Author Topic: Meditative Approaches  (Read 992 times)

Offline Kevin

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Meditative Approaches
« on: July 09, 2015, 07:08:28 am »
Hello,

I think that we are all aware that there are different "types" of meditation, or approaches that can be taken. One approach is to notice the breath and to return our attention to the sensation of breathing when the mind wanders. Another approach that I read in one of Thich Nhat Hanh's books described noticing the in-breath and the out-breath with the mantra, "Breathing in, I know that I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know that I am breathing out." My question is, what is the distinction (if any) between these two practices? In the second practice we are using the mind to actively engage in a sort of self-talk (I am aware of the concept of anatta, but I am struggling to use the appropriate language to define the concept here), and in the first approach we are not. Do these two approaches have different benefits or results? How is keeping the mind actively focused through a kind of mental talk different from the other approach? I have come across other approaches to meditation that use different mantras for the in-breath and out-breath, as well.

I have a second question that I feel the need to preface before asking. I am a middle school teacher, and I am used to undergoing a process of education, training, and testing to be qualified to do or teach something. Most of us have to undergo this kind of process for our job. But at what point do people begin to be qualified to teach meditation? Is it a subjective decision? I have my own perspective on this, but I would be interested to hear other people's thoughts on it. I am very interested in introducing a meditation class as an after-school program for both teachers and students, as I believe it would have many benefits for everyone. I am interested in whether finding a meditation teacher would be more appropriate, or if my own experiences and abilities could be regarded as sufficient for implementing this kind of program.

I have posted questions on this website a few times and have found everyone to be very helpful, generous, and kind with their responses. Thank you for taking the time to read and consider my questions.

Best wishes,

Kevin

Offline cosmic_dog_magic

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Re: Meditative Approaches
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2015, 07:43:46 pm »
my understanding that the different approaches to sitting practice focused on the breath, is dependent on your state of mind at the time of sitting, if your mind is wild with chatter and easily distracted, I heard it's best to apply a more focused and concentrated effort on the breath or counting, and when it's quieted you can ease up the effort and attention on the breath.  eventually leading to vipashyana practice, or holding the awareness of the present space you are in.  my unqualified understanding at least.

saw this article today, I think it's really worth taking to heart, whether you are willing to take that kind of responsibility on yourself, I'd honestly give yourself a good assessment, and do what you think is best for your students and peers.

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/07/10-blunt-truths-about-becoming-a-meditation-teacher/

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Meditative Approaches
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2015, 09:40:02 am »
Another approach that I read in one of Thich Nhat Hanh's books described noticing the in-breath and the out-breath with the mantra, "Breathing in, I know that I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know that I am breathing out." My question is, what is the distinction (if any) between these two practices?

A mantra like this is really just an aid to keeping attention on the breath, much the same as counting.  You might find it interesting to try mindfulness of breathing without such aids, just paying attention to the experience of breathing in a very simple way.

I am very interested in introducing a meditation class as an after-school program for both teachers and students, as I believe it would have many benefits for everyone. I am interested in whether finding a meditation teacher would be more appropriate, or if my own experiences and abilities could be regarded as sufficient for implementing this kind of program.

I'd recommend getting a meditation teacher in if you can, at least initially.  Do you know any locally?


Offline Kevin

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Re: Meditative Approaches
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2015, 11:35:00 am »
Thank you for your responses. I have been of the same thinking, namely that with mindfulness meditation counting or using a mantra is a method for focusing and concentrating on the present moment when there are distracting thoughts, but that the ultimate goal is to ditch these approaches and relax into awareness of the present moment. However, I do find that using a mantra with loving-kindness meditation is helpful for me.

Cosmic_dog_magic:  Thank you for the link to the article. I found it an interesting read, and it led me to a program that seeks to integrate mindfulness into schools that I had not heard of. I agree with the author's statement that a person should probably only teach meditation if asked to do so. The reason I posted the question is because I have had several teachers, administrators, and students ask me how I never appear to be overwhelmed or upset at work, and when I mentioned meditation, they seemed interested.

Spiny Norman:  I have searched for meditation teachers in my area with very little luck. However, I do think that with some guidance and some training (possibly through the program for schools I mentioned above) that I might be successful at introducing the practice in a meaningful way. However, I would like to learn more, practice more, and be better at it myself.

 


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