Some mornings when I sit in meditation, my mind is filled with more swirling thoughts than usual. Some are ruminations on the past, some are projections into the future. Either way, I simply try to first note what they are and then let go, let go, let go and return to my breath. Many times I have to do this over and over and over, but that is why it is called practice.
I will be leading another Lovingkindness Meditation group this fall at the University Counseling Center on campus. This will be a continuation of the group that previously sat together on Wednesdays at 5:30 PM. For the new semester, we will have a change of day and time, since I will be teaching on Wednesday evenings. Stay tuned. In the meantime . . .
May you be safe, protected and free from all harm.
May you be happy and content.
May you be healthy and whole in your mind, body, and spirit.
May you be peaceful and at ease with yourself and the world around you.
May you be joyfully awakened unto wisdom and insight.
May you be free from fear, insecurity and self-doubt.
May your path be wide and clear.
Contact: James Jankowski
Located downstairs in Paul B. Johnson Commons, Freshii provides fresh and nutritious meal choices that energize people on the go. Freshii offers a menu of salads, burritos, wraps, rice bowls, yogurts, breakfast and soups made with high-quality, fresh ingredients. It has all the elements of fast casual (high-quality food, that’s quick and convenient) with the added focus on health and wellness.
Much of the ambient, ethereal music that I listen to these days for meditative purposes is minimalist and spare. When I listen to these sounds, it can be as if I am floating gently in a clear, still stream. In this meditative space, there can be an expansiveness that makes way for my awareness and insight to sharpen. I don’t always get there, but when I do, it is certainly pleasant. I want to explore further the use of ambient music in a therapeutic setting.
I have created some enjoyable playlists from artists such as Philip Wilkerson, Deuter, Anugama, Rudy Adrian and Stars of the Lid.
Another beneficial training at the Omega Institute that I recently experienced. The training was led by Daniel Rechtschaffen, and was based upon his new book, The Way of Mindful Education – Cultivating Well-Being in Teachers and Students. Daniel is a gifted teacher and has the contagious spirit of a sprite. I love the peaceful spirit of Omega and I am always invigorated by the collegiality of being present with others who want to explore some of the same interests that I have.
Fortunately we spent a good bit of time enhancing and deepening our own mindfulness practices, with the strong belief that the embodiment and holding of the practice by the teacher is the best way to cultivate a mindful classroom. I loved practicing Qigong together as a means of connecting with my own breath and body, but also as a communal exercise with others. I hope to explore Qigong further and bring the benefits of this lovely movement exercise into my teaching and counseling.
I have now finished my second summer of “playing” mindfulness with the children involved in the Horizons program at Ole Miss. Again, it was so rewarding and further enhanced my awareness of the great need to introduce mindfulness and contemplative practices into the classroom for our children at this age. I am grateful for the training that I received from the Mindful Schools Program (www.mindfulschools.org) and from Daniel Rechtschaffen and his remarkable program at The Mindful Education Institute. (danielrechtschaffen.com). Daniel’s new book, The Way of Mindful Education – Cultivating Well-Being in Teachers and Students, is an excellent resource.
I sat another serene and peaceful silent retreat at The Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, safely ensconced in the deep New England snow. My teachers were Lila Kate Wheeler and Howie Cohn. I was fortunate to be joined for a few days by my friend and fellow yogi, Patrick Briody from New Jersey. Most memorably, Lila Kate led us in a lovely forgiveness meditation that I brought back with me, and I have used this on several occasions with my clients.
I am grateful to be in the second summer of bringing mindfulness practices into the classroom of kindergarten, first and second graders at Ole Miss as part of the Horizons National program. We have Mindful Mondays in which we practice getting to know our breath, finding our still quiet place within, sharing heartfulness with ourselves and others, smiling yoga, and tuning our attention to the sound of the mindfulness bell. The light in their faces is extraordinary.