The Art of Being
flickr photo shared by Moyan_Brenn under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license
One of the most fundamental question is almost never asked: “Who am I?” Yes, of course, I am a man, a woman, an architect, a student, a son, a mother, a human being... But beyond that? What is the true essence of my existence? Can that question ever be answered?
Philosophers throughout the ages have pondered this question with varying results. Many quickly found that on a deep existential level the only thing that can be known for certain is that “I am”. What “I am” will always remain a mystery to the rational mind, it cannot be grasped or conceptualised. But by aligning ourselves with that mystery, we could start unraveling it.
Meditation is a practice allowing you to explore the depth of your own being. At the same time it has plenty of positive effects on your everyday life. Improved mental and physical health, stress relief, expanded self-awareness, ability to concentrate, more self-confidence, are all results of meditation.
The idea of many types of meditation are to be still and to observe your own being. To watch your thoughts, without interaction or judgement, to watch your emotions, your physical sensations, your beliefs, without trying to change anything. That is being still, letting your thoughts, feelings and sensations come and go, as leaves on the river, with you being the river itself. The water is always moving, but the river stays the same.
In this exercise you are invited to try out one type of meditation of your choice.
Group or Individual / Experiential
To familiarise yourself with meditation
To learn how to be the watcher of the content of mind (thoughts, feelings, sensations)
Required Materials and Tools:
A quiet space. A comfortable way to sit, for example a chair, a meditation cushion, or any other firm cushion.
A clock, an alarm, or a meditation app.
Find a guided meditation of your choice, in the resources provided below under section “Resources” or try to find one in your language. There is plenty to choose from on the web! Alternatively, please follow the instructions here.
Sit down comfortably.
Decide on how long you will sit, for instance 10 or 20 minutes.
Read through the instructions before you begin. If you’re leading a group meditation, either roughly memorise the instructions or read them. Start the meditation.
You can either close you eyes or keep them open. For most people it helps to close them. Notice your posture. Are you sitting comfortably? Can you feel the earth supporting you body? Are you relaxed, is there any tension in your body?
Focus on your breathing. Feel the breath going in through your nostrils. Relax your lower belly and let the air fill it. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale... Don’t try to control or interfere with your breathing. Just letting yourself be like this, you will notice how your nervous system starts to calm down. Every time you exhale, you can feel how the tension is leaving your body. Breathe in, breathe out...
Continue focusing on your breathing. Don’t try to change it, whether it’s tense, shallow, deep, relaxed, let it be just like it is, just observe.
Whenever you lose focus, just come back to your breathing. Thank yourself for noticing that you got lost. Even if it happens twenty times during the meditation, don’t judge yourself. Just continue to focus on your breathing.
Continue doing this until the bell/alarm rings.
How was your experience of doing meditation? Was it easy, difficult?
Would you consider starting meditating? If yes, what are the motivating factors?
Was it challenging to stay focused on your breathing?
What was your reaction when you lost focus on breathing?
Instructions for Submission
Submit a short reflection piece. If you did another type of meditation, explain briefly what kind it was and what effects it had on you. Instructions on how to submit things in Moodle can be found here: Instructions on Submission&Uploading
Instructions for Assessment
Provide feedback to at least one participant that has done this activity. Instructions on providing feedback can be found here: Instructions on Feedback
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