Peace: The Gift We Give Ourselves (+ Guided Meditation)

 It’s no surprise that this is the season where many of us may carry around a little more tension, whether were conscious of this added pressure or not. The Newark Center for Meditative Culture (NCMC) offers this gentle reminder that “peace of mind” is the gift we can give to ourselves at any time. Today we’re sharing a few best practices to aid you in navigating the year’s end, enabling you to show up for yourself and others fully present. 

1) PAUSE: Take a moment to see how it feels to simply give yourself space to pause in the present moment. Close your eyes and relax into the stillness of the ever present now. 

2) BREATHE: The simple act of taking a deep breath can calm you down and lower your heart rate. Try this: Take a deep breath in through your nose for 3 counts, hold it for 3 counts, and then exhale through your mouth for 3 counts. The goal is to exhale a little longer than you inhale to reap the benefits. 

3) FEEL: Can you feel your physical body? How does it feel right now? What does your face feel like? Your jaw? Your neck and shoulders? Does your body feel hot or cold? Are you aware of tension or ease? Can you feel your feet on the floor? The weight of your body in a chair? Take a moment to ground and anchor yourself into the physical sensations you feel in your body. 

4) CARE: Experiment with offering yourself some kindness and compassion right now, just as you would to a dear friend. You can give yourself a compliment, say a few supporting phrases, or even place a hand on your heart or abdomen for a few moments to send warmth to your body. 

5) GIVE: Can you find an opportunity to give a gift, volunteer your time, or do something thoughtful and surprising for someone else? No matter how you give back, you will benefit by generating positive emotions for yourself while in the process of helping others. Acts of service can also help us find meaning in our own lives and gain perspective on our purpose, gifts and talents. 

6) PRIORITIZE: Is there too much on your plate right now? Is there some way you can cut back and prioritize your to-do list to bring some ease into your life? Now is not the time to see how many places you can be in at once or to find out if you can keep everyone happy. (Spoiler Alert: The answers are “Only one “ and “No.”) 

7) GRATITUDE: Expressing gratitude for things doesn’t magically make everything better, but it does help decrease stress by reminding us about all that is going right. Before you go to bed, try writing down 5 things you were thankful for during the day. 

Feel free to be creative. No matter how big or small, there is always something to be grateful for. 

8) JOURNAL: Often there is so much information swimming around in our heads that we bring on undue stress and anxiety. Try taking a few minutes each day to write down whatever comes to mind. Just the act of putting thoughts on paper can help clear your mind and decrease stress levels. After you’ve written about it, decide what you want to do with the information next. Would turning it into a to-do list be helpful? Or did you just need to get some things out of your head and off your chest? 

9) SELF-CARE: Is there something you could do now that would instantly bring you joy? Pick out a few self-care activities you can easily do without much effort. Then try to carve out time every week for some of your favorite things. Whatever the activities may be, practice them regularly and don’t let yourself feel guilty for taking care of you! 

These are just a few simple ways to usher in some peace and joy. Remember, it’s important to be gentle with yourself and others during any time of stress. While there’s no quick fix for eliminating stress entirely, there are things you can do to help manage it and mitigate its effects. 

As a bonus, please enjoy this meditation by NCMC Spiritual Director Ib’Nallah Kazi. 

NCMC sends you lots of love today and always, and we can’t wait to see you in the new year at any of our upcoming programs. 

May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be free from inner and outer harm. May you care for yourself joyfully. 

Namaste. 


RISE AND SHINE YOUR LIGHT DIVINE: 3-Part Online Learning Series starts Sunday, March 14th

Live online Sunday learning sessions with Kazi guiding you in Meditations, Movement, Messages, and Meals to put the Mojo in your Mornings.

Register at ncmc-divine-light.eventbrite.com

Teacher: Kazi | Dates: March 14, 21 & 28 | Time: 9am to 10am EST | Donation: $20 suggested for the series | Age: Adults (Youths welcome for free accompanied by adults) | Level: All welcome, no experience necessary | Platform: NCMC Zoom.

Learn to:
Weed your time mind to align with nature’s auspicious and propitious cycles.
Seed your intentions in the soul-soil of the season.
Feed your soul roots vital chi food trapped in body tension via Xtension.
Bonus soul food vital break-fast recipe!

Bio-note:
Ib’nallah S. Kazi is a New York-based spiritual wilderness guide, born in Panama and raised in New York. He graduated from Adelphi University, in 1981 with a BA in Psychology. Following careers in human services, public education and public health in the New York City area, he then placed an emphasis on wellness and spiritual cultivation through his own program, presently known as Our Shaman Song. As a spiritual wilderness guide, he gently awakens the inner guidance of wellness seekers through the process of integrating the medicinal forces inherent in our Heavenly (spiritual), Human (social) and Earthly (natural) environments. Along with his friend and hiking partner Sala Nolan, Kazi founded the Harriet Tubman Hiking Society in 1988 to expose the African-American community to the strengthening, healing and spiritually grounding benefits of immersion in nature. He is the Spiritual Director and Meditation Medicine teacher with NCMC.

____________________

A donation-based program of Newark Center for Meditative Culture, a New Jersey 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your tax deductible donations make it possible for us to continue delivering life-changing programs to the Greater Newark community and beyond.


The 7 Dimensions of Wellness in a Nutshell

August is Wellness Month and we’ve put together an overview of the 7 Dimensions of Wellness.

Consider designing your own wellness program for August with good planning and a goal to sustain and build on it!

We’ve also provided a fillable Wellness Month Calendar that you can print out to use and we created a month of daily suggestions to inspire you. There’s other tools described available for your use that might help too.

What are a few of the dimensions below that you might like to work on? How can you apply changes successfully on a daily or weekly basis in order to make a habit of them?


1. PHYSICAL WELLNESS

Move more and eat better.

Tips and suggestions:

• Exercise daily.
• Control your meal portions.
• Eat healthy foods/avoid processed and junk foods.
• Get adequate rest.
• Protect yourself against injuries.
• Learn to recognize early signs of illness.
• Use alcohol in moderation or not at all.
• Stop smoking and protect yourself from second-hand smoke.

Without physical health, it is more difficult to be mentally and emotionally healthy, so the two key components are to exercise and eat well. Improving physical wellness involves personal responsibility and often leads to the psychological benefits of enhanced self-esteem, self-control, determination, and a sense of purpose.

Another important element — we think very important in your wellness practice — is to use mindfulness to manage your compulsions and obsessions that drive bad habits. In fact, if you can’t necessarily add good behaviors during Wellness Month, start by mindfully trying to remove bad behaviors.


2. EMOTIONAL WELLNESS

Develop mindfulness and optimism skills.

Tips and suggestions:

• Tune-in to your thoughts and feelings.
• Cultivate an optimistic attitude.
• Seek and provide support.
• Learn time management skills.
• Learn meditation and mindfulness techniques.
• Learn stress management techniques.
• Deal with anger constructively.
• Accept and forgive yourself.

Emotional wellness is by nature a dynamic state that fluctuates along with your other six dimensions of wellness. It is important to develop a positive outlook on life and surround ourselves with positive people. Uniquely, time management is an important factor of emotional wellness, allowing time for ourselves and minimizing stress-induced situations.

Practicing mindfulness helps to really be present in the moment so you don’t jump onto the wrong emotional train. Expressing your feelings of love, gratitude, and other positive feelings can help alleviate alienation. During Wellness Month you might pick just a few negative habits to weaken, using your own daily prayers to reinforce your efforts.


3. INTELLECTUAL WELLNESS

Stimulate and inspire your brain.

Tips and suggestions:

• Take a course or workshop.
• Teach others.
• Learn or perfect a foreign language.
• Seek out people who challenge you intellectually.
• Read books and watch more educational programs.
• Attend museums, exhibits, and theater.
• Travel and explore other cultures.

The intellectual dimension encourages learning, growth, and creativity. An active and open mind leads to a life filled with curiosity, passion, and purpose. Just as our bodies need motivation and exercise, so too our minds. If we are not intellectually stimulated, life can be mundane and this can lead to depression and resentment.

Tied to our emotional wellness, it is easy to compare and judge ourselves if we don’t feel intellectually competent or aren’t comfortable with and made peace with our own capacity. To ensure our personal maximum intellectual wellness we can take advantages of available resources to find new hobbies, read, take a course — simply keep learning!


4. SOCIAL WELLNESS

Cultivate friendships and contribute to community.

Tips and suggestions:

• Cultivate healthy relationships.
• Contact old friends and make new friends.
• Get involved.
• Contribute to your community.
• Share your talents and skills.
• Communicate your thoughts, feelings and ideas.

Personal connections contribute to a long and fulfilling life — whether they are family, friends, community groups, or even global connections. When you nurture relationships you create healthy support networks, contribute to the greater good, and builds a sense of belonging.

This means practicing good communication skills and developing intimacy with others. Social wellness also includes showing respect for others as well as yourself. An active social life can be incredibly stimulating and conducive to positive changes in all seven dimensions of wellness.


5. SPIRITUAL WELLNESS

Nourish your soul and open your heart.

Tips and suggestions:

• Explore your spiritual core.
• Spend time alone to reflect.
• Meditate regularly.
• Take pauses to pay attention to your breath.
• Be inquisitive and curious.
• Try to be fully present in all you do.
• Listen with your heart and live by your principles.
• Allow yourself and those around you the freedom to be who they are.
• See opportunities for growth in the challenges life brings you.

When we develop a set of guiding beliefs and principles it gives a sense of meaning and purpose to our life. Keeping an open mind in a spirit-centered life may bring up thoughts of despair, fear, and doubt as we grow, but out of it can come joy, happiness, and wisdom.

It is important to spend quiet time each day, reflecting or meditating, or simply pausing to take a few minutes to breathe properly. Spiritual wellness includes developing a deep appreciation for the depth and expanse of life and natural forces of the universe.


6. ENVIRONMENTAL WELLNESS

Love and care for the planet.

Tips and suggestions:

• Stop your junk mail.
• Conserve water and other resources.
• Minimize chemical use.
• Reduce, reuse, recycle.
• Rethink your living space.

To be environmentally well we need to be aware of the delicate state of the earth and the effects our daily habits have on the physical world. When we help to take responsibility for the health of the planet we can bring a sense of accomplishment and well-being into our own life.

It is also important to be aware of our home environment — how the materials and objects we choose to surround us have an effect on environmental wellness. The more we get out into nature mindfully the more we will understand this. We need to remember that we are an integral part of the environment and that caring for the environment is self-care.


7. VOCATIONAL WELLNESS

Use and give your skills.

Tips and suggestions:

• Explore a variety of vocation options.
• Create a vision for your future.
• Choose a career that suits your personality, interests and talents.
• Be open to change and learn new skills.
• Balance work with life.
• Learn to budget your lifestyle with your vocation compensation.
• Use unemployment or retirement to hone your skills or develop new ones.
• Volunteer your vocational skills if you aren’t fulfilled at work.

This dimension of wellness focuses on enriching your life and that of others by sharing your special gifts, skills, and talents. Our job may not fulfill us, we may be unemployed or retired, but there are always ways to use our skills, knowledge, and passion in other meaningful ways to serve our family and society, and to enhance our self-esteem.

Vocational wellness also involves preparing, planning, and creating a positive attitude to reshape your personal goals at work. Whether through work, parenting, or volunteering, you can make a strong impact and reap the health benefits of adding purpose to your life.

Are you inspired yet? Ready to fill out your Wellness Calendar? Let’s get started together!


If these tools, tips, and teachings we’ve compiled are helpful to you, would you consider making a small donation to Newark Center for Meditative Culture? We are a New Jersey 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your tax-deductible donations make it possible for us to continue delivering life-changing programs to the Greater Newark community and beyond.

 


Be Still Monday Zoom Sessions Continue: Enroll with Links Below

Mondays, May 18, June 1, and June 8: Enroll in as many FREE Zoom sessions as you like. You must register to access Meeting ID and Password:

10:00 AM Sessions
ENROLL AT: https://bit.ly/3bf8MTp
5/11 Re-Connecting with the Natural World (Cornelia)
5/18 Taking a Pause for Deep Relaxation (Andrea)
6/1 Chair Yoga: You Are Creator of Your Experience 1 (Ella)
6/8 Light Yoga: You Are Creator of Your Experience 2 (Ella)

1:00 PM Sessions
ENROLL AT: https://bit.ly/2WBvmQQ
5/11 Meditative Resurrection of the Daily Constitutional (Kazi)
5/18 Yoga: Relax & Renew — Making the Mind-Body Connection (Fadja)
6/1 Yoga: The Breath — Elevator and Regenerator (Fadja)
6/8 Re-Connecting with Our Inner Wellness (Cornelia)

7:00 PM Sessions
ENROLL AT: https://tinyurl.com/y8dafpmx
5/11 Building a Mindful Community (Kamilah & Andrea)
5/18 Mindfully Managed Stress: Using Your Toolbox (Kamilah)
6/1 Mindful Household Budgeting Workshop (Andrew)
6/8 Plant Spirit Meditation Medicine: Stress Resilience (Kazi)

Contact us at info@newarkmeditation.org with any questions.


FREE ON YOUTUBE: Distance Practice Offerings in April

For Stress Resilience, Well-Being, and Practice Development (Includes a Spanish-Language Offering)

Stress Resilience Meditation Series
Postings on Wednesdays 4/15, 4/22, 4/29, 5/6

A free series of four short talks with guided meditations (10 minutes each). Giving clear and concise advice, reflections, and effective simple-to-do meditations, teacher Kazi will emphasize the concerns of stress on health and how meditation and mindfulness can help you meet the challenges of your day with strength, patience, and wisdom. No registration required.
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel to get video post notifications.


Mindfulness Meditation & Qigong for Well-Being Workshop
Postings on 4/16 & 4/23

In this free two-part workshop (approx. 1/2 hour each), teacher Khalil Maasi will show you quick and simple methods that you can integrate into your daily regimen to boost your well-being.
Simple REGISTRATION REQUIRED to get ACCESS LINK to premier video. 


Mini-Meditaciones Guidas Básicas
Postings on Martes y Jueves 4/14, 4/16, 4/21, 4/23, 4/28, 4/30, 5/5, 5/7.

Una serie gratis de ocho charlas cortas y meditaciones guiadas (15 minutos cada uno) en español para no meditadores y principiantes enseñado por J. Javier Cruz que presentarán prácticas básicas de meditación y atención plena. El contenido será apropiado para adolescentes a través de personas de la tercera edad para ayudar a traer tranquilidad, reducir el miedo, reducir el estrés y abrir el corazón. Mire en grupos o solo. Se pueden proporcionar folletos en español.
No se requiere registro.
Suscribirse a nuestro canal de YouTube para recibir notificaciones sobre publicaciones de video.

¡Nuevo! Sección de Prácticas en Español en nuestro sitio web con hojas de práctica de meditación para individuos y familias.


Muscle-Tendon Changing Qigong for Wellness Workshop
Postings on Thursdays 4/30 & 5/7

In this free two-part workshop (1/2 hour each), teacher Shaka Georges will introduce you to Muscle-Tendon Changing Qigong through a series of exercises that coordinate with the breath. When practiced consistently they can enhance physical health and mental well-being dramatically. This form of exercise can be a key element to strengthen muscles and tendons and to promote strength and flexibility, energy and stamina, and balance and coordination of the body.
Simple REGISTRATION REQUIRED to get ACCESS LINK to premier video. 


Cancelled: FROM KNEELING TO SELF-HEALING

An experiential day retreat exploring the revolutionary path of Self Healing via Self Knowing

Sunday, November 10th  |  10am to 4pm
Attend Full or Half Day  | Open to Men and Youth 14+
Index Art Center, 237 Washington Street, Newark NJ

Limited Seating. Register at ncmc-mens-retreat.eventbrite.com

The day will consist of a short talk on the critical importance of men incorporating Self-Healing protocols into their daily lives, Meditation, Qi Gong exercises, Sexual Health and Fitness, Wilderness Therapy, Medicine Drum Circle, and a talk about Healing Generational Trauma. Vegetarian lunch included.

Presenters:  Damani Saunderson, Khalil Maasi, J. Javier Cruz, Ihsaan R. Muhammad, Leslie Arthur, Ib’nallah S. Kazi (Presenter bio-notes available on the registration site.)

Suggested donation:
• Men Full-Day: $20 (10:00am-4:00pm)
• Men Half-Day: $15 (10:00am-1:30pm or 12:30pm-4:00pm)
• Young Men: FREE for ages 14 -17 accompanied by adult (limited tix)
• Male Students: $15 for ages 18 and over w/ID $15 (limited tix)
• Pre-Approved Volunteers: $10 (limited tix)

REGISTRATION AND DETAILS AT ncmc-mens-retreat.eventbrite.com

A donation-based program of Newark Center for Meditative Culture.

 


A Moment of Grace

By Ib’nallah S. Kazi

savingPNG.jpegThe act of saying grace over a meal and of blessing the dinner table are sacred rituals practiced for millennia across the globe.

From Ghana to Burma and all the way to the Netherlands, human beings incorporate the daily act of eating into their personal and collective spiritual lives.

The blessing of the meal is a time for giving thanks.

Prayers may be directed to a supreme being, to ancestors, the earth or whatever spiritual agency is believed to be of assistance in securing sustenance. Sometimes family members, employees and employers are thanked for the part they play in sustaining an individual or household.

Still a concern for many to this day is the healthiness of a meal they’re about to eat. Invasion of the body by food-born pathogens is a threat that challenges human beings daily. Therefore, some cultures may include request that the meal be allowed to provide strength and vitality — or at least be rendered free of harm.

Not to be overlooked is the impact upon the psyche of that moment of silence when one’s head is bowed and gaze lowered in recognition of our mutual dependence upon all we consider powerful, holy and beneficent.

The few seconds taken to reconnect to the part of us that remains in constant connection with the Unseen Real opens a “spiritual moment.” And in that moment, we invoke the soul elixir that releases the strengthening, healing, beautifying properties of the meal.

We can use the tradition of saying grace as a “conscious opportunity” to create more of those spiritual moments in our day. We don’t have to limit our spiritual practice to being locked away in a specially outfitted room with dimmed lighting, lots of plump pillows and scented candles.

Let’s bring our practice into our “common spaces” — with their sounds and scents of life at its core. First we take back the kitchen, then the toilet, then the garden.

It all adds up.


Ib’nallah S. Kazi is the Spiritual Director of Newark Center for Meditative Culture and a Spiritual Health & Wellness Coach at The Spirit Centered Life.


Part 1.4: Self-Healing Meditation Medicine

Introduction to Meditation Medicine Course

Part 4 of 4 Lessons

The purpose of this course is to help you move beyond settling for the explanation of meditation, into the experience of meditation and a consistent practice. Meditation is something that you have to practice and make a part of your life. You will come to understand what Meditation Medicine means and why meditation is medicine. (See blog post Course 1.0: Introduction to Meditation Medicine—Course Description that gives the entire overview.)

Step 1: Watch Intro to Meditation Medicine Talk 1.4

Short talk about developing a sacred approach to your practice, space, and time in order to focus internally on yourself for power, wellness, and wisdom. (9 min)

Step 2: Listen and practice Guided Meditation 1.4: Self-Healing Meditation Medicine

Short talk on meditation as a self-healing modality within a specialized society and the ensueing fragmention of ourselves that we can heal through meditation. Includes brief body scan and breath meditation and a new practice of Inner Smile meditation. (24 min)

Step 3: Practice what you’ve learned in these videos for a week. Then continue on with your own practice.

We also would love for you to join us if you haven’t already on the Meditation Medicine Study Group on Facebook where we can support each other’s practice through online discussions, sharing relevant posts, and asking questions to the teacher.

Additional Resource: Infographic 1.4: A Consistent Sacred Meditation Practice.
Feel free to print this out and use it as a reference.

Infographic_Consistent Sacred Meditation Practice.png

Consultation: Optional twenty-minute consultation with Kazi concerning your meditation experiences, insights, challenges, etc. via email, phone, or skype. Contact us at info@newarkmeditation.org to request.

Ongoing online group discussions and teachings with Kazi: You can join the Meditation Medicine Study Group on Facebook to engage with a group of kindred spirits to share your meditation medicine journey with.


Go to Course 1.0: Introduction to Meditation Medicine: Course Description

Go to Lesson 1.1: Meditation is Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.2: Preventive Meditation Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.3: Curative Meditation Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.4: Self-Healing Meditation Medicine

 

Peace. Kazi


 


Part 1.3: Curative Meditation Medicine

Introduction to Meditation Medicine Course

Part 3 of 4 Lessons

The purpose of this course is to help you move beyond settling for the explanation of meditation, into the experience of meditation and a consistent practice. Meditation is something that you have to practice and make a part of your life. You will come to understand what Meditation Medicine means and why meditation is medicine. (See blog post Course 1.0: Introduction to Meditation Medicine—Course Description that gives the entire overview.)

Step 1: Watch Intro to Meditation Medicine Talk 1.3

Short talk your mindset, erasing doubts, letting go, and our abillity to truly relax in order to activate our parasympathetic nervous system. (10 min)

Step 2: Listen and practice Guided Meditation 1.3: Curative Meditation Medicine

Short talk on meditation as a curative measure, relating to tension, pain, and chronic pain. Includes additional guidance on contract-relax body scan and breath meditation, followed by a new practice of mindfulness of pain. (28 min)

Step 3: Practice what you’ve learned in these videos for a week. Then go to Lesson 1.4: Self-Healing Meditation Medicine.

Additional Resource: Infographic 1.3: Basic Meditation Practices Prescribed.
Feel free to print this out and use it as a reference.

Infographic_Basic Meditation Practices_color.png

Consultation: Optional twenty-minute consultation with Kazi concerning your meditation experiences, insights, challenges, etc. via email, phone, or skype. Contact us at info@newarkmeditation.org to request.

Ongoing online group discussions and teachings with Kazi: You can join the Meditation Medicine Study Group on Facebook to engage with a group of kindred spirits to share your meditation medicine journey with.


Go to Course 1.0: Introduction to Meditation Medicine: Course Description

Go to Lesson 1.1: Meditation is Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.2: Preventive Meditation Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.3: Curative Meditation Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.4: Self-Healing Meditation Medicine

 

Peace. Kazi


 


Part 1.2: Preventive Meditation Medicine

Introduction to Meditation Medicine Course

Part 2 of 4 Lessons

The purpose of this course is to help you move beyond settling for the explanation of meditation, into the experience of meditation and a consistent practice. Meditation is something that you have to practice and make a part of your life. You will come to understand what Meditation Medicine means and why meditation is medicine. (See blog post Course 1.0: Introduction to Meditation Medicine—Course Description that gives the entire overview.)

Step 1: Watch Intro to Meditation Medicine Talk 1.2

Short talk on how to create a space conducive to meditation practice. (11 min)

Step 2: Listen and practice Guided Meditation 1.2: Preventive Meditation Medicine

Short talk on meditation as a preventive measure, its positive effect on the immune system and well-being, and the qualities of mindfulness. Includes three guided meditation exercises: body scan, breath meditation, and mindfulness meditation. (31 min)

Step 3: Practice what you’ve learned in these videos for a week. Then go to Lesson 1.3: Curative Meditation Medicine.

Additional Resource: Infographic 1.2: Creating Good Meditation Associations.
Feel free to print this out and use it as a reference.

Infographic_Creating Good Meditation Associations.png

 

Consultation: Optional twenty-minute consultation with Kazi concerning your meditation experiences, insights, challenges, etc. via email, phone, or skype. Contact us at info@newarkmeditation.org to request.

Ongoing online group discussions and teachings with Kazi: You can join the Meditation Medicine Study Group on Facebook to engage with a group of kindred spirits to share your meditation medicine journey with.


Go to Course 1.0: Introduction to Meditation Medicine: Course Description

Go to Lesson 1.1: Meditation is Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.2: Preventive Meditation Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.3: Curative Meditation Medicine

Go to Lesson 1.4: Self-Healing Meditation Medicine

 

Peace. Kazi