Levels of Meditation Experience
Based on many years’ experience, we recognize that there are essential skills everyone needs to develop to have a successful, well-rounded and engaged meditation practice. It is not as simple as listening to a recording that makes you feel good. If you really want your meditation practice to change your life, you need to develop a certain kind of mastery of your mind. Drawing on both ancient and contemporary wisdom, our courses have been developed to help you learn in a very efficient and progressive way – pointing out what to focus on first, what next, and on from there for the best outcome. One of the unique things about ClearLight is that we offer a path and we offer guidance. We try to meet you where you are and take you to the next level.
Programs are organized not just by themes, but more importantly, by level of experience. Our use of Levels is meant to guide you in finding the right place to start – and then follow the logical next steps to build your meditation skills, understanding and personal experience – to take you as far as you want to go.
Selecting the program that is right for you is important. You get more out of it when you’re with people with similar experience. The conversation won’t be over your head. You won’t be bored revisiting things you already know. And you won’t bore anybody else. The levels make a richer and more dynamic experience for everyone.
Beginners – For newer meditators. A solid introduction to Mindfulness skills and understanding.
Foundations – For mindfulness meditators. The focus is developing a robust, stable and steady Mindfulness Practice.
Committed – For those with a daily practice of mindfulness and awareness of at least one year. The focus expands to the psychology of meditation, deepening meditative insight, expanding our capacity for kindness and compassion, and developing Emotional Healing Skills.
Glimpses– For those interested in the direct awakening approach. An introduction to recognizing unconditional Awake Awareness and becoming familiar with the non-dual approach.
Awakening – For meditators experienced with non-dual awareness and the pathless path. A journey into the deeper implications for awakening in our whole life.
Beginners Programs are for newer meditators, or anyone who wants a good review of the fundamental building blocks of mindfulness meditation practice. They’re suitable for:
- Beginners with a little or no experience
- Yoga students interested in complementing their physical yoga practice with meditation
- Anyone who has tried learning meditation from a book or recording but wants more guidance and structure
- Anyone wanting to re-establish a regular daily practice after a significant break
If you have never done an 8-week mindfulness training, we highly recommend starting with our Complete Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners. This is our signature 8 week introduction to mindfulness. It will familiarize you with all the essential skills and understanding you need to practice mindfulness successfully.
The focus of Foundations programs is to help you strengthen and sustain a successful personal mindfulness practice. They assume a working knowledge of mindfulness meditation and are not for brand new beginners. These programs focus on skills for stabilizing attention and awareness, taming the mind, cultivating mindfulness of the body, increasing self-compassion, and developing meditative insight. The aim is for meditation to flourish as an integral and rewarding part of your daily life.
These programs are well suited for anybody who:
- Has finished Complete Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners
- Has taken a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program
- Has mindfulness experience but wants to strengthen and deepen their practice
- Or is looking for the support and guidance from experienced teachers.
We recommend that students complete 3 or 4 courses at this level before going on to courses at the Committed Level to round out your skill set.
The focus in these programs is deepening meditative insight and mobilizing inner capacities for self-healing and growth so you can take charge of your life with greater effectiveness, clarity, compassion and kindness. Topics include: insight meditation and inquiry (vipassana), increasing self-compassion and loving kindness, learning skills for working with reactive emotions, and learning how to open to others in empathy from a place free of bias and conflict.
Programs at this level assume you have established for at least the last year, a stable, “daily” meditation practice as a foundation for your life. A daily practice means 30 – 45 minutes each day for 5 – 7 days each week.
These programs introduce a direct experience or “glimpse” of Awake Awareness, the highest goal of meditation. Teachings and practices differ from the developmental path of mindfulness taking as their premise, that the very ground of our being is enlightened consciousness already. All we need to do is recognize this right now.
What blocks this recognition is unconscious, habitual identification with our thoughts, stories, personality, and sense of ourselves as separate from everything else. In programs at this level, you will learn many ways to recognize and explore awake awareness and awakened heart. This approach has the power to radically transform your life.
Are Glimpses programs right for you?
Awakening begins with a glimpse into the deepest dimension of who we really are, beyond the superficial levels of personality, roles, life history, thoughts, memories, emotions and passing identities. We tap into the underlying essence of Being which is always already free, open, clear, loving and at peace. These glimpses of awakening lead to a radical shift from our usual solid, separate, me-centered consciousness to abiding as boundless love and awareness.
- These programs are for those who have had a clear recognition of awake awareness and want to embody this awakening continuously in all aspects of their lives.
- If you are drawn to our Awakening programs but are not sure if they are right for you, contact us for guidance.
The program is purposeful, the staff is knowledgeable and caring, and everyone should take a class!
– Heather Bloodworth, YMCA Executive
The learning was broken down into segments that I could digest so that the next class built on a solid understanding. If you’re looking for a place to get a handle on how to be mindful, how to reduce self-caused issues, ClearLight can’t be beat. Smart, kind people speaking clearly!
– Jim LaPann, Attorney
The retreat was excellent. I appreciate the guidance, the exercises, the discussions, the time for practice, and the care and compassion in helping us awaken in a loving way. I absolutely value the teachings on awakening and open heartedness. Best retreats ever!
– MF, Mindfulness Instructor