Journey to enlightenment

Yuma Sun: It took one book about meditation to put Jean Myers on the road to enlightenment – and now she wants other Yumans to join her on her journey.

“I read a book called ‘Original Goodness’ by Eknath Easwaran. My husband Carl (and I) were so impressed by it,” Myers said.

“It enabled people from Western traditions to get a handle on meditation because I thought meditation was something weird. I didn’t know what it was at all.”

Myers, along with others in the community involved with the meditation group Insight Meditation Yuma, will be offering residents the opportunity to lower stress levels and embark on “a journey toward enlightenment” in a free three-week introductory course on insight meditation beginning Jan. 13 at Serenity Yoga Studio, 720 E. 22nd St.

Myers said meditation faces a stigma brought on by Western traditions and religions, but the benefits have extended themselves to every aspect of her life.

“Some people say meditation is not doing anything good for the world because you are just going off by yourself to think. But what I have found is when I am in a more clear place in my own mind, then whatever I do, I can do with more compassion.”

The course will include the benefits and techniques of meditation with an emphasis on insight meditation.

“Insight meditation is one of the types of meditation that the Buddha taught 2,500 years ago. Basically, we usually start off with focusing on an object like your breath.

“It’s kind of difficult to have new people jump in the group that haven’t meditated before, so we’re offering this free class to teach people the meditation process. That’s what we will be teaching people to do in the introduction: how to concentrate and bring their mind into their own control a little more.”

Myers, who with her husband leads the course, said some of the benefits of meditation include lower blood pressure, a decrease in stress symptoms and an overall change in mentality to include more patience and a calmer frame of mind.

“People are looking to achieve something more than what their lives are giving them, more than what their everyday life offers. Meditation certainly does do that, but it can do even more than that. It depends on how much people want to get into it.

“Basically most meditations are concentration exercises, which means you learn to focus your mind but gain more control over what you think. A lot of us sort of feel like anything that comes into our minds we have to believe it. Or those thoughts are because that’s who we are … and it isn’t.”

Myers said meditation helps to control one’s thoughts to allow for the choice to decide if a thought is helpful or not.

“If it isn’t, then I can toss it out. Because I have been learning concentration, I can see what my mind has been doing more. When you don’t have that, your mind will go a mile a minute in every which way.”

Each of the Sunday afternoon courses, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., affords students the opportunity for silent meditation in the Serenity Yoga Studio as well the ability to ask questions and share experiences, she said. Integrating meditation into students’ daily life will also be emphasized.

“The insight part comes after you have been meditating awhile you start to see life differently, you start to see things with a lot deeper perspective. So these insights aren’t something that you have to believe because someone tells you, it’s something that you have discovered yourself. That’s why, to me, it’s so powerful because it’s my own journey and my own discovery.

“I have been doing this for many years, 15 years, and you just can’t imagine life without it after awhile.”

Yuma Sun

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