Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Syllabus, Winter 2009

This meditation class is a ten week course. It is recommended that You come to all of them, as they will build on what was learned the previous week.

This Course will focus on traditional meditation techniques from the far east. Many of the practices will have origins in Buddhist, Hindu, Taoist, or Pre-Buddhist/Hindu Tantrism. This class will not require any particular belief system. You can be whatever religion you like and still derive benefit. This class will focus on the practical and transformative aspects of these traditions, and not the dogmatic or philosophic. Some stories and mythology from these traditions may be utilized, as they seem to have been designed specifically to illustrate points useful to the meditator. Keeping an open mind will help you to derive the greatest benefit.

Please keep a meditation journal (notebook) and bring it with you to class each session.
Please silence cellphones, or just leave them in the car.
Please don't wear strong perfumes.
Please be on time, (5-10 minutes early is on time), and refrain from excessive talking.

Topics for each class will be posted at least 24 hours before the class. You are welcome to print out the class topics and make notes on the printouts. Note taking is recommended.

This Syllabus is a work in progress and may be updated at any time to better serve you.

Week One

Covering the Basics
  • Introductions, "Hi, I'm Daniel"
  • How to get the most out of this class
  • What is meditation? What is not meditation?
  • This is an Inside Job
  • The necessity of motivation, interest, and curiosity
  • Creating 'intentions' to cement our motivations
  • Grounding into the body
  • How to sit and use cushions. No, your legs won't stay asleep forever.
  • The Basics of Shamata and Anapana Sati Practice
  • Practice Time (Anapana Sati)
Week Two

The Inside Job Discussed, dealing with the tension within.
  • You must do your own work
  • Noone else can do your work
  • You can't do anyone else's work
  • What is meant by 'work'?
  1. dealing with your inner tensions
  2. letting go of/facing your fears
  3. letting go of/living without your addictive patterns
  4. getting comfortable being inside your body in the present moment.
  • What happens when we meditate?
  1. we must collect our attention, this takes loving patience, puppy story
  2. finally there is some quiet
  3. we begin to notice tension, sometimes physical, sometimes psychic
  4. our unlived life comes forward for attention
  5. practice holding a loving space to witness
  6. housecleaning

Week Three

Sound Meditation

This week we will focus on sound meditation. This will include an introduction to sanskrit, the use of mantra, and also silent meditation on subtle sound.

  • The Four Foundations of Mindfulness
  • Start with one pointed awareness, and slowly expand to hold more
  • Practice time (intention, Anapana Sati, open to mindfulness of moment)

Mindfulness of the Body
  • continuum of pleasant, neutral, and unpleasant
  • Reactions of attraction, aversion, and ignorance
  • Training our ability to stay centered
  • Moving from good/bad to descriptive (long, hot, sharp, red)
  • Practice time (intention, Anapana Sati, open to mindfulness of the body)
Week Four

Mindfulness of the Emotions

  • Unacceptable Emotions vs. Acceptable Emotions
  • Coping Mechanisms and the Battering Cycle
  • The problems with aggression and repression
  • Skillful use of emotion

Week Five

Mindfulness of the mind

Monday, November 17, 2008

Week Nine-Chakras and The Energy Body

Meditators and mystics have long understood that in addition to our physical bodies, we all posses an energetic anatomy. Our energy body serves many functions. It animates us, allows us to move our limbs, to speak, to think. It also moves our fluids, our blood, our lymph, etc. It supports our immune system, and keeps the body its appropriate temperature. Our energy body does some more esoteric jobs as well. It supports our psychological health, enables us to have healthy boundaries, a healthy self image, and highly effective cognitive abilities. And just as our physical body has various organs, so does our energy body. These energetic organs are called Chakras.

Chakra Fun Facts:
  • Chakras exist at seven locations at the center line of our body, slighly in front of the spinal column. Some models put the seventh chakra slightly above the top of the head.
  • The chakras are depicted as rainbow colored lotus flowers. The Chakra just in front of the tailbone is red, and they raise in vibration until they get to the forehead, which is violet. The Chakra above the head is usually said to be golden, or white.
  • The Chakras have the same number of petals as the sanskrit alphabet. Each Petal houses a letter.
  • Our Chakras are vortexes that collect, transform, and emit energy as it flows through our body.
  • Chakras are each associated with different metal states, emotions, life challanges and competencies.
  • Chakras also have symbolic associations with colors, Sanskrit letters (Bija Mantras), Musical Notes,Numbers, Gods and Goddesses, Animals, Elements, Sense Organs, etc...
  • When a person shows competency in an area that corresponds to a particular chakra, we say that that Chakra is 'open'. When somone struggles in a particular area, we would say that the corresponding chakra is 'closed'.
  • People usually have a 'chakra constitution'. Certain centers have a tendecy towards being open, and certain centers have a tendency to being closed. Through sadhana (spiritual work) one can of course make progress. Many people need to dedicate their lives to finding proper balance.

Week Eight - Yoga Nidra

Monday, November 3, 2008

Week Seven - Mantra and Sound Meditation

Mantra and Meditation

This week we will focus on sound meditation. This will include an introduction to sanskrit, the use of mantra, and also silent meditation on subtle sound.

  • Sanskrit = Language designed and used for kirtan, and vedic and mantric chanting.
  • Bija = a seed syllable, the root of a mantra, the root of sound
  • Mantra = literally, ‘mind protection’
  • Nada Yoga = meditation on subtle sound
  • Kirtan = chanting practice to awaken devotion, love, and a sense of unity

Class begins with chanting of the vowels of the sanskrit alphabet.

Important Sanskrit Facts:
  • Sanskrit is possibly the oldest language on the earth, and certainly the oldest consistently used language
  • Sanskrit was created (heard)by master meditators, called rishis
  • Sanskrit is considered to be an expression of Great Divine Cosmic Vibration
  • Many common modern english words have sanskrit roots.
  • Sanskrit has largest collection of literature of any language
  • Sanskrit has precise pronunciation, with five basic sounds ( gutteral, palatal, labial, cerebral, and dental) derived from five basic vowel sounds ( a, i, u, r, l)

We continue with chanting 108 repitions of a mantra

Important Mantra Facts:
  • The most important function of a mantra is to clear, cleanse, energize and organize the mind.
  • the effect of the mantra is more important than the meaning.
  • Devotional types can chant mantra to develop a relationship with a particular diety, and less devotional types can hant the same mantra to develop particular qualities inherent in the mantra
  • Mantra is said to collect Shakti (Power) the more that it is repeated.

Om = The supreme, primordial essence of all mantras. The sound of the infinite, and the universal. It encompasses all things. Pronounced A-U-M.

Other Mantras and their effects: (Please do your own research for mythological associations)
  • Om Gum Ganapataye Namaha - for removal of obstacles
  • Om Namah Shivaya - for expansion of consciousness
  • Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya - for peace and prosperity
  • Jai Kali Ma - for heavy karma busting
  • Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare - for love and devotion
  • Om Shring Hring Kleem MahaLakshmi Namaha - For wealth and abundance
  • Om Dum Durgaye Namaha - For Protection
  • Shri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Rama - For Strength in completing tasks

We will be working with the mantra ‘So Ham’. It is associated with the natural sound of the breath. We chant ‘So’ as we inhale, and Ham’ as we exhale. This creates a very balanced, calm, and alert mind state. It also relates to the unification of the individual soul (So) with the universal soul (ham).

Much of this information is taken from the book “From the River of Heaven” by David Frawley.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Week Four - Mindfulness of the Emotions

Week Four - Mindfulness of the emotions

Unacceptable Emotions vs. Acceptable Emotions
Coping Mechanisms and the Battering Cycle
The problems with aggression and repression
Skillful use of emotion

Unacceptable Emotions vs. Acceptable Emotions
we all have a complete range of emotions. Every emotion that exists, we each have a capacity to feel. However, due to whatever experiences we may have had throughout our life, we may have certain opinions regarding which emotions we find acceptable parts of our selves.