Meditation Resources - Online
Self Compassion Meditations with Dr.Kristin Neff
This website has a few exercises and some guided meditations that I used at least once a day for a few weeks, and greatly benefitted from. I now go back to her site when I’m feeling really down, and having a hard time finding compassion for myself. It can be hard to start, but once I began to access that self compassion, I felt myself change in a deep place that I hadn’t known existed. Highly recommend.
everyday zen/Soto Zen Buddhism
Zoketsu Norman Fischer is my number one guy. The way he talks, his voice, his language - there’s nobody else with the simple grace to cut so quickly to the heart of whatever subject or feeling is at hand. This site has dharma talks, guided meditations, readings - anything you could be needing at the moment. I recently started exploring the Study Guide section, and found a wealth of offerings. It just keeps getting better.
Nancy is the teacher of my Somatic Experiencing Psychotherapist. She has a number of meditations on her site that you might actually record yourself, which adds a layer of personalization and self-knowledge (listening to your own voice) to the meditation practice. They are often visualizations, so if that works for you, this may be wonderfully helpful. My therapist recommends the Future Self meditation for regular practice.
This is John Kabat-Zinn’s initiative. It’s basically secular buddhism as far as I can tell, and it’s made its way into hospitals because it is so deeply effective at helping people heal and cope. If you want to work with your doctor, you can get a referral to take an 8-week program in MBSR for free (outside of hospitals it usually costs about $300). I listen to this body scan of his quite often.
Tara Brach’s most celebrated work is a book called “Radical Acceptance.” This might give you an idea of her teachings already. I particularly love her meditations on heart space, and find that when I do them, my felt sense in my body changes dramatically towards peacefulness (usually after the meditation is complete).
This is another group that follows the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh (like Mindful Heart Hamilton and True Peace Toronto), but for youth only.
This organization offers the famous 10-day silent retreats everybody's talking about! Your first retreat is free, with returning participants only offering donations to cover their costs. This type of meditation is strict, and very effective for creating a major experience of oneself, so it's best to ask questions about needs you may have, or concerns going in. I was turned away when I started meditating, because they weren't confident that I was ready, given my health history. I'm glad they did. I hope to go in the fall when I'm feeling more steady, and have a year of steady practice supporting the difficulties that I know will arise. Everyone I know who has done it has gushed about it in no uncertain terms: it changed their lives.
Meditation Resources - Hamilton, ON
This is a Zen Buddhist meditation community that meets at Inland Island on Wednesday nights, 7 - 9pm, to practice together. For now, I lead the meditations, but this will change as we grow!
This site has a great resource list for mindfulness training programs, retreats, and sitting groups in the Greater Hamilton Area.
Meditation Resources - Toronto
This is my sangha, my community in Toronto. They practice in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh. Since I no longer live there, I don’t have access to it every week, but this group is where I learned meditation, and where I found loving acceptance that transformed me. They meet Mondays and Fridays for 2-hour sessions, and welcome newcomers of any experience level at any time. Tell them I sent you and send them my love :)
Another community practicing in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, though their weekly program looks a little different than True Peace. They meet for 3 hours each Saturday morning, and have a break in the middle for mindful movements, tea, and snacks. It's a lovely collection of people, and a more social gathering. What a wonderful place to make new friends!