Meditation Centers for the Public

sitemgr_photo_7There are many meditation centers open to the public.Meditation Centers generally offer a wide variety of meditation services suitable for all levels and backgrounds.  They offer services for beginners to advanced practitioners. Some centers may focus on a particular philosophy or method and most are all welcoming to newcomers. There are also both non-spiritual and spiritual-based types of meditation centers.  Some offer services freely, on a dana (donation) basis, or for a small fee to cover operating costs.

At a meditation center, you will learn from experienced meditators and be able to meet other like-minded individuals. The services offered may vary depending on their core focus. Some may offer weekly instructor-led meditation classes or sitting groups. They may offer specialized programs, workshops, and events which you can find on our Events page. They may also offer day-long, weekend, or extendedmeditation retreats categorized under Meditation Retreats.  If you are curious about meditation, the best place to start is at a center near you.  You may even be open to trying different philosophies or methods. These are searchable by Meditation Subcategories. Meditation is a process of self-discovery and patience with oneself. Find a practice that works best for you.

Help us spread the word. If you know of a center not yet listed in our meditation directory please refer them to us. Our goal is to make it easy for people to connect with meditation centers around the world.

By Cheryl Schneider

Meditation Room at Airports!

MEDITATION CENTERS AT san jose AIRPORTSI couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a meditation room at the San Jose airport (Terminal B across from Gate 18).  It had a glass door with the inviting words “Meditation Room”. I peaked inside to scope it out. It was a nice quite carpeted space with comfy upright chairs. There wasn’t anyone in the room but it looked very simple and pleasant.   I made a mental note to check it out the next time I was there.  It’s a really great idea. Airports can be very stressful. With everyone in a rush, the air is thick with tension and anxiety.  You can even see it in people’s facial expressions- rolling eyes, shallow breathing, intense faces. Maybe they should call them “Compassion Rooms”.

By Cheryl Schneider

$3000 Handbag vs Dana?

sitemgr_photo_98Today, I did something unusual, I went into a very upscale handbag shop. Actually, it was a spontaneous decision but heavily influenced by a conversation I had with a friend of mine the other day about a bag she saw for $3,000. I refused to believe that anyone would buy such a bag when there are people suffering all around the world that could use that money. So, I decided to see for myself what a bag like that looks like. And there it was, in a glass case, gold clasps, leather with double stitching, brand name written all over it. I had a strange reaction to it. It was a mixture of repulsion and saddness. $3,000 Handbag vs. Dana? When faced with choices like these, may we find it in our hearts to make the right choices.

Labeling Our Experiences

Although Meditation is a very private process (no one else can access our own minds), it is a process that can be influenced by external forces. So often, we let these factors directly impact the quality of our meditation practice. Some of these factors can be helpful, like taking meditation classes, attending meditation retreats, and participating in meditation groups, while others create mental distractions and are more difficult to let go of. The point here is that even though we may believe that these factors are real, we have complete control over how we ultimately label them as good or bad.

Meditation Types

Meditation Types by MeditationFinder.com

Audio Meditation – Audio meditation is meditation that uses an audio device such as CD player or mp3 player to help the person calm thoughts and reach a sustained mental state of peace and tranquility.

Beginners Meditation – Beginners meditation is simple meditative practices on the breath or the body to achieve a calmer state.

Buddhist Meditation – Buddhist meditation takes the basic principles of meditation and includes methods (such as rituals, images, mantras, breathing) that are particular to the practice of Buddhism.

Cha’n Meditation – In Cha’n meditation, enlightenment is transmitted from master to disciple through seated meditation practiced on a regular basis. Ch’an meditation is similar to Zen.

Concentration Meditation –After an initial state of calm is achieved, concentration meditation can then re-focus the mind on a particular subject to gain insight about its fundamental aspects.

Guided Meditation – Guided meditation uses the human voice, either in person or by audio device, to encourage and guide the meditator into deeper states of concentration.

Himalayan Meditation – Himalayan meditation uses the senses, breath and deeper levels of the mind to reach a center of consciousness and understanding.

Loving-Kindness Metta Meditation – Loving-Kindness Metta meditation is a specific meditative exercise that focuses on producing compassionate and kindness towards all.

Mantra Meditation – Mantra meditation is a Buddhist religious practice that uses short invocations of specific deities, said repeatedly, to help focus on specific qualities of mind.

Martial Arts Meditation –Martial arts meditation was often used by warriors of the past to focus their minds and physical skills to vanquish the enemy.

Meditation for Anxiety – Meditation for anxiety is a good way to manage feelings of panic because it slows down the mental processes that cause fear to grow in both the mind and body.

Meditation for Depression – Meditation for depression focuses on letting go of negative thoughts and emotions.

Mindfulness Meditation – Mindfulness meditation is a practice that uses moment-to-moment awareness to increase understanding of the mind’s workings in order to control thoughts and reactions in everyday life.

Morning Meditation – Many people find that a morning meditation can have a beneficial effect on mood, mental acuity and productivity throughout the day.

Online Meditation – You can now find guided audio or text meditations online that can help to increase the intensity of the meditative state.

Qigong Meditation – Qigong uses physical movement to enhance the meditative state. Qigong meditation is often used as a healing exercise.

Sleep Meditation – Sleep meditation attempts to keep the tranquility of a meditation done before sleep throughout the sleep cycle.

Tai Chi Meditation –Tai Chi meditation helps to focus the mind on each movement of slow, rhythmic and balanced exercises that improve health.

Taoist Meditation – Taoist meditation uses a looser, more flexible method that allows the mind to wander at will to a point of understanding.

Tibetan Meditation – Tibetan meditation uses a variety of ornate images, ritual objects, wall hangings and other items to increase the intensity of the meditative experience.

Transcendental (TMS) Meditation – Transcendental meditation is a type of practice that uses a mantra to free the mind of distracting thoughts and relieve the body of tension.

Vedic Meditation – Vedic meditation has Hindu roots rather than Buddhist roots. It uses the same general techniques and principles.

Vipassana (Insight) Meditation – Vipassana meditation focuses on the flow of breath to calm the mind and gain increased awareness.

Walking Meditation – Walking meditation uses the standard meditative principles with the additional component of walking to increase concentration.

Yoga Meditation – Yoga postures are accompanied by breathing exercises and mind-focusing yoga meditation to improve health.

Zazen (Zen) Meditation – Zen relies on sitting, zazen Zen meditation, and an intense meditative experience that leads to sudden realizations of the nature of reality.

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Meditation and Work Life Balance

If you had eight days off to go anywhere in the world, where would you go? For me, the choice was simple, literally. I chose to be in silence for eight hours a day at a beautiful Vipassana meditation retreat center in Northern California. Call me crazy but, yes, this was my idea of fun and relaxation. It was a silent retreat. Nobody said a word to each other even during meals. Eye contact was kept to a minimum. The schedule began at 5:30 a.m. with the sound of a gong and ended with the sound of a gong at 9 p.m. There were alternating sitting and walking meditation sessions, qigong, yoga, hiking and meals throughout the day. I came back home with a clear mind, rejuvenated and completely recharged. I couldn’t have asked for a better siesta. Traditional vacations don’t do it for me – too much action and not enough down time. Some may think it’s selfish, but I think meditation is one of the most selfless things anyone can do. Why? The answer is inherent with nature. Look at plants. Plants need that delicate balance of sun, water and nutrients to thrive and survive. Humans are not much different. So what do humans need to achieve balance? Can money buy you balance? Sure, it can buy you a fancy vacation, but vacations are temporary. For many of us, going back to “reality” from a vacation is like being hit with a semi-truck head on. Two days pass and it feels like you never left. So in retrospect, material things can only bring you temporary relief of life’s pressures. I see meditation as a kind of convenient affordable vacation for the mind. When you get good at it, you can close your eyes any time and send yourself to a place of ultimate bliss. It’s better than what any expensive vacation can give you. Meditation is always there. It’s with you always. And you don’t need to go on a retreat to learn meditation. There are many places in your local communities that offer classes. The retreat was a luxury, but I learned many valuable insights to take back home, especially how to get deeper into meditation. This is highly recommended if you get time off. Namaste.

By Cheryl Schneider

Types of Meditation Classes

sitemgr_photo_52 types of meditation classesMeditation classes are becoming increasingly popular within the U.S. One reason is the rise of meditation teachers around the nation. Even though meditation is generally a personal process, Meditation teachers offer many benefits for helping to develop one’s meditation practice. With an open mind, a meditation student can learn much from a teacher. They act as a guide during meditation sessions and they help you overcome challenges for improving the overall quality of your practice.

Meditation Centers

In the U.S, classes are held at a variety of places. They are held at traditional meditation centers like urban Buddhist monasteries, temples, and churches, and also in more commonly known places such as community centers, hospitals, yoga and fitness studios, schools and universities. Therefore, it is fairly easy nowadays to find a meditation class, especially with the help of the internet. Most classes are open to the public and for all levels and backgrounds.

Meditation Classes

Meditation classes come in many styles. Some are lecture based, some are meditation only, and some are a combination of both. It depends on the center in which you attend. If you attend a Buddhist meditation class for example, you may find the class having a meditation session in the beginning and then a talk or lecture at the end. Some Yoga studios offer meditation-only classes on a drop-in or membership basis. Many classes offer the benefit of group interaction. Classes encourage people to share experiences and ask questions. However if a question can’t be answered during the class, the teacher usually offers a way to contact them afterwards. By attending classes, you also have the benefit of surrounding yourself with other like-minded people.

Meditation Groups

Some classes are organized as meditation groups or meet ups but not necessarily associated with an actual center, although groups can formed by people who you’ve previously met at a center. Meditation groups (also called “sittings”) are usually held by a meditation leader, one who is experienced or trained in meditation. In many cases, the leader is a volunteer. Groups are typically organized at a predetermined time and place. Many people find groups to be helpful because they provide a dedicated period of time for meditation. Also, people find that group meditation improves the overall quality of their meditation experience.

Online Meditation Classes

Online meditation classes are also available for those who prefer a more private learning experience or are unable to attend a class. Like traditional classes, there are many different types of online classes. Online classes offer instructional material and sometimes online interaction. Some people new to meditation start with an online class and then work their way up to attending physical class. It all depends on the person.

Meditation Programs and Workshops

Sometimes its useful to attend a medition program or workshop. These services provide people with a more focused approach to learning about different meditation methods. They may be combined with other related themes such as a yoga meditation program, or stress reduction program. Programs can range from 1 day to several days. They can be held on online, at a meditation center. retreat center, community center, or classroom. A meditation program or workshop is useful if you want to know more about a particular type of meditation practice.

Keeping an Open Mind

There are many reasons why people gravitate towards meditation. Many have a clear intention while others are still trying to figure it out. The most common reason is to find inner peace and happiness. Nonetheless, in order to get the most out of a meditation class, whether it be at a center, an informal group, or online, is to always keeo an open mind.

By Cheryl Schneider

Press Release: MeditationFinder.com Offers Innovative Meditation Directory For Rising Demand

meditationfinder squareMeditationfinder.com is America’s first meditation directory and largest of its kind aimed at supporting the rapidly growing demand for meditation resources in the U.S. By making it easier for practitioners to find local meditation centers, services, and supplies, it represents a milestone in the integration of meditation practice into Western mainstream.

Millions are Searching for Meditation Resources Every Day

Every day, literally millions of Americans are online, searching for resources about meditation. From beginners interested in taking a meditation class or seasoned practitioners looking for an extended meditation retreat, they are online searching but not always finding the information they need. If you teach meditation classes, run a meditation center, lead retreats, organize groups in your community or sell meditation supplies, you may be missing potential customers.

The current demand for meditation services and products means suppliers need more affordable online exposure to support this upsurge of interest. The reasons for this measurable upsurge are many.

Meditation in the West

In the early 1960’s, a form of meditation was brought into the west by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and gained popularity quickly as a result of his famous acolytes, The Beatles. Although consistently practiced by those interested in spirituality and self-discovery since then, interest in meditation has continued to rise in the masses.

Meditation Is the Next Big Health Trend of the 21st Century

With growing associations to mental and physical well-being and accelerated by America’s fascination with eastern practices such as Yoga and Martial Arts, various forms of meditation are being integrated into daily living by more and more people. Meditation is quickly becoming a mainstream practice.

Today, Yoga and Martial Arts studios proliferate, each having their own forms of meditative practices being taught to students. For instance, in Yoga, the practice known as Dharana is the development of single pointed focus meant to lead students into the state of meditation. Within the Martial Arts, meditation methods that focus on breathing are used to clear the mind in preparation for combat.

Meditation in Medical Research

Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) is a new area of medicine often referred to as mind-body medicine. Based on scientific research about how the mind is connected to and affects the body, patients are now being instructed in forms of meditation which employ visualization techniques that encourage positive outcomes when dealing with serious illness. Guided visualization meditation sessions are now an accepted complementary therapy and classes are currently available in many cancer treatment centers across the US.

Another form called Mindfulness Meditation is being studied for its many health benefits, from lessening how people perceive pain to lowering anxiety and stress. Recognizing that the average mind is overcrowded with thoughts about the future, the past and the many demands of daily living, causing many people undue stress, Mindfulness Meditation teaches present moment awareness to remain calm and centered in the midst of the busy world.

Meditation and World Peace

The increase in meditation has also been fueled in part by the Dalai Lama’s activities promoting peace in the West since his exile from Tibet.

New Meditation Directory Makes It Easy to Find Local Meditation Centers, Services, and Suppliers

MeditationFinder.com helps bring meditation to the mainstream by offering affordable online directory rates for business listings, banner ads, events, and classifieds for meditation related services and products. Their goal is to make it easy for people to find local meditation centers, meditation classes, meditation retreat centers, meditation groups, meditation workshops and programs, and meditation research, training, and therapy centers by location or category.

To celebrate their new launch, MeditationFinder.com is offering a 50% discount off all new listings, claimed listings, banner ads, events, and classifieds for 2013.

For more information, view the video at: http://www.youtube.com/meditationfinder.

Or visit the website at http://www.meditationfinder.com.

PRESS RELEASE:
http://www.prweb.com/releases/meditation-centers-finder/meditation-classes-finder/prweb10964956.htm

How to Choose a Meditation Retreat Center

For many of us, going to a meditation retreat center is a time to deepen our meditation practice, away from the distractions and responsibilities of daily life. It can also help us to get back into a regular meditation practice if our daily sitting practice is a bit sporadic!

There are so many meditation retreat centers to choose from. Let’s start with looking at some of the different things that different centers offer.

Austerity Centers differ greatly in their level of ‘austerity’. Some centers offer a luxurious holiday style meditation ‘vacation’ while others have a tougher program, perhaps requiring getting up at 3am with no food after midday (abstaining from food in the afternoon assists in the cultivation of a tranquil mind, allowing deeper meditation to develop)

Food: We will usually have our food prepared for us at a retreat center, sparing us from the usual daily responsibilities of cooking and shopping for food. (This may be either a very simple or a more luxurious menu, depending on the retreat and I have even heard of a retreat center serving meat!) – so it’s worth finding out what kind of food is served.

Silence: Some meditation retreat centers require silence for the entire retreat, or just for certain days of it. Some retreats offer a hermit style isolation, with someone bringing food once a day to avoid social distractions. Surrendering our cellphone to staff (this is required at some meditation retreat centers) can spare us from the distraction of personal or work related interruptions to our meditative peace – if this is a big deal to you for whatever reason, choose accordingly!

Chores: We usually don’t have to go to work on retreat (unless there are chores to do around the center – sometimes known as karma yoga) but we certainly get a break from the daily work that we usually do.

Accomodation: Some retreats offer dormitory accomodation, some have private rooms with or without shared bathrooms (These may be twin or single) Some have hot water, some cold water only, some have showers, some are bucket bath only. If this is a big deal to you, again, choose accordingly!

Religious Observances, Location, Language: Some meditation retreat centers are religious in nature, with chants and observances and some are without any religious affiliation. Some centers are urban and some are in beautiful countryside or mountain locations. If travelling overseas to a meditation retreat, there may be multi lingual staff or teachers, or you may need to speak a certain language to benefit fully.

Choose a meditation retreat center that appeals to where you are in your practice. If you’re starting out in meditation , why not try a short retreat (either a fee paying one or donation only) or a holiday style retreat if you can afford it (not necessarily any better of course, in terms of what benefits you will take away from the experience!) Do your research to see what’s available. There will be something to suit everyone. If you are more advanced in your practice, for example if you’ve done a retreat before or attended lots of meditation classes, why not try a 10 day silent retreat (or longer) – it’s so worth doing (and so hard to find the time!) One thing is certain – the benefits of whichever meditation retreat you choose will be there to enjoy until the next time!

By Mia Randall of MiaRandall.com – Author of Meditation Motivation – A Quick Tour of Buddhism and 20 Easy Tips to Create a Daily Practice

Life Is a Powerful Meditation

If you have ever attempted to sit in meditation, you know how challenging it can be. The mind rushes from one thought to the next, taking you from past to future events and back, in a relentless chatter; the body goes from one discomfort to another, and even the slightest external noise grabs your attention. Before you know it, you are so distracted by your thought processes that meditation seems not only impossible but also a futile endeavor.

Most people give up meditation because they are unable to quiet their mind; or maybe I should say because their mind convinces them that it is more powerful than they are and so it feels like a lost battle from the start. They think that meditation means controlling the mind, and that in order to meditate they need to suppress it somehow. Meditation, however, is really not about control as much as it is about discipline and focus.

When you sit in meditation, your mind is doing exactly the same thing it always does, which is to create thoughts. This is inevitable because it is the nature of the mind to create thoughts. The only difference is that when you sit and expect it to be quiet, you realize how active and noisy it is, but when you are out in the world, or your attention is on the world, it doesn’t bother you because you don’t expect it to be anything it is not: your mind and the world are one and the same when your attention is focused outward.

If you think about it for a minute, life is no different than meditation. As within so without. You have a desire or a goal, and off you go, trying to accomplish it, filled with enthusiasm and hope. Yet before you can even realize how you got off track, you find yourself tangled up with thoughts, emotions, obstacles, or relationships that distract you and take up the energy you were supposed to put into fulfilling your desire.

Manifesting Your Goals and Desires

Some of my clients find manifesting what they want a very challenging prospect; they tend to get discouraged because they don’t seem able to reach their goals; and they are quick to start questioning their desires or purpose altogether and allowing their fears to take over.

Courage takes a lot of energy; believing in yourself and your goals also takes a lot of energy; and maintaining the focus on your purpose takes a lot of energy as well. It is mental and emotional energy that I am talking about here. So if you can relate to some of my clients, I would say that you do not get discouraged because you cannot reach your goals; you cannot reach your goals because you get discouraged, in the sense that you lose steam: you don’t put enough energy and focus to create enough momentum for anything to manifest.

In other words, you cannot see or create the “big picture” because you do not believe that you can, or you do not believe that you deserve it—or both. If you have a desire, rest assured that its manifestation is ready for you to perceive: it is the other side of the same desire; but if your mind takes you from desire to self-doubt to fear, back to desire, and then back to self-doubt, the energy gets diffused and you are not able to perceive and manifest what you want.

You may have started with much enthusiasm, but before your desire is ready to get actualized in life, you may have gotten distracted with something else; or maybe you are unable to perceive it because you don’t believe it is possible; or you are not open enough to receive its gratification due to some hidden belief that creates a blockage instead and pulls your attention in the opposite direction.

Like meditation, manifesting desires requires mental and emotional discipline and focus—the discipline to remove what prevents you from perceiving what is already there, and the focus to increase and direct the energy it requires. Remember that wherever your attention goes, there goes your energy as well, along with your creative power.

Meditate to Empower Your Life

If you want to go beyond a simple relaxed state and achieve a true meditative state, where the mind is quiet and you get lost in your true nature as you slowly merge with the Self, then you require the discipline to focus your attention one-hundred-percent on whatever technique you use—your breath, a mantra, an image.

Likewise, if you want to accomplish your dreams or goals, you need to focus your attention and energy one-hundred-percent on them, without allowing any distractions. If something comes along and sets you off track, you get back on focus and continue without questioning it, or doubting yourself, or giving up.

This is why meditation is such an important practice. Not only does it allow you to create a silent space within to gain clarity and insight about who you truly are, but it also gives you the discipline to master your life in spite of the challenges and obstacles you may encounter along the journey.

You cannot control life; you cannot expect your mind to be of a different nature either; but you can definitely choose what you focus on and where you direct your energy. And this is the key to accomplishing your goals and desires, as well as achieving higher states of consciousness through meditation. So don’t lose focus!

© 2012 Yol Swan. All rights reserved.

Yol Swan is a Spiritual Life Purpose & Business Coach offering her intuitive and healing gifts, plus over 28 years of experience exploring the mind and psyche, to help conscious women entrepreneurs and Indigo adults embrace their Sacred Selfishness and shape a joyful and abundant life in alignment with their soul purpose.

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