Peace & quiet: wanna meditate?

My first experience of meditation was in high school. My 9th grade religion teacher (#catholicschool) would guide us while we lay on the floor of our classroom or slumped over our desks. Sometimes, he’d take us to the school chapel so we could spread out. Two-thirds of my classmates fell asleep as soon as Mr. R started, but I loved the chance to carve out a little space to be still and quiet in the middle of an otherwise hectic and crowded day. In college, I explored centering practices and the Jesuit examen, but it really clicked for me in grad school.

I lived down the street from an insight meditation center and frequently joined their weekly drop-in sessions — about an hour’s worth of vipassana for beginners, including guided instruction, engagement with sitting and walking practices, and a brief dharma talk. When I started teaching high school, I mimicked my own high school teacher’s habit of integrating meditation into classes, and as a campus minister I got lots of experience designing and leading mindfulness practices for retreats and community rituals. Over time, I observed that for older students, even a 5-minute meditation was a welcome pause on daily pressures and that it helped younger students to develop a capacity for stillness and reflection.

To me, the biggest surprise was when colleagues hungered for but struggled to find stillness. Later in my career, I led retreats for groups of co-workers, and guiding meditations in that context became, perhaps surprisingly, one of my favorite tasks. It also affirmed for me that stillness isn’t natural — it’s a skill that can be acquired and developed and honed. With just a little technical practice, we can tap into our experiences and personalities, our traditions and beliefs, and our relationships with others (and with ourselves) to serve us in whatever way we need: we can be more-fully present to others, we can step out of the world for a moment, we can attend to difficult feelings or anxieties, we can uplift ourselves and relish in the good things we bring to the world, we can name the things we need to fix, we can pray, we can find comfort, we can tap into something divine, we can…

Lately, the world has been noisy (to say the least), and any notion of peace gets relegated to fantasy. In this noisy-ass world, stillness is the most overlooked gift in our lives. When we find it once for ourselves, we can find it again and again. When we find it with others, it’s evidence that peace is a possibility, that quiet is always accessible — and I’m still idealistic enough to believe that it’s scalable, from one or two folx to communities to regions to… (I told you…idealistic)

Near the end of 2020, I started offering guided meditations via Zoom on Monday afternoons. I posted an invitation to my networks on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn and encouraged folx to pass it on to others who needed to carve out some space. Since then, every Monday afternoon I set up the webcam, close the door so my husband and dog don’t distract, and connect with whoever shows up. Sometimes it’s 3 or 4 people, and other times the screen has been crowded with close to 20. Once we get started, I’m the only one who speaks (most folx turn their cameras off), and I offer guidance for settling in (physically and mentally), paying attention to breath, and finding a few moments of quiet. In the middle, I share a text — usually a poem or excerpt from something that helps me develop my capacity to be present — but I don’t expect anyone to really listen. I tell them to let the words wash over them, to just sit with the words. And then we reemerge, cameras click on and faces return to the screen, and we name things we’re grateful for. Sometimes, a few people stick around to chat, but most log off right away.

People who have participated have expressed gratitude for having the chance to be still and to connect with others through our shared quiet. If you want to find some peace and quiet, a chance to quiet the noise, reset, and return, join me. No meditation experience is necessary — just a desire to be still.

30-minute guided meditations via Zoom
Mondays at 4:00pm PST/7:00pm EST
Sign up at https://www.billhulseman.com/meditation.

#LetsConnect #PeaceAndQuiet #Meditation #GuidedMeditation #Mindfulness #MindfulnessPractice #Contemplation #Be #BePresent #Calm #Reflection #CenteringPractice #BeWhereYouAre #Awareness #IAmAwareOfMyBreath #MakingMeaning

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store