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Introduction. Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight Ancient Wisdom For the Modern World Session 1 The basics of meditation Instructor - Stanley Merrill. Foundation for class Meditation and Psychology. Academic Background - Math, Physics and Computer Science

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Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Ancient Wisdom

For the

Modern World

Session 1 The basics of meditation

Instructor - Stanley Merrill

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Foundation for class meditation and psychology
Foundation for classMeditation and Psychology

  • Academic Background - Math, Physics and Computer Science

  • Professional Background – Application development consultant

  • Tibetan Buddhism

    • Powerful Techniques for coping with stress

    • Targeted for Tibetan NOT American Culture

  • Personally experienced the power of meditation

    • Wanted to help others

  • MBSR

    • Accessible to Americans – culture – way of life

    • Effective teaching methodologies

      • Guided meditations, focus on key concepts, reasonable expectations

  • Jung Center

    • Depth psychology

    • Understanding of why we do the things that we do

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Brief introductions
Brief Introductions

  • Name

  • Experience in Meditation

  • What you wanted from the class

  • Hobbies or interests

  • Profession

    Any or all of the above!

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Website for handouts http www beingmindful com
Website for

  • Download PowerPoint Presentations

  • Guided Meditation

    • Play MP3 format.

    • Scripts for each meditation

  • Reading list

  • Quotes and Prayers

  • Must register to access downloads and mp3’s

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Start with the goal in mind
Start with the goal in mind!









Woe is Me















In the moment


The Goal:

Equanimity - Balance, Calmness and Clarity in spite of circumstances.

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight


  • To a sincere student every day is a fortunate day. Time passes but he never lags behind. Neither glory nor shame will move him ..Zengetsu (zen master)

  • Characteristics

    • Compassionate

    • Calm

    • Open hearted, open minded

    • Centered

    • Balanced

    • Rational – make good decisions

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight


  • An adult watching a child throwing a temper tantrum

    • The child’s perception is his reality.

    • Can observe with great compassion.

  • As adults we can watch the “child within us” go through emotional responses

    • Our perceptions are our reality

    • Can observe ourselves with great compassion

  • With insight we can transcend the emotional roller coaster ride.

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

The path is the goal
The path is the Goal

  • The Goal

    • Moment to moment awareness, mindfulness and equanimity.

  • When we experience emotional turmoil

    • Do not suppress your emotions

    • Observe with insight

      • Your experiences in this moment.

      • Watch your breath

      • Enable your body to slow and relax

      • Gain a sense of calm and then you will be able to respond in a rational effective manner

  • Present moment experience can become a habit

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Key points fear and anxiety and heart rate
Key PointsFear and Anxiety and Heart Rate

  • We DO NOThave to have negative emotional and physiological responses to negative circumstances.

  • Second Arrow - Sometimes our responses to negative situations cause greater damage than the circumstances themselves.

    • Physiological damage to our bodies

    • Depression

    • Revenge

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Negative circumstances
Negative Circumstances

  • Examples

    • Losing at tennis

    • Bad line call

    • Red Lights

    • Bad Grades

    • Terminal Illness

    • Loss of love ones

  • Ever evolving process - Eventually

    • Small things trigger little or no response.

    • More things are put in proper perspective.

    • Larger Things

      • Quicker recovery time

      • Less likely to react in a self defeating manner

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Maintaining equanimity
Maintaining Equanimity

  • Easy to understand difficult to implement

  • Serenity Prayer

    • G-d grant me the courage to change the things that I can, the serenity to accept the things that I can not change and the wisdom to know the difference.

  • Skills we need to maintain equanimity

    • Meditation – Cultivates the mental discipline to be mindful

    • Mindfulness – Implementation of awareness in daily life

    • Insight

      • Broad and open perspective

      • Objective and realistic

      • Supportive attitudes – letting go - compassion– gratitude -

      • Understanding psychological forces of us and others

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Class philosophy approach
Class Philosophy / Approach

  • Motivational

    • Know the benefits so that you will want to meditate

  • Practical

    • You will be changing the way you perceive and act

  • Understandable

    • Not esoteric or theoretical

    • How and why meditation accomplishes what it does.

  • Non Sectarian

    • Psychological insights not religious beliefs

    • Meditation as an exercise that impacts our psychology and physiology

  • Set Reasonable Expectations

    • Long slow never ending process

    • Immediate positive changes

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Meditations taught
Meditations Taught

  • Diaphragmatic Breathing

    • Easy, quick, use any time during the day

    • Before and after stressful situations

  • Need a quiet secluded place

    • Mantras

      • When you are really stressed and intellectual understanding fails to alter your emotional state!

    • Body Scan

      • When you want a good nights sleep

    • Sitting Meditation

      • Cultivate deep relaxed state of mind

    • Compassion

      • Alters perspectives and attitudes

  • Mindfulness – Equanimity

    • Goal – 24 x 7 being in the moment

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight


  • Why is it important to meditate.

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

The problem is stress
The problem is Stress

Life becomes a juggling act with work, family, job. Any change can throw us off balance.

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

The impacts of stress
The impacts of stress

  • Fight or flight response triggered constantly

    • Produces adrenaline

  • Scientific studies show that prolonged stress

    • Heart rate and blood pressure increase

    • Impacts our sleep

    • Negative impacts to the immune system

    • Decrease in the ability to concentrate and think clearly

    • Increases aging

    • Clogs arteries

  • Meditation is the “medicine” for stress without side effects.

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Mindfulness and meditation exercises
Mindfulness and Meditation Exercises

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Strange object exercise
Strange Object Exercise

  • Look at these objects with new eyes

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight


  • What was your direct experience?

    • What did you see, smell, taste, feel

  • Were you surprised by anything?

  • Did the exercise inspire you to want to do any things differently?

  • What were the differences between this and your normal eating experience?

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Common observations
Common Observations

  • Slowing down and paying attention changes the experience

  • Unconscious -- We are often lost in thought, on autopilot most of the time and not really experiencing what is happening

  • When you focus, you notice things you weren’t normally aware of

  • The mind can easily wander

  • Mindfulness can have a calming effect

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight


  • Awareness – Fully Conscious

    • you are conscious of what you are doing

    • There is an observer that is you seeing yourself

  • Non Judgmental – No Drama!

    • Equanimity

  • In the present moment

    • Continually Bringing the focus back to this moment

  • Doing one thing at a time

  • Attention

    • Single point of focus

  • Intentionality

    • You choose the point of focus

  • Beginners mind

    • Look at everything with fresh eyes

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Mindfulness vs meditation
Mindfulness vs. Meditation

  • What they have in common

    • Focus, intentionality, awareness, present moment, concentration, discipline

  • Differences

    • Meditation

      • protected environment

      • Controlled posture

    • Mindfulness can be done during every waking moment

  • Mindfulness is the goal, meditation develops the skills needed

    • Being present to each and every moment

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Meditation postures
Meditation Postures

  • Regardless of whether you are on a chair or are sitting on a pillow

    • Eyes closed

    • Back Straight

    • Head slightly down

    • Mouth slightly open tongue on roof of mouth

    • Hands on thighs or may use hand mudras

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Postures continued
Postures continued

  • Sitting on a chair

    • Use a pillow between your back and the chair to keep your back straight

    • Feet flat on the floor

  • Sitting on the floor

    • To increase comfort

      • Sit on a pillow

      • Put pillows between your knees and feet

      • Take Yoga Training

    • Preferred method BUT -- Don’t do it if you feel pain

  • Lying Down

    • Good for body scan meditation particularly if you want to lie down.

  • Whatever is comfortable for you!

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Guided meditation diaphragmatic breathing
Guided MeditationDiaphragmatic Breathing

  • Close your eyes

  • Tense and release foot – calves – thighs torso

  • Bell – Dedication – May all beings have happiness… Body Position Erect and dignified posture

  • Listen first and the do it

  • Breathing

    • Breath in slowly First from the stomach Second from the rib cage

    • Breath out slowly First from the rib cage Second from the stomach

    • Focus your attention on the bodily sensations - Stomach and rib cages rising - Notice the skin stretching

      • Notice the air coming through your nostrils

  • Now begin with your breathing

  • Quality of awareness open and non judging

  • Constantly be aware of the body sensations of breathing in and breathing out

  • Breath naturally - Your mind will wander but gently bring attention back to your breath

  • Non judgmentally – be kind to yourself – it is a life long process doesn’t expect to be perfect in a day, week, month or year.

  • This is it! You are in this moment. No regrets of the pass or fear of the future. You are here now.

  • Eyes closed – ring bell – Move your toes, fingers, gently stretch out, open your eyes.

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Diaphragmatic breathing opportunities to practice
Diaphragmatic BreathingOpportunities to practice

  • Take advantage of any seconds and minutes you have!

    • When get up in the morning or going to sleep

    • Before or after each activity

      • Meals

      • Tasks

  • While waiting for anything

    • Red lights

    • Shopping lines

    • During the commercials when we are watching TV

  • Most Powerful and Simple and practical of all the meditations you will learn.

  • For people who do NOT have time for formal meditation practice there are always “gaps” in a busy work day that allow for Diaphragmatic Breathing.

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight


  • What did you experience?

  • Anyone able to feel the air coming in through the nostrils?

  • How did you feel afterwards?

    • More relaxed?

    • Able to think more clearly?

  • Did your mind wander?

    • Were you aware of wandering while you were wandering?

    • If you can’t control the mind who or what is causing it to wander

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

What is awareness
What is awareness?

  • There is a doer and an observer

    • Observer is a an objective perspective

    • Gives the time for insight before reaction - Diffuses anger

    • When you are questioning your own anger it is different than being driven by it.

  • Non Judgmental

  • Intentionality

    • Not reacting out of instinct and behavior patterns

  • Conscious

    • Aware of the consequences of what you say and do

  • It is a discipline that takes time to develop and meditation cultivates it.

  • By this definition most people are unaware for most of their lives.

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Guided meditations options
Guided MeditationsOptions

  • HAPS CD’s

    • Guided meditation for each week.

  • Jon Kabat-Zinn

    • Guided Mindfulness Meditation by Jon Kabat-Zinn (Audio CD - Sep 1, 2005) – Audiobook - $20 on Amazon

  • Option

    • Download scripts

    • Modify to your values

    • Develop your own guided meditation

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Homework guidelines
Homework Guidelines

  • They are designed to help you

  • Find balance

    • Challenge and stretch yourself

    • Don’t stress yourself and hate the practice.

  • Choose what you can do and do it

    • This develops self discipline.

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight


  • 10 minute guided diaphragmatic breathing meditation

    • Before going to sleep, After waking up

    • Extra Credit

      • Slowly build up this week from 10 minutes to 40 minutes

      • MBSR program at UMASS Medical school starts out with 40 minutes once a day.

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Homework contd
Homework (contd)

  • Become aware of the times that you become have emotional suffering. You may feel agitated, frustrated, annoyed, inadequate etc. Evaluate what is happening and answer these questions to yourself:

    • Are my thoughts exaggerating the impact of the situation?

    • Are the thoughts that I have helpful in solving the problem or are thoughts only perpetuating the emotional suffering.

    • Are the actions that I want to take self enhancing or self defeating?

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Extra credit
Extra Credit

  • During the day, between activities or when you are waiting try to take several diaphragmatic breaths as many times as you can

  • Take one activity each day and do it mindfully

    • Be aware of what you are doing

    • Observe if your mind wanders

    • Observe what emotions arise if any

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

History meditation was not taken seriously naval gazing dropping out
History Meditation was not taken seriouslyNaval Gazing – Dropping out

Your father and I want you to know that we are behind you 100% should you decide to go back to being a dope addict.

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Meditation is a science
Meditation is a science!

Meditation - New age mumbo jumbo?

Not for millions of Americans who meditate for health and well being

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Scientific approach to stress reduction
Scientific approach to stress reduction

  • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction MBSR

    • University of Massachusetts Medical School

      • Jon Kabat-Zinn Program started 27 years ago

      • Based on ancient meditation techniques

      • Modified for Americans - Non Sectarian

    • Physicians referred patients

      • When modern medicine failed

      • The pain and stress from the physical ailments

    • Significant and measured results

      • Improved sleep, calmness, clarity and physiological changes and sense of well being

    • MBSR is the foundation used for this class

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Scientific approach to depression
Scientific approach to depression

  • Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

    • Depression is an epidemic

    • Cognitive Therapy – standard treatment

      • Questioning our own thoughts.

        • Are the valid? Are they helpful?

      • Segal, Williams, Teasdale leaders in Cognitive Theory

    • Needed a group treatment approaches

      • Rumination key indicator of recurring depression

      • Merged MBSR approach with Cognitive Therapy

    • Scientifically shown to be helpful in decreasing the reoccurrence of depression

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

The trend merging psychology and meditation
The trendMerging Psychology and Meditation

  • Psychologists using Meditation techniques

    • Segal et al Mindfulness Based Cognitive Theory

    • Psychologists using breathing techniques to calm patients

  • Meditation experts using Psychological frameworks

    • Cheri Huber – Living Compassion

    • Namkai Norbu – describing socialization process

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Competing forces within
Competing Forces Within

  • Conditioned Self

    • Instinctual

    • Reactive

    • Ego Center

    • Wounded

  • Observer / Wise old man

    • Non Judgmental

    • Spiritual Perspective – broader view of life

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Conditioned self symptoms
Conditioned Self - Symptoms

  • Judgmental of self and others

    • Condemning

    • Over Simplifying complex issues

    • Black and white world

  • Hatred and Anger

  • Blames self and others

  • Self righteous

  • Gets tired and bored

  • Meditation will make you much more aware of this part of yourself!

  • Learning to own and accept this aspect without judgment is the hardest task!

    • Condemning this part of your self is training yourself in condemnation

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Observer wise old man
Observer / wise old man

  • Non Judgmental

    • Does not condemn, blame, demonize or diminish self or others

  • Compassionate

  • Forgiving

  • Thoughtful

  • Patient

  • Calm

  • Full of Insight

  • Strategic decisions

  • Internal gyroscope

  • Voice of Conscious

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Why postures are important an experiment
Why Postures are important an experiment

  • Posture 1

    • Slouched in chair, fist clenched, scowl on face, all muscles tightened

  • Posture 2

    • Back straight, feet on floor, gyan mudra, relax head, chest, feet, legs

  • Just sitting up straight can increase your ability to focus and change your state of mind

    • Maintaining that posture takes discipline and awareness

  • Mind body connection

    • Breathing slowly changes attitude

    • Attitude can change your postures

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight

Sitting meditation postures
Sitting MeditationPostures

  • Hand posture - Gyan Mudra

    • Fingers of thumb and index finger touch

      • Receptive to external energy

      • Wholeness of a circle

      • Circle of life

    • Imparts happiness, the intellect develops, memory is sharpened.

Meditation, Mindfulness & Insight