Mindful Meditation – Bruce Alfred

Bruce Alfred, Rochester Athletic Club Yoga Instructor, spoke to us about mindfulness and presence. Below are notes from his talk:

Mindfulness is about being present in the moment. Meditation helps us live in the moment and not for the moment. In the moment is present without judgement. It is recognizing what is happening and choosing to place energy where it needs to be.

Buddha, in 400 BC: Meditation is a way to put the mind in a place to see and understand clearly.

Another way to refer to mindful meditation is insight meditation.


relieves stress – when stress builds up it can effect relationships (snap at others), health (long term effects can include many conditions including depression, obesity, back problems, and numerous others)

Strip away thoughts

– so we can see the happiness (calm collected nature) within ourselves, happiness is always there, it is not defined by the external

Concept of the witness/observer

-Bring a sense of non-judgement, observe the thought, allow it to be and decide – do I need to give this active attention right now or can I let it go?

-Reset and come back to breath



Friday Ricard talk

Mathieu Ricard talks about the importance of being present, or mindful in each activity of your day. Watch and then answer the following questions:

Write down five statements that you found helpful or interesting that Ricard says in regard to meditation.

Ricard says that meditation is bare consciousness – aware of emotions but not overtaken with emotion. Where in your life do you see that this would be a helpful way to react?

Ricard says that meditation is about raising the platform where you stand in life. Where would that be for you?

Over the weekend, keep a meditation log in which you record how long you meditated, how did you focus/refocus, and how it affected your mood/interaction with daily life.

Bring colored pencils/markers for Monday’s class

The circle Labrynith

One story in the Labyrinth.


Today we will walk the labyrinth of Mayo.

1. think of an issue you have with a need for a solution

2. walk the circle with the intention of solving (or at least contemplating) your issue

3. come to a spot to meditate on the problem at hand

4. return to Brock’s room to reflect on the process


Mindful Introduction

Background information about mandalas:

Mandalas originated in India and are now found on all continents and in nearly all cultures.  In India and other Eastern cultures, it is believed that working with mandalas can help one to obtain understanding about aspects of his or her life.

A mandala is a form of artwork used as a form of meditation.  In Sanskrit, the word mandala means sacred circle.  Most mandalas have images in them that are embedded in a circle.  Some mandalas use geometry and the labyrinth is one of many ancient mandalas.   Working with mandalas is a way to meditate and a tool used to connect with your inner core or your true self, by directing your energy and focus inward. This energy can aid in creating an inner healing that brings about complete wholeness or enlightenment. Many believe this is a way in which we can connect with the archetypal story;  through geometry, numbers, objects or colors.  Some view working with mandalas as a way to reawaken and recognize the inner light that is within us all.  Drawing mandalas can help break through the layers of life and other expectations that keep us from seeing and realizing our inner soul/spirit. The objective in mandalas is to raise our consciousness to seeing, knowing and manifesting the true self to the outer world.  Once we have awakened or connected to our inner light we can then reflect that out into the external world, which in turn aids in raising the collective consciousness.

Mandalas have 3 layers of meaning:
Outer, the outer meaning is what is noticed or seen on the surface at face value.

Inner, the inner meaning is the intention, meaning and understanding that the person creating it has used in the colors, symbols, numbers and geometry.

Hidden or unknown, that is what has not been revealed or known at the time of creation.  Sometimes it takes the creator awhile to understand the deeper messages of their mandalas, that is one place where using meditation meaning of the mandala is revealed.  It is recommended that upon completion of the mandala the creator does not put it away because it takes time and contemplation to understand and know the whole meaning of the mandala.   When sharing mandalas with others often the meaning of what is seen by the person viewing it may be different than the person who created it.  Exchanging this
information can be very informative.

There are two kinds of Mandalas – the single circle is used in common meditation practice and the double circle is used when there are two aspects of life at polar opposition within your life and are creating tension. Within the practice of meditation, it is not about solving the tension, but observation. So with this practice, you name each circle and where they overlap in the center is where the answers, or complimentary aspects will emerge as you fill in and work on your mandala. For the our course we will work with this form. You are welcome to name each circle for something that is within tension in your life, or use the one that we will be talking about this week – the opposition of external and internal time/expectations

The double Mandala, you fill in as you go, there are no lines or shapes drawn for you, so you are able to fill in as you feel driven on each side. This is to be a meditation, so there is no conversation as you work on it, it should be quiet both in the room and in your mind. Remember, as thoughts come in, allow them to be and then release them. There is no solving, just observing.

 Mandala worksheet


SEARCH – Final


Two parts:



Reviews: What others say about you

Best bits of you:

Compile the best examples of each of the required parts of your work:

  • Art
  • Essays
  • Annotations

Personal manifesto: complete a written reflection that ties all of the components together

  • In your written manifesto, be sure to address:
    • Where you were and where you are now in terms of personal search for meaning
    • What you still want to know/explore
    • What you are OK with not knowing right now
    • What you are hopeful for in the future for purpose and meaning in your life

All the way through: pictures and captions

Back cover

Part two:

Visual representation of ideas within your magazine to be shared/presented as part of final assessment (this can be a video, collage/poster board, self-created art, etc.)