MEDITATION IS THE ACT OF COMING TO REST BY DISENGAGING FROM PHYSICAL AND MENTAL ACTIVITIES WHILE REMAINING IN A WAKEFUL STATE OF AWARENESS.
In meditation, we have an opportunity to take a break from the incessant activity and habitual “doing” that often consumes and defines our lives. By coming to rest physically and mentally, we can begin to observe and uncover a depth and calmness of being.
With regular practice, meditation provides the master key to our well-being — unlocking our true potential and enabling us to meet the world with renewed energy, authenticity, wisdom, creativity, compassion and equanimity. The remarkable benefits of meditation include an expanded sense of awareness, clarity of thought, lasting peace and happiness, as well as an understanding of our innate ability to resolve the challenges of everyday life.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT OUR MEDITATION COURSE
MEDITATION - BACKGROUND
SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE ABOUT THE PHYSIOLOGICAL, MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL BENEFITS OF MEDITATION SPEAKS FOR ITSELF.
Although meditation originated in the East for spiritual purposes, in the West it was initially limited to the clinical treatment of anxiety and stress. Meditation is now applied to the fields of neuroplasticity, emotional intelligence, elite sports performance and leadership training.
Research into various meditation techniques has shown how sustained practice develops self-awareness, resilience, social intuition, sensitivity and attention-control; speeds up the brain’s capacity for sensory processing, strengthens memory and improves the executive functions of the brain.
Meditation has been prescribed by wisdom-teachers for millennia. Contemporary research data supports the findings of ancient philosophy. Life requires energy, and energy is restored through rest. Just as resting in bed at night is essential for one’s physical well-being, so too the profound rest available in meditation is essential for the well-being of one’s mind and heart.
With the profound rest and total immobility of deep meditation, the human spirit flourishes. Efficiency increases. Creativity flows. Mindfulness and compassion grow.
THE SCHOOL AND MEDITATION
The School has been training people in meditation for more than fifty years.
Initially in the 1960s not much was known about the practice in the West, but this has changed. Although meditation has embedded itself in our culture, the variety of techniques available can be daunting for anyone seeking an authentic way forward.
The School received the meditation practice in the 1960’s. Instruction and guidance was given by the head of the Advaita Tradition in Northern India, Śrī Śāntānanda Saraswatī, then the Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math. He continued to provide instruction and guidance until his death in 1997. The School’s commitment from the beginning has been to make meditation available for whoever was seeking freedom, fullness of life or a deeper understanding of themselves.
Today, the School continues to offer the same simple practice it received over fifty years ago. It is an authentic and utterly simple practice, natural, easily learnt and can be practised within the demands of daily life.
THE SYSTEM OF MEDITATION
The School offers a system of mantra meditation that has been in use for millennia. Practice consists in the gentle repetition to oneself of a one-syllable sound and bringing the attention back to the sound again and again.
Meditation starts with the physical body still, balanced and upright. As it proceeds, the breathing naturally slows down, the senses withdraw and gradually the mind becomes deeply still. Then the mantra takes you to the still centre of yourself.
In its simplicity, the practice of meditation is nothing more than sitting still and listening.
MEDITATION - TAKING UP MEDITATION
BY COMING TO REST PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY, WE CAN BEGIN TO OBSERVE AND UNCOVER A DEPTH AND CALMNESS OF BEING.
The School offers meditation three times a year.
Taking up mediation is a 3 step process over 3-4 weeks.
Attendance at all three sessions that are outlined below is a required part of the process. You cannot proceed with the meditation if you have not attended the two preliminary meetings.
STEP 1: INFORMATION MEETING
You begin by registering for the 90 minute Information Meeting. The next information meeting will be held on Sunday 19 June at 4:00pm.
By the end of the meeting, you’ll have all the information you need to decide whether or not to proceed.
STEP 2: PREPARATION SESSION
Two to three weeks later a 90 minute preparation session is held
The practical arrangements are finalised and the meditation support program is outlined.
STEP 3: TAKING UP MEDITATION
The meditation commencement ceremony will take place a week after the preparation session.
The meditation is given in a short, traditional ceremony designed to bring the mind and heart to rest. The ceremony is non-religious and is there to ensure the precise passage of the mantra from generation to generation and to support the significance of the event. It is carried out by a trained instructor, an experienced meditator who has undergone a period of careful preparation.
You will be asked to bring four things to the ceremony, each one symbolic: some flowers, some pieces of fruit, a piece of white cloth and a donation of money. The donation is not a fixed amount and depends on individual capacity. The donation symbolises the surrender of material things. It is an expression of value and is used to make meditation available to others. There is no fee for receiving the meditation.
Once you’ve commenced meditating, the School will support you in the practice with one-on-one meetings, small group sessions and meditation retreats if you wish. This support will be available for as long as you wish. In providing you with the meditation, the School undertakes the obligation of supporting you for life.
By going into meditation, one recharges oneself with finer energy and comes out with extra energy imbued with consciousness and bliss - Sri Santananda Saraswati (1913 – 1997)
The system of meditation is not religious; therefore, it does not clash with anything. It is designed for the spirit of man, which is not bound by any religion. - Sri Santananda Saraswati (1913 – 1997)
MEDITATION - ONGOING SUPPORT
THE REGULAR PRACTICE, MEDITATION PROVIDES THE MASTER KEY TO OUR WELL-BEING — UNLOCKING OUR TRUE POTENTIAL AND ENABLING US TO MEET THE WORLD WITH RENEWED ENERGY, AUTHENTICITY, WISDOM, CREATIVITY, COMPASSION AND EQUANIMITY.
The remarkable benefits of meditation include an expanded sense of awareness, clarity of thought, lasting peace and happiness, as well as an understanding of our innate ability to resolve the challenges of everyday life.
With regular practice, meditation provides the master key to our well-being — unlocking our true potential and enabling us to meet the world with renewed energy, authenticity, wisdom, creativity, compassion and equanimity.
Once you've commenced mediating, the School will support you in the practice with one-on-one tutorials, small group sessions and meditation retreats. This support will be available for as long as you wish. In providing you with the meditation, the School undertakes the obligation of supporting you in the practice for life.
The purpose of the tutorials is to help establish good and enjoyable meditation. The tutorials also enable meditators to connect with the deeper experience of mediation and to clear any queries or problems. The frequency of the tutorials will decrease as the practice becomes established, although you may request an appointment at any time by emailing email@example.com
MASTERING MEDITATION ONLINE WORKSHOP
In order to support, and perhaps reinvigorate your practice of meditation, each term a meditation workshop is held, which provides simple reminders and practical guidance to assist you in your practice.
The 1.25 hr workshop will give you the opportunity to practice meditation in a supportive environment in the company of other meditating students.
The next Mastering Meditation Workshop is on Sunday 14 August via ZOOM.
The workshop will commence at 9:00-10:15am.
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Mr William Whiting, who died in December 2019, was for nearly 50 years the leader of the School of Meditation.
Below are two talks he gave at the School of Philosophy and Economic Science (formerly School of Economic Science).
From a talk given by Mr William Whiting entitled Meditation, given in 1992 to a general audience, including some who had not been introduced to the practice.
From a talk given by Mr William Whiting entitled Findings, given to a senior group of students in 1994.
MEDITATION - RESEARCH
MEDITATION RESEARCH 2009-2018
The accompanying list of peer-reviewed, scientific publications gives some indication of the health benefits of meditation and the scientific methods currently being utilised to investigate them. It is by no means an exhaustive list, but does reflect the breadth of research undertaken in this bourgeoning area. A range of meditation techniques are cited, from mindfulness meditation to transcendental meditation, as well as studies reporting either on the effects of long-term meditation or more short-term meditation training. The health benefits of meditation highlighted in the cited studies include, but are not limited to, reductions in psychological strain and depressive feelings, attenuation of age-related cognitive decline, higher acceptance of chronic pain, improvements in working memory capacity, and perhaps most notably, potentially slowing biological ageing.
List compiled by Dr Elizabeth Levay PhD, BBSc (Hons)
For further reading search for scientific articles using the following databases:
And/or PsychINFO http://www.apa.org/pubs/databases/psycinfo/index.aspx
DETAILED LIST OF LINKS
- Lopez, G., et al. (2018). A pragmatic evaluation of symptom distress after group meditation for cancer patients and caregivers: a preliminary report.Journal of Pain and Symptom Management (ahead of print).
- Ooi, S.L., et al. (2017). Transcendental meditation for lowering blood pressure: An overview of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 34, 26-34.
- Spadaro, K.C., et al. (2017). Effect of mindfulness meditation on short-term weight loss and eating behaviors in overweight and obese adults: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine (ahead of print).
- Chaix, R., et al. (2017). Epigenetic clock analysis in long-term meditators. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 85, 210-214.
- Brandmeyer, T., Delorme, A. (2016). Reduced mind wandering in experienced meditators and associated EEG correlates. Experimental Brain Research, Nov, 1-10.
- Zeidan, F., Vago, D.R. (2016). Mindfulness meditation-based pain relief: a mechanistic account. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1373(1), 114-127.
- Tomasino, B., Fabbro, F. (2015). Increases in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and decreases the rostral prefrontal cortex activation after 8 weeks of focused attention based mindfulness meditation. Brain and Cognition, 102, 46-54.
- Zeidan, F., et al. (2015). Mindfulness meditation-based pain relief employs different neural mechanisms than placebo and sham mindfulness meditation-induced analgesia. The Journal of Neuroscience, 35(46), 15307-15325.
- Quach, D., et al. (2015). A randomized controlled trial examining the effect of mindfulness meditation on working memory capacity in adolescents. The Journal of Adolescent Health (ahead of print).
- Cash, E., et al. (2015). Mindfulness meditation alleviates fibromyalgia symptoms in women: results of a randomized clinical trial. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 49(3), 319-330.
- la Cour, p., Peterson, M. (2015). Effects of mindfulness meditation on chronic pain: a randomized controlled trial. Pain Medicine, 16(4), 641-652.
- Britton, W.B., et al. (2014). A randomized controlled pilot trial of classroom-based mindfulness meditation compared to an active control condition in sixth-grade children. Journal of School Psychology, 52(3), 263-278.
- Creswell, J.D., et al. (2014). Brief mindfulness meditation training alters psychological and neuroendocrine responses to social evaluative stress. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 44, 1-12.
- Gard, T., Hözel, B.K., & Lazar, S.W. (2014). The potential effects of meditation on age-related cognitive decline: a systematic review. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1307, 89-103.
- Hoge, E.A., et al. (2013). Randomized controlled trial of mindfulness meditation for generalized anxiety disorder: effects on anxiety and stress reactivity.The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 72(8), 786-792.
- Sedlmeier, P., et al. (2012). The psychological effects of meditation: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 138, 1139–1171.
- Manocha, R., Black, D., Wilson, L. (2012). Quality of life and functional health status of long-term meditators. Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: eCam, 350674.
- Jacobs, T.L., et al. (2011). Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological meditators. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 36(5), 664-681.
- Luders, E., Clark, K., Narr, K.L., Toga, A.W. (2011). Enhanced brain connectivity in long-term meditation practitioners. Neuroimage, 57(4), 1308-1316
- Manocha, R., et al. (2011). A randomized, controlled trail of meditation for work stress, anxiety and depressed mood in full-time workers. Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: eCam, 960583.
- Brown, C.A., Jones, A.K. (2010). Meditation experience predicts less negative appraisal of pain: electrophyisiological evidence for the involvement of anticipatory neural responses. Pain, 150(3), 428-438.
- Kaul, P., et al. (2010). Meditation acutely improves psychomotor vigilance, and may decrease sleep need. Behavioural and B rain Function: BBF, 6, 47.
- Luders, E., et al. (2009). The underlying anatomical correlates of long-term meditation: larger hippocampal and frontal volumes of gray matter.Neuroimage, 45(3), 672-678.