Did you know that Reed College celebrates a special once-a-year holiday called Health-O-Ween? H-O-Ween is sponsored by Reed’s Wellness Committee, a Reed community group that highlights a spectrum of wellness activities for the Reed community.
Health-O-Ween activities announced by the Wellness Committee for next week include:
Three Portland groups are sponsoring a regular public silent meditation walks at Portland’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices in SW Portland. The sponsoring groups are Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice, and Ziji Collective (see Facebook).
The walks are held on 2nd Thursdays from noon-1 pm at the Portland ICE offices, 4310 SW Macadam Ave (corner of SW Bancroft & Macadam). Upcoming dates are the 2nd Thursday of the month: Dec 14, Jan 11, Feb 8, Mar 8, Apr 12, May 10, Jun 14.
One thing that I especially appreciate about Portland summers: the long summer evenings. There are just so many extra hours to our “days” during the summer. Which means that, after dinner, I can step out into the garden, or over to the sidewalk, and practice walking meditation.
If you’ve never tried walking meditation, it’s really quite simple. Walking mindfully is just like sitting mindfully: you open your mind to what is going on, note the coming and going of thoughts, and (here’s the new part), open your attention to the sensations of walking. One step after another – muscles tense and relax, each foot absorbs pressure and weight and then releases, perhaps a slight swaying from side to side.
Here are some posts and articles with extra hints:
Next week, Jan 16-19, brings some special meditation opportunities as part of Reed’s informal winter session: Paideia 2017. Here’s the full list (with class descriptions at the bottom):
- Jan 16, M, noon-1 pm, Eliot chapel – Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners taught by Mary Priester ’76 and Prof. Alan Shusterman
- CANCELLED (College closed because of weather) – Jan 17, Tu, noon-1 pm, Eliot chapel – sitting meditation, first bells at 12:10, last bells at 12:40, drop-ins welcome-come when you can-leave when you want
- Jan 17, Tu, 2-3 pm, Dance Studio – Walking Meditation taught by Alan Shusterman
- Jan 18, W, noon-1 pm, Eliot chapel – Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners taught by Mary Priester ’76 and Prof. Alan Shusterman
- Jan 19, Th, 2-3 pm, Dance Studio – Walking Meditation taught by Alan Shusterman
All of the events listed above are also listed on the Reed Meditation Google calendar, and are open to all members of the Reed community and their guests.
While it isn’t necessary to sign up for the classes, doing so could be a good way to show Paideia organizers your support for meditation. Tuesday noon-1 sitting meditation repeats weekly throughout the spring semester. See Our Schedule for dates and locations.
New to meditation? Here are descriptions of the two meditation classes:
You probably know that I’m a big fan of walking meditation. Walking was the ‘gate’ that I had to pass through before I could manage to sit. I bought a CD of walking meditation instructions (“gently lift your left foot…”) and I practiced only silent walking for weeks.
I still practice walking meditation regularly. The steady movement, the changing visual background, the sounds of the outdoors (I practice on sidewalks and in parks), help me bring awareness to all facets of my life. So I was pretty excited today when Tricycle magazine sent me an article (“Walking: Meditation on the move“, Summer 1996) that gathers short instructions for walking meditation from several teachers, ranging from Thich Nhat Hanh to Henry David Thoreau.
Below is an excerpt of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s instructions taken from his book “Wherever You Go There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life.”
A friend once told me, “Kayaking is my meditation. That’s where I go all zen.” Well, why not? I’m not going to debate what zen is (I still don’t know), but is exercise the same thing as meditation? Here is what a Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, has to say about that:
Lion’s Roar has published a beginner’s guide to Buddhism and meditation (Sept 18, 2015). The meditation section responds to important questions like, “How can I get started with basic meditation? Why should I meditate? How much should I meditate?” and so on. Here’s their answer to the first question:
I recently told how researchers have documented beneficial changes in brain chemistry and function that follow a quiet walk in nature (see Do Yourself a Favor, July 26). With the return of warm weather (and more likely to follow in August), you might have some cool walks planned for your mornings or evenings.
Do yourself a favor and you might just do a favor for everyone around you. How is that possible? Simple. Research shows that you can cultivate positive mental states by slowing down your activity and paying attention to your surroundings.
The Well section of today’s NY Times contains an article that connects mindfulness and how successful people are at maintaining a physical exercise routine (“How Mindfulness Can Jump-Start Our Exercise Routines,” by G. Reynolds). The emphasis here is on the word ‘routine’ because so many of us take up exercise and then, after a couple of sessions, let it lapse. Continue reading