Monday, March 23, 2015

Finding Centre - meditation classes, Wellington

I've been taking a meditation class on Sundays at 12:30PM on Courtney place.

The name of the business is "Finding Centre", and the instructor does guided, moving meditation (although movement is secondary to the meditation itself). I have been quite amazed at how much the movement adds to the meditation, and I've able to settle deeper into the meditation when I've been moving. This is different from the extra relaxation after vigorous exercise or yoga, since the movement in these classes is non-strenuous and extremely gentle.

I am a meditation novice and have barely had a chase to establish a daily practice. This Sunday class, however, has really worked for me. I know enough from some of the research and talks from Matthieu Ricard to know that meditation has a lot of heath benefits, and they can be achieved quite quickly. Not only that, but a brief foray has given me some very interesting insights with very few classes.

I've learned about myself and my need to impress people ("are people noticing me?", "Do they find me impressive?") while meditating and was able to examine this quirk dispassionately. Presumably this had been there for years without me noticing. I also realized that while sitting there and hearing a noise, the immediate reaction is to form an image of what is making the noise, or naming the noise. I don't know why we need to, since even without naming the sound, we know what it is an "understand" it with no more inner dialog.

In a recent talk, Sam Harris (author of "Waking Up") discussed the same point. He says that if anyone else could hear our thoughts out loud, we would sound like we're crazy. Also, he arrives at a talk and sees that there is already water on the table, and in his head, he says "Oh look, they've put water out for me.". Who is he talking to?

I got a strong feeling in my last meditation class that understanding this inner dialog and possibly eliminating it may well be key to a better life. I don't know why. I have no idea if it's true, but I'll be working on it for the next while to see if I can remove it. I'll report back here. :)

Also, I enjoy that this class is a guided meditation. I have done meditation where you "count your breath" and work in silence, but I find I get more out of guided meditation where the teacher talks. I don't know why, but I have found it more productive. Also, there are often a useful set of steps that the teacher works through that might represent years of effort from other students and teachers, work that you might take months or years to discover on your own. I noticed this on a meditation retreat in June with Richard Miller, who was kind enough to invite me to the morning and evening meditation sessions during a training retreat in Montana.

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