In my years as a meditator and meditation teacher I have come across some common questions that may be helpful to address. The thoughts offered below are not meant to be definitive answers but additions to your own explorations of meditation.
1. How can I stop my thoughts?
In my understanding the aim of meditation is not to stop thinking but to be able place ones attention with intention-in other words meditation is the practice of placing attention on a chosen experience eg. the breath, a mantra, a sound etc. The metaphor I often use is that the process of thinking is like a thought stream-a river of thoughts. We can chose to either be in the middle of this thought stream, floating, paddling or sometimes struggling or we can step out a rest on the banks of the river, breathing, letting thoughts pass without being swept away.
As we do this, thoughts often slow down of their own-the river becomes a wide, slowly meandering body of water rather than a narrow, fast and sometimes scary experience. We will still find ourselves time and time again caught up in the 'thought stream', that is normal, but over time we learn to stay steady in our concentration.
2. How long do I have to meditate each day to get any benefit?
It seems that whether we meditate for 5 minutes or 5 hours each day we can get benefit. Generally, a longer session allows the meditation to deepen-I notice in my own practice that when I initially sit down to meditate there is a transition period of coming into stillness-a time for the body, heart and mind to settle-if I were to only ever sit for a short time, I would not get much beyond this phase. On retreats and meditating for longer periods, doors into deeper experience open more readily.
The purpose/intention of the meditation has to do with this also-are you meditating to catch our breath, slow down or gather ourselves or do you want to create deep relaxation, insight and deeper knowing. It's a bit like having a snack or sitting down for a long and nourishing meal-both have their place.
3. Should I be able to just close my eyes and meditate?
Not many people are able to do this. Mediation is a skill that is learnt-good instructions, particularly initially, are very important. Having ongoing support through a teacher, a mediation group, books etc is useful. The most important teacher in the longer run is one's own experience.
Presenter: Sabina Rabold is a counsellor, trainer and group facilitator. She offers programs in Mindfulness based Stress Reduction and Meditation and is the presenter of the Gawler Foundations Cancer, Healing and Wellbeing Programs in Sydney
Each seminar can be attended individually but it is strongly recommended that you attend all 4 seminars. Seminars are open to beginners and more experienced meditators alike.
Cost: $45 per seminar or $160 for the entire series
Times: 9:30am-1pm (Morning Tea Provided)
Venue: Suite 2/35 Hume Street, Crows Nest
Please book early as there are a limited number of places - just Register Here