Showing posts with label meditation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label meditation. Show all posts

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Meditation Chimes Available Online FREE!

Do you meditate?  Do you use a timer that emits an annoyingly jarring sound that practically ruins the experience?   Try this online timer at .  While you can't download it, it's easy to go to the page and set it.  It even has an interval timer that can be set as well.  That's kinda cool.  Sometimes I'm so antsy, I can see that it would be good to have an idea of where I am in the process. 

Don't forget to figure out level you will need to set your computer sound control on for a soothing ring.  Too loud is not a great way to start or stop meditating. 

So, check out this timer, make your own comfy  meditation cushion (also known as an old couch cushion repurposed), and happy meditating.  Your meditation session will end with a soothing sound rather than a jarring noise.  Peace.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Reusing Old Couch Cushions

I mentioned in another post that I saved some old couch cushions to recover.  I thought I could use one for meditation and just have them around for floor cushions.  They turned out to be more difficult than I thought because my traditional "take the old cushions apart for a pattern and to reuse the zipper and the cording" did not quite work this time.  The material covering the edge cording (which has another name I have forgotten at the moment) was incorporated into the side material.  That sounded like such a great idea!  A real time-saver! As it turned out, it was very difficult for me to figure out how to sew this all together. I gave up twice.  The cushions made their to the garbage area on two frustrating occasions.

Then, I was going through the Feisty Stitcher and noticed that she had a cushion that was sewn to the outside--very simple.  I was using denim that matched the furniture I covered in the four seasons room:

Denim would fray nicely--the perfect look for a rustic kind of fabric!  Here they are!  I'm still working on the edges.  I've been picking out the edges for that frayed look.  It's a nice boring job to do while watching television.

I'm glad they survived two near trips to the garbage.  I'm really pleased with how they turned out and the many uses I'm finding for them.  I love that I can just stack them up in a corner and grab one or two or three to use as needed.   I use one to make meditation time more comfortable and for some yoga things.  My book club is going to be watching Babette's Feast next week.  (Don't you just love a book club that will watch movies, too?)  These cushions are going to help provide the extra seating in the man cave, too. 

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Meditation: Day Three - I Think I Passed Level 1

Day three was some sitting and walking meditation practice, discussion groups, and a final short talk.

Overall, I think a major benefit was to be with a group containing many beginners who were willing to ask questions.  Authors try to answer questions in books and audios, but they are not necessarily the right questions for the listener.  You also can't ask for clarification.

It was so comforting to know that almost everyone found meditating to be difficult.  Trying to sit still,  focus on the moment, gently brush aside all the thoughts that incessantly push in, not get angry with yourself when you need to refocus over and over and over IS the process.  Despite practice, we will still be human and the process will be a challenge. It turns out that I wasn't all that bad at meditating after all.

I also was able to find out what all those cushions were for and why some people sit one way and others another. I learned lots of options for being as comfortable as possible while meditating.

Last, I learned that I am going to get old and die--if I'm lucky.  Bad thing will still happen.  I will have the opportunity, however, to handle these things a bit differently than I might have before attending this course.  Rather than running away from things or wallowing in self-pity, I will try to experience what is happening, come to grips with it, and let it go.  Yes!  I'm signing up for level 2.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Meditation: Day Two - Success At Last!

Yes!  It was a great day.   After last night, I was more than a bit worried about how today's meditation classes would go.  While everyone was still schmoozing at the continental breakfast.  I grabbed a set of cushions in the back row and began the process of figuring out how to sit on them.  The downside to that was that I hadn't eaten and that became quite obvious during silent meditation time.  It's kind of hard to relax your muscles as they suggest AND squeeze stomach muscles to squelch the constant rumbling.  Fortunately the stomach settled down after about a half hour. 

Sitting meditation went well.  I learned that if you don't scratch the itch, it usually just goes away.  I also learned that the Shambhala way of keeping the eyes open and cast down works better for me.  With closed eyes, I tend to start falling asleep.

Shambhala standing meditation is a faster walk than Zen standing meditation and slower than the usual way of walking.  Sounds easy, doesn't it?  Somehow it makes me feel a bit unsteady.  Just when I felt stable, I realized that I was not actually meditating but, rather, taking in all the things in the room.  By day's end, however, I was feeling pretty good about it.  I could probably draw a near perfect picture of the room and everything in it.  Still, there was progress. 

Staff and other participants were all kind and helpful.  There were a few readings from Shambhala:  The Sacred Path of the Warrior by Chogyam Trungpa that were so meaningful and helpful to me I wanted to get the book.  How nice that we each received a copy as a gift just before leaving.

So, tomorrow morning we have another go at practicing before I branch out on my own.  Fortunately, the center has numbers of things going on.  I'm sure I will be stopping in often.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Readjusting my expectations of the meditation center

I saw the small picture on the meditation center website of brightly colored floor cushions near a dark wood-framed rice paper window and made the assumption that the center would be bright and new.  I've been watching too many movies.  As it turns out, the center is in an older downtown building.  The meditation room has a dated acoustic tile hanging ceiling, white walls, vertical blinds, and industrial greenish blueish wall-to-wall indoor-outdoor carpeting.  There is an eclectic collection of floor cushions, chairs, and small tables along with a few pictures in inexpensive frames, a few cloth hangings, and assorted small decorative pieces.  Not a bad place at all.  It's just that it sure wasn't what I had envisioned.

I would probably have adjusted quickly had not a series of tiny incidents set off my inner child.  I had trouble finding the driveway and had to circle around three times.  That's not easy in an area of one way streets.  Then I made the mistake of of almost entering the meditation room with shoes on.  Fortunately, someone quickly pointed out my ignorance.  I know many people have the no shoes policy in their homes.  I've not been one of them.  Yes, I have occasionally passed the no shoes mandate after a particularly hard day of cleaning.  However, I was always the first one to break the new rule within hours.  

On entering the meditation room (sans shoes), I immediately saw that some of the floor cushions had been marked as reserved.  Reserved seating always annoys me for some reason unless, of course, I get to sit in it.   But, I was determined to keep the inner child in check.  I graciously moved on.  Well, maybe not exactly graciously.  I didn't try to take one of the reserved seat, though.  

You know how no one wants to sit in the front row in class?  No one wants to sit on the front floor cushions either.  All the back cushions were taken when I got there.  My choices were to sit on a cushion in the front row or on one of the chairs lined up along the back wall.  Normally this is not a problem for me.  I'm a die-hard brown-noser.  I LOVE the front row.  The problem here was that I  wasn't sure HOW one was supposed to sit on the cushions.  There were different kinds of cushions, flat round ones, boxy foam ones, cushions on cushions.  Some people were sitting cross-legged.  Some had their feet facing back. What if I sat on a cushion wrong?  Everyone would see me right there in the front row.  I had already almost broken the no shoes rules.  I opted for a chair.  By that point, I was a tired, frustrated and, yes, a bit pouty.  

The session was supposed to start at 7:30, but we waited an extra half hour in near silence for stragglers.  I am a firm believer in starting on time.  If the show is supposed to start at 7:30, I expect it to begin at 7:30.  I certainly don't want anyone waiting for me if I'm late.  By the time the main speaker began the lecture at eight o'clock in a lovely soft voice,  I was really annoyed, more than a bit pouty,  and falling asleep.  My eyes started drooping closed almost immediately.  I spent the next hour desperately trying to keep my eyes opened and preferably focused. 

Tomorrow I will be there from 8:30 until 5.  I've already paid so I've got to see this through.  I'd go in late, but I need to get there early enough to get one of those highly sought-after floor cushions in the back rows.  Do you know how hard it is to sit cross-legged on a metal chair?  My greatest fear is that I will fall asleep and keel over.  I'm not sure if Buddhists do caffeine, but I'm sneaking in some Red Bull anyway.  Wish me luck.

The meditation weekend begins!

I'm starting my weekend meditation lessons tonight at a meditation center in Albany, New York.  The program is called Shambhala Meditation Training Level 1:  The Art of Being Human.  Who knew being human was an art?

So, I've read about meditation, listened to many tapes on meditation, attended one introduction to meditation talk long ago, and practiced meditating in spurts over the years.  This is my first real live training session.  I've decided it is time to invest in my own well being.  The family has been most supportive of this venture.  I wonder if that means I am more uptight than I realized.  Well, never mind that.  Not only am I embarking on an new adventure, I am doing it alone--no human crutches. 
If I am not too relaxed after this evening's session, I shall post about it.