Meditation as Medicine with Shannon Wills
…or check it out wherever you enjoy podcasts:
In this episode of the Wake Up, Human podcast, I’m going it solo. Rather than post an interview, I’ve decided to spend some time talking about a single topic, one that’s been foundational to my own development, and one of my favorite tools for waking up: meditation.
My intention here is not to teach meditation or promote any particular practice (though I’ll list some resources and favorites below). Rather, my intention is to unpack a specific theme around meditation: meditation as medicine.
I’ll review the concept of “separation sickness,” (from Episode 2) the ailment of separation from nature and wholeness that so many people suffer in our fast-paced, technological society. I’ll offer my take on meditation as a medicine, or a “reconnection remedy,” for separation sickness. I’ll give a short overview of meditation, share some personal stories from my journey, and provide some practical tips along the way.
I offer this episode, not as an expert or master meditator, but as a longtime student, still on the journey toward self-mastery in relationship to the mind. I hope there’ll be something here of benefit to both experienced meditators and beginners alike.
I hope you’ll join me for this personal (and somewhat philosophical) episode of the Wake Up, Human podcast.
*Shout out to Naturalist Jon Young, from whom I borrowed the terms “separation sickness” + “epidemic of disconnection” referred to in this episode.
Episode at a glance: topics we’ll explore
- Why is meditation an excellent tool for waking up to our essential nature?
- Why do I call meditation a “medicine,” and what is it a medicine for?
- I share the story of my first meditation experience, and how it blew my mind.
- What do I mean by meditation? I offer a basic explanation of meditation practice.
- I discuss gaining sovereignty and self-mastery over our thoughts, and why it matters.
- I share a daily practice for making space between our thoughts and our beliefs.
- Why meditation is not a cure-all — and some of the other things we need to thrive.
Suggested Resources for Meditation:
- Eknath Easwaran and Blue Mountain Center for Meditation: I recommend Easwaran’s books, videos, and the community/courses offered at BMCM.
- Shambhala meditation centers: The lineage is Tibetan Buddhism, teachings are highly practical and modern.
- Transcendental Meditation: a simple meditation practice similar to what’s discussed during this episode. You can find a teacher and take classes. But for background, I would honestly start by just searching YouTube and watching a few videos on TM from personalities who interest you.
- Vipassana Meditation: For those ready to go deeper, I highly recommend the 10-day meditation experience of Vipassana meditation in the tradition of S.N. Goenka.
- Passage Meditation by Eknath Easwaran Presents Easwaran’s 8-Point Program for meditation and skillful living, entertaining and extremely practical.
- Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn Mindfulness meditation in everyday life.
- Zen Mind, Beginners Mind by Shunryu Suzuki Classic primer on Zen meditation.
- Turning the Mind Into an Ally by Sakyong Mipham Valuable treatise on befriending and working with the mind.
- Freedom from the Known by J. Krishnamurti (not specifically about meditation, but Krishnamurti is an essential resource for those of us wanting to take spiritual ownership over our minds and our lives.)
Extra: “Meditation as a Lab”
“There’s a lab for this class. It’s called meditation.”Michael Nagler
If you were intrigued by the episode segment about meditation being a “practice lab” for Peace and Conflict Studies class, check out the link below. Michael Nagler’s Metta Center hosts a recording of his 2-part PACS course at University of California at Berkeley, recorded before he retired in 2007.
In the right sidebar are links to an updated set of recordings Prof. Nagler has produced since retiring, followed by a note on the Meditation Lab, including instructional videos and a short e-book on “Meditation for Peacemakers.”
May it be of benefit.
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