After conducting a national health survey from 2002 to 2008, the National Institute of Health estimated that 8% of U.S. adults meditate. That’s 18 million people. We expect that number has risen greatly in the last decade and will continue to increase.
Meditation is associated with:
Helping control pain
Helping decrease blood pressure
May help in fighting addiction
Encouraging a healthy lifestyle
Convenient Local Meditation in Chicago
We wanted to increase our use of meditation in 2018, and looked for educational opportunities in Chicago.
Colleen found Kadampa Meditation Center in Wicker Park, Chicago on Meetup, and we attended the following workshop they offer on a weekly basis:
Awakening the Heart: Finding Real Freedom
Saturday, May 5, 2018
11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Price: $10.00 /per person
The workshop is described as, “an introduction to the practical and spiritual aspects of Buddhism. Everyone can learn to cope with difficulties, be happier, and make every day truly meaningful through Buddhist meditation and philosophy. These are spiritual practices perfectly suited to the modern world. Everyone is welcome!”
What we liked about our experience with Kadampa’s workshop
The Teacher: Our session was lead by American Buddhist monk Gen Kelsang Dorje, who was exceptionally friendly. His introduction and instruction was informative and easy to follow.
Format: The workshop included two different meditation sessions where we followed the simple instructions for preparing the body in a comfortable position, breathing and focusing during the two 20 minute meditations. It was helpful to put into practice the lessons in between lectures, and ask questions as needed on how to meditate. Gen Dorje was happy to answer questions as well as include feedback from the group to address everyone's various questions.
Break Time: There was a short break halfway through the workshop, and tea and snacks were provided.
Price: The workshop was affordable at $10 for two hours.
Free Stuff: The session included a card for a free book download for those interested in learning more.
I most appreciated being “forced” to complete two meditations of twenty minutes. It’s hard for me to sit still and meditate, so I have tended to avoid trying, but I truly did feel more relaxed afterwards. It felt so good going into the meditation zone, so to speak, that I continued to try it at home. I still don’t meditate often as I use yoga for an active meditation on a regular basis, but I would still like to incorporate a daily silent breath-work meditation practice into my life. I am happy I went to the workshop, because the tips Gen Dorje and other attendees gave me are still on my mind. I use them for short meditations when I have time. It was helpful to get more perspective on how easy it is to use simple meditation techniques for benefits, such as stress reduction or refocusing on positivity, in short amount of time. I also loved that they emphasized meditation is a journey to finding what works for you as an individual and makes you happy. It’s all about enjoying the journey and reaping the benefits.
I appreciated learning some new breathing techniques from Gen Dorje that I had never tried before. One that I specifically liked was concentrating on a cool breath sensation while breathing in and warm breath sensation while breathing out. In the past I had never thought about the cooling-warming sensations when I had tried meditative breathing and it really helped me to concentrate. I also appreciated the opportunity to sit in on a meditative session in my own neighborhood, easily accessible, and in a friendly, welcoming environment. They provided pillows and chairs for meditation and during breaks there was water, tea and snacks.
Location and Workshops
Kadampa offers many other workshops for beginners or experienced meditators.
You can visit them at the address below and see their full schedule of events and workshops here.
Kadampa Meditation Center Chicago - Wicker Park is located at 2010 W. Pierce Ave., Chicago, IL.
Kadampa Meditation Center Chicago - Oak Park is located at 13 Harrison St., Oak Park, IL.
Stay Tuned to the Blog
Since our visit to Kadampa, Anne completed 30 days of using the meditation app, Headspace, review coming soon!