In today’s episode of Adventures with Spirit we’re sitting down with Adreanna Limbach to talk about all things meditation. Adreanna is a meditation instructor, personal development coach, and author of Tea and Cake with Demons: a Buddhist Guide to Feeling Worthy.
As a meditation teacher, she cut her teeth teaching secular Buddhist studies and meditation at the Interdependence Project beginning in 2012. She has since hosted retreats both internationally and stateside at the Omega Institute. Adreanna was also a founding teacher at Mindful, New York City's premier drop in meditation studio, where she served as a mentor and faculty for their 300 hour teacher training program. When she's not on the cushion, she can be found fixing up an old house with heaps of charms in the Hudson Valley of New York.
This episode, we discuss:
[2:52] What meditation actually is
One of the most common things we hear from our listeners and clients is how hard they feel meditation can be, and we believe this stems from their thoughts around what meditation really is. It’s important to note that meditation is something that we can never truly become an expert in. It’s so much more than simply sitting with your breath, especially since it’s not a common practice for us as human beings in today’s society. Meditation is the practice of sitting down in silence and stillness, with no other stimulus except for ourselves, and just sitting with our own internal life.
[5:03] The greatest obstacle to meditation
One of the greatest obstacles to your meditation practice is believing the idea that we should somehow be good at it immediately, or really be “good” at it at all. Being a master of meditation is not the point of the practice, and putting that expectation on yourself can produce feelings of shame or frustration and keep you from continuing your practice and enriching your life.
[6:27] How Adreanna first got into meditation
Adreanna began practicing meditation as a way to slow down and give herself a break from the constant stress and stimuli of life.
[9:47] The type of meditation that Adreanna practices
There are many types of meditation that exist in the world. Adreanna mainly practices in Tibetan Buddhism, which has deep Buddhist roots. A lot of the meditation practices we commonly see today have been secularized, such as mindfulness meditation, meaning we’ve mostly removed it from the original philosophy of the practice and have brought it into a more quantifiable study that focuses on the effects on cognition, stress, sleep, and more.
[11:38] The different types of meditation
Vedic meditation is transcendental meditation. When you think about The Beatles, The Maharishi, the David Lynch Foundation, Deepak Chopra. mantras, and meditating twice a day for 20 minutes, that all falls in the Vedic end of meditation. The purpose of Vedic meditation is to transcend the mind, whereas the purpose of any Buddhist-based meditations like mindfulness or loving kindness is to tame the mind.
The important thing is that you try different types of meditation until you find a practice that speaks to you.
[15:36] How meditation helps us understand ourselves better
Adreanna shares that meditation is the greatest modality she has found for getting to know oneself, because in meditation you’re looking inward without distraction, getting a front row view of your own operating system. Taking the time to look inward is how you begin to notice patterns of where your mind goes, what feelings arise, and where you may be holding tension in your body. Reflecting on why certain emotions and patterns appear will help you understand how you operate on a deeper level, which will give you clarity on how you want to move forward in your relationship with yourself.
[19:54] The definition of mindfulness
One of the definitions of mindfulness that Adreanna continues to come back to, and shares with us, is laid out by Jon Kabat-Zinn, who founded mindfulness based stress reduction. He defines mindfulness as the awareness that arises when we're purposefully paying attention in the present moment, without judgment. Adreanna believes that the non-judgment piece is what distinguishes mindfulness practice from the everyday act of paying attention.
[21:11] How to get started with meditation or deepen your meditation practice
You may find that an easy way to get started with meditation is the tap into a meditation app or recorded session. Try beginning with 5 minutes a day, and release expectations of what it may feel like or what you can achieve.
[26:06] How to adjust our meditation practice to fit our needs
Mindfulness meditation historically comes from practicing with eyes open. Not only does this allow us to feel less claustrophobic as we become more comfortable with our meditation practice, but it also allows our nervous systems to relax and feel safe. We can take in internal and external stimuli in our field of awareness and bring it into our practice. This will help you craft a practice that fits your specific needs as your awareness continues to grow.
[29:55] Why Adreanna wrote her book Tea and Cake with Demons: a Buddhist Guide to Feeling Worthy
While Adreanna initially resisted the idea of writing a book, she feels she was inspired in large part by two experiences:
Coaching at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition for about 13 years, Adreanna worked with groups of predominantly women from across 35 countries. At any given time, she was working with 100 people, hearing their perspectives, differing cultural expectations, spiritual backgrounds and more. Despite their differences, she found a common thread: A feeling of not being enough was presenting itself in a variety of ways. As she began to gain more awareness around these feelings, she realized that it was a widespread, systemic issue that needed to be addressed.
The second source of inspiration came from her mindfulness teachings during drop-in meditation classes. For years, newcomers to meditation would start to realize their enthusiasm for meditation, and would want to know what the next step would be. Adreanna would give multiple book suggestions, but found that people rarely picked up the books to spend time reading them. She wanted to take all of her experiences and what she has found to be helpful from her own practices and research and put it into one book. She wanted her book to feel like an easy to follow guidebook in the practice of mindfulness and meditation.
[38:06] What Adreanna’s favorite part of her book is
Since writing the book in 2017, Adreanna finds that her favorite part of the book is the experience of being able to go back and be in conversation with a former iteration of herself, seeing what has shifted for her and how her perception and understanding of things have deepened.
[48:59] Adreanna’s final piece of wisdom
Adreanna leaves us with a powerful reminder: No matter who you are, where you are, what your life circumstances may be right now, you are already whole, complete, unbroken, and enough in a way that is so fundamental to your being that it cannot be added to through your accomplishments, or subtracted from through your mistakes. It is the essential baseline of who you are by virtue of being a human being. whole, complete, enough, and unbroken.
Connect with Adreanna:
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