Mindfulness Meditation: Special Topics (Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library)

Willow tree presence

Course Content & Handouts

October 2: Mindful Practices for Calming & Soothing

October 9: Mindfulness of Technology

October 16: Decluttering Your Mind

October 23: Cultivating Lovingkindness Towards Difficult People

October 30: Mindful Self-Compassion

How to Prepare for Our Class Sessions

Please make sure you have a comfortable chair or cushion available for the guided meditations. I also encourage you to have a pen and notebook accessible for taking notes, and a quiet, uninterrupted environment for our time together.

Since you will be muted during the guided meditations, you are welcome to play some gentle music if it helps you to meditate.

It’s also nice to have some water or tea with you! (I love to imagine we’re meeting for tea and conversation.) And headphones or earbuds are entirely optional but recommended.

Ground Rules and Expectations

I just want to communicate all of this ahead of time so we don’t have to spend time in class on it – so we can get right into what mindfulness is all about! 

Confidentiality

First and foremost, all course participants are expected to maintain confidentiality so everyone can feel safe in sharing. It’s fine to talk with people outside of this class about your experience in class, but not anyone else’s. 

Safe Space

I am committed to maintaining a safe environment in which everyone feels welcome and respected. Some of the challenging emotions many people are experiencing now involve politics, and we just can’t go there or assume everyone is on the same page. 

Sharing

Please be assured that sharing is always optional.

However, I encourage class discussion and questions! Since our classes are only an hour long, please keep your comments and questions succinct. If comments become long-winded, I might have to cut you off in the interest of time. 

Please listen and speak with respect and refrain from offering advice or judgments to classmates. We all have the inner capacity and wisdom for growth and healing, and assuming we have answers for others doesn’t allow them to access their own wisdom.

Staying Focused

To stay on topic, it’s important to keep class discussion focused on your mindfulness practice and how the course content relates to your practice. The point of mindfulness practice is to help you shift out of your stories and busy mind and into awareness of the present moment. In this course, we will focus on practice, which is the only way you will experience the transformative benefits of mindfulness meditation! 

Intellectualizing and philosophizing about mindfulness meditation get in the way of practicing it, so that’s not where we’ll put our attention. Also, please remember it’s a meditation class, not a psychotherapy group. That means we can talk about our thoughts and feelings as they relate to our meditation practice, without getting into the content. In other words, this is an opportunity to get out of the stories and into what’s real right now. (I think you’ll find this refreshing!)

Ongoing Live Meditation Sessions

I’m offering live, guided meditation sessions weekly via Zoom through Schuylerville Public Library. Please join me if you’d like! These sessions will take place Tuesdays at 7 PM and Thursdays at 8:30 AM. Sometimes the registration software doesn’t work and says registration is closed when it’s not. So I’m giving you the direct Zoom links to bypass the registration process. You can save the links. They will remain the same from week to week.

Tuesdays Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87301609088?pwd=dU0zMko2Z0xnMHZtN2NZS1ZJNTlOQT09
Meeting ID: 873 0160 9088
Passcode: 384327
Dial in: +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kdFYq9lFwN 

Thursdays Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85925866762?pwd=ZEtmWndJb0VBdUduVm1wTHREYzdtUT09
Meeting ID: 859 2586 6762
Passcode: 045862
Dial in: +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kdFYq9lFwN 

In addition, here are some other mindfulness (vipassana/insight) meditation sittings that may be of interest:

Guided Meditation Recordings

I’ve recorded several guided mindfulness meditations to support your practice. You can gain access to them by signing up for my mailing list (at the bottom of this page). When you sign up, you’ll receive a password to access the guided meditations. Be sure to save the password! If you don’t receive an email right away with the access information or if you lose the password, email me at riverblissed@gmail.com (the email I check most frequently), and I’ll give it to you.

Resources for Starting a Meditation Practice

Here is a Mindfulness Meditation Practice Log you can download to motivate you to practice daily and record any questions/challenges/insights that arise. Of course, you also can use a notebook, or whatever works for you.

Also, here is an informative How to Meditate-FAQ guide from my teacher, Tara Brach. 

And a few video shorts:

 

Building Your Meditation Practice

The benefits of mindfulness meditation don’t come from reading or thinking about it. They only come from having a regular practice. To support your practice between class sessions, I will offer a variety of options for you to choose from:

  • guided meditations you can do on your own 
  • live, guided meditation session(s) on Zoom each week
  • links to live, online meditations by other teachers
  • private Facebook group open to anyone who’s taken my mindfulness courses
  • private “Meditation Out Loud” sessions with me via Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime (sliding scale)

I’m offering this spectrum of options in response to feedback I’ve received from past course participants. Every single one of them is an optional and available menu item so you can have the support and confidence you need to build or fine-tune your meditation practice.

Additional Resources

Apps

Books

  • Tara Brach: Radical Acceptance
  • Tara Brach: Radical Compassion
  • Tara Brach: True Refuge
  • Pema Chödrön: When Things Fall Apart
  • Pema Chödrön: Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better
  • Thich Nhat Hanh: The Miracle of Mindfulness
  • Jon Kabat-Zinn: Full Catastrophe Living
  • Jon Kabat-Zinn: Mindfulness for Beginners
  • Jon Kabat-Zinn: Wherever You Go There You Are
  • Jack Kornfield: The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace
  • Jack Kornfield: The Wise Heart
  • Sharon Salzberg: Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness
  • Rick Hanson: Buddha’s Brain
  • Rick Hanson: Neuro Dharma
  • Mark Williams et al.: The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness

Articles from my Blog

Movies

Looking Forward to Our Time Together

I’m excited to share with you mindfulness skills and tools that have made a huge, positive difference in my own life, and help you to develop a practice that will work for you. I’ve been practicing mindfulness meditation for the past 25 years and have been receiving formal meditation teacher training for the past couple years with pioneering teachers, Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach.

I thank you for your willingness to participate in this course. More importantly, I acknowledge your intention to cultivate mindfulness. Your practice benefits our world.

Please feel free to email me (riverblissed@gmail.com) with any questions or concerns that arise, or to introduce yourself and say hi. (Unfortunately, we won’t have time to do introductions during class.) I’m glad you’re in this course and look forward to seeing you soon!

Kind regards,

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