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So, I've read some of Jon Kabat Zinn's books - I've followed a handful of guided meditation practises on CD - I've found focussing on my breathing useful as stress relief and the body scan useful as pre-sleep relaxation - but I still feel like I'm just dipping my toes into the water. I've been having a very stressful time for the last few months, cos I got a new more stable job but I've been finding it very frustrating and don't think I've got a very good working relationship with my manager, so I feel that I need inner peace, and that I need help to find it. I've signed up for a beginners' meditation course at the Northwest Centre for Buddhist Meditation (handily just down the road from my new house) - first class tomorrow - here goes nothing!
Yes, there is a very deep world in there, and speaking personally I really needed help to start finding it. The thing about having a real live teacher (rather than a book or CD) is that these wonderful people who practice meditation have such a high degree of presence that they are able to pass some of it on to you - at least while you are there with them in the room. It gives you a glimpse of what is possible within yourself. I recently went for a refresher meditation workshop at the Rigpa Centre in Brisbane and found it very inspiring. I hope you do too...
Karen
ps I think everyone needs inner peace whether or not they have a stressful job and difficult relationship with their manager. Perhaps you could think of it as a useful catalyst to help you on your way
OMG April 2010 OMS June 2010
That's excellent. I think it's easier to start if you're in a structured environment. Let us know how it goes!

P.S. Yoga is the most amazing thing I've ever done. Well, that and becoming a dad. But Yoga is amazing.
Alex

Diagnosis: Jan 2010, OMS April 2010.
Catriona - how was the class, please tell us!
There is a Buddhist meditation centre near me and I keep thinking I might...
First symptom (of many): May 2009
Started OMS: October 2011
'Inconclusive' diagnosis: January 2012
Decided no diagnosis required: February 2012
Just got back and it was pretty good - everyone was very friendly, and the teacher had a friendly humour and relaxing voice. This was dhammakaya meditation - there are many similarities to mindfulness meditation, but key differences too. Same aim of calming the mind and entering a "being" mode instead of a "doing" mode (although it's not put in those terms). For beginners, they spend a few mins relaxing the body, then the mind, then use a technique of picturing a bright image (say, the sun) in front of your face and moving it gradually though 7 "bases" ( next to nostril, high up in nose next to eye, centre of head, top of (inner) mouth, adam's apple, in centre of body at level of navel, solar plexus) which helps in slowing the mind. More experienced meditators often start out at the solar plexus (after a few minutes to relax the body and the mind). Focussing on the bright image is like an equivalent of focussing on the breath - it's the thing you bring your attention back to when it wanders. I can see some similarities between going through the 7 bases and Zinn's body scan.
The main differences were always using a single point of focus (the 7th base, the bright image at your solar plexus) and (most different of all) rather than viewing thoughts like clouds passing through the mind, in dhammakaya we try to still them using a mantra that we repeat 3 times at each base as we move through them and then continually during the rest of the meditation while we're focussed on the 7th base.

I'll definitely be going back - liked meditating in a hall full of others - can't do next week so it'll be the one after
PS I found a website on this type of buddhist meditation: http://www.dhammakaya.nl/FAQ/Howtomeditate/tabid/83/language/en-US/Default.aspx
I couldn't make the 2nd session (prior commitment to attend a social gathering for local PwMS who still work) but I've been meditating every day. I find the structured "7 bases of the mind" approach makes it very easy to get into a calm state of mind. At first I thought the mantra thing would be weird, but this also feels helpful (I mix it with Zinn's mindfulness approach by focusing on my breathing as I relax my body and as I silently repeat the mantra I do so in time with my breathing) and I find I can calm myself and achieve more focus outside of meditation by silently repeating the mantra ("samma arahang") a few times, which is a useful tool. I'm finding I get into a calm state of mind more quickly and can sustain it for longer as I continue meditating each day - guessing this is true for any meditation technique!
Looking forward to session 3 tomorrow :-)
So, as we go through the course we're gradually stripping away the initial "crutches" - we're taking our attention straight to the centre of the body (without going through the 7 bases of the mind) and apparently next week we'll stop using the mantra - so I guess these are just techniques to make it easier for beginners.
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