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Meditation in Rhode Island

by Wendy Fachon

While meditation practice is known to help promote greater concentration, mindfulness and relaxation, it is also shown to help decrease anxiety and depression. People will also enter into a meditation practice to become more connected with spirit. In Rhode Island there are many teachers from which to chose, and students may want to consider their personal purpose in learning meditation, as well as the style, training and personality of the teacher, in order to find a comfortable fit.

The Providence Institute for Contemplative Study and Natural Health

The Providence Institute for Contemplative Study and Natural Health, founded by Sarah Whitehead, encompasses meditation, yogic practices, spiritual teaching, arts, energy work such as qigong, and other mindfulness-based activities. Whitehead is the originator of Contemplative Shamanism, one of the programs offered at the Institute. This work combines Peruvian shamanism and Buddhism to enable people to discover their own true nature to heal themselves and their world.

In contemplative study, one uses the practice of meditation to assimilate new information as well as process one’s internal responses to the experience. The institute has a reverent and ritualistic approach to the practice of healing and spirituality, which are considered one and the same. Students learn different ways to attain enlightenment, which is personal to every individual. Contemplative study evolved from many different traditions, but most prominently from Buddhism, where the study of texts and the hearing of teachings are done on the meditation cushion in a sanctuary known as a shrine room. The shrine room is eclectic, honoring all genuinely earth-honoring, insightful and compassionate spiritual traditions.

The Providence Institute is located 18 Imperial Place, 6A, in Providence. For more information visit TheProvidenceInstitute.org.


Sacred Souljourns

Sacred Souljourns is a practice established by Ann Porto, PsyD, a retired clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist with more than 35 years of experience. Porto studied and practiced Transcendental Meditation (TM) in the 1970s and later vipassana, mahamudra and Bön meditation practices. She has attended numerous advanced meditation trainings from Buddhist teachers and is currently mentored by Daniel Brown, Ph.D., in the Pointing Out Way tradition, which is grounded in the Western scientific study of the contemplative experience integrated with the ancient Indian and Tibetan spiritual traditions.

Porto offers group instruction in foundational meditation practices and will also provide one-on-one mentoring. She begins with breath as an object of meditation, using it as a bridge to connect mind and body in the here and now. By working with the mind and learning to find peace in the midst of pain and suffering, one can alleviate significant physical and mental illness. As one learns to calm the mind and listen to the body, the body will speak its “truth”, allowing our hidden innate potential to surface, bringing awakened awareness and ultimately having a healing effect. Classes are in East Greenwich and North Kingstown. For class locations and schedules, visit SacredSouljourns.com/meditation.

Rhode Island Community of Mindfulness

Rhode Island Community of Mindfulness offers six sanghas guided by Joanne Friday, who is a Dharma teacher in the lineage of Thich Nhat Hanh, who was her teacher for 25 years. Informed by the Viet Nam War, Thich Nhat Hanh’s engaged practice is about looking deeply to find the root cause of suffering. It is about healing the past in the present moment, because past experience is present in every cell of the physical body. Through mindful meditation, one can pay attention to the strong emotions that arise from within, sit with it, stop it and settle into calm.

A typical session begins with the reading of a precept followed by sitting and walking meditations and a reading. Then the sangha engages in Dharma Sharing, the practice of deep listening while members of the sangha are given an opportunity to share with the group. Friday states, “Dharma is the greatest gift I have ever received, and my greatest joy is to pass it on.” Dharma Sharing is not a conversation; it is free of opinions and judgment, and it is freeing. The benefits of practicing in a sangha are the building of trust and respect for ourselves, each other and the planet. Members inspire and motivate one another. Friday holds sanghas in Providence, East Greenwich, Barrington and South County.

Visit JoanneFriday.com for sangha locations and schedules and to access Friday’s audio and video Dharma teachings.

Northern Lights Holistic

Northern Lights Holistic’s Sitting in the Power meditation, taught by spirit medium Debbie McBride, focuses on building awareness of self and all that is. McBride studied spiritualism and psychic sciences at the Arthur Findlay College in Essex, England. The foundational piece of her meditation class is to learn to sit in the power of oneself in order to open up to the awareness of one’s own energy. Students must know their own energy prior to working with spirit energy. Touching the power within is about seeing, hearing and feeling with one’s own spiritual senses.

Then, Sitting in the Power moves into the realm of Divine Light, allowing for attunement with the Power—however one conceives that to be. Over a period of time, utilizing this technique leads to an expansion of awareness and a realization of the connection to all that is and a greater knowledge of self. Students may begin to notice how their own natural mediumistic and psychic abilities start to flourish. Time and time again it has been found that this is what occurs with those who practice this technique. Northern Lights is located in Portsmouth. Visit DebMcBride.net or NorthernLights.one for the class schedule and to learn about her other classes.