P.B. Yoga is thrilled to announce that starting THIS SUNDAY, November 4 at 9am, we are now offering Kum Nye Shamatha Meditation, led by Tenshin Takahashi. This class is donation based and will be offered every other Sunday.
Meditation is a practice in which an individual trains the mind and/or induces a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit, although it can be argued meditation is a goal in and of itself. The following is an excerpt from wikipedia.
“The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices (much like the term sports), which range from techniques designed to promote relaxation, contacting spiritual guides, building internal energy (chi, ki, prana, etc.), receiving psychic visions, getting closer to God, seeing past lives, taking astral journeys, and so forth, to more technical exercises targeted at developing compassion, love, patience, generosity, forgiveness and more far-reaching goals such as effortlessly sustained single-pointed concentration, single-pointed analysis, and an indestructible sense of well-being while engaging in any and all of life’s activities. Thus, it is essential to be specific about the type of meditation practice under investigation.”
Based on the excerpt, our focus will be on shamatha meditation (see Shamatha explanation below). In the western world, most individuals are not used to sitting on the ground for long periods of time especially if there are physical issues that develop during the sitting (we can modify sitting in extreme cases by using a chair), and if that’s not enough, distraction of the mind (emotional stress, worries, concerns) adds to it. I’ve incorporated a modified version of Kum Nye (see Kum Nye explanation below) to help make the transition, easing the body and mind into the practice of Shamatha.
Kum Nye “massage of the subtle body“, is a Buddhist / medical body practice composed of slow movement postures which effects the energetic systems (subtle body) of the physical body, thus not only relieving stress but promoting balance, health and quieting the body and mind, aiding those who experience difficulties with extended periods of sitting (such as in meditation) because of restlessness, mental distractions and various kinds of physical discomfort.
Two major practices of Buddhists meditation;
Shamatha (tranquility) (basic practice)
Vipashyana (insight) (advance practice)
Shamatha calms the mind and develops one – pointed concentration and positive emotions.
The most basic form of Buddhist meditation is called “Calm Abiding” or “Shamatha” in Sanskrit, and is intended to rest the mind so that our primordial wisdom can shine through. Normally our minds are like “‘monkey minds”, swinging from one thought to another with very little rest in between. With Calm Abiding meditation practice, the mind can slow down and we can begin to become aware of our natural wakefulness. We can free ourselves from the tyranny of our thoughts and emotions so that our natural awareness can arise.
Vipashyana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation. It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, which can be experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical sensations that form the life of the body, and that continuously interconnect and condition the life of the mind. It is this observation-based, self-exploratory journey to the common root of mind and body that dissolves mental impurity, resulting in a balanced mind full of love and compassion.
The practice of shamatha meditation allows gradually assuming control over thoughts and disturbing emotions, once establish, this will lay the foundation to later begin the next level of meditation, the practice of vipashyana meditation. Even though these meditation practices are of Buddhist origin, ones beliefs are not an issue. In fact. Some say it strengthens there beliefs.
Below is a basic outline of our practice;
15 min. Kum Nye
30 min. Shamatha
15 min. Transition – gentle recovery into the world (including a question / answer period)
This outline will change slightly in time, (periods of sitting will extend) in addition to sitting period, walking meditation will be introduce at a later period.