If you were going to teach meditation to beginners . . . ?

  • Atticus
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04 Aug 2017 22:58 #294770 by Atticus
I've volunteered to teach an intro to meditation course for my local community ed program this fall. Four one-hour sessions in October.

I have a rough outline of what I wish to cover, but I'm interested in hearing input from you as well. I know I'm going to start with simple focusing on breath, because I really believe that is the easiest "technique" for an absolute beginner to get. I think it would be powerful to end the course with loving-kindness metta meditation too, but I'm not wedded to that idea.

What do you think, my expert sistren and brethren? Anything else you think would be essential to cover, but not too advanced for complete novices?

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  • Dano Ori
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04 Aug 2017 23:05 #294774 by Dano Ori
Many beginners have difficulty understanding how to deal with their thoughts whilst meditating. There is a common perception that meditation involves eliminating all thoughts, though that is not necessarily the purpose.

Headspace have a 'mindfulness' app which during its beginners program shows an animation to illustrate an analogy: when you are meditating, picture your thoughts to be traffic passing in all directions at a busy intersection. Often we get so involved trying to follow each car that we try to run in all directions to keep up and get nowhere. When you meditate, instead try to focus on simply watching the traffic without chasing it - that is, be aware of your thoughts, but practise not being swept away with them.

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  • Atticus
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04 Aug 2017 23:15 #294777 by Atticus
I love that analogy and am totally swiping it for my first session. :) Thank you, Dano.

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  • Trisskar
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04 Aug 2017 23:30 #294781 by Trisskar
I tend to focus more on the self before the spirit. Most beginners will have questions like "How do I sit?" - "How do I sit that long?!" - "How do I breathe?" - "How do I ignore distractions" ect ect...

These questions are important to answer so that they don't linger throughout the rest of one's practice or develop bad habits.

Good Posture is a health must. Keeping your back straight and shoulders back...Avoid hunched postures... ect ect...

Good Breathing and the difference between upper, lower, circular....

Understanding the "Now" - explaining the difference between being in the present moment and empty mind. as well as Pro's and Con's

Hear the Bell (or Gong) - in which someone rings a bell to return one's focus to the bell rather than thoughts they cant do anything about.

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  • Atticus
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04 Aug 2017 23:31 #294782 by Atticus
Those are good points to cover. Thank you, Kit. :)

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04 Aug 2017 23:57 #294784 by thomaswfaulkner
**Disclaimer** I apologize for the text being so choppy ahead of time because I'm on my mobile device.

First order of business: I think it's awesome that you volunteered to teach mindfulness to your community. I hope you get as much back just as much as you give. :)

Secondly, I agree with Dano. Learning to coexist with your thoughts and not let them take over your cognition is key. When I teach mindfulness to my clients, I primarily use either ambient sound meditation or a body scan technique. I feel as if they won't learn hear sounds with annoyance or anger if they first learn to identify their sources and kindly sit with them. And for the body scan, I like to have them picture a growing and glowing orb (color of their choice) that starts from one pinky toe, and infectiously spreads upward and over as they give awareness to the different parts of their body.

I hope this helps.

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  • Adi
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11 Aug 2017 22:38 #296920 by Adi
I teach centering prayer at my church, which is fairly similar to Zen meditation in how it is practiced. The advice I give is the advice I wish I'd learned when I first started meditating many years ago: don't be hard on yourself. It's okay to have the odd intrusive thought, or to find it difficult to sit still. Forgive yourself for it. There's no such thing as a "good thought" to have or a "bad thought" to have - they're just thoughts. In that respect, I advise people to follow the Bob Ross philosophy: that is, to treat them as happy accidents.

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  • Connor L.
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11 Aug 2017 23:08 #296924 by Connor L.
There is an app I'm getting into called Happify. I would look into the processes of meditation outlined there. It's quite good, and is free.

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11 Aug 2017 23:15 - 11 Aug 2017 23:18 #296927 by MadHatter
If you are interested in material for this I can say that the book Mindful teaching and Teaching mindfulness was great for me.

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Last edit: 11 Aug 2017 23:18 by MadHatter.
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  • Atticus
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11 Aug 2017 23:24 #296930 by Atticus

MadHatter wrote: If you are interested in material for this I can say that the book Mindful teaching and Teaching mindfulness was great for me.

Oh yeah, thank you for reminding me about this. I actually have a bit of spare in the ol' bank account this week to pick up a copy.

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