Using meditation in my daily life has become a life-changing practice. When I meditate in the morning for over 20 minutes, my movements are smoother and more graceful, I think more slowly, I speak more deliberately, and I feel completely calm. I have had numerous profound experiences through meditation that have revolutionized by world perspective from subconsciously subjective, to objective. This realization of a source of inner love, higher-self insight, and life-permeating peace has brought with it tremendous, strongly desired upheaval to my former existence feeling stagnant at a comfortable full-time job. The more I meditated, the more I understood that with faith, all is possible and opportunities spring forth from the ether when I think positively and believe.
One of the most profound manifestations I have humbly cultivated recently is the opportunity to teach meditation to a recovery group. Teaching meditation twice a week has led to the most exciting journey of diving even deeper into my personal meditation practice. My normal habit of reading about meditation in countless books, blogs, and getting lost for hours on Youtube watching videos on spiritual practices, scrawling notes into my Meditation Journal, has suddenly become my work! I have a blast teaching that class! Every day, I walk in there with my candles, speaker, and notebook full of fresh notes, with a twinkle in my eye because I’m so excited to share ancient secrets with an open-minded, rapt audience.
The most exciting thing about teaching meditation for me right now, is this particular group of people. They have been through a lot and live there for months on a highly scheduled road to recovery. I love their collective humble desire to better themselves. I love that they trust me enough to share with me the expansive range of extraordinary experiences they’ve survived. I greatly appreciate their respect and genuinely inquisitive attention during class. The experience I’ve had teaching meditation to this group has enriched my life tremendously in a short time. I’ve compiled so much fascinating information while planning these classes twice a week. So many people I meet daily tell me their mind races, that they can’t meditate. My whole goal and purpose in life now is to help everyone understand that they can meditate, with practice, like anything! My goal is to help people find their peace so that they can feel this joy and viscerally experience a deeper understanding of life as we know it. I need to share with everyone that this inner source of peace that hides under our thinking mind, is available to absolutely everyone!
Whenever I find websites that share teaser information only to entice you to sign up for their monthly access, it frustrates me. I completely respect this business model and have nothing against it, however sometimes I just want to read some articles without creating a password or deciding to make a financial investment. Therefore, I decided to present all of my meditation classes on the internet for free because FREEDOM!!! People should not have to pay to learn to meditate! All wisdom ye seeketh, doth lie within! Or something. I digress. Wishing you glorious group meditations!
Meditation Class #1: INTRODUCTION TO MEDITATION
Preface of Class/ Lecture:
Most of the time, our minds are on autopilot. Meditation is a tool we can use to wake ourselves from this automatic, unthinking habit of mindlessness, to a more alert, clear-headed and broad perspective. We cannot just tell the mind to shut off, or to transcend itself, so we have to trick our mind by giving it something to focus upon. To focus the mind allows it to rest. Our mind’s purpose and function is to think, and it cannot turn itself off. Meditation Practice hones your ability to cease the constant stream of thinking. By stilling the body, and focusing on relaxing, breathing, and just existing, you begin to tune into a different frequency, and connect to an inner source of energy. A consistent meditation practice is extremely effective at decreasing depressive tendencies and alleviating anxiety. It helps one to come to an understanding of the ever-changing nature of life, and with that deeper understanding, one experiences lessened distress from outer circumstances. When you learn to calm your mind, life becomes less overwhelming.
Meditation is simple, secular, scientifically validated exercise for your brain.
The whole practice is simple:
(Write this on board in front of class)
Sit and breathe.
Notice when your mind wanders.
Become aware of it and bring your attention back to your breath.
Each time you do this, it is like a bicep curl that makes your mind stronger. It is a radical act to meditate. You lift the fog off of your perception by removing the underlying droning narrative, the projected daydreams and nagging fantasies shrouding your view. When you learn to break the lifetime habit of thought projections and mental rumination, you find yourself bringing your attention back into the current moment. When you aren’t speculating about the future or dredging up the past in your mind, you find yourself in the present, able to think more clearly without preoccupation, and act in a more efficient way. Regular meditation practice reduces stress, emotional volatility, and irrationality. Anyone who is dedicated to this practice earnestly is embarking on a shift in perspective, in which you are able to transcend the experience you are having on Earth, in this life, as this person, in this body, so that you can experience a more broad, objective, altered state of consciousness.
Stretches: 5 minutes side bends grabbing wrists, standing slight backbend with hands on lower back, mountain pose and neck stretches ear to shoulder, chin to chest, forward fold, clasped hands behind back, shoulder rolls.
First Meditation: 5 minutes of mindfulness meditation, using the hands to keep focus.
With hands gently palms up in your lap, and feet directly below knees in your chair, find a comfortable but erect posture in which your spine is stacked upright. This allows for the best flow of energy through the energetic channel in the spine. With every inhale, focus on the sensation of the in-breath as you let your fingers expand to an open palm, representing the expansion of the lungs with the inhale. With each exhale, let the fingers curl in as a representation of contraction of the lungs as the breath is released. In this way, the body and breath work together, bringing your attention and energy into alignment. This is a technique I learned from the Dalai Lama himself on Youtube!
After the meditation, ask them for feedback, thoughts, feelings about the meditation practice experience.
Closing lecture for that practice: Prana is the sanskrit word for Life Force Energy. With every breath, we are kept alive. Breath is life itself. Working with the breath allows you to voluntarily manage your conscious alive internal spiritual being. Breath awareness is a doorway to higher functions of the spiritual body. Humans take around 10-15 breaths minute, and 21,000 breaths per day! Each inhalation is nourishing new energy, each exhalation cleanses and carries away wastes. The practice of mindful breathing is a practice in gratitude for our great involuntary processes. Your nervous system is able to relax with breath that flows from inhalation to exhalation.
Benefits of Meditation:
- reduces stress
- reduces stray negative thoughts.
- builds your prefrontal cortex, the front part of your brain which is responsible for controlling impulses and self-discipline
- Sharper thinking
- Improves your performance by having a clear-minded substrate to begin with
- Brain health: Reduces your risk of degenerative brain diseases. The health of your brain is improved, the more you use it, just like a muscle. When you’re training your brain, you reduce memory loss and make the brain stronger.
- Makes you happy without external stimulation!
Pranayama: Prana means “life force.” Ayama means “to extend or draw out.” Together they mean breath control. Breath control calms the mind and helps develop sensitivity in the mind, making you aware of more subtle sensations within the body. The more you practice meditation, the easier it will be to drop into a meditative state. Pranayama helps you to achieve that state by consciously manipulating your breath to bring the body to the desired relaxed, meditative state.
Practice: This particular breathing technique is called “Sama Vritti” or “Equal Breathing.” The goal of equal breathing is to keep the exhales and inhales the same length, cultivating a steady, flowing breath with allows for stillness and contemplation. On the inhales, internally count to 4, on the exhales, internally count to 4. Do this practice for 3 minutes to start, then let your breath relax into a more natural pace.
Closing Statement: Like exercise, the benefits of meditation are best experienced with a daily practice. Try to make a commitment to yourself to do mindful breathing for 5 minutes right when you wake up, and about another 5 minutes a few hours before you fall asleep for the night. Keeping a journal of your meditation practice is a great tool to keep you on track. Document the amount of time spent, visions, sensations, the kind of meditation you practiced, how you sat, and it will help increase motivation to see where your meditation journey leads! I wish you happy meditating!
Read my Beginner’s Guide to Meditation post here!