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Practitioners Feedback 1/16/18

One member came though it was snowing and said he didn’t want to let down others who RSVP’D. It was so nice of him. Two others cancelled the RSVP in advance.

What did we do?

–  Reviewed the practice after the last meetup

– Meditated sitting in chairs on cushions to effortlessly maintain an erect posture, using the segment mode, for about 30 minutes and then chanting ‘May we all be happy silently’ once at each segment completing two hands. During the chanting visualized the images of people in the immediate vicinity, then family, coworkers, extended family members and so on, expanding the coverage wider and wider, as the time permits. The goal is to extend the good wishes to one and all including those we don’t like.

– At the end, massage all over the head, neck and shoulders using one hand at a time.

– Then CS (Organizer) demonstrated the movements of ‘Stretching for beginners’ as shown in the video posted in ‘countingbreaths.com’ (1). This stretching is to follow the morning meditation to prepare the body for action during the day. It also develops body awareness, supplementing breath awareness.

Suggestions from CS

To improve sleep: Before lying down, empty the mind by downloading the swirling thoughts on to a paper. Make two columns – one titled “Worries and Goals’ and the second titled ‘Plans’. Post all the thoughts into the respective columns. This would free the mind. After lying in the bed, as soon as one desires to sleep, practice the ‘Segment mode’ non-stop to automatically fall asleep.

– To bring lying or sitting meditation into the daily routine, set an alarm 30 minutes before the current waking up time. Use this newly created free time to practice meditation either lying in the bed or sitting on the chair or floor.  Morning meditation will make a big impact on daytime stress. After the meditation practice becomes a daily habit, prepone the alarm by 15 minutes and practice the stretching routine also.

– On weekends, allot at least 45 minutes to practice meditation and stretching.

– Meetup for all levels: We talked about setting up another meetup for potential Beginners and Practitioners who are not able to come on Tuesdays. The second Saturday of the month from 2 to 3.30 was considered a good time.  I invite other members to comment on this proposal. If no comments are received by 1/24/18, I will go ahead and announce as above.

Summary of his feedback

My purpose in joining this group

– Rewind and review the practice, release the stress and reclaim control of my emotions and reactions.

Today’s ‘Take home’ ideas

– New morning routine
– Meditation and then stretching

Overall evaluation of the session

– Very useful

Suggestions for the future –

I plan to attend the next meetup

– Yes

My sources of stress

– Work
– Family
– Relationships

I cope with my stress by

– Meditation
– Doing things that I enjoy

Total voluntary donations offered – $10

(1) Stretching for beginners

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@ “Thoughts are like dead leaves blowing in the wind” – Alfred’s progress

See (1) to know about Alfred. 

Practices

I had begun to worry about some aches and pains in my neck and hips and so I met with Elisa Cotroneo, a yoga teacher and somatic movement specialist. She was great and gave me some good advice on modifying my morning routine. I have begun to implement these changes and am already feeling an improvement. I have continued to develop the asana which I made up and am finding ever deeper relaxation from its practice.

Regarding your suggestion about extending the sitting meditation
It is interesting because I have begun to do that as a sort of natural progression.  When I find an asana (yoga posture) that makes me particularly tranquil, I will stop counting and continue the pose for some time.  I think these extended time frames are usually only 10-15 minutes now because that is about how long my total meditation time has increased.

Ideas

The Tree Metaphor
When meditating try to experience all those things a tree experiences- the touch of a breeze, sunshine, bird song, roots reaching into the earth, branches to the sky, the weight of being. Avoid all those human overlays such as anger, anticipation, and regret.

Thoughts  vs Ideas
Because we cannot just turn our minds off (and it would be dangerous if we did) I have begun to differentiate between thoughts and ideas as I meditate. My definition of a thought is that it is a fragment of an idea. Thoughts come and go, some good, some bad, like dead leaves blowing in the wind. An idea is a whole thing. It can stand alone like a large smooth rock on the ground. It can be looked at from different sides. The glue that holds an idea together is intuition. Here is an example of an idea – that the tranquility experienced from meditation is a baseline. To achieve tranquility is simply opening a door to a new space. The exploration of that space is what counts. When I meditate I concentrate on that idea (as well as my breath, my body sensations and my state of mindfulness). Keeping that idea in focus allows me to ward off distracting thoughts and achieve tranquility more efficiently.

Results
  • I took a long and stressful (busy traffic and bad weather) car trip helping my son move into a new apartment in Brooklyn. The rented van had extremely uncomfortable seats and we drove for over 7 hours. I used body awareness techniques I have learned from my asanas and ended the trip with no residual body stiffness.
  • I find myself striking up conversations with strangers or people who I hardly know more often.
  • Also, I think I am listening to other people better.

(1) Alfred

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Related posts: Alfred’s progress