meditation course

This free on-line home-study course has been created based on the belief that meditation, being an exploration of one’s own consciousness, is inherently and unavoidably a personal experience that cannot be adequately covered by any one method or technique. This course will provide you with a variety of carefully selected examples and a structure within which you will create your own meditation practice informed by your own exploration and research.

This course is suitable for people with no experience of meditation and for those who have practised meditation but are looking to develop their own personalised meditation practice.

The course covers: meditation techniques; research into the benefits of meditation; theories of consciousness; dealing with difficulties and meditation in daily life.

You are encouraged to attend a local meditation group if possible during the course. Most cities in the UK have weekly drop-in meditation groups at low, or no cost. If you are in Oxford then you are welcome to join events organised by beherenow.space

Jump to the course content: part one; part two; part three; part four; part five; part six.

Duration

Six-weeks, based upon completing one session a day, but you can study this course at your own pace.

Cost

Contributions welcome at www.paypal.me/beherenowspace

About the course

This course is a path of personal discovery where you will be guided towards developing a unique practice of meditation. Selected meditation techniques will be presented to you to explore, develop and refine so you can then create your own bespoke meditation practice. You are encouraged to do further research so as to mould the course to meet your unique requirements. Feedback will be provided after each part of the course and you will have the opportunity to ask any questions that arise.

About me

I have meditated for 25 years and have learnt over that time that it is essential for me to not try and mould myself into a pre-existing system. This is the meditation course that I would want to have discovered when I was looking for a meditation technique to learn.

As well as developing this course I am a trustee of the registered charity beherenow.space where we provide space for people to practise mindfulness meditation without any prescribed philosophy.

I have successfully completed a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course with a certified instructor, modeled on the program founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and has also completed the professional BSY Meditation Teacher Diploma with Distinction and is a Registered BSY Meditation Teacher (formerly the British School of Yoga, established in 1946). Stephen has also attended many meditation retreats in the UK, Italy and India.

 

 

 

Before you start

  • Before beginning this course you should take responsibility for finding out if there is any reason why it would not be beneficial for you to practise meditation, consulting with healthcare professionals as appropriate. Here are two examples of research into some of the negative experiences possible from meditation: Meditation: concepts, effects and uses in therapy by Alberto Perez-De-Albeniz and Jeremy Holmes; Meditation – Encyclopaedia of mental disorders.

 

THE COURSE

Part One – Why do I want to meditate?

This week is about being clear as to what your motivations are for wanting to learn to meditate and to begin your meditation practice with a look at mindfulness as taught and practised at beherenow.space. The clearer you are in setting your intentions, the more likely you are to achieve something of value and significance.

Session One: Assignment One Write or record 50-100 words describing why you want to learn to meditate, including what benefits you hope to get from it. Try to be as specific as possible.

Session Two: Practice One Listen to  one of the guided meditation commentaries on the Insight Timer app or find an alternative mindfulness commentary.

Session Three: Read some of the blogs on this site such as those listed below and find at least one other alternative mindfulness resources:

Session Four: Practice Two Listen to another guided meditation commentary on the Insight Timer app or find an alternative mindfulness commentary.

Session Five: Read some of the blogs on this site such as the one listed below and find at least one other alternative mindfulness resources:

Session Six: Practise Three Listen to another guided meditation commentary on the Insight Timer app or find an alternative mindfulness commentary.

Session Seven: Assignment Two Write or record 50-100 words about your experience of doing these meditations, focussing on: what you found useful; what you found difficult; and what aspects of this form of mindfulness meditation, if any, that you want to take forward and develop in your own practice.

Part Two – What are the benefits of meditation?

This week is about finding out what benefits you can expect from meditation. You should reflect on how they meet your reasons for studying this course and use them as an incentive to continue your practice. This week you will also begin your independent study of meditation techniques and use this to continue your meditation practice.

Session One: Assignment One Find four different descriptions of the benefits of meditation. Cover physical and mental benefits and use a mixture of scientific research and personal testimonies. Links to examples are provided below but research some of your own too. Write or record 50-100 words summarising each of your four choices; concentrate on the benefits that you particularly want to experience*.

Session Two: Assignmment Two Research your first type of meditation. Write or record a 50-100 word description of this meditation technique in your own words. Ensure that you have a clear description that you will be able to use for your practice sessions. Choose one type of meditation from this list (you don’t have to use the specific example given of that type of meditation. You will have the opportunity to choose other techniques from this list in future assignments):

Faith-based meditation techniques:

Sessions Three to Six: Practise your chosen meditation technique on four separate occasions for at least 20 minutes each time.

Session Seven: Assignment Three Write or record 50-100 words about your experience after completing all the four meditation practice sessions (you may find it useful to have made a few notes after each practice sesssion) focussing on: what you found useful; what you found difficult; and what aspects of this form of meditation you want to take forward and develop in your own practice.

Part Three – Dealing with difficulties

Meditation can be difficult and can sometimes increase your awareness of negativity; this part of the course looks at how meditation can develop equanimity towards negativity and transform our experience of it.

Session One: Assignment One Find four talks about how meditation can be used to address negative experiences. Write or record 100-200 words about using meditation to deal with difficulties, include any experiences you have already had.

Here are some examples:

Session Two: Assignment Two Research your second type of meditation. Write or record a 50-100 word description of this meditation technique in your own words. Ensure that you have a clear description that you will be able to use for the practice sessions. You can choose either from the list in part two or choose your own.

Session Three to Six: Practice One to Four Practise this meditation technique for four sessions for at least 20 minutes each time.

Session Seven: Assignment Three Write or record 50-100 words about your experience after completing all the four meditation practice sessions, focussing on: what you found useful; what you found difficult; and what aspects of this form of meditation you want to take forward and develop in your own practice.

Part Four – Meditation in daily life

This part of the course is about starting to bring your experiences and understanding of meditation into action.

Be the change you want to see

Session One: Assignment One Meditation will be of limited benefit to you if you do not bring it into everyday situations and relationships. Find four talks or articles about this and write or record 100-200 words about how taking a meditative approach into your life can, and has so far, affected your actions and interactions at work and at home. Be as specific, as practical and as realistic as possible.

Here are some examples:

Session Two: Assignment Two Research your third type of meditation. Write or record a 50-100 word description of this meditation technique in your own words. Ensure that you have a clear description that you will be able to use for the practice sessions. You can choose either from the list in part two or choose your own.

Session Three to Six: Practice One to Four Practise this meditation technique for four sessions for at least 20 minutes each time.

Session Seven: Assignment Three Write or record 50-100 words about your experience after completing all the four meditation practice sessions, focussing on: what you found useful; what you found difficult; and what aspects of this form of meditation you want to take forward and develop in your own practice.

Part Five – Theories of consciousness

This week is an opportunity to begin to explore theories of consciousness. Assess the relevance of each theory to your experience of consciousness in your meditations. As an introduction to the variety of theories that there are and their proponents, it would be useful to watch this video: The deeper you go

Session One: Assignment One Find four different theories of consciousness. Write or record a 50-100 word description of each theory in your own words. You should choose at least one materialistic theory and at least one non-materialistic theory.  Choose at least one theory from this list of non-materialistic theories of consciousness:

And choose at least one theory from this list of materialistic theories of consciousness:

Session Two: Assignment Two Research your fourth type of meditation. Write or record a 50-100 word description of this meditation technique in your own words. Ensure that you have a clear description that you will be able to use for the practice sessions. If you have not yet chosen a meditation technique that is not on the list, you should do that now.

Session Three to Six: Practice One to Four Practise this meditation technique for four sessions for at least 20 minutes each time.

Session Seven: Assignment Three Write or record 50-100 words about your experience after completing all the four meditation practice sessions, focussing on: what you found useful; what you found difficult; and what aspects of this form of meditation you want to take forward and develop in your own practice.

Part Six – Reflection and creation

This final week is actually the first week of the continuing development and practise of your new life skill of meditation that you have researched and explored over the duration of this course.

Session One: Assignment One Write or record 100-200 words describing your experience of the course and what you have learnt. Include constructive criticism of the course and areas that you found challenging and areas that were rewarding.

Session Two: Assignment Two Write or record a 20 minute meditation commentary of your own meditation technique, based upon your exploration of the four different methods you have chosen and researched. Don’t worry about getting it right first time, this is just your  ‘first draft’ of many ongoing changes you will be making to your personalised practice.

Session Three to Six: Practise your self-created meditation technique for four sessions this week for at least 20 minutes each time.

Session Seven: Assignment Three Write or record  50-100 words about your experience after completing all the four meditation practise sessions, including any ways that you are thinking of changing the meditation for your future practices.

Continue this practice from now on, constantly experimenting with new ideas and new techniques (referring back to the examples in part two that you haven’t researched so far if you choose) to adapt and develop your own technique to keep it fresh and ideally suited for you and your current circumstances.

 

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