There are five fundamentals of meditation that you will understand by the end of the Sit Down and Practice training course.
1. You will understand the three skills: focus, observation, and balance.
Focus, observation, and balance are the three foundational skills in this training. They compliment each other, like the three legs of a stool.
Focus – Develop your capacity to direct your attention. Improve your concentration span and your ability to navigate through distraction. Stay on track with your goals.
Observation – Increase your capacity for observing the sensations of your experience. Clearly recognize your reaction patterns and emotions. Understand the underlying habits and patterns of your mind.
Balance – Learn to hold the balance of your mind. Be less affected by the noise, distractions, and challenges of the world. Hold your own center, be a rock through the storm, hold steady through rough waves.
In plain language with clear instruction, you will understand what each of these skills are, what benefits they provide, and how you can develop them.
You will learn there is nothing mystical or magical about these skills. They are straightforward and trainable with simple meditation techniques. Just like lifting weights will help you build muscles, practicing these skills will help them develop. There is no belief or special rituals required.
2. You will understand the practice used to develop these skills.
Your meditation practice is how you develop these skills.
Sitting down to practice meditation is like showing up at the gym. It’s the place where you develop your technique and improve your skills. Just like an exercise routine, your practice is unique to you, depending on what your goals are. Through this training you will design your practice, build it, strengthen it, and take control of it so you can grow it in a way that works for you.
We will work through:
- Establishing a formal 30 minutes per day meditation practice.
A formal practice is where you consciously ‘take time’ away from doing other things, and you clear space to sit and meditate. If you are already doing this, then we will be expanding and deepening this practice.
- Integrating meditation practice throughout your day.
You will learn to break the boundary between ‘normal life’ and ‘meditation’. You will be able to recognize moments throughout your day as opportunities to integrate practice and further develop your skills.
The primary benefit of this training course is to help you develop a successful practice by doing it consistently. With consistency you will develop your skills, experience the benefits, and set yourself up to further improve and deepen your practice.
3. You will understand the overall purpose of this practice.
What is the actual purpose of all this mediation stuff? Why is developing the skills of focus, observation, and balance a useful thing to be doing? Why is it worth spending time to understand, practice, and get better at meditation?
Although everyone will have their own reasons and motivations for developing a practice, you will be able to understand, through your own experience, how the practice can help you.
We give a simple but broad definition of the purpose of this practice:
To recognize and improve the quality of your attention.
Regardless of who we are, where we are, or what we are doing, our base level attention determines how we experience the world. When we understand how to recognize and improve the quality of our attention we gain a key to unlocking a different way of experiencing life.
By gaining the ability to recognize and improve the quality of our attention, we have the potential to transform how we experience our lives.
You may already have some idea of how the quality of attention impacts your life. Throughout the course we will expand on this and open up some of the greater implications for how we use our attention and the way we look at our experiences.
4. You will understand the benefits you can achieve.
If the quality of your attention improves, what benefits can you hope to experience? What can you hope to achieve when your practice grows and your skills develop?
The benefits we experience through meditation are unique to each of us. They are dependent on our unique background, context, and the level of skills we develop. Common benefits people experience are:
- Increased ability to focus for longer periods of time.
- Calmer responses and clearer decision-making.
- More relaxed states of mind.
- Less affected by uncertainty and stress.
- Less affected by distractions and challenges.
- Increased capacity for empathy and compassion for others.
- Less energy spent reacting and suffering from reactions to negative experiences.
For some people these benefits may be experienced as profound changes that help them overcome challenges or constraints that have been affecting them for their whole lives.
For some people these benefits may be experienced as small incremental improvements that make life just that little bit better and easier.
For some these small benefits may add up over time to dramatically shift their ideas of who they are and what they can accomplish in the world.
Through practice you will develop your own sense of how these skills benefit your life and you will learn to guide your practice to maximize those benefits.
5. You will understand how to direct your own learning journey forwards.
Why is meditation getting so popular all of a sudden? Is there a difference between meditation and mindfulness? Where did all these ideas and practices actually come from? How did they develop? Are they spiritual? Religious? Scientific? How do I make sense of all the meditation, mindfulness teachers, books, apps and courses?
There are lifetimes of knowledge to navigate to understand the full context of meditation, where it came from, how it has developed and how it fits into our modern world.
Through this training course, you’ll build your understanding of meditation through experience so you can navigate your own learning journey. Think of it as a compass and some basic maps to be able to find your own pathways forward.