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retreat preparation

NEW PARTICIPANTS:  

Please begin the  easy meditation below called "The Practice", until our Zoom session, after which you will have a practice given you at that session.  If you have not already scheduled, Please book HERE , or look under Transformational Coaching tab above for more information

RETURNING PARTICIPANTS:

Practice the Natural Breath Technique for 10 or more minutes and then sit in the "The Practice" (See below Description).  If you would like a review of the Natural Breath Technique, Please email me for a Video of the mini webinar

 

If it has been over a year since we have worked together, or you need a check in to get me updated with your Journey, please book a Zoom: click HERE  or visit the Transformational Coaching tab above for more details

ALL REGISTRANTS: (Optional)

Here is a Guided Shavasana to use anytime; but especially on rising or going to sleep, or before and/or after Yoga.  It is a powerful support for soothing and teaching (beyond words) the nervous system ...Click HERE to listen and upload to your devices

MEDITATION NOTES

You may have never been able to meditate, or even strongly dislike meditation, but most find they like this practice.

This practice, once you have done it a few times  just becomes your own process.  It is totally part of the practice to "Zone Out".  Be gentle and allow your nervous system to take you where it does, even if that means falling asleep or being flooded with thoughts.  Just gently come back to the process above when you realize you have been on a seemingly different journey, ( which actually is part of the journey)

PLEASE BEGIN THE PRACTICE BELOW

"THE PRACTICE"
In this course a stable contemplative practice consists of:
▪disengaging from high-level external stimulation, such as other people, television, books, and computer screens
▪sitting in a relatively still position,
▪being silent and awake,
▪doing whatever you’re doing,
▪sitting for around 10-20 minutes each day.

We’ll call this practice “just sitting” or simply “sitting.”

For this practice you can sit on a chair, couch, or meditation cushion. The only requirement is that you stay in one place for around 10 minutes-preferrable20 minutes, while sitting upright but not rigidly so. Please don’t recline more than 45 degrees.

 

You don’t need to be rigid. If you’re uncomfortable, you can shift your position, move your legs or your hands, scratch an itch, stretch your neck, and so on, but don’t get up and move around or relocate your body. Remain comfortable, quiet, and awake.  Within these parameters, simply do whatever you’re doing. Think what you’re thinking, feel what you’re feeling, experience what you’re experiencing. There’s no right or wrong way to meditate. If you’re following your breath, follow your breath. If you’re reciting a mantra, recite your mantra. If you’re doing nothing, do nothing.

 

There’s no need to follow your thoughts, nothing to concentrate on, nothing you need to do. If you’re captivated by a particular line of thought, a feeling, or a physical sensation, that’s fine. If you observe this process, you do; if you don’t, you don’t. There’s nothing to correct or adjust, no guidelines about what you’re supposed to be concentrating on, such as breathing, thoughts, feelings, or sensations.

 

If your eyes are open, let them be open. If they’re closed let them be closed. If you open them, close them, then open them again and let them wander around, let all this happen. If you need to distract yourself, then, within the parameters of this practice, distract yourself. It doesn’t matter whether you’re concentrated or distracted. In fact, because there’s no object of meditation and no need to meditate, there are no distractions. You don’t need to do anything other than what you’re doing. You can’t go wrong. If you enjoy a session, you enjoy it; if you don’t, you don’t. Enjoying your contemplation is no better than enduring it.

Because it consists of doing whatever you’re doing when you’re sitting, this practice incorporates any other meditation practice you may be engaged in. To begin this practice, you don’t need to know how it relates to this course or even why you’re doing it.

The above is our Foundation Practice. Breath techniques are nice add on to this, but we return to this even during those practices; or we find this to permeate the others.

 

The timing of this practice

To give yourself the opportunity to experience what you’re thinking and feel what you’re feeling, you need to minimize external stimuli. For this purpose, it’s important to choose an optimal time for your practice when there are minimum actual and potential interruptions. For example, if you have children, you might like to choose a time when they’re cared for by someone else, involved in their own activities, or asleep. It’s also sensible to choose a 20-minute period in your daily schedule that doesn’t fall too close to a time when you need to be somewhere or do something else that you deem important. As much as possible, choose a time when there are minimal demands on your attention, and factor into your practice a little “transition time” on either side of your session. Finally, it can be helpful to allow some flexibility in your schedule in case you need to move the time of your sitting because urgent matters unexpectedly demand your attention.

 

Preparing the physical environment

Just as you organize your kitchen before cooking a meal—first cleaning it, then gathering the ingredients and utensils—you need to take care of the physical environment before you sit in order to avoid possible interruptions. For example, if you have an answering machine within hearing range, you can turn down the volume or put it on mute. If you don’t have a voice mail or answering machine, you can take the phone off the hook or turn off the ringer.

 

Also, you need to choose a private space for your sitting. If you don’t have one, you can create a space where you won’t be disturbed for the duration of your practice by posting a note on the door or just telling the people around you that you’ll be meditating for the next 20 minutes or so. Most people find that they can quickly establish a special place they can return to each day that signals and supports their inner reflection. There’s no need to get too formal: for example, you don’t have to set up a shrine unless you find it supports your intention.

 

Wear comfortable clothes, and adjust the temperature, if necessary, to make sure you aren’t too cool or too warm. It’s also a good idea to have an alarm clock set for the period of your contemplation so you don’t need to think about the time.

 

Support from family, partners and friends.

In addition to preparing the physical environment, you might also need to make sure that the people who share your home environment understand and support what you’re doing. For example, you may want to explain that this practice forms part of a course you’re enrolled in, that it takes 20 minutes, and that it isn’t complicated or mysterious. If the practice of just sitting quietly for 20 minutes or so doesn’t make immediate sense to your spouse, partner, or children, you can reassure them by telling them just a little about what you’re doing and where it fits into the course. The type and level of explanation will be influenced by their own relationship to meditation, reflection, or prayer. By explaining what you’re doing, you put their minds at rest.

Then you don’t have to think about what they’re thinking about you. You might invite them to join you or quietly watch what you’re doing for five minutes or so. Be sure to communicate in a loving, gentle and respectful manner, without putting any demands on them.

 

The people around you should also know that you shouldn’t be interrupted during your practice period—unless, of course, there’s an emergency. It’s unreasonable, however, to expect them to be totally quiet while you sit. Noise happens! If sounds penetrate your environment, they’re simply part of your meditation. Of course, as we said earlier, timing can address most of the interruptions that may occur. Typically, for example, there isn’t much happening in most households after 10 pm or before 6.30 am.

 

If you push the message that what you’re doing is very important and you don’t want to be interrupted or disturbed, you risk creating a rigid boundary or “hard edge” between you and the people around you that ends up provoking anger, resentment, and envy. In response, they may feel inclined to destroy your inner peace rather than respect and support it. Instead of producing serenity, your meditation then just adds to your agitation and the agitation of those around you.

The important point here is to notice your inner attitude—if you’re attempting to control others or impose your will on them, or you’re feeling self-righteous or aversive in some way, you’re likely to alienate the people around you.

 

You might say that going on a retreat creates a hard edge between practice and everyday life. Again, it depends on your attitude and your responsiveness to others. For example, if your family strongly objects to your going on a retreat but you insist, you’re creating a hard edge. Or if you run the risk of seriously jeopardizing an important work opportunity, then your retreat clearly

undermines your everyday life situation. Optimally, you want to organize your life so that your practice of contemplation, including retreat, is integrated, and coordinated with your other activities and commitments.

 

Adjusting your practice

Generally, sitting practice is neither too comfortable nor too uncomfortable. In fact, too much comfort can make you sleepy, and too much discomfort can make you so edgy that you can’t sit quietly for the allotted time. If you find your sitting difficult or impossible, you need to make some changes at an environmental, physical, or mental level that will allow you to sit with some degree of ease. The particular changes are unique to each person’s situation. If you feel you’re about to give up sitting because you find it too painful or unrewarding, it’s best not to continue doing it the way you’ve been doing it. You may want to bring your practice back a notch, for example, by sitting for a shorter time or playing some soothing music while you sit. Or, if the weather is suitable, you can find some pleasant spot outside where you can quietly sit and enjoy nature. Whatever we do around a contemplative practice, it needs to be generally gratifying

 

OTHER ESSENTIAL PREPARATORY INSTRUCTIONS

Please no sugar, alcohol, recreational drugs or chocolate for as many days prior to retreat as possible. Two weeks is the minimum for marijuana and Ayahuasca. but two days would be acceptable, (though not recommended), for the sugar, alcohol, and chocolate.

 

This is to reset some subtle biochemistry.  Again, no consciousness-altering substances to include marijuana or Ayahuasca for at least 2 weeks prior. This benefits your ability to more clearly work in the subtler aspects of meditation. Do what's necessary to be well-rested with extra hydration for 2 days prior to the retreat.

Lastly, if you have not worked with Lawrence in over a year, or this is your first retreat, it is required that you schedule a Transformational Coaching Session on Zoom.  Many have found it helpful to schedule one or more Transformational Coaching sessions with me prior to and following the retreat. The fee is on a sliding scale of $1-$4 per minute and last 90 minutes on average

Click HERE to learn more about Transformational Coaching and to schedule.

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