Introduction and Overview

The Elements of Meditation Introduction and Overview
9 minutes
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Okay, so welcome everybody, to the elements of meditation. short little, sort of two and a half hour course, that is really about exploring different fundamental styles of practice meditations like sports. There's tons of different kinds of sports, there's tons of kinds of meditations. different techniques have different objectives, they create different effects, they can lead to different sorts of long term outcomes. And, you know, it's really important to understand what those building blocks are, because the the good news of practices, it's an opportunity to kind of develop the habits of being the habits of living habits and responding that we want to. This is a big piece of how I think about it.

I think a lot about habits, you know, the, there's an exploration dimension to meditation where you're really exploring and learning and there's this wonder side But there's also very much the side about taking your own mental health, in your own hands this empowering piece. And that is directly linked to our habits. We often don't think of it this way, but it's sort of common sense, like, whatever we repeatedly do, we become more like that. So that's true with our good habits. And it's true with our more challenging habits. So habits don't stay the same.

You know, you repeat an action, it's all the mind and behavior. It's all feedback loops, deepening feedback loops, so you repeat an action. So getting a little bit annoyed with somebody, then the next time, you might get a little bit more annoyed and a little bit more annoyed. It just builds and builds, or you find you're capable of being a little bit more present in the situation. And then you find you're able to be a little bit more present situation and that habit builds. So these habits, they don't say the same, it's like it's they The more you repeat something, the more entrenched it gets.

And that's very, very sobering when you think about your child. Challenging habits and moods because it means that if you just continue with a particular bad habit or or negative response, it can actually just get deeper and more entrenched. And we find ourselves in this sort of sometimes helpless situation of being like, can't help ourselves acting a certain way or responding to a particular person in a certain way or having a particular outlook. It's like, it's like we feel we can start to feel trapped in our behaviors in our habits. So but the good news is that same, that same dynamic can be worked in our favor, when we start to be more deliberate and intentional about what habits of mine habits of heart habits of being and relating that we want to reinforce. And that's really what meditation is.

Meditation is practicing how you want to be a human being, its training, how you want to be in this world, how you want to be responding to what's going on around you, you know, the more you repeat these fundamental stances within a sitting practice and within life, the more those be Come the new habits, the new default. So it's really beautiful that this is even possible. Yeah, for a longest time, I felt very trapped in my mind and my behaviors and my actions. I've a lot of my own challenges with being dysregulated. And, and I thought it was like fate, you know that I was just going to be repeating the same patterns again and again. And I can still remember the first time I realized, you know, at a meditation retreat that actually I was going to be okay, it wasn't going to be easy, but I could if I insofar as able able to kind of Notice how I was being and open to the experience, let myself have that experience.

And the more I could do that, the more that particular pattern wouldn't be destined to repeat itself. And not only that, but I could also repeat other patterns like I could, I could practice being more friendly, be more concentrated and, and it just gave me it was like Okay, now I have the tools. You know, once you learn the tools, you know that there's going to be a way in which you can address your life and may not be the only tool. In fact, for me, it's definitely not the only tool. You know, walking in nature is incredible tool. psychotherapy is an important tool, my community, my friendships, body based practices, there's, it's, it's sort of our job in life to figure out what is the container that's gonna best hold us and support us.

But I do think that a sitting practice can really do that. And understanding the elements of how sitting practice can work can really, really do that. Because then you can begin to apply it outside your life outside of just that single place where you're sitting or that, you know, it's it can be applied to every possible modality and activity and we're going to explore four practices for in a sense for different kinds of habits, practice habits, and each is a little bit different. And the good news is you don't have to be good at all of them, or you just really need to be kind of okay with one of them. Because they all can lead to freedom to, to deep benefits in their own ways. And again, it's about kind of learning which one's clicked for you and seeing and then Just looking at how you can recombine some of the pieces.

So the first one is concentration. Concentration is a that's really the fundamentals of practice, you know, a meditation practice is built on the capacity to pay, decide where you want to pay attention to, and then try to stay paying attention to it if you can't. And there are some practices that you're allowed to be more roving and exploratory and kind of let go of that and we'll explore those. But the concentration practice is really about just mind wanders, bring it back, just holding your attention in one place. So I'll talk a little bit more about that when we do this in a moment. The next one is the habit of mindfulness.

Concentration really leads to more peace, more simplicity, more one pointedness. The habit of mindfulness is about being aware of what's going on in your experience. So it's not just trying to lock into one sensation and just sort of go really deep with that. It's often a more even hovering attention that's about looking at what what are my patterns of thinking and feeling and acting Right now how can I notice what's Can I notice what's going on, and then the capacity to notice it, and not be so beholden to or like, need to respond in that way. And I'll unpack that, because that that's sort of our most tricky meditation. It's the one that is kind of the most, it's the hardest in some ways.

And it's also the easiest, you know, because it's just about being aware, and you can be aware in a moment, but seeing our stuff, it's one thing to say that, yeah, I want to be aware of my stuff. And it's a little bit harder to actually notice where it is and how it's happening and how it's taking over because it's very subtle the way it works. So the third style is loving kindness practice, which is pretty straightforward. It's a deep practice of if the first practice is building up concentration, and the second practice is building up kind of a more awareness. This one's about building up more friendliness, like more compassion, more patience, more self compassion. And it's not about creating a particular kind of sentimental effect.

It's much more about setting an intention to want the best for yourself and for others. And I'll unpack that shortly. And then the last one, which I just added as a bonus, but I realized I cannot have this in here is not doing anything. It's like, Man, that's a lot of information. It's not, it's forgetting all the information, it's forgetting that you need to do anything in any way. You just need to sit and be okay with the fact that you exist.

And that's probably the deepest practice of all. So we're going to end with that one. So it's going to that's the good news. We're gonna go through some trials and tribulations here, as we explore how completely unconcentrated we are, how totally non mindful you are, how much wrath and anger emerges when you're trying to be loving and kind. Because, you know, we're human beings, and that's how it goes. But at the end, you're just going to get a huge break and be allowed to exist.

And hopefully, that's the know we go out on. Okay, so I think we should start by meditating. And by starting, I mean, me talking a little bit more, and then we'll met So the way I think about it, all you do is you're basically my fellow teachers, I mean, I really mean that the community is the teacher, your experience is going to be different than the person next to you. It's going to be different than mine. But it might be very similar to someone over there who's straining to try to articulate or put into words something that they're experiencing. And by asking a question or sharing a report, you actually help other people begin to understand what's going on in their experience.

And insofar as you're able to be honest about your actual experience, you are 100% of teachers. That's all being a teaching, being a teacher, being an instructor, being a human being, whatever you want to call it, it's all it really means. It just means you're able to kind of be honest about your experience. And if you have some experience, then you can be honest about your experience with your experience. It's like that's it. Yeah.

So and then there's people who are more articulate about that and people who are less but insofar as so if you feel inspired to share a report, or ask a question, please do and know that it's You're gonna give an opportunity for somebody else to get an insight that that I would that I won't be able to give them, you know, so that makes sense. Okay, so and it's optional. You don't have to but that's definitely gonna be part of this.

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