Insight Meditation Houston

Notes from Search Inside Yourself – 12/10/2018

Guided meditation

• Physiological – Soft belly breathing.
• Focused attention.
• Open Awareness
• Gratitude

Some Questions?

• Have you ever gone to a lecture and learned something of value?
• Did you ever have trouble remembering it?
• Did you ever have trouble embodying it?
• What could you do to embody that wisdom, to make it part of your being?
• Are there some techniques used in SIY that you might be able to apply that would help you with any changes that you would like to make in your attitude and disposition?
• Would it be helpful to you to treat the talk like you would a meditation? Fully focused? Noticing the thoughts as they arise? Is this an easy thing to do? Could you practice embodied listening.

Objectives

• Quick overview of the evolution of approaches to teaching meditation and what is different about SIY.
• Practices you might benefit from – SIY has “integrated and micro” practices that might be very good for busy people.
• It is a micro practice – short
• It is an integrated practice – Do this before or after phone calls integrate it in your life.
• People who don’t have much free time can find many minutes through the day that they can do practice.
• SIY has a 4-week post program challenge that can help review the material and kickstart the program
• End the talk with things that I you might find helpful.
Micro – Integrated Practice – Minute to arrive
• Just breath long slow and deep.
• Breath in a sense of peace and calm.
• Breath out all of the tension.
• Feel the air in your lungs.
• Before and after meetings or stressful situations. Whenever you are waiting.

Overview of SIY

• Developed by Google for its employees

o Started more than a decade ago.
o Constantly improving
o Key mentors Jon Kabat-Zinn – Daniel Coleman – Sharon Salzberg
o For the two-day program that I took in Sacramento, Mark Coleman was the teacher.
o The program went through a lot of planning, testing, evaluating.
o Everything is integrated and supported.

• Methodology – Combination of Eastern mindfulness practices and Western based Emotional Intelligence.
• Google has invested in it because it believes that it is an investment in their employees that will help them be more effective and productive.

Why I am interested – where it fits.

• Translating Buddhism into America.
• Frustrations with other programs I have taken.
• Over time I see an evolution of programs that I believe are more and more effective in getting the critical message and inspiring practice.
• I see SIY as an introduction to mindfulness practice from a secular perspective that might inspire people to move on to a dedicated meditation practice and a spiritual journey.
• Insight Meditation would be a wonderful progression for graduates from the program.

Evolution in Mindfulness teaching Approaches
Over the last 25 years more and more programs are accessible to Americans. They:

• Explain Buddhism from a psychological perspective.
• Much less stringent meditation requirements
• Sensitive to the American culture – can do attitude – desire to fix problems

Tibetan Traditional

• Young monks do a preliminary practice that requires at least 1,000 hours and excellent physical conditioning.
• The spend 3 years in a retreat.
• Goal is enlightenment and liberation.
• A decent percentage have enlightening experiences.

Early Tibetan practices in America – Khetsun Sanghpo

• Bag of Gold

o Hand someone a bag of gold and they throw the gold away and keep the bag.
o That’s what I did with Tibetan Buddhism. The story:

 Students will receive mind training first as long as they just promise to do 500 hours of meditation accumulating mantras.
 Must say Tibetan prayers and mantras and visualize dakhini’s
 A very small percentage of people who start on the journey will do the work because of cultural and time restrictions.
 I did the 500 hours of Mantras and realized why it was important. It is easy to intellectually understand that you should let go and be compassionate, extended periods of meditation alter your mind so that you have a sense of wellbeing and an open heart in spite of circumstances and challenging personalities.

Micro Practice – compassion

• Person to your right
• Whenever you see a stranger it could be a trigger to wish someone well

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)– Jon Kabat-Zinn

• Focus on changing relationship to pain by focusing on the physical experience which takes your mind off of the emotional response. Learn to accept that there are sensations and that if you can keep focus on sensations the pain doesn’t seem as bad. The level of pain doesn’t change but you stop the resistance to it.
• Dropped all Buddhist terminology. Stress Reduction not Buddhism.
• Audience of people suffering physical pain willing to spend the 45 minutes to alleviate the suffering.
• Required commitment to 8 classes each 2.5 hours in length and a daily 45 minutes meditation.

Insight Meditation

• Wonderful combination of eastern mindfulness techniques and Western Psychology.
• Teachers explain Buddhism from a psychological perspective appealing to an intellectual understanding.
• Wide variety of retreat centers with long and short silent retreats.
• Accessible, understandable

Micro practice – Acceptance

• “Breathing in I do my best, breathing out I let go of the rest”

SIY The good

• The Problems with traditional had to be addressed.

o Work long hours.
o Don’t have much time and motivation
o Students not necessarily interested in a spiritual journey – (secular Buddhism)
o Some people see meditation or Buddhism as a religion that might conflict with their beliefs.
o High stress environment

• Objectives – Desired benefits

o Improved human relationships and communication
o Better able to focus and concentrate
o Greater productivity and profitability
o Side effects are more compassionate, less stressed out employees.

• Motivation

o The company is motivated to do it because the believe that happy, stress free employees will be more productive and it will increase profitablility.
o The student’s are motivated because they believe these skills will help them with their career growth.
o Started over a decade ago and is constantly improving. Designed for business environment.

• Make it meditation accessible

o Reasonable expectations

 One breath a day.
 Micro and integrated practices.

o 1.5 hour modules each had relevant practice
o Logical progression of skills
o Well planned.
o Validated by measurements.

Logical and gradual buildup of skills and understanding.

• Mindfulness – mental discipline to concentrate
• Self-Awareness- Use that concentration to become aware of what you are doing.
• Self-Management – Question what you are doing and gain control
• Motivation – Determine what is important to you and live your life by that. Meditation can help you with journey.
• Empathy – Caring for others.
• Leadership – knowing enough about human nature to inspire others.

Type of practices for each level

• Dedicated

o Formal meditation
o Examples: Focus attention, Open awareness

• Integrated and Micro

o Short and can be done throughout the day.
o Examples: Minute to arrive, 3 Breaths, breath – relax – what now? Noting.

• Example of practices for the Mindfulness level (I – integrated M- Micro D-Dedicated) Each level has a series of practices

o I Mindful Listening
o IM 3 Breaths
o D Focused Attention
o IM Minute to arrive
o D Open Awareness
o IM Noting

Combination: Mindful Emotional Intelligence

• SIY is a combination of Eastern Meditation and Western psychology
• Nonviolent Communication – Mindful Empathetic Listening
• Effectively communications skills can be a taught.
• Multiple Listening practices. Listening only, validating, questioning
• Point of focus: listening to the other. Notice

o When thoughts arise.
o Your feelings
o Your emotions.
o You feel distracted.
o Can be practiced in pairs.

Loving Kindness micro practice
• Think about someone you care about and wish them well and visualize them for 30 seconds.
• Feel that they are receiving your good wishes.
• Set up a trigger and do this several times a day for as few or many people as you would like.
• Could do it every hour on the hour.

Guided Meditation Easy and Easier

• Easy – Focused attention

o Focus on your breath.
o If your mind wanders bring it back to your breath.
o Metta awareness – Be aware that you are aware of your breathing.

• Easier – Open awareness

o Notice your bodily sensations.
o Expand and include the sounds in the room.
o Expand and include your thoughts, your emotions.
o Metta awareness – Be aware of what you are aware of.

• Switch back and forth from easy to easier.
• Make it a game. How long can you stay in focused awareness?

28 Day challenge – bringing it home

• Great way of reviewing and integrating the information after the class is over.
• BeingMindful.com – see sample 28-day program for beginners Insight Meditation

Suggested Readings

• Chade-Meng Tan – “Search Inside yourself”
• Sharon Salzberg – “Real Happiness at work”
• Daniel Goleman and Richard J. Davidson – “Altered traits”
• Daniel Goleman and Sharon Begle – “The emotional life of the brain.”
• Jon Kabat-Zinn – “Mindfulness for beginners.”

Homework

• Breathe one long slow breath and feel it flow through your body

o You are allowed to take more if you want to.

• Extra Credit

o 28 days Beginners Meditation challenge
o BeingMindful.com – “Meditation program” tab

Key Points and Recommendations

• Set reasonable, attainable objectives.

o SIY one breath a day.
o Informal and micro practices throughout the day

• Integrate practices into your life.

o Find triggers. Going through portals, Waiting in line or at traffic lights. Bathroom breaks.
o “Thank you, thank you” throughout the day really alters your disposition. You can’t say that you don’t have enough time, you just don’t have the discipline

• Take good notes when going to any meditation program and think about what things you have learned that you would like to make a habit of. Set your own 28-day program.

• Sample 28 day challenge program on my website BeingMindful.com. Develop your own. What skills do you want to integrate into your life.

• Human relationships can be improved by developing good communications skills.
o Every time that you are communicating with others is a chance to practice empathetic listening.

o “Seek first to understand and then be understood”
o Non-violent communication techniques.

For further information

• Contact me: Stan Merrill Stan@StanleyMerrill.com
• Website: BeingMindful.Com
• Beginning Meditation – Houston Jung Center – July 12, 19, 26, Aug 2nd
• If you want to bring SIY to your organization contact Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute – SIYLI.org