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.

 

 


New Spaces

TEACHER: Avi
THEME: New Spaces
MEDITATION: Four Realms
GROUP PRACTICE:  Four Loves

“Expanded State of Consciousness” was a hot topic back in the 70s, back when everyone was dropping acid and chanting TM mantras. The vague suggestion was of some ultimate state, but in reality there is no “ultimate” state – just many different flavours and experiences  (unless by “ultimate state” you count the non-experience called a  cessation in Buddhism). This week skilled psychonaut Avi Craimer takes us through four different realms of spacious awareness, also known as the “ jhanas”. The first is physical space without objects, the second is the space of energy, ideas, and aliveness, the third is a space of peaceful darkness or nothingness, and the forth is a space of oneness or wholeness. Exploring the jhanas is a lifetime practice; in this meditation we do a drive-by tour. Then in the social practice, we’ll interactively explore what are known in Buddhism as the four  Brahma Viharas, or four “immeasurables”, aka Friendliness, Compassion, Altruistic Joy, and Equanimity.

Surrender and Integration

TEACHER: James
THEME: Surrender and Integration
MEDITATION: Sweet valley high OR Who says the 401’s no fun?
GROUP PRACTICE:  Holding on, letting go

There will be times, in your practice, whatever it happens to be – yoga, meditation, contact juggling – where breakthroughs happen.  These are exhilarating and memorable times. For many people, it becomes what they seek: rush-ey moments, dripped in dopamine reward. But the real reward comes after the gold rush, in the slow acceptance and integration, the long flats that get fuller and richer with time. For this meditation, we let go. Nowhere to get to – drop into cruising speed, surrendering to that feeling of peace, Tim Hortons’ flickering by, Montreal hours away. We learn to love the journey, because there ain’t no thing but that.

Into the Underworld!

TEACHER: Jeff Warren
THEME: Challenge
MEDITATION: Into the Underworld!
GROUP PRACTICE:  These are all the ways I suck, and this is what it feels like to talk about my suckage with you.

This week we take our medicine. We learn how, in TS Elliot’s words, “to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.” It’s arguably the most important week of the month, where a lot of deep learning happens. You thought you meditated to feel good, and there is nothing wrong with that.  But meditation isn’t about feeling good. It’s about growing as a human being, and to do that you need to brave. You need to be willing to look at the hard, ugly stuff, your anger and your hurt and your pettiness and whatever else you don’t want people to see. Because what you don’t own eventually own you. So yeah! It’s happy happy time! It would be easy to make birdy chirp chip noises every week and sing kumbaya and say everything is awesome, but it ain’t and you ain’t (and I sure as shit ain’t) and since I’m motivated to try and actually help you guys, this is where we pull up our britches and charge into the underworld on our motorbikes with flames coming out of our eye-sockets.

Breakthrough

TEACHER: Jeff Warren
THEME: Breakthrough
MEDITATION: Moving Ever-closer to The Now
GROUP PRACTICE:  Time bandits

So as I said, breakthrough is gonna look different depending on the person. For some, it might be a glimpse into the constructed nature of sensory reality, for others an energizing kundalini shock, for others still a sudden insight into who and how they are. All of these are “ah-ha” moments, although they may happen in different domains. For this meditation we’ll work with developing clarity with our immediate experience, see if we can edge closer to the real present. Neuroscience tells us there’s a delay in consciousness. We live a half-second or so in the past. What most neuroscientists don’t realize is human beings can actually learn to move their awareness forward in time, closer to actual Now. This is a classic meditative feat: as the meditator trains up their clarity, they seems to be able to boost the temporal resolution of attention and move into the initial 10 or 20 or 100 milliseconds of every moment. In this strange place, all sensory experience is unfixated, just the free flow of space expanding and contracting, to use  a Shinzen-ism. The world has not yet hardened and congealed. From here come the mind-jarring insights into impermanence and so on. Imagine living from this place! That’s what we’ll explore in the group practice. I have no idea what this will look like.

Effort

TEACHER: Jeff Warren
THEME: Effort
MEDITATION: Dog on a Bone Concentration
GROUP PRACTICE:  Lucid Dreaming mini-workshop

Everything starts with concentration. The ability to focus, to stay on task. In meditation you learn the things you once thought were boring – like breathing – are actually fas-ci-na-ting when you concentrate on them. That’s because when the discursive mind settles, there’s no real problem with anything. The “problem” is in the judgment about the experience, not the experience itself. This simple truth is one of the deepest lessons we can learn in practice and in life. What’s more, concentration is inherently pleasurable. That’s why we like to be in the zone at work and play and love. It’s blissful and rewarding and takes us outside of time, into the land of slushy happy drizzle breath, our faces collapsed inward like black holes. Then for the group practice we’ll go off-road and hit that mini lucid dreaming workshop I promised last week. Effort and concentration play a role here too, and the reward in this context is a fine double-stitching of nighttime reality.