April 30, 2015

Guided Meditations

Meditation instructions are simple yet the practice is hard. My goal as a teacher is to make meditation and mindfulness accessible to students; to let them experience these practices in helpful and non-judgmental ways. Included below are suggestions for practice, as well as audio files that guide you through the process.

Whether sitting or standing in meditation, posture is important. My suggestion: not too tight and not too loose. If we sit ramrod straight, we invite critical mind and tense body. If we sit slouched, we invite fuzzy mind and sloth body. Experiment with your posture--first too tight, then too loose, and finally settle in-between. Your body should feel alert yet easeful. You want a position that can be held comfortably for the entire meditation. Resistance will occur: you'll want to move or shift or scratch. If possible, stay with those feelings yet don't react; don't immediately move. Bring your awareness to the discomfort and investigate. Often, these feelings evaporate, which is a powerful lesson on the workings of our minds and our habituated reactions. Meditation shines a light on our habits--habits we can change.

When you find a comfortable position, gently close your eyes (or keep them open with a soft focus). Bring your awareness into your body. Locate the place where you most connect with the breath--at the nostrils, chest, or belly. This place is your anchor for the entire meditation. You needn't change your breath, simply bring your attention to the breath, as is. When your mind wanders--which it will--gently bring your awareness back to the breath. Notice the experiential difference between lost in thought and alive in the breath--one is a dream, the other is your life. If you notice this even once in a meditation session, it's worthy of celebration.

There's no way to get this wrong. Whatever you experience in meditation--busy mind, contentment, irritation, ease, doubt, pain--is part of the practice. It's how we see the inner-workings of the mind and body. Our daily life is then informed by what we learn in meditation. It's a lifelong practice in honesty and gentleness. A beautiful practice accessible to anyone--there's no way to get this wrong.

Initially, guided meditations are helpful--a voice that reminds you to return to the breath. I've recorded guided meditations of varying types and lengths (included below). Click on any of these to access the present moment. I'll be your guide.

PS: This is a small sampling of my recordings. For additional and varied meditations, please go directly to my SoundCloud page.