by Karuna

Founder and Executive Director Mind Oasis

No one can give you the gift of presence and relaxation other than you. 

Presence cannot be wished or forced. Relaxation is highly personal. Some things remain fully in the field of awareness while we meditate. Exceptional teachers encourage and hold space for you to have your experience, while simultaneously setting you up to greet anything that comes your way. Mediocre teachers try to give you an experience.

What’s the difference?

Phrases like “just be here now” “relax into your body” “let things in the past and future go” makes me CRINGE as a meditation teacher. Don’t get me wrong, if you listen to my recordings, you will occasionally hear me slip into this language too, but I try like hell to remember my place as a guide and the role of a practitioner.

For example:

Don’t think of an elephant….

No thinking of an elephant….

Definitely don’t think of a PINK elephant.

Get it?

I want to preface this by saying that I know that folks mean well with what they are saying when they guide in this way.

They want to create an experience for you, the person being guided.

They want you to be here now.

They want you to feel relaxed.

Why? Because being present feels very grounding and is so darn elusive that it can trigger important realizations for living a wholehearted life. Experiencing relaxation, particularly when juxtaposed with what most of us are experiencing particularly during the pandemic – anxiety and fear, can be both potent and healing.

The problem with this is that by suggesting one way of being, when you are experiencing something else, it denies your experience just as it is, making it less than.

Skillful instructions include a noticing and an invitation to simply be right there in the moment with whatever is there — thoughts, planning, boredom, uptightness, sensations in the body, etc. We then use the anchor of our breath to invite as much presence as we can muster up in that moment. Sometimes this leads to relaxation. Sometimes it leads to presence. Oftentimes it leads to boredom, fantasy, and planning. The key then, and why meditation is often referred to as a practice, is to lightly touch those experiences in your practice without getting entangled in them. As you notice the mind wandering, to then return to the anchor of sensation of breath again and again. It’s like reps during a weight training session, you are strengthening the ability of your mind to be present through the noticing when you are not and the repetition of returning to the sensation of breath.

When others guide your experience and overlay their expectations on your experience, a great opportunity is lost.

The Community Meditation teachers on Mind Oasis are exceptional guides who hold safe space for you to experience what comes up on your cushion. They are well-trained in the methods by which you as a practitioner will feel supported, inspired, but will also be learning the skills necessary to find presence, relaxation, and the here and now all on your own!!!

No one can give you the gift of presence and relaxation other than you.

It’s important to check out the qualifications of the folks you engage to teach and guide you in meditation. Remember, it is your mind that you are working with and your mind is a critical component of your wholebeing. Just because a person is on Clubhouse and says they are a meditation teacher does not mean they are well-qualified!

A basic membership to Community Meditation is free and gets you access to over 25 sessions each week to sit in community together (one of the most potent ways to amplify your practice!).

We’d love to welcome you into the Mind Oasis community!
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