"We're in the midst of a popular obsession
with mindfulness as the secret to health and
happiness—and a growing body of
evidence suggests it has clear benefits."
Kate Pickert, Time magazine
3. Benefits of Meditation
● Lowers blood pressure
● Boosts immune system
● Improves physical and emotional response
to stress (MBSR)
● Improves ability to concentrate
● Broad range of effects - Tinnitus example
16. What is Meditation?
per Merriam Webster:
● to engage in contemplation or reflection
● to engage in mental exercise (as
concentration on one's breathing or
repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of
reaching a heightened level of spiritual
17. What Meditation is Not
Hard (no more so than exercise ;-)
Esoteric / mystical (anyone can do it)
Religious (unless you want it to be)
18. What is Meditation?
per Master Dogen (13th cent.) - Fukanzazengi
“put aside the intellectual practice of
investigating words and chasing phrases, and
learn to take the backward step that turns the
light and shines it inward. Body and mind of
themselves will drop away…”
20. Sound Examples
You become very aware of sounds: Air Cond.,
people in the hallway, neighbor’s breathing...
● Dump trucks - emotional response, annoyance
● Car doors and alarms - judging
● Birds chirping - pleasant - also judging!
Thinking, judging, feeling are extra baggage - just be!
21. My Qualification to Teach Meditation
20+ years of Zen practice.
Zen = Chan = Dhyana = Meditation
I am authorized to teach Zen Meditation by the
Silent Thunder Order in the Soto Zen tradition.
22. The Secret of Meditation...
Is that there is no mystical secret!
The “open secret” is the same as for running a
● put one foot after the other (for 26 miles)
● watch one breath after the other (for 26 mins)
25. Disposition of the Body
● Body - Mind connection
● Stilling the body helps still the mind
● Comfortable stability is the goal
● Harder than you think to find stable position
● Move if you need to, not meant to be painful
● But experiment with letting an itch go...
26. Disposition of the Body
● Wakeful, not sleep
● Three point base - stability
● No muscle strain
● Pelvic tilt - spine curve
● Proper padding at pressure points
● Position of head
● Direction of gaze
27. Burmese Posture
Easy, legs not crossed,
the following images from:
32. Disposition of the Body
Keep back straight and centered
Don’t lean or slouch
Allow diaphragm to move freely
Chin slightly tucked
Gaze about 3’ in front of you
Hands in lap, forming oval
Rock gently to find balance point
33. Disposition of the Breath
Focus attention in the belly (the hara).
Breathe naturally, through your nose.
Count breaths, to ten, then repeat.
First inhale and exhale.
Then only exhales.
Then maybe no counting, just watching...
34. Disposition of the Mind
You can not stop thinking by will, but
You can learn to let go of thoughts.
Focus on your breath to minimize thoughts.
When a thought comes, notice “I am thinking”
And then let it go.
Then return to the breath…
35. The Real Secret of Meditation
When you do this thousands of times:
● Fewer thoughts arise
● You notice the thought rather than “be” it
● It becomes easier to let it go
● The emotional impulse becomes clear
● It is easier to not be affected by it
● You can choose your response
36. Last Thoughts
● This time is a gift to yourself
● you have permission to do nothing
● relax, don’t stress
● don’t judge yourself
● you can’t do it wrong
● whatever your meditation, it will help