What You Will Learn in Each Lesson
Making Friends with Yourself
Meditation can help us to look more deeply into ourselves and be more welcoming and loving to ourselves and others. Throughout this course, we will use the practice of meditation to learn how to engage daily life, rather than feeling overwhelmed by its challenges. We will see meditation and mindfulness as an ongoing journey—one that deepens and expands.
We will practice cultivating the steadiness to maintain an open mind in the face of life’s inevitable difficulties. This profound journey begins by getting to know ourselves and befriending all of our quirks—including the aspects of ourselves that we wish were different.
Gentleness, Boredom, and Aloneness
We often expect meditation to make us calmer and more relaxed—and in many ways it does. But many new meditators are surprised to notice the inner storm of thoughts roiling inside them, among other unpleasant qualities that tend to arise when we begin to work consciously with our minds. In this lesson, Carolyn shares some common hallmarks of meditation practice—including tumultuousness, boredom, loneliness—and eventually, gentleness.
The Present Moment
When we rest in the present moment, we relinquish our thoughts about what’s happened in the past and what’s coming in the future. When we’re just sitting with ourselves, there’s nothing we need to strategize or control. In this lesson, we’ll begin to glimpse the sense of freedom that comes from letting go and resting in nowness.
Foundations of Mindfulness
We all have life force—a basic sense of aliveness. Often we witness life force most vividly when someone is born or dies. But our meditation practice can allow us to access our life force—and celebrate it—every day. In this lesson, we’ll explore life force as a foundation of mindfulness, in addition to spontaneous discipline and working with obstacles as part of our path.
Awareness and Emotions
Working with emotions in meditation can feel like sitting in the eye of a storm. Even with so many intense and complex energies swirling around us, we can learn how to maintain a sense of awareness and appreciation of how our emotions color our environment. In this lesson, we’ll explore the difference between mindfulness and awareness, and discover how they are connected. Introducing the practice of “touch and go” to our meditation will allow us to experience this connection firsthand.
Working with Others
As we come to the conclusion of this course, we’ll shift our attention toward expanding our practice outward. In this lesson, we’ll reflect on how this journey has or hasn’t changed the way we relate to our daily lives. In addition, we’ll also explore some resources for keeping up our practice with the support of a community.