Click on Player below to hear the entire series. I have combined all five sessions in one link.
Session 1: Introduction to Meditation
Welcome to the UMatter Meditation Series
What meditation is
- The practice of meditation involves resting your attention inward toward to the most silent part of yourself.
- Meditation helps you transcend your own mind. By doing so, you can achieve a heightened awareness of yourself and your surroundings.
- Meditation is a simple practice of watching your mind. You let go of the urge to talk back to the thoughts dropping into you.
- Meditation makes you a witness or an observer.
What meditation is not
- Meditation is not for controlling the mind; rather, it’s the practice of surrendering and letting go of your mind.
- Often people drift into thinking and daydreaming while meditating. This is perfectly normal, but when this happens you are no longer meditating.
The benefits of meditation
- On the surface, meditation can help you relax, but as you go deeper into your practice, it becomes a tool to discover consciousness itself.
- The benefits of meditation vary from person to person, depending on how deeply you go into the silence and hold your focus.
- It helps you develop greater mental alertness and focus.
- It enhances your ability to process your environment.
- Meditation changes your relationship to your mind. It can stop the mind from interrupting the moment with its commentaries and opinions.
- A regular twenty-minute practice of meditation each day can not only reduce your stress, it can also help clear your nervous system.
- Meditation helps you to regulate your emotions.
- Promotes emotional intelligence.
Common misconceptions about meditation
- That you must stop your thoughts
- That is takes years to be able to practice it properly or get any benefit from it
- That meditation is a spiritual or religious practice
- That you need to be in a temple or a quiet space to meditate properly
- That you must close your eyes to meditate
- That if you have ADHD/ADD, you will not be able to meditate
Some common obstacles to meditation
- Committing to your practice
- When you first start, you don’t always reap immediate rewards.
- Starting a new routine can be hard to do if you already have a busy life.
- Feeling guilt when you miss a meditation
- If you miss a session, don’t beat yourself up.
- Comparing your meditation to another’s experience or to a past experience
- Meditations are like snowflakes: each one is unique.
- The mind will try to talk you out of doing your practice. It will say things like
- You need to know more about meditation.
- Your time is better spent doing something else.
- Thinking that you need a special room.
- Meditation can be practised anywhere — in a park, on the bus, sitting up in bed.
- Believing that everyone else needs to be quiet for you to get into meditation.
- Let’s face it: for most of us, this simply isn’t going to happen. Do try to pick a time and place where you’re unlikely to be interrupted, but learn to incorporate sounds into your meditation and be at ease with them.
- Thinking that you will require special equipment (candles, incense, yoga mat, etc.)
- You can meditate on the floor, on a chair, at your desk, on a park bench, while wearing your work suit or a bathing suit… The sky’s the limit!
Meditation is a valuable tool to accomplish the following:
- Help destress yourself
- Begin to change your relationship with your mind
- Put yourself in touch with your heart and soul
- Help bring clarity and direction to your life
- Connect you to the peace that lives within you
Closing thought by Thomas Troward
“If we approach the ocean with a small cup and only leave with a small cup of water, we cannot then say that the ocean was not bountiful, that the ocean held back from giving to us.”
Session 2: The Mind and Meditation
One of the greatest hurdles in meditation is our mind
- In this session we will dive into the nature of the mind, thoughts, thinking
- This is where I’m going to show you how to change our relationship with your mind.
The Nature of Thoughts and Thinking
First step into a meditation practice is to understand the nature of thoughts and thinking.
- Thoughts and thinking are two completely different things.
- Thoughts come into your mind. You have no control over their frequency or their quality.
- “What is your next thought going to be?” You cannot predict that. You can decide what you are going to think about, you can even decide how long you will think about a topic, but you have no control over what thoughts are going to come to you.
“The thoughts coming into our mind is not who we are”
Other Facts about Thoughts
- Your mind has around one hundred thousand thoughts a day.
- 60 to 80 % of those thoughts you had yesterday.
- When the same things are repeated daily, they can become an addiction over time.
- they create automatic responses.
- 80% of our thoughts are negative.
The nature of thoughts is that they may be
- Or yours
- Some of your thoughts may contain lies you have been told or lies you have told yourself that have become your truth.
- Our thoughts change. They can change enough that they become untrue in the process.
- If you tell yourself subtle lies, over time you will come to believe these lies.
- Just because you think that something is a certain way, doesn’t make it so.
- The mind has a strong propensity to throw you into the past or the future.
- A good portion of thoughts dropping into have nothing to do with the current moment.
- Fears and catastrophic thinking tend to fall into this category of thoughts. Our mind can create elaborate scenarios, all of which may not be happening.
Thoughts that are Not Yours
- A portion of your thoughts may be someone else’s words that you have been replaying in your mind for years.
- You may not even notice that those thoughts originated from someone else’s words. Once you realize this, it becomes much easier to let go of them each time they return.
At and early age we are programmed to be a good thinker, but you were not taught to let our thoughts go.
Thinking is Much Different than Thoughts
- We have choice what we think about
- Explain how thoughts turn us to thinking
- Your mind can justify any position of thinking
- Thinking creates grooves in the mind
- Addicted to thinking
Thinking takes us out of meditation
- Meditation calls for us to be present
- just watching without grabbing our thoughts
- In a healthy relationship with your mind, you learn how to pull back and not be affected by your thoughts
Thoughts can turn into feelings
How do we stop ourself from feeling a thought?
- It starts with understanding your relationship with your mind
- Allowing yourself to stop interacting with every thought that comes to mind
- With practice with small things
Here are a two exercises to practice not going into the feelings of the thoughts coming into you.
- Just watch your thoughts. Try this out for an hour or even a day. When you notice that you have started to think about the thoughts in your head, just gently return to watching your thoughts as if they are a movie. When I refer to “watching your thoughts,” I mean you don’t get to talk to them or even silently think about them either.
- Pretend that your mind is a movie screen. Everything you see and hear is being projected on you like a movie. As in the above lesson, just watch the movie, but this time, include everything happening around you.
Session 3: Emotions and Meditation
In this session we are going to talk about our Emotions. Understanding our emotions and learning how to use them as a tool in an important part of learning how to meditate.
- Your emotions can draw you out of meditation.
- Just like to mind, they steal your attention.
- To go deeper into your meditation practice, you must learn how to change our relationship to what you feel.
Your emotions have no place in your meditation practice; including the good feelings. This may be contradictory to the mind because, some may think that meditation is about feeling good. However, feelings trap you in your senses, where meditation takes you into a deeper place of silence.
I see a lot of people that are trapped in their emotions…Talk about people being trapped in their emotions
What are Emotions?
- Emotion is the bodies way of giving you information.
- Much like thoughts they come to and through you. When you hang on to them, you lose sight of the information they hold.
- Another way that emotions are like thoughts is
that often people identify with their emotions as being who they are.
- For example: If the emotion of sadness suddenly arises in you or stems out of what you are thinking about, it doesn’t mean that you need to be sad.
- If you go into an emotion and allow the feeling to wash over you, they can consume you and cause you to feel that you are that emotion.
- There is a tendency to feel what ever comes up in us, you can learn to back up and just watch your feelings. This can be a very powerful tool for you to learn.
- This takes practice. Start with noticing when your emotions come up. At the point that you notice you have an emotion coming up in you, this is the perfect time to just watch it like it’s a movie.
- Emotions can tell you what you are holding onto, where you may be trapped in your past or where you are holding a desire for the future.
- When you remove the importance you place on your emotions they lose the power to control you.
All of what I have just explained is important to add to your meditation time. It’s also important to practice all day long.
The importance of having control over your emotions and the benefits of practicing this?
By having control over our emotions:
- You can respond more appropriately to what’s happening around you.
- Help you be able to give to situations when they need your help.
- Your emotions become a gift not a burden.
- We can access the layers of emotions.
- We learn that emotions are information.
- We become better communicators and have much better relations with our partners, friends and family
Labelling Emotions Changes the Way you Perceive them.
Often, we label emotions as soon as they arise in us. The problem with that is our label may not be 100% accurate. For instance: If you’re a person who is often sad, you may label more of your emotions as being sad. However, when you look at what you are feeling without a label placed on it you may notice that there is something deeper. Maybe your really feeling angry or disappointed, but your automatic response is that you go to sadness and ride out that feeling. The deeper layers may be more honest and insightful for you to look at.
- Labeling your emotions can keep you stuck in one emotion.
- It can move you deeper into the emotion you are experiencing.
- Being in an emotion versus watching them changes your vantage point.
Next I want to talk about Emotional Intelligence
Emotional Intelligence (EQ or EI) is a term created by two researchers, Peter Salavoy and John Mayer, and it was popularized by Dan Goleman in his 1996 book, Emotional Intelligence.
What is Emotional Intelligence? EI is defined as the ability to recognize, understand, and manage your emotions and to recognize, understand, and influence the emotions of others. Your emotions can influence your behaviour and, because it helps you read others as well, allow you to affect people positively or negatively. It also allows you grow your ability to manage your emotions.
In the show notes you will find a link to a free download to Daniel Goleman’s book it’s worth checking out!
Also here is a link to a great read about building resilience
The five different components that make up emotional intelligence – Self Awareness, Managing Emotions, Motivating Self, Empathy, Social Skills.
The ability to identify what you are feeling and how you respond to your emotions as they arise. A good sense of self-awareness allows you to see yourself the way others see you.
2. Managing Emotions
Your ability to manage powerful emotions when they arise. Having control over what you say and do during difficult situations.
3. Motivating Self
Your ability to keep going and be a self-starter in all emotional situations. Using your emotions to your benefit.
Having the ability to accurately read other’s emotions and respond to what is happening around you.
5. Social Skills
Setting down your emotions will:
- Deepen your meditation practice.
- Grow your resilience and allow you to access a much deeper place to rest your focus
In the next episode we are going to talk about different styles of meditation
Session 4: Meditation Styles and Techniques
In this session we are going to talk about different meditation techniques for you to try.
I have found it useful to try different types of meditation from time to time. This can breathe a new experience into your practice.
Here are some different meditation styles
- Open eyed
- Moving Meditation
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation Meditation (PMR)
We will start with mantra meditation
What is Mantra Meditation
Mantra meditation can induce an altered state of consciousness, which can be a very powerful experience. The word Mantra is a Sanskrit – it consists of the root word: man- meaning “to think” and the suffix -tra, meaning “tools or instruments,” hence a literal translation would be “instrument of thought”. 
Even though its an “Instrument of thought,” it’s not like you are thinking. You are simply are giving the mind something to do while you place our attention on the silence inside yourself.
Mantras are one of the more common styles of meditation. You can find the practice of mantra meditation in many of the eastern and western philosophical traditions and religions.
How do you practice Mantra Meditation
You can choose a mantra from your own language, it doesn’t have to be Sanskrit. It can be a word or a short sentence that carries a message you want to permeate into yourself.
So you choose a word/sentence that represents something you want to develop in yourself, feel more, or connect to. It could be words or phrases that include love, peace, courage, strength, etc.
Using these words create your own mantras. For example:
- The Word love, peace, balance
- I am Love
- Peace surrounds me in everything I see
- I am strong and powerful
- My peace lives deeply inside of me
- These are just a few, be creative and come up with your own
Or you can look up all kinds of mantra’s online such as:
“Aum” or “Om”
(If you go to the show notes you can see what these mantra’s mean)
Translation: “In Hinduism is known to be the source of all mantras. Om is believed to be the primordial or the ‘first’ sound of the universe generated by the cosmic vibration that resulted in all creation”
“Om Namah Shivaya”
Translation: “I honor the God within”
“Om Mani Padme Hum”
Translation: The mantra Om Mani Päme Hum is easy to say yet quite powerful, because it contains the essence of the entire teaching. When you say the first syllable Om it is blessed to help you achieve perfection in the practice of generosity, Ma helps perfect the practice of pure ethics, and Ni helps achieve perfection in the practice of tolerance and patience. Pä, the fourth syllable, helps to achieve perfection of perseverance, Me helps achieve perfection in the practice of concentration, and the final sixth syllable Hum helps achieve perfection in the practice of wisdom. So in this way recitation of the mantra helps achieve perfection in the six practices from generosity to wisdom.
“om tare tuttare ture soha” Om – tar-ray – two tar ray – two ray – so ha
The Tara mantra “om tare tuttare ture soha” means “liberating from samsara.” The word “Samsara” means the cycle of death and rebirth to which life in the material world is bound.
You can try a few mantras before you decide on which one most speaks to you.
Once you have your mantra picked out, follow these five steps
Five Step Mantra Meditation
1. Make yourself comfortable.
2. Start breathing slowly, taking deep breaths through the nose and out the mouth. Place all your attention on your breath
3. Next, Introduce your mantra. begin to say/repeat your mantra. You can say your mantra aloud or silently.
4. Rest all your attention on the mantra as you are repeating it.
5. If you notice your thinking, very gently return your focus to your mantra again.
This YouTube channel is packed with some great mantra meditations for you to listen to.
Meditative Mind YouTube channel came up with a series called 30 days of Chants. I found this a lot of fun to listen to and to meditate to for 30 days.
This is a very simple style of meditation that you can practice is many different ways.
Three Step Breathing Meditation
1. Make yourself comfortable.
2. Start breathing slowly, taking deep breaths through the nose and out the mouth. Place all your attention on your breath
3. If you begin to start talking to yourself or letting your attention go to your thoughts; gently return your focus back to your thoughts.
You can practice this meditation with your eyes open or closed.
You can use it in just about any situation like:
- Waiting in a lineup or for an appointment.
- While your working.
- While doing house hold tasks or outdoor tasks
Guided meditations are great for beginners because all you have to do is follow along with the facilitator.
You can find lots of great guided meditations on YouTube.
Here are some simple and short guided meditation
Open Eyed Meditation
Often people don’t think of meditation and keeping your eyes open. However, you can go just as deep with your eyes open or closed.
One way to get accustomed to doing open eyed meditation is to at the end of every closed eyed meditation, when you open your eyes, stay in the meditative space for as long as you can with your eyes open.
Next you can start practicing doing your entire meditation with your eyes open. Mantra meditation can be good style to practice with your eyes open.
Moving Meditation can happen while you are immersed into any task or sport. This was something that began to happen for me while I was tattooing my clients. I would notice that by placing all my focus on the task at hand that eventually my mind would slow down and I would slip into a meditative state while I was working.
Athletes and Musicians refer to this as being in the “Zone” or in the “Gap.”
Progressive Muscle Relaxation Meditation (PMR)
Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is: Is a very simple practice, PMR consists entirely of focusing on a muscle group, tensing that muscle group, and then relaxing them. This process is repeated throughout the entire body so that one has tensed and relaxed their entire body by the end of a session.
Progressive relaxation can help to promote generalized feelings of calmness and relaxation. It may also help with chronic pain. Because it slowly and steadily relaxes the body, some people use this form of meditation to help them sleep.
Here is a link to a video to try this style of meditation,
This by no means is a complete list of styles of meditation. Nor is it the end of what you can learn about each style of meditation. I suggest trying more than one style or to practice different styles.
In the first session we talked about meditation is more of a practice than its something to know about. Knowing about meditation pales in comparison to the experience of it. Take some time and practice these different techniques.
In the next and final episode I will be sharing with you some of my final thoughts and how to begin to make your meditation practice a lifestyle.
Section 5: Meditation as a lifestyle
Awakening to The Moment
Meditation calls us to be present with the moment. Bring your practice of staying in the moment into your meditation time as well as your life. The rewards are an endless discovery of the gifts that life is offering us from one moment to the next. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes I wrote in my early twenties.
“In between all of our greatest moments the miracles are still happening”
Being in the Moment Calls you to:
- Give up the fantasy of your mind. It calls you to, release your desire to escape this moment to be entertained by the commentary of your mind
- Be willing to accept what is happening right now
by releasing your need to change what is happening around you
- Often, I would try to make the moment fit what my mind thinks it should be
- I would reject what was actually happening around me
The benefits of Staying in the Moment
- You show up for your life.
- Head is in the same place as your body.
- We catch the miracles taking place around you.
- You can notice when you are getting stuck in your mind and your feelings/emotions.
- You become innocent, and innocence is “the pure radiance of your being”
Letting go is something that is applied in our meditation practice repeatedly.
How do we let go and why do we hang onto so much?
- It’s your ego that is holding on. It loves to replay things and hold on often out of habit more than necessity
- Your soul holds nothing, when you get out of your mind there is nothing left that is hanging on
- So it’s your mind that hangs on. A great deal of people are stuck in their minds, thus the reason its hard to let go
- Hanging on has very little to do with the moment
- If your in the moment you are in a constant loop of letting go to experience the endless presence of this moment now
- Your brain is running on automatic pilot so are your mannerisms and behaviours
- A conscious life is one that is aware of all our actions and reactions
- We learn how to let go by becoming a witness to your mind and everything that is unfolding around you.
- If you don’t know what program is running in you how do you let go?
Holding your Focus
This is a big topic in your practice of meditation and the practice of allowing your meditation to become a lifestyle. Liberating yourself from your mind and emotions has everything to do with your ability to maintain your focus. This is the first part of the equation.
Your ability to hold and maintain your focus takes more than a desirous or dedicated mind. Most of my life, I was unable to resist the urge of following my mind and emotions, I was on an endless goose chase.
We are taught and praised that multi-tasking is an asset, a favorable quality to posses. However, in truth, you can never really multi-task, all your really doing is rapidly switching your mind from one task to another. A good question to ask yourself is, how many times in a day am I managing several tasks at a time? Training yourself to hold a steady focus, calls for you to slow down your impulse to jump from task to task.
Training Yourself to Hold a Steady Focus
How you train yourself to stop your mind from doing this is to:
- Notice how your mind likes to jump around. For example: You could be working away on the computer or sitting watching tv and next thing you know you are on your phone scrolling through FaceBook or Instagram.
- Notice when you have an urge to change what your doing. When it does, surrender your urge.
- Take this practice into your meditation.
- When you sit down to meditate, turn your focus on. Make it laser sharp and maintain your intention of holding it steady.
Directing your Attention
This series has told you where NOT to direct your attention more often that it has guided you how and where to directed it. Several times I have alluded to holding your attention on the most silent part of yourself, I would like to define that a little further.
The Practice of Directing your Attention
Now that we have guided you to release your focus and attention on your mind and emotions, next you take the step inward. When I say attention, I’m referring to where you are pointing your focus. You have the ability to point your focus anywhere you choose. If your focus is pointed at what you feel, your experience becomes of one the senses, or if your attention is pointed at your mind your experience becomes one of your mind. However, if you begin to point your focus on your soul, your experience drops into the vast awareness of who and what you really are. The reason why we point our focus toward our soul is that this is where the silence within resides. In the vastness of the soul we discover the, “Roaring silence.”
You may be wondering; how do we find our soul? This may sound somewhat abstract to some. We get there through the heart. For the heart is the threshold of the soul. The heart is the sacred chamber that puts us in touch with everything. I talk about this in my book be love. The heart doesn’t want or need rather it knows, it knows everything because the soul communicates with your heart. When you maintain awareness of the your heart you walk through the door into the silence.
Heart Centered Meditation
Here is a heart centered meditation that you can do with your eyes open or closed. The practice and use of this meditation will make a dramatic impact on your ability to rest in the eternal peace that resides in you. When life gets difficult or your day goes to crap, go to this practice. Resist the urge to go to your mind. When your having the best time of your life, go to this practice as well.
Closed Eyed, Heart Centered Meditation
- Close your eyes and breathe slowly, release any tension you may be holding in your body. Give yourself permission to let your mind be.
- Now bring all of your attention to your heart area as you continue to breathe.
- Hold your focus on your heart and just watch, become a witness to what you see without responding.
- Allow your inner ear to open and just listen, become a witness to what you hear without responding.
- Allow your sense of inner feeling open up without grabbing hold of what you feel, again; become a witness to what you feel without responding.
- You do all of this while holding your focus and attention on your heart.
- Keep surrendering and letting yourself go inside of this practice.
Open Eyed, Heart Centered Meditation
Do the same as the above just keep your eyes open.
 Macdonell, Arthur A., A Sanskrit Grammar for Students § 182.1.b, p. 162(Oxford University Press, 3rd edition, 1927).