Just as there are a seemingly infinite number of “Traditional” methods and practices, there are just as many “Modern” ones. In this course, we will focus on some of the more popular ones and introduce you to some simple practices that you can try at home. Again, we will not be going into the vast philosophies and ceremonies found within these systems. We are here to focus on the practice of meditation.
The Modern techniques that we will explore in this course are:
- Mindfulness Meditation
- Guided Meditation
- Emptiness/Void Meditation
- Sound induced Meditation
Similar in many ways to their more “traditional” counterparts, these meditations were designed for practice in a more modern world.
The first meditation we will practice this week will be a Mindfulness meditation. Much like Zazen, Mindfulness meditation is about bringing yourself to the present. It is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment. Mindfulness is probably one of the most popular and well known in the world today. It is a great tool for self-evaluation and reflection. There are several different meditations that build mindfulness in practice today. The most commonly taught to new people is a simple exercise where you allow yourself to breathe naturally and allow thoughts and images to pass without judgment or hindrance. Posture and breathing are not as strictly enforced in this type of practice as it is in others.
This exercise is to be practiced for the duration of a week, 15 minutes a day at a minimum.
Practical Exercise: Mindfulness Meditation
- Sit comfortably. Find a spot that gives you a stable, solid, comfortable seat.
- Notice what your legs are doing. If on a cushion, cross your legs comfortably in front of you. If on a chair, rest the bottoms of your feet on the floor.
- Straighten your upper body—but don’t stiffen. Your spine has natural curvature. Let it be there.
- Notice what your arms are doing. Situate your upper arms parallel to your upper body. Rest the palms of your hands on your legs wherever it feels most natural.
- Soften your gaze. Drop your chin a little and let your gaze fall gently downward. It’s not necessary to close your eyes. You can simply let what appears before your eyes exist there without focusing on it.
- Feel your breath. Bring your attention to the physical sensation of breathing: the air moving through your nose or mouth, the rising and falling of your belly, or your chest.
- Notice when your mind wanders from your breath. Inevitably, your attention will leave the breath and wander to other places. Don’t worry. There’s no need to block or eliminate thinking. When you notice your mind wandering gently return your attention to the breath.
- Be kind about your wandering mind. You may find your mind wandering constantly—that’s normal, too. Instead of wrestling with your thoughts, practice observing them without reacting. Just sit and pay attention. As hard as it is to maintain, that’s all there is. Come back to your breath over and over again, without judgment or expectation.
- When you’re ready, gently lift your gaze (if your eyes are closed, open them). Take a moment and notice any sounds in the environment. Notice how your body feels right now. Notice your thoughts and emotions.
Week 6 Journal Exercises
- Contemplate the following points. In your journal, write your responses.
- What kind of thoughts, images, sounds, etc. did you experience? How well were you able to let them go? How do you feel about this process?
- This meditation is very similar to the last meditation that we practiced. How similar or different did you find it for you?
Continue to write down in your journal your experiences with your meditation practice. Note what is working for you and what is not. Make notes on how and what you have had to change (if any) to make your experiences better with meditation.
Practiced alone or as part of a group, participants are provided guidance by a trained practitioner or teacher. These sometimes happen in person but are most commonly found as a written text, sound recording, video, using music or verbal instruction, or a combination of both. These are great for people who are looking to focus on general topics of well-being, spirituality, etc. Some of Justin’s personal favorite meditations are of the guided variety! … Continue readingMeditation week 7-Exercises
This is the cyberspace Home of the Knights of Awakening! For years, the KOA has been providing countless hours of conversation, learning, and entertainment on multiple media platforms. Starting out as a single radio show, the KOA has grown to encompass a larger multimedia footprint in the world! … Continue readingHome
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