Meditation

“Mindfulness is the miracle by which we master and restore ourselves – Thich Nhat Hanh

I t is with profound respect and deep appreciation for the timeless wisdom of the contemplative traditions I have been blessed to study and practice over the years, that I offer my support and guidance to groups and individuals in the introduction and practice of meditation.

Why Meditation?

Because your well-being depends on it!

Meditation in general, and mindfulness meditation in particular has finally taken the major role it deserves on the large stage of health and self-care. Although its origins are ancient and rooted in Eastern spiritual traditions, today meditation is being recognized as a central element to mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being throughout the world.

The advent of neuroscience, and its revolutionary research on meditation and the brain now presented in over three-hundred published papers, clearly demonstrate how regular meditation practice improves our overall well-being in a wide variety of ways by literally changing the structure of our brain – hence changing the way we feel and experience our lives.

On an emotional level this means that through regular meditation practice we improve the way in which we experience ourselves and the world by having a better understanding of, and relationship to, our emotional states. Awareness of, and friendliness with, our emotions allows us to regulate them and improve our response to difficult situations. Being more mindful helps us experience our lives more openly.

On a mental level, meditation provides the type of support our mind needs to cope, re-balance and thrive in today’s overstimulating, stressful and frantic lifestyle. By quieting the mind and allowing it to experience openness and tranquility we nourish and restore the natural balance so essential to our well-being.

On a neurological level, a wide variety of evidence-based research has proven that repetitive practice of mindfulness meditation literally helps the growth of new synapses in the brain, strengthens existing ones, and helps produce new brain tissue. In essence, meditation can expand the size of the brain, primarily the prefrontal cortex area, the area responsible for: emotional balance, body regulation, empathy, insight, intuition, morality and attuned communication.

On a physical level, meditation provides the much-needed sense of tension release, relaxation and cellular rejuvenation that our body needs to rebalance and heal. Meditation is like a soothing bath for our nervous system, organs, and cells – just what the body needs to withstand the pressures of modern living.

Independent from any religious orientation, on a spiritual level, meditation reconnects us to the spaciousness, openness, and peacefulness that is our true nature. Through meditation, we expand and deepen our sense of wholeness, inner peace and being.


Why Mindfulness Meditation?

Because Mindfulness Meditation is particularly different and beneficial!

It is important to point out that the history of meditative practice dates back thousand of years, hence rich with a variety approaches and “styles”.  Mindfulness meditation is different from most other meditation practices in that it trains us to skillfully develop a greater and greater sense of attention to, and appreciation for, the present moment experience – the only real moment in which we are alive!

We spend most of our life not really being aware of the present moment. We think we are because we can cite and talk about all the things we do. In reality, however, we are living our lives mostly on auto-pilot, not really aware of the richness and beauty of every moment we have. This mindlessness of the moment – not being fully present to our experiences and being habitually distracted – ultimately causes us much unhappiness, a sense of lack of true joy and fulfillment. We are lost in our busyness and our doing, forgetting who we really are: human Beings.

Mindfulness meditation, in helping us bring full attention to the present moment, helps us reclaim our lives. It increases our capacity to be aware and in tune with our experiences to avoid becoming numb to and disconnected from our aliveness.

Since our lives are lived only in the present, by not being aware of the present moment, we are not aware of our lives. It is only when we become more aware of our experiences that we really see what is happening for us. Because of this gained awareness, we can then address and, when needed, redirect ourselves to a happier and more joyous life.

Mindfulness meditation is also particularly different in that it actually redesigns the landscape of our brain with each practice. Since we now know that the brain continues to grow and change over time with experiences, the type of experiences we have determine the quality and type of changes our brain makes.

The key element of intentionally paying attention to our experience, which is central to mindfulness practice, is what helps the brain grow new synapses thus enriching brain potentiality and improving our well-being. By directly affecting the prefrontal lobes of the brain, mindfulness meditation helps increase the modulation of emotions, insight, self-reference, fear, stress, intuition and pain management.

Changing our brain structure and function to improve our quality of life is not a fantasy. Mindfulness meditation is one of the keys!


Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation

Regular and committed mindfulness meditation practice can provide the following well-being benefits:

  • improved concentration and focus
  • reduced emotional reactivity
  • increased sense of awareness
  • reduced mental and physical stress
  • greater immune response
  • increased cognitive abilities
  • increased rate of healing
  • greater empathy
  • improved memory
  • better pain management and sensitivity
  • a greater sense of physical and mental well-being
  • inner-peace and happiness

Although these are well-documented benefits derived from mindfulness meditation practice, the key element for their success is practice.

Regular daily practice, especially if supported by an experienced teacher, is necessary in order to begin reaping the life-changing benefits this ancient and wise practice has to offer.


My Meditation Journey

My spiritual journey dates back to my childhood thanks to the amazing blessing of being born to parents who devoted their entire lives to spiritual service, and who nourished my young searching spirit with love and care. In my late teens, inspired by the reading of the Tao Te Ching and by the practice of a mystic style of Kung Fu, I became interested in meditation and began experimenting with it after a series of spontaneous meditative states which I cultivated intuitively for years.

After moving to California in 1986, I continued practicing and studying without a formal teacher. In 2003, moved by a growing desire to deepen my spiritual journey, I embarked on a committed path of formal training and practice of Buddhism in the Zen tradition, taking vows as a layperson. Subsequently, I also studied in the Tibetan (Vajrayana) tradition and Vipassana tradition, specifically in Mindfulness meditation with a variety of Western and Easter teachers.

Over the last fifteen years, I have maintained a regular meditation practice, participated in many multi-day and week-long meditation retreats (both silent and not), Dharma study intensives, and meditation training workshops, and maintained an ongoing connection with Eastern and Western teachers.

Moved by the deep impact of meditation practice in my life, I started teaching meditation in 2010 with the support and encouragement of my teacher Peter Fenner.

I am a Certified Mindfulness Teacher through the Mindfulness Training Institute 


Gratitude

My infinite gratitude for the blessing of Dharma and meditation guidance goes to Peter Fenner and Ken Bradford  (in the Vajrayana and Nondual Wisdom traditions) and to Rupert Spira. To Jian Hu Shifu (in the Ch’an (Zen) tradition). To Anam Thubten Rinpoche (in the Vajrayana tradition). And to Jack Kornfield, Trudy Goodman, Tara Brach, Mark Coleman, Martin Aylward, and James Baraz (in the Vipassana/Insight tradition).

About Andrea

I am a meditation teacher, nondual coach and facilitator, workshop/retreat leader, as well as offer meditation guidance.