Welcome to The Meditation Course Podcast. I am Robert Mitchell. I teach meditation, mindfulness and resilience in London, England. The podcast episodes are recordings of classes I run on my online meditation course called The Meditation Course.
To join us, sign up for four weekly live guided meditation classes.
Unlock the Secret of Now With The Power of Clarity Meditation
In this week's class on my online meditation course, we explored observation meditations. We explored how our perceptions, influenced by our cultural backgrounds and culture, add layers to our experiences, much like augmented reality. The class explained how we can be aware of our cultural filter while practicing meditation and experiencing mindfulness. Through examples like walking meditation and the metaphor of augmented reality, we learned to distinguish between observation of our reality and observation influenced by personal and cultural filters. This insightful session is part of my continuous effort to offer practical and imclusive and accessible practical guided meditation, helping you integrate mindfulness into everyday life.
My Online Meditation Course is here: The Meditation Course
Introduction to Observation Meditations: Today, we'll focus on observation meditations. This means we'll pay attention to our current experience, whether that's the present moment or thoughts about the past.
The Fundamental Act of Observation: Today, we're focusing on meditations that involve observing, especially our current experiences. Observation is key. For example, when counting breaths, we're both observing the breaths and we can also be aware that we're observing them.
Seeing is Not Just Seeing: It's not just the observing that matters, but also being aware that you're observing. There's a difference between just observing and being aware that we're the observer.
Walking Meditation and Mindfulness Practice: For example, during a walking meditation, which I shared on my social media yesterday, I will focus on my breathing while noticing other things around me and bring my focus back whenever my mind wanders.
Training Witness Consciousness: Meditation is about training ourselves to realise when we are distracted. This awareness then enables us to choose to focus on the present or on something else which may be a higher priority.
Witnessing Reality: When observing, such as observing our breath, we become a silent witness. Looking inwards to try to perceive this witness is part of the practice. This is the heart of self-enquiry.
Augmented Reality as a Metaphor: Augmented reality, like seeing a digital dragon in a room through an app, can help explain how we add layers of perception to our experiences. The Dragon isn't real. Our culture has put it there. The value we see in things (such as brands) is no more real than the dragon but we can perceive it.
Integrating Reality with Perception: By using augmented reality as an example, we can understand how our perception adds to what we see, like seeing a dragon in a room through a mobile.
Cultural Filters in Perception: Our cultural background adds meaning to what we see, similar to how augmented reality adds digital images to our view.
Mindfulness and Cultural Filters: Mindfulness involves being aware of our perception without the added layers of our cultural or personal biases but also allows us to see those biases.
Sensitivity Through Observation: By observing our experience consciously (mindfulness), we become more sensitive to our emotional and mental responses to different situations. We aren't trying to find silver bullet solutions to these social distortions, but just noticing them happening. This is enough.
Meditation and Cultural Perceptions: Meditation doesn't stop us from seeing things through our cultural lens, but it makes us more aware of our emotional responses to these perceptions.
Mindfulness and Awareness: Mindfulness is about noticing our present experiences without judgment and understanding the difference between just observing and observing with our personal and cultural biases.
The Power of Mindfulness: Reclaim Your Mind And Transform Your Future
Welcome to The Meditation Course podcast. Today, we return to the essential topic of mindfulness, unravelling its meaning and importance and how to embrace it in our fast-paced world.
Mindfulness may defy precise description, yet it's best understood through direct experience. By simply observing time's passage or the sound of a bell, we begin to engage with the mindful state of being. This state, often sought at great expense at retreats or vacations, is a natural human trait that our ancestors and animals still embrace without effort.
Mindfulness isn't complicated—it's the undistracted experience of the present moment. However, modern lifestyles filled with economic and social pressures have trained us out of this innate ability. We live caught in a continuum of past, present, and future thoughts, many of which are driven by subconscious impulses that we mistakenly believe we can consciously control.
Nevertheless, true mindfulness grants us choice, allowing us to step out of these automated narratives and make informed decisions in the present, where life unfolds. Advertisers and marketers exploit our emotional responses to guide our consumption behaviours. In contrast, mindfulness equips us with the clarity to steer our actions based on self-awareness rather than external influences.
As we face rapid social and technological changes, such as those brought by artificial intelligence, the necessity for mindfulness becomes even more pronounced. To adapt and thrive, we must be present, mentally clear, and ready to navigate the paradigm shifts of our lives. By practising mindfulness meditation, we train ourselves to harness our awareness, make better choices, and truly engage with life's vast potential.
Meditation has two parts: achieving mindfulness, or presence in the now, then regaining the ability to make better choices with this renewed perspective. It's an invitation to embark on a mindful journey that promises a paradigm shift in our daily existence.
For the full podcast notes (transcript) or to learn more visit The Meditation Course website at https://meditationcourse.live
Learn Relaxation to Neutralise Your Stress
When you're physically stressed, you only have a few options to intervene in your stress.
One option is to learn how to relax.
Relaxation isn't something you need to go on holiday for; you also don't need a glass of wine, a cigarette, or a magic combination of price-tagged experiences. It's a really simple thing. When we get stressed, our body becomes tense because we're finely tuned for nature, and our body prepares us for action. Relaxation is how we return to our normal calm, relaxed, focused condition.
Unfortunately, in our consumer society, advertisers have stolen the concept of relaxation. Like so many other valuable and natural things, we have forgotten what it is.
Learning to relax takes time, but you can switch off all this stress and tension in a few seconds and return to a calm and relaxed state of mind. This podcast is a great place to start to learn how to relax. You can learn what relaxation is, how it works, and how to train to gain this essential life skill. Listen in and have a calm, relaxing day.
Join my regular online in person, guided meditation, classes at: https://meditationcourse.live/
The Counting the Breaths Meditation
Counting the breaths is an ancient mindfulness meditation technique and the best practice for about 50% of new meditators to start with. It's a practice where we count each breath using the inner voice. The way I teach it is to count each in and out breath. This engages the mind in an activity that helps to calm the mind. Counting the breaths is the single mindfulness meditation practice that is most helpful for most students. The Meditation Course is Four Live Guided Meditations On Most Weeks. To Learn More about The Meditation Course, visit our website at: https://www.meditationcourse.live/ You can subscribe to our mailing list and get updated regularly with new content and offers.
The Power of Mudra
In this class, I teach about mudras, which are hand gestures used in meditation.
The Anjali mudra involves pressing your palms together. I teach this because it has a real effect. You can explore it yourself.
Specific Mudras in Meditation
I focus on the chin mudra, where you lightly touch your thumb and first finger.
My methods for Anjali and chin mudra are unique. They're not just gestures; they have a purpose.
Some say the chin mudra connects to universal consciousness. If you experience that, let me know.
Focus and Awareness And The Importance of A Light Touch
I use these mudras to help focus awareness. They're also useful for relaxation and sleep.
A lighter touch in these mudras can have a strong impact.
Anjali Mudra Explained
In India, Anjali mudra is a greeting, often accompanied by the word "Namaste." It's an old practice seen in ancient art. It's a sign of peace, showing you're unarmed. It's a way to show you're safe to talk to.
This gesture is powerful when done with a light, springy pressure between the palms. Pressing your palms together like this engages many nerve cells in your body, making it a rich sensory experience.
The brain has a part called the somatosensory cortex that processes touch. The single largest part of which is dedicated to interpreting our hand sensations. Our hands are important for sensing our environment and using tools. They're a big part of our sensory experience.
Sensory Focus in Meditation
Focusing on the sensation of the hands pressed together can be immersive and comfortable.
The chin mudra involves a very light touch between the thumb and first finger. You need to maintain this light touch, noticing if the contact changes. Keeping this light touch requires focus but not forced concentration.
The aim is to maintain a light focus, which can bring a sense of calm over time.
Dive deep into the mechanics of nature meditation in this particular recording from our Sunday guided meditation class held on July 23rd. As part of The Meditation Course, this podcast explores the intricate relationship between the natural environment and the process of meditating, illustrating how the calm and quiet of nature can significantly enhance our emotional processing and healing journey.
The complete transcript of this insightful group session is now available on The Meditation Course website here: https://www.meditationcourse.live/understanding-nature-meditation This will allow you to reflect more on each point and perhaps deepen your understanding at your own pace.
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Subscribe today and join us on this life-enhancing path. Remember, the subscription is free! Explore, learn, meditate, and grow with The Meditation Course. Learn More: https://www.meditationcourse.live/about-the-meditation-course/
A Journey Into Mediation
Due to a sports injury in February 2019, I had 10 weeks of recovery which gave me more spare time. I found Bromley Mindfulness and decided to do Robert’s 6 week mindfulness course. I was familIar with meditation and it’s benefits but had not found a way of incorporating it into a regular practice. Robert’s course gave me a better understanding of how the mind works and taught me a number of different meditation and mindfulness strategies to use depending on how you are feeling and a way of developing a regular meditation practice. The benefits cannot be underestimated and has allowed me to become more familiar with the thoughts that flow in and out of my mind and to give the present moment my fullest attention. It is a liberating experience.
Looking forward to continuing the journey through Robert’s 2020 meditation podcast and his weekly online meditation classes. Go on give it a go...it will positively change the way you experience the world around you.
Listened to many many, many podcasts on mindfulness and this is the only one I have listened to repeatedly. Please keep them coming.
This podcast is a wonderful extension of the personal sessions and I even listen to it whilst doing housework, stopping occasionally for a quick join in with the practices. Keep them coming please.