Prepare To Transform I Day Zero
Welcome and congratulations on taking this beautiful step toward a life lived on purpose. Meditation is one of the most nourishing, impactful offerings we can give ourselves, and you will undoubtedly be changed from the inside out this week as you learn to slip into the stillness and create real, lasting change in your mind, body and life.
This course will walk you through the first four of 12 Core Meditation Techniques. These first four techniques are the Stillness Techniques and will teach you basic meditation practices for creating stillness in your mind and body. This includes open-focus, relaxation, heart and mantra meditations. The Core 12 are a collection of fundamental building blocks that you can use to create a new, customized practice for yourself each day. Each technique stands alone as a complete meditation or can be combined with others to create a unique, nourishing practice based on your daily needs and desires.
As we move through each of these techniques, our main focus will be: 1) to broaden your understanding of the science of meditation and its effects on the brain and body, and 2) to teach the technical aspects and "how-to's" of sitting in meditation. The goal is that by the end of 7 days you will have a strong foundation in the how's and why's of meditation that you can use to shape your own stillness practice.
Today is all about getting you prepared for the week ahead. So dive in with an open and willing heart and prepare to blow your own mind over the next seven days.
What to Expect
Each day beginning tomorrow you will receive an email with a link to a page just like this one. This is where you will receive all your course information. Each page will contain the same sections to guide you through your work for the day. Watch the brief welcome video to hear more about navigating the course info and read below to learn about each section:
NOURISH YOUR MIND
Here you will find your main teaching for the day usually in the form of an article as well as a video. I will cover a variety of topics to deepen your understanding of meditation and to begin to uncover and shape your beliefs about the practice. This section will largely cover the "why's" of meditation including the science and physical and emotional benefits of the practice.
BUILD YOUR PRACTICE
This is where you will find your daily guided meditation - 7 total over the course of the program - as well as instruction for the "how's" of sitting in meditation. Each day the meditation duration will increase and the type of meditation will change. This one-week course will introduce you to the first four of twelve core meditation techniques. It is meant to give you a sampling of meditation styles so that you may begin to understand which one feels best for you and how you'd like to incorporate them into your life once the course is complete. You may struggle through one and absolutely love another. They may all give you trouble or you may feel like you were made for this. It's okay. It's all okay. Meditation isn't about perfection; it's about showing up. Commit to yourself that you will sit for the entire length of each meditation and that you will maintain an open mind and a willing heart each day.
FOCUS YOUR ATTENTION
Each day I will offer an area of focus for you to observe throughout the day. These short prompts will help you to uncover hidden beliefs you may have about the practice of meditation as well as bridge the time you spend in stillness with the time you spend in your real life. Meditation isn't just about the collection of minutes we sit with our eyes closed. It's about transferring that peace, clarity and vitality into our everyday lives. Meditation is simply practice for the main event - life.
EXPAND YOUR AWARENESS
Each day I will offer journal prompts to guide your personal inquiry. You can choose to use them or not, but I strongly recommend you keep a journal during these seven days. Meditation creates coherence in the brain and unlocks wisdom, insight and creativity that was previously not accessible, and trust me, you're going to want to write this stuff down! Record your meditation experiences. Write about how you're feeling and what you're learning. Give voice to what's happening in your heart and mind. Allow whatever needs to come to unfold on the page.
What You'll Need
The beauty of meditation is that you can literally do it anywhere with no props, tools or devices necessary! If you can close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, then you can meditate.
For the purposes of this course though, I will recommend that you have the following available to you:
1. A listening device and headphones
Each meditation is playable directly from the webpage, but you may want to download them to your phone for easy access and continued use. Headphones are not a requirement, as you could simply play the meditations aloud, but they are recommended so that you will not be distracted by ambient noise.
2. A quiet, private place to meditate
I recommend if possible designating a specific space to be your "meditation space" for the week. This will not only help reinforce the habit but will also take the guesswork out of sitting for meditation when it comes time each day. The easier you can make the process on yourself, the more likely you are to do it.
Also, it's important that you find a space where you will not be disturbed. This practice is a gift to yourself and will impact everyone in your life with the changes it will undoubtedly create in you. Be sure to tell your loved ones about your intention for the week and get their buy-in and support ahead of time to give you the space you need to complete your meditation each day.
In choosing a space, I strongly recommend that you NOT meditate in your bed even if you're sitting up. Your brain is wired to think bed equals sleep, and it's important that you stay awake during your meditations. It's okay to meditate in your room, but perhaps bring in a chair or sit on the floor next to the bed.
3. A chair or pillows for the floor
Comfort is key! When we meditate, we are working to transcend the demands of the body and slip just between the thoughts of the mind. So be sure that you are in a seated position that you can maintain for many minutes. If you opt to sit on the floor, be sure to place pillows beneath your bottom to elevate the hips, keep blood flowing and lessen the likelihood that your legs or feet fall asleep. You may find that you want to experiment with different ways of sitting each day. This is perfectly fine! There is no right or wrong way to sit. What's most important starting out is that you are comfortable and upright.
4. An open mind and a willing heart
Intention is everything. Henry Ford once said, "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right." Practice having a beginner's mind this week. Regardless of what you already know about meditation, what if you came to the material each day as if you knew nothing at all? Have you ever watched a baby learn to roll over or perhaps crawl? They usually have a smile on their face and lots of joyful noises coming from their body as they try, try, try again. They aren't thinking about all the reasons rolling over is stupid or impossible and they aren't obsessing about being a perfect crawler. They just do it for the joy of doing it. Because it feels good. And it's something new. And because learning is natural.
Be like the baby. Try this affirmation on for the week, "I am open to seeing things differently; I am willing to change." Or make some of your own. But whatever you do, approach this practice with a light, willing heart and a malleable, open mind. Give yourself a chance to knock your own socks off.
5. Optional Tools
Try to keep things as simple as possible this week. Don't get too fussy about having the "perfect" space, and don't freak out if you miss a meditation one morning and have to make it up later in the day or another day altogether. See if you can find lightness and let this be easy. You do not need any of the following items, but if it feels good and you want to, feel free to use an eye mask to help make things extra dark and to keep those eyes closed. Or hold your favorite crystals while you diffuse your favorite essential oils. Maybe you have a special blanket you want to wrap yourself in. Awesome. This is your practice, and you can adorn it in whatever way you want. But for at least these 7 days, just let it be easy.
Ways of being
Meditation is a powerful teacher when it comes to managing our emotions and our ways of being in the world. As you retrain your brain over the next few days, it's a good idea to create space for tenderness and patience. Anytime we try something new, the brain has to become more conscious and expend more energy than normal. This can cause us to feel fatigued, overwhelmed or out of sorts. Be gentle with yourself and know that you are creating a habit that will not only nourish you, but also make it easier to adapt to change.
The following are a few ways of being this week that you could invite into your heart and mind: Curious, patient, tender, devoted, flexible, light, easy, open, willing and compassionate.
What else is your heart and spirit whispering to you? What ways of being would support this practice for you this week and allow you to sink into the process with grace and compassion?
You Can Do This
Take this course at your own pace. Make it your own, and make it work for you. This isn't a race to the finish. Meditation is a lifelong practice that will hold and nurture you and show you yourself again and again and again if you give it the chance.
If you have any questions or comments throughout this process, I urge you to go inward and lean on your own intuition and understanding. Record the questions in your journal, and practice using it as an inquiry in meditation or as a focus of attention for your day. If after your 7 days, you are still unclear, you can reach me here.
You are a master creator. It always comes back to what you believe, and if you believe in this work, it will forever change you.
If you are new to belief work or want to learn more, my older sister Lacy Young and I offer a course called "Beliefs" at our website SisterMedicine.com. It is a 5-day boot camp for identifying, analyzing and shifting your beliefs to align with a life you love.
You've got this! Love yourself enough to do the work and to sit with yourself each day. You are so important in this world, and who you are matters. May you find yourself in the spaces in between, and may you delight at what you see.