Week 1: Introduction

Meeting date: Tuesday, January 4, 2022, 7:00-8:30 pm.

How small the cosmos (a kangaroo’s pouch would hold it), how paltry and puny in comparison to human consciousness, to a single individual recollection, and it’s expression in words!—Vladimir Nabokov.

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Welcome to the class!  Those of you who have taken my classes before know that I tend to assign lots of readings.  However, I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much to think about and to read, especially for a class that seeks to emphasize your experiences and downplay what others tell you your experiences should be. To this end, just two articles, plus some self-examination.

Questions for Examining Your Meditation Practice: Week 1

When answering these questions, pay attention to whether you are judging yourself as you answer them. Try to be open and honest with yourself. No one needs to see this, and if you want to share it with me or talk about in the class, you can edit it as you wish. This a first step in looking at how you view your own practice.  How others (including your teacher) may view it is not really relevant. These questions are adapted from Jason Siff’s questions in his March 2021 Webinar series: Samadhi in Recollective Awareness.

  1. When did you first start meditating?
  2. What was going on in your life when you started meditating?
  3. What attracted you to meditation (a person, an event)?
  4. How did you first learn meditation (did you read a book, take a course, talk to someone?)
  5. What meditation method did you use?

Final question: as you answered or contemplated the questions, did you have any feeling as to who you were talking to?

Readings

This is a fascinating re-thinking of how our emotions are strongly related to our habitual way of defining ourselves. Learning new words to describe our meditation experience has the potential to re-frame the experience itself. We will be doing this in our future exercises, so start working on your synonyms right now!

Try these two smart techniques to help you master your emotions

The title (You Can’t Meditate Wrong) says it all. You may also want to think about other teachers’ instructions and possible inconsistencies. For example, they may say: “You have to accept both good and bad experiences (in meditation)” or “allow your thoughts” and then tangle the message, saying “you cannot practice when the mind is tense” or  “don’t get lost in thoughts.”  We’ll pay more attention to potential contradictions in your own practice that may create a very stuck situation.

You Can’t Meditate Wrong