This course will take a beginning meditator--someone with a little experience already who wants to take their practice to the next level--deeper into the ancient practice of meditation, optimized for modern life. And it offers intermediate mediators a chance to cultivate one of the key skills in meditation practice: the ability to rest the mind on an object. This course offers guided meditations using imagery, focus on the breath and sensations of the body, and the cultivation of an open heart to help students strengthen their ability to rest the mind.
We'll use imagery and imagination to accept the support of the earth for the body and to feel the support our body offers. Through those, our mind receives support to rest naturally at ease. And we'll grow our capacity for compassion (especially toward ourselves) as the basis for our practice.
To cultivate these mental states of ease and compassion, there are video lectures about the theory behind what we're doing; 15-20 minute guided meditations, designed for you to use in a formal, seated practice; and very short meditations of two to five minutes to help integrate meditation and awareness into your daily life. Most of the actual instruction in this course is in the guided meditations, so there are more audio resources than video lectures.
As you work through this course, you'll train in techniques that can enhance your sense of well-being, decrease your emotional (and even physiological) reactivity, and develop your capacity for sustaining focused attention.
I'm the Programs Director for Dawn Mountain Center for Tibetan Buddhism, and I've been practicing meditation since 1997 and teaching it since 2004. In 2015 I received my PhD in Religious Studies with an emphasis on contemplative philosophy from Rice University. I enjoy teaching meditation in part because it's been so valuable in my own growth as a person--and in part because every time I teach a course, I also learn more and deepen my own practice. The Supports for Meditation course draws on my experience in the Thai and Tibetan traditions of Buddhism to offer a secular presentation of meditation as a way to cultivate certain skills of the mind.