Technical aspects of the Classes
● The classes will be held through Zoom, so make sure you have a zoom account in order to attend
● A link will be sent to your email address for each class a few minutes before the class starts. All you have to do is click it, and it will bring you into the ‘classroom’.
● There are inevitably some technical hiccups on the first day of class, so I will start the zoom link 15 minutes early so you can confirm your audio and video are working before class begins.
● When you are in the classroom, there are two good practices to keep in mind:
– Mute your microphone when you are not talking. This helps avoid distracting background noises enter the conversation that you might not be aware of.
– Use headphones. This helps avoid echoing and feedback.
Format and Course Content
During each class, students will “check in” about their meditation practice. This can include discussing how often you were able to practice during the week, struggles you encountered, and the actual experiences you had during practice. The teacher will provide feedback tailored to your experience. Checking in is a great way to touch on what’s relevant for you and to also learn from others’ experiences. Meditation Practices The course is based on a Shamatha Vipassana style of meditation as described in The MindIlluminated by Upasaka Culadasa. One of the great things about this style is that it can be applied to various methods of meditation. We’ll primarily talk about seated meditation where the object of meditation is the breath, but we’ll also touch on other methods to meditate, such as walking meditation and loving-kindness (Metta) meditation.
The primary expectation of the course is that you meditate each day during the week for the allotted amount of time that you set for yourself. This can be anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour or two, but for most people falls into the 30 to 45-minute range. If you find that you are not sitting each day of the week, that’s okay! It’s important not to beat yourself up over any expectations you have around your meditation practice. The class will serve as a resource for overcoming barriers in establishing a daily practice. Maintaining a consistent practice, like most habits, takes time to develop. Please come to class even if you struggle to maintain a consistent practice during the week.
The students and teachers alike will share experiences from their meditation practice as they feel comfortable. It’s expected that conversations about people’s personal experiences will be greeted with acceptance and at the very least tolerance. It is also expected that any personal information shared will not leave the class.
Philosophy & Resources
Some ancient meditation philosophies will be presented on occasion, likely from Buddhist traditions. These are simply ideas that help provide a framework for understanding a grain to meditation. The ideas are not presented as inherently true or concepts that one must“believe.” In fact, when it comes to practicing meditation, it’s recommended that you believe through something
The course will reference a 10 Stage model of meditation that can be read about here. This map can be useful in locating your meditation experience and in recognizing marks of progress as you continue to meditate. While maps can be clarifying, they should also be taken with a grain of salt as the richness of your meditative experience will never be encompassed through something as simple as a map.
The book, The Mind Illuminated, provides detailed explanation of the 10 stages in addition to instruction for each stage. It also provides various models of the mind which can be useful for understanding your meditative experience. Using The Mind Illuminated as a resource throughout the class is highly recommended. It can be purchased online from websites like amazon.com.