Awareness using our 9 Senses

Venue and time:   Sunday April 30 , 2017, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm (Meditation and Discussion), Moksha Yoga, London Ontario, Canada (hosted by Kristen and Greg).  Half hour drop-in meditation on Tuesday May 2, 8 – 8:30 pm, facilitated by Kristen.

Schedule:  Drop-in Meditation 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm on Sunday April 2, Moksha Yoga, London Ontario, Canada.   The drop-in meditation will be new, fun, intense and profound: Awareness using our 9 Senses. It will focus awareness using the usual 5 senses and 4 additional senses: body sensations; mental/thought sensations; sense of connection; the sense of awareness of awareness itself!  Break for chat and tea 7:30 – 7:40 pm roughly (the beautiful glass teapot); 7:40 – 8:30 pm – Discussion on the topic:  Awareness using our 9 Senses.  Participants are welcome to either or both of these events.  Attendance is free, and donations are gratefully accepted.  For insurance requirements you need to sign in at the front desk of Moksha.   See you Sunday!

Awareness using our 9 Senses

A key aspect of mindfulness meditation, is compassionate awareness through direct sensing, in the present moment. To enhance such awareness, mindfulness meditations, often practice enhancing awareness via various senses. For example body scan meditations enhance body awareness, meditations using sound enhances awareness of sounds, awareness of thoughts in Thought based meditations, etc. Given our natural tendency to over-think/analyze/ruminate, such meditations usually start with more concrete sensations (touch, sound, … ) and progress to less concrete ones (thoughts, … ). The earlier ones (touch, taste, …) are a stable platform for the later ones (thoughts, emotions, … ).

A challenging twist on this is to sequence an awareness meditation using a large number of senses. We follow a form of this popularized by Dan Seigel. As is usual the meditation is sequenced with more concrete senses preceding less concrete ones. Each stage offers a foundation for the later stages. The eight sense focuses our awareness through our sense of connection. This reflects that we are not separate, our thoughts/actions influence and change others, and reciprocally. This sense of connection, a key aspect of mindfulness and Buddhist practice, is what gives this intimidating meditation coherence and unity. The meditation ends by building on the platform of the previous 8 senses, to focus awareness on awareness itself!

Out interest in this practice arose from last weekend when we the facilitators, Daniel, Greg and Kristen attended the wonderful A Mindful Society Conference in Toronto. Dan Seigel, focused his key note talk and his one day work shop at the conference around a meditation, he calls the wheel of awareness meditation. Exploring that meditation and variations motivated this week’s discussion.

Seigel’s foundational work is as an attachment researcher, focusing in particular on mental health issues facing young people and families. This research motivated him to focus on connection as a key element of such relationships, with the task of differentiating and integrating different elements of such relationships, to improve well-being. Recognizing the strong relationship to mindfulness, he has in recent times integrated his practice with mindfulness, the Awareness through 9 senses (which he calls the Wheel of Awareness) being a key aspect of his approach.

Our discussion this week will focus, on this practice in a stripped down version we developed to understand its foundations. So buckle up!

Suggested preparation: We suggest looking at Dan Seigel’s wheel of awareness and his linked audio meditations:
Dan Seigel’s Wheel of Awareness

The London Mindfulness Community (LMC) is a community of mindfulness enthusiasts.  Our meditations are designed to be accessible to those who drop in occasionally.  Those wanting to know more about integrating mindfulness into daily life, can benefit from our Sunday Discussions.  These topics are presented in a self-contained way and will be posted on our website (usually by the previous Wednesday):

http://londonmindfulnesscommunity.org  (and its associated FB page, search London Mindfulness Community on FB).

Tuesday April 25 Drop-in Meditation as usual. No Sunday April 23 Meditation/Discussion.

All the facilitators are attending the meeting: A Mindful Society Conference in Toronto April 21 – 23, so there is no Sunday meditation & discussion on Sunday April 23. The Tuesday April 25 drop-in meditation 8 – 8:30 pm will be facilitated by Greg. Our usual weekly Tuesday Dropin meditations and Sunday discussions/meditations resume on April 25.

The London Mindfulness Community (LMC) is a community of mindfulness enthusiasts.  Our meditations are designed to be accessible to those who drop in occasionally.  Those wanting to know more about integrating mindfulness into daily life, can benefit from our Sunday Discussions.  These topics are presented in a self-contained way and will be posted on our website (usually by the previous Wednesday):

http://londonmindfulnesscommunity.org  (and its associated FB page, search London Mindfulness Community on FB).

Tuesday April 18 Drop-in Meditation as usual. No Sunday April 16 Meditation/Discussion due to Easter Hours.

Due to reduced Easter Holiday Hours at Moksha Yoga, there is no Sunday meditation & discussion on Sunday April 16. The Tuesday April 18 drop-in meditation 8 – 8:30 pm will be facilitated by Kristen.

The London Mindfulness Community (LMC) is a community of mindfulness enthusiasts.  Our meditations are designed to be accessible to those who drop in occasionally.  Those wanting to know more about integrating mindfulness into daily life, can benefit from our Sunday Discussions.  These topics are presented in a self-contained way and will be posted on our website (usually by the previous Wednesday):

http://londonmindfulnesscommunity.org  (and its associated FB page, search London Mindfulness Community on FB).

The Joy of Living

Venue and time:   Sunday April 9 , 2017, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm (Meditation and Discussion), Moksha Yoga, London Ontario, Canada (hosted by Daniel and Greg).  Half hour drop-in meditation on Tuesday April 11, 8 – 8:30 pm, hosted by Greg.

Schedule:  Drop-in Meditation 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm on Sunday April 2, Moksha Yoga, London Ontario, Canada.   The drop-in meditation will have some techniques inspired by Yongey Rinproche, whose Joy of Living is the focus of this weeks discussion.  Break for chat and tea 7:30 – 7:40 pm roughly (the beautiful glass teapot); 7:40 – 8:30 pm – Discussion on the topic:  The Joy of Living.  Participants are welcome to either or both of these events.  Attendance is free, and donations are gratefully accepted.  For insurance requirements you need to sign in at the front desk of Moksha.   See you Sunday!

The Joy of Living

Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche is a well-known Tibetan Buddhist meditation master and best-selling author. As a boy suffered debilitating panic attacks, which were eventually addressed through meditation. Born in 1975, he is part of a youthful generation of meditation masters, and specializes in reaching out to diverse communities world wide. He has also participated in experiments, that give data on the neuro-plasticity of long-term meditators (data on the changes in the brain caused by meditation).

He is renowned for his clarity, self-deprecating humor about his own struggles in meditation, and his engagement with scientists and public figures.

In particular Yongey is excellent at clearly stating that the “goal” of meditation should be personal but not overly specific. You are training yourself to be better at studying yourself. And it is in the study of yourself that you begin to gain great joy from seeing yourself clearly. But first we must practice being gentle with ourselves and setting achievable, realistic goals that we can be happy with!

Suggested preparation:     For a brief taster see Yongey’s hilarious 2 minute youtube video meditation on How to train your monkey mind :

And the 10 min, trailer for the recent documentary, A Joyful Mind , about him at

https://www.ajoyfulmind.com

If you’re interested in learning about some of the neuroscience of meditation, this is one of the most efficient fun videos about it :

Additional materials can be found at Yongey’s talk at google:

Further materials can be obtained on youtube searching under Yongey for example,
or at his website: http://tergar.org

The London Mindfulness Community (LMC) is a community of mindfulness enthusiasts.  Our meditations are designed to be accessible to those who drop in occasionally.  Those wanting to know more about integrating mindfulness into daily life, can benefit from our Sunday Discussions.  These topics are presented in a self-contained way and will be posted on our website (usually by the previous Wednesday):

http://londonmindfulnesscommunity.org  (and its associated FB page, search London Mindfulness Community on FB).

Enhancing Awareness through Mindful Movement

Venue and time:   Sunday April 2 , 2017, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm (Meditation and Discussion), Moksha Yoga, London Ontario, Canada (hosted by Greg).  Half hour drop-in meditation on Tuesday April 4, 8 – 8:30 pm, hosted by Daniel.

Schedule:  Drop-in Meditation 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm on Sunday April 2, Moksha Yoga, London Ontario, Canada.   The drop-in meditation will focus on Mindful Movement.  Break for chat and tea 7:30 – 7:40 pm roughly (the beautiful glass teapot); 7:40 – 8:30 pm – Discussion on the topic:  Enhancing awareness through Mindful Movement.  Participants are welcome to either or both of these events.  Attendance is free, and donations are accepted.  For insurance requirements you need to sign in at the front desk of Moksha.   See you Sunday!

Enhancing awareness through Mindful Movement

Two extreme approaches to difficulties are aversion and brute force action.  Both lessen creativity and flexibility, and also can have long term ill-effects.  Mindfulness meditation opens us to a more creative flexible middle way.  This week we explore enhancing mindfulness through mindful movement.  And the discussion will have exploratory practice 🙂

Mindfulness is an inborn quality, that is weakened for many of us due to our tendency to live in our heads, and neglect our bodies.  Bringing attention to our body can break the trance of thinking (as Tara Brach describes it).  Mindful movement means consciously being attentive to movement of our body, while not striving excessively (in forcing or doing mode) or too little (aversion).  It can occur for any movement.  It differs from relaxation meditation (the traditional tighten and release meditations) and goal-oriented athletic performance (focusing on jumping longer, higher etc).    By being attentive to simple movements and the related sensations, we reacquaint ourselves with our body, and its wonderful array of senses which express deep truths about our state of being.

We explore part of the wonderful array of Mindful Movement this week.  For example we explore that even the smallest movements, such as those used in the wonderful mindfulness in schools program for children (see suggested preparation below) and how they can enhance mindfulness.  We also explore Mindful Movement at the heart of Yoga, and the tendency to compare and judge our execution of poses.  Other topics include Mindful Dance.

Breath and Body Scan Meditations enable re-integrating body and breath into our being, emphasizing that we are more than  our thoughts.  Here we explore the interaction of body with environment through paying attention to movement, i.e. mindful movement.
Yoga and Mindful movement are closely related.  The mindful movement we use, differs from the usual goals and techniques of Western Yoga.  Western Yoga often has goals of achieving challenging poses to improve strength, stretch or flexibility.  In contrast the simple mindful movement we use here employs non-strenuous stretching, to bring mindful attention to sensations resulting from those movements.
This allows us to see more clearly our physical and mental limits, and our response when we approach them, assisting the reintegration of the mind with the body.  We learn to detect onset of feelings when we become too goal focused.  It helps us to see when we are angry, or tense, or other emotional states.  It’s an early warning system that allows us to head off problems before they gain unstoppable momentum.

Suggested preparation:    There are many wonderful sites and sources to explore, including:

An interesting site about Dance and Mindfulness:

http://www.dancingmindfulness.com

 

The Mindful Movement Meditation from Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP):

The London Mindfulness Community (LMC) is a community of mindfulness enthusiasts.  Our meditations are designed to be accessible to those who drop in occasionally.  Those wanting to know more about integrating mindfulness into daily life, can benefit from our Sunday Discussions.  These topics are presented in a self-contained way and will be posted on our website (usually by the previous Wednesday):

http://londonmindfulnesscommunity.org  (and its associated FB page, search London Mindfulness Community on FB).