During the month of February, challenge yourself to participate in MMC’s 28-day meditation program. It’s simple: Commit to meditating each day and connect online to share experiences – pleasant, difficult or otherwise. We will follow the meditation program outlined in Sharon Salzberg’s book, “Real Happiness.” This blog will be your guide, including links to helpful Web sites and guided meditations. Meditation can help with overall wellness, pain, stress, anxiety, sleep and concentration. This is your opportunity to start a new practice to enhance your wellbeing or to continue your practice in the company of your fellow Griffins.

Sign up with the form below and to the right and check back here often.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Snow Day Post

It's been a quiet, cozy snow day on my end. Snow days are great because they seem to break through the unending busy-ness, the go-go-going of everyday life and offer a glimpse of the stillness and non-doing we are cultivating in mediation.

I'm wondering how this practice is going for everyone?  We are up to 20 Griffins committed to meditating together for the month of February. Any questions? Anyone want to share any experiences or challenges? Please feel free - I'm sure others will relate to whatever you are encountering.

The goal for this first week of the challenge is for each of us to try to do a 20-minute sitting meditation on three days this week. Remember, you can follow the instructions in the Day 1 post or either of the links to the right.

If your're finding the breathing meditation hard or frustrating, of you just want to experiment, try the "Hearing Meditation" that follows for cultivating concentration:

Hearing Meditation
Settle into your seat or lie down and close your eyes, if that's comfortable. Or if your eyes are open, let your gaze rest and unfocus.

Take a few breaths in and out, noticing the physical sensations of the breath entering and leaving your body. Do this for a few minutes. Not forcing or controlling your breath, just noticing it. Not judging.

Then, turn your attention from noticing your breath, to noticing the sounds around you. Whatever's there, you don't have to strain to be hearing something. Simply noticing whatever sound reaches your ears.

No need to identify what they are. You may find that you have an immediate reaction to them and categorize them into pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. Simply notice the tendency to do this, and open back up to simply receiving the sound waves. You note them and let them go, note them arising and subsiding.

At any point if you lose concentration, become distracted by thoughts - even thoughts about the sounds -, emotions or physical sensations, see if you can simply note that this has happened and open back up your attention to receive the next sound. You can always return to concentrating on your breath to stabilize your mind, if that is helpful.

At the end of the time period, as you return to your daily activities, see if you can remember how practicing this meditation  reminds us that we can meet our experiences with more presence and centeredness.

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