Meditation and Mindfullness Practice

Oceanside Meditation
Group meditation by the ocean in Kauii during the 2015 Zen Wellness immersion

Meditation is a discipline by which one attempts to get beyond the conditioned, "thinking" mind into a deeper state of relaxation or awareness. It often involves turning attention to a single point of reference. Meditation is recognized as a component of almost all religions, and has been practiced for over 5,000 years. It is also practiced outside religious traditions. Different meditative disciplines encompass a wide range of spiritual and/or psychophysical practices which may emphasize different goals, from achievement of a higher state of consciousness, to greater focus, creativity or self-awareness, or simply a more relaxed and peaceful frame of mind.

An undisciplined mind keeps us from living in the present moment. Sometimes our minds run wild with uncontrollable thoughts. We lose sleep, cannot concentrate and sometimes stress ourselves – even to the point of becoming physically ill. While extraneous thoughts are unavoidable at times, if we allow them to consistently take control, we become habitually mentally lazy. Like muscles, our minds actually atrophy and become less effective.

When we‘re unable to concentrate, we ultimately lose the ability to remain fully engaged in the moment, and our minds jump from one useless thought to the next. This mental wandering impedes our ability to live in the present moment, which is really the only place we will ever find contentment.

Think about it: the past is gone – and unchangeable. Memories of pleasant times bring sorrow because we lament the fact that those times are gone forever, and unpleasant memories are just simply … unpleasant. Yet the future is not a better place for our minds to be. It is unknown, unpredictable and is therefore a frightening place.

A body free from the effects of an anxious mind is a stronger body. A healthy mind actually allows for a stronger immune system. A stronger immune system fights disease more effectively; and, with luck, we achieve the ultimate goal, to live longer and healthier lives.

Beginning meditation practice can simply be to put the focus on the breath. One of the main goals of meditation is to bring the mind into the present moment. One of the best ways to bring the mind into the present is to put the attention on the body. By paying attention to the body's posture and breath, you are fully present, content to just be in the now!

Students will learn basic meditation postures and breathing exercise that will help them to learn how to meditate.