Archive for Discussion

Meditation Group on September 18, 2010

During this past session, we tried to discuss the connection between meditation and everyday life.  However, we probably didn’t spend enough time on the topic.  So, I want to review a few relevant points.  First, during mindfulness meditation, we train ourselves to be aware of subtle changes in the body/mind which are happening at every (present) moment.  This ability is helpful for us to realize how we react to various external/internal information.  By just realizing this, we can reduce, say, craving for things we like and aversion to things we don’t like (without repressing our likes and dislikes).  Even such a small change can make our lives easier and more peaceful.  Then, through informal practice (i.e. trying to be mindful whenever possible during everyday activities, e.g., waiting, walking, eating), we will be able to cultivate the same mental quality even outside formal meditation.   More details are in  our Meditation Guide 3: Meditation and Everyday Life (earlier guides are available on our meditation group page).

The next session will be on Saturday, October 16 from 10:30 am to 12:00 noon in Meeting Room #4 (all the way to the left) at the Lawrence Branch of MCLS (map), not the Lawrence Community Center (where Wellness Expo will be held all day).  The theme of the next session will be “Continuing Practice.”  Let us discuss how to establish regular meditation practice.  As with the past session, we will try to do a relaxation practice, but due to the small size of the room, we will need to see what we can do.

Note:  Since yoga was mentioned during the session, I want to add the following.  Although yoga is most commonly seen in this country as exercise/fitness, yoga (asana/posture) is just a part of the complete spiritual pursuit and was actually developed as a means to maintain appropriate postures for meditation.  There are links to a detailed yoga web site and a free on-line yoga meditation course on our meditation group page.  For a concise introduction, see David Frawley’s Yoga: The Greater Tradition (available at MCLS).

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Meditation Group on August 28, 2010

Continuing on the previous session, we are still scratching the surface of concentration (“escaping” the normal) and mindfulness (“facing” it) meditation.  But this time, we did try mindfulness meditation, focusing on how our minds wander with various distractions.  We noticed the sound of air conditioner turning on, chilled air, medley of thoughts, etc.  During mindfulness meditation, distractions are welcome.  We simply note as they occur.  However, too many of them are simply overwhelming.  So, it would be practical to start with concentration meditation and after the mind is calmed, we can shift our attention towards mindfulness or awareness.  For more information, we have our Meditation Guide 2: Concentration and Mindfulness.

During the next session on Saturday, September 18 (2:00 – 3:30 pm at the Lawrence Community Center [map]), we will discuss the connection between meditation and everyday life.  For this topic, there is Meditation Guide 3.  A new feature from the next session is that we will have a relaxation practice during the first 30 minutes or so.  Please bring a yoga mat or a towel, if possible.

For the links to the recommended books (available at the Mercer County Library System), sample meditation web sites, free local meditation activities, etc., please visit our group page.  If you have questions/comments/suggestions, please leave a comment so that other participants can share yours.

Mercer Free School home page

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Meditation Group on August 7, 2010

First, if you need to refresh your ideas about meditation, please refer to our Meditation Guide 1: Beginning Meditation.

During this session, we introduced concentration (“escaping” the normal) and mindfulness (“facing” it) types of meditation … well, just scratched the surface.  This distinction is very useful to understand what we can expect from these different types of meditation.  It is also useful to classify and understand diverse meditation practices found in the world.  Buddhist traditions are most prominent in clearly distinguishing yet integrating these two types in their practice.  Many others lean toward concentration.  Modern therapeutic approaches, including stress and pain management, increasingly integrate mindfulness meditation.  There are a few, e.g., Kurishnamurti, which practice mindfulness exclusively.  Fore more information, please consult our Meditation Guide 2: Concentration and Mindfulness.

During the next session on Saturday, August 28 (2-3pm at the Lawrence Community Center [map]), we will try mindfulness meditation.  There are many ways to do this, and the one described in the guide may not be the most common.  However, it emphasizes the contrast between concentration and mindfulness.  If we decide to practice more mindfulness meditation in future sessions, we can certainly try different flavors.

For the links to the recommended books (available at the library), sample meditation web sites, free local meditation activities, etc., please visit our group page.  If you have questions/comments/suggestions, please leave a comment so that other participants can share yours.

Mercer Free School home page

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Meditation Group Discussion

Welcome to the Meditation Group Discussion area.  And for the participants of the July 7th session, thank you for coming.  Here, I just started an entry and will open up the space for free discussion by the meditation group participants and visitors.

A few things I didn’t have time to mention during the session are types of meditation and book recommendation.  These can be found in our Meditation Guide 1: Beginning Meditation, which is also linked from our group’s page.  This is a slightly revised version of the printouts distributed at the end of the session.  In the next session (Aug. 7), we may discuss a bit about the two major types of meditation: concentration and mindfulness.

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