing respectful and responsible sexual relationships. We understand our roles include protecting the safety and integrity of the individuals, couples, and families in our community. We further understand that:
- Meditation teachers must refrain from sexual exploitation and taking inappropriate sexual advantages from students.
- Sexual harassment is unacceptable. Sexual harassment is sexual solicitation, physical advances, or verbal or nonverbal conduct that is sexual in nature, that is unwelcome, is offensive or creates a hostile environment.
- We commit to the practice of responsible consumption. We practice good mental and physical health through mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. We will not abuse alcohol, drugs, gambling or other products that may potentially cloud the mind. We commit to understanding and respecting the interdependent nature of all beings, including the earth.
Any violations of the above guidelines by a Mindful Astoria teacher or leader may be brought to the attention of the Leadership Committee by emailing MindfulAstoria@gmail.com. If the person who is the subject of the complaint is on the Leadership Committee, they will recuse themselves from handling the incident. We will respond as promptly as we can.