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 Way of the Heart

TEACHER: Jeff Warren
THEME: The Way of the Heart
MEDITATION: Centering Prayer

I expect this one will cause some reactivity. Many of us are fine exploring exotic Eastern practices, but mention the G word – mention prayer, mention Christ –  hoooweeee, out comes a lifetime of secular conditioning and judgment. BORING. Do you really think Indians have cornered the market on the appreciation of Being? Westerners exist too, and so did our ancestors, although they expressed their tenderness and gratitude for this state of affairs in a slightly different way. They personified it. They called it God. And guess what? It turns out that if you treat reality as something friendly and intelligent you find friendliness and intelligence directed back at you. Don’t take my word for it – go find out for yourself. In this exploration we pray – we ask – we reach a hand out and into the cosmos and … guess what? God gives high-fives.

The Direct Path

TEACHER: Jeff Warren
THEME: The Direct Path
MEDITATION: Self-Inquiry

Time for a trip to Hindustan. For this Advaita Vedanta-inspired practice, we send our attention backwards in an exhilarating and probably frustrating and ultimately fruitless search for yourself, or your small self anyway. Past all the schemes and tics of your personality – all that activity – what endures? Buddhists say no-self; Hindus say True Self; greedy New Age capitalists with proprietary spiritual technologies and kickass promotional DVDs say: great wealth. THEN, for the Group Practice: “Who are you?” asks your partner, again and again, as you babble off one answer after another, clearing the house, emptying the furniture, so all that’s left are a few dust bunnies and a single desiccated muffin circa 1997. Banana nut!

The Way of Sensory Experience

TEACHER: Jeff Warren
THEME: The Way of Sensory Experience
MEDITATION: Just Note Gone
GROUP PRACTICE: Partner Noting

OK so we’ll start this wake-up series with an old school Theravada innovation: the intent noticing of sensation. This is the classic Buddhist path of insight; it involves penetrating our immediate experience with so much clarity and equanimity that eventually we notice the ground beneath (and all-through) that experience. Shinzen’s contemporary spin on this is to deliberately focus on endings – as the man says, “just note gone.” Where do sensations go, when they go? Where do they go to? What the heck is that luminous vibrating void chewing up my reality, and can I use it to trim my out-of-control nose hairs?

The Sound and the Silence

THEME: The Sound and the Silence
MEDITATION: Body as Tuning Fork

Even at rest, your body is a lightning rod of possibility. It rings different notes in response to waves and vibrations, both internal, and external, and the music it makes becomes the music you are. A plate crashes, and you flinch. Birdsong, and you slow down, open. James will revisit the mixtape session he did last month, with different sounds, so we can watch what music rises through us glimmer and fade.

Flavors of Rest

THEME: Flavors of Rest
MEDITATION: Body Rest and Do Nothing

What is true rest? We know unconsciousness, obviously, and we know drowsing and chilling. But there are more than two gears in our existential transmissions. I wrote a piece a while back about what happens to some meditators when they reallylet go – they  disappear, at least sensorially. This class we probably won’t go that far, but we will explore what it means to surrender our deeply-engrained habit of controlling experience. Afterwards, for the group practice, we’ll all lay back while Andrea leads us in a delicious Yoga Nidra practice, consciousness ebbing and flowing towards sleep without ever quite arriving. That’s another gear:  Hypnagogia.