Meditations Archive

Steal These Meditation Ideas

Part of the CEC’s mission is to inspire people around the world to create their own quirky, self-lead meditation communities. To that end, we’d like to share these short descriptions practices we’ve lead over the years.



The Big Picture

TEACHER: Jeff Warren
THEME: The Big Picture
MEDITATION: Grounding and Expanding.
GROUP PRACTICE: Activate 3: Choosing and Consolidating

Ok we’re starting to build some momentum here. We’ve shared stories and potentially identified some key areas to explore. Time to consolidate our creativity and focus in on a few concrete initiatives, either one you personally share with others, or one you’re inspired to learn more about. What can realistically be done, and what matches the skills and interests and experience of the group? Notice what kind of energy comes into the room when we start to talk in practical terms about the place, in Frederick Buechner’s words, “where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

The Stories We Tell

TEACHER: Jeff Warren
THEME: The Stories We Tell
MEDITATION: Into the Heart
GROUP PRACTICE: Activate 2: Connecting to our Personal Motivation

To prepare for this session, try to think about a challenge you faced or an experience you had that really affected you and might hint at an activate direction you’d want to go. Maybe as a kid in the backseat of the family car you drove past a hideous clear-cut and ever since you’ve wanted to do something concrete to help the environment. Or maybe you have an autistic brother and have shared in his struggles. Or maybe you’ve worked with and through a screwed-up relationship and are inspired to help couples become better communicators. It’s ridiculously broad, but the idea is that the juice of our motivation to make a difference comes from our own lives, our own stories. As the great Harvard educator Marshall Ganz has said, “stories are what inspire us to act.” They communicate our values and show us a direction for – yes – our electric love.

Giving and Getting

TEACHER: Jeff Warren
THEME: Giving and Getting
MEDITATION: Don’t Know Mind
GROUP PRACTICE: Activate 1: What Does Activate Even Mean?

Beneath that secret contemplative circuit is, apparently, an equally secret dynamic hiding right in plain sight: giving is getting and getting is giving. Expressing your caring in action is, they say, a healing practice, and letting yourself receive someone’s concern with gratitude completes the exchange. We think it’s money we want, but when you ask folks on their deathbed about what matters, most of them don’t talk about their RRSPs – they talk about love and connection. Yet, because some version of this sentiment is on the cover of every freaking Hallmark card, we don’t take it as seriously as we might. It’s too easy, too … Pollyanna. Thus in our haste and our stress, we privilege other messages and other ethics. Is this true – is giving really getting? Or have I watched one too many Disney films? To kick-off Activation month, we’ll explore this apparent dynamic first-hand, and find out what activation means for each of us personally.

Yogic Explorations

THEME: Yogic Explorations
MEDITATION: Pranayama and the Heart
GROUP PRACTICE: Activating the Power of Intention

To round off the month and prepare us to get all fiery in March, my pal Nadia Vallescura will roll out some of her advanced yogic studies as we adventure into that energetic aspect of our body-mind that Hindus call  prana. Prana rides on the breath, and the Vedic seers discovered an intimate relationship between breathing and mental activity. As Nadia says, “every thought changes the rhythm of breath, and every breath changes the rhythm of thinking.” After we recalibrate our nervous systems and oxygenate our inner resolution, we’ll explore how to further focus our practice using the power of intention setting. Then in the group practice we’ll find energy and vision in community.

Negotiating With Reality

THEME: Negotiating with reality
MEDITATION: Stop negotiating!
GROUP PRACTICE:  Let’s negotiate with each other about the not-negotiating.

Everything in its place – like, don’t like, good, bad, yes, no. We got preferences. Reality is like “I want to be me!”  but you have a better idea: a customized Reality Approval Process (RAP), which you impose over everything and everyone, cluttering the moment with your categories. Whether this actually helps you function in life we’ll leave as an open question – certainly some categories are necessary, otherwise you’d get killed trying to make-out with a speeding bus. But others … well, one thing is clear: when it comes to meditation, they can get in the way. Jude Star will lead us through a classic meditation on reserving judgment and staying open to experience, and then for the group practice we’ll explore how this plays out in our actual day-to-day lives.