Meditations

MEDITATION Part 1
To be done upon waking each morning for 5-10 minutes before getting up. Do a few sweeps of the spine with your awareness and breath.  Start at the base of the spine and go up as far as your breath and body will allow without any forcing.  This is a gentle massage of your body with awareness and breath and yet it will show you places of contraction or resistance.  DO NOT PUSH through.  Rather, exhale into any of these places you wish to bless with kindness.  If you get to the top of the head then exhale back down into the belly and floor of pelvis gently.  Its fine to fall asleep, or be sleepy, or be unclear during this practice. 
After completing the first meditation, sit up and read the second meditation below daily. Sit for another 5 minutes and follow the instructions you just  read. Please print out read the meditation daily.  
 
MEDITATION Part 2 
For this practice you may sit on a chair, couch or meditation cushion. The only requirement is to stay in one place for 10 – 20 minutes. If you become uncomfortable,  shift your position i.e. move your legs, hands, scratch an itch, stretch your neck and so on. But, don’t get up and move around or relocate your body.  Remain comfortable, quiet and awake.
Within these parameters, simply do whatever you’re doing. Think what you’re thinking, feel what you’re feeling, experience what you’re experiencing. There’s no right or wrong way to meditate. If you’re following your breath, follow your breath. If you’re reciting a mantra, recite a mantra. If you’re doing nothing in particular, do nothing in particular. There’s no need to follow a thought, nothing to concentrate on, nothing you need to do. If you’re captivated by a particular line of thought, a feeling, or a physical sensation, that’s fine. If you observe this process you do, if you don’t you don’t. There’s nothing to correct or adjust, no guidelines about what you’re supposed to be concentrating on, such as breathing, thoughts, feelings or sensations.
If your eyes are open, let them be open. If they’re closed let them be closed. If you open them, close them, then open them again and let them wander around, let all this happen. If you need to distract yourself, then, within the parameters of this practice, distract yourself. It doesn’t matter whether you’re concentrated or distracted. In fact, because there’s no object of meditation and no need to meditate, there are no distractions. You don’t need to do anything other than what you’re doing. You can’t go wrong. If you enjoy a session, you enjoy it, if you don’t you don’t.  Enjoying your contemplation is no better than enduring it.
Because it consists of doing whatever you’re doing when you’re sitting, this practice incorporates any other meditation practice you may be engaged in. To begin this practice, you don’t need to know how it relates to this course or even why you’re doing it.

If an alarm clock is used set to 10 minutes earlier than usual, as you may fall back to sleep during the process.  Hit the snooze button when you awake rather than turn it off.  I recommend a  Zen Alarm Clock, its very conducive to timing this, but any alarm clock is fine. Begin this practice as asap, and continue doing Meditation 1 as well.  If you’re an advanced practitioner or have a long standing meditation practice, do the above for 5 – 10 minutes before then your regular meditation practice.  If you’re meditating with another use this at the beginning and end of each meditation for 5 minutes.  PLEASE do this practice daily from now until the retreat.  This practice is call just sitting or simply sitting or perhaps un-meditation.
 
You may have never been able to meditate, or even strongly dislike meditation, but find you like these practices.  
For those of you who are advanced meditators, the second one is at the same time the most advanced, and the most basic; as it deconstructs meditation altogether.  It will serve to fine tune your current practices.  The second one is great to do before you start your established practice.

Meditation 3- Advanced

       When you go to sleep and when you wake up replace the body scan meditation with a long slow inhale.   The first act of your life was an inhale, Begin pretending that each inhale is the first act of your life, Relish this for a few breaths while gently smiling and having your attention lightly on your heart area.   After a few breaths, at the top of the breath, internally say “yes” to this increase of life; and “welcome” to any sensations into your heart.  It may be pleasant, unpleasant, or a mixture.  On each exhale make a sound.  DO THIS FOR 20 BREATHS (I use my right hand thumb touching each of the four fingers and when I get to the pinky I uncurl one finger of the five on the left hand.  Once the left hand is completely open I have done 20 repetitions.)
 It is ok to fall asleep in the morning session and if you have time, then do a few before rising.  After your 20 reps: in the morning-hold your intention for your life in the your heart a few moments or longer then sit up and do the second prep meditation (or read it) for a 5 to 10 minutes.
After your 20 reps: in the evening-if you are still awake- rave to the Divine about what you appreciated about you that day and what you appreciate about the Divine.  What are you grateful for this day having come to a close.

If you have at least tried to carve out the time and it is not working, then begin a very simple 5 minute morning practice before you get out of bed: with your eyes still closed, scan your body with your awareness.  You may experiment with going from one part to the next or blanketing your entire body with your awareness.  As you do this…breathe the part or area into your heart on a gentle in breath, and extend your kindness or an inner smile of greeting toward the part or area from your heart on the out breath.  If you like, continue with the same part or area for 3-5 breaths and move on.  OR just one breath and move on.