Mindfulness meditation is the awareness arising out of paying attention to present moment experience without judgment. In meditation we focus on our internal experience (not what’s going on externally), we make a sustained effort (but with no attachment to outcome), and we observe our experience as the present moment unfolds just as it is, however it is (without judging it as good/bad, right/wrong, like/dislike, etc.). To stay anchored in our present moment experience, we use techniques like focusing on our body sensations, the breath, or emptying our mind of thoughts with each exhale.
In this beginner-level challenge participants will learn to meditate and develop a daily home meditation practice with simple, easy-to-follow instructions and guidance. Participants will commit to sitting in meditation and using the techniques for at least 5 minutes a day, every day, for 30 days. We will meet each week for 4 weeks. Each meeting will begin with some brief instruction on the technique used for that week, followed by 20-minute practice of that meditation technique. We will then review some practical tips that can help you develop your home practice. In our week 1 meeting, we will focus on body awareness. In week 2 we will focus on awareness of our breath. In week 3 we will focus on awareness of our mind. In week 4 we will practice using all of these techniques.
Week 1 technique/instruction: Awareness of Body. Relax the entire body from head to toe every time you exhale. When you get distracted by sounds, thoughts, whatever (and this will happen often), just notice it and return to relaxing the entire body every time you exhale. Practice for at least 5 minutes every day in week 1.
Week 2 technique/instruction: Awareness of Breath. Count "one" every time you exhale and continue up to "ten," then start over at "one" and continue. When you get distracted, just notice it and return to counting your exhalations, starting over at "one." Practice for at least 5 minutes a day every day in week 2.
Week 3 technique/instruction: Awareness of Mind. Empty the mind of all thoughts every time you exhale. When you get distracted (and this will happen very often), just notice it and return to emptying your mind of all thoughts every time you exhale.
Week 4 technique/instruction: Awareness of Body, Breath, and Mind. Practice using any or all of the techniques we have learned in weeks 1, 2, and 3. Choose a single technique that works for you or try each in a progression, starting with body, then breath, then mind. When you get distracted, just notice it and return to practicing your technique.
Week 5 In our last meeting we will sit together for 20 minutes using any or all of these techniques. Then we will review, offer some final practical tips for continued daily home practice, and close. Accept the challenge and join us!