I’m offering virtual meditation sessions for neurodivergent people.
”Only for neurodivergent people?????????”
No, you’re welcome to join even if you’re not neurodivergent. However, pay attention to the section below where I talk about the -isms.
Please also pay attention to this section where I give advice to neurotypical folks.
”What are your credentials?”
I’ve been doing Zen meditation on and off since some time prior to 1996. I first attended sessions at the Montreal Zen Center. Then I moved to the USA and started practicing with Zen Master Dae Gak.
However, I’ve not received transmission for Zen Master Dae Gak.
I’m also autistic.
The goal of the group is not to preach Zen or Buddhism. It just so happens that this is what I know. I may answer questions in a way that relies on what I know, but that cannot be helped.
You are welcome to join, no matter what your own religion may be, or even if you are not religious at all. However, keep in mind my admonition about the -ism below.
”How do you plan to adapt your meditation to neurodivergent people?”
You’ll have to tell me. The thing is that I don’t already know what accommodations may have to be made. Here are some aspects of what I envision that may give you an idea:
- We’re going to use Jitsi. This is a videoconferencing software similar to Zoom.
- You’re going to be sitting in the comfort of your own home.
- You will be able to mute your audio. So if you make any noise, nobody will hear it. (During the discussion, you may need to turn your audio on, but it is up to you, and you should turn it on only when talking.)
- You will be able to mute your video, if you don’t want your face to be seen.
- You will be able to sit in a chair if that’s better for you. (I sit in a chair myself.)
- You will be able to wear noise-cancelling headphones if you want.
- You’ll have to tell me what other accommodations you may need.
”What’s the format?”
(All the times I mention are US Eastern. The same Time Zone as New York.)
The meditation proper will be held from 9-10 on Saturdays and Sundays. We will sit 25 minutes in meditation from 9am to 9:25am. Then we will take a 5 minutes break, then between 9:30 and 10am we can discuss any issues you ran into.
”What if I’m new to Meditation?”
Wear comfortable and, as much as possible neutral, clothing. My advice is to sit comfortably and relax. Follow your breath. Don’t follow your thoughts. If you notice yourself following your thoughts, just come back to following your breath. Don’t beat yourself over the head.
If you want, you can also contact me, and we can meet through Jitsi a bit early prior to your first mediation session to discuss whatever you want to talk over.
Or, if your questions are more complex, we can talk through email.
”What do you mean ‘neutral’ clothing???”
Black or gray clothing in a single color is preferable. Don’t wear a t-shirt with a slogan that say you want to “eat the rich.” We’re aiming for calming the train of thought, not inflame it. (Note here that it is not about me agreeing or disagreeing with your t-shirt. We’re just aiming for calmness.)
And remember that you can turn off your video if you find yourself having to wear an “eat the rich” t-shirt because you did not do your laundry.
”What if my hair is colored? Or I have piercings? Or tattoos?”
Don’t worry about these.
”Anything else I should know?”
Do note that I won’t tolerate any -isms in our virtual meetings. No racism, ableism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc.
I’m queer myself, so yep.
”How do I sign up?”
Leave a comment on this post. The email address field is visible only to me. (Note that a reply to this post from the fediverse won’t do it. You need to comment on my blog.)
I’ll take your email address and add it to a mailing list. I’m not sure how I’ll make the videoconferencing link available. I may send it to the list a little prior to the meditation session.
”How much does it cost?”
Nothing. Donations are appreciated. You can go here for that.
”What’s the schedule?”
See the following calendar. I’ll make modifications to it if needed. I’ll also send emails.
Please join with your microphone muted. We will keep all microphones muted during meditation. The person keeping time will unmute in order to ring the bell.
It is up to you whether to turn on your video. If you have your video turned on, and you need to make big movements for some reason (e.g. you need to get up because your cat is destroying something), please turn off your video.
A mediation session will be conducted as follows:
- Ring the bell three times to indicate the start of practice.
- Sitting meditation.
- Ring the bell once to indicate a 5-minute break.
- 5-minute break.
- Ring the bell twice to indicate the end of the break.
- Talk about meditation problems, and issues managing our neurodivergence.
- Ring the bell three times to indicate the end of practice.
If you’ve meditated in the context of Zen practice, people bow after the bell is rung. I do not expect people to bow.
Advice to Neurotypical Folks
Neurotypical people who are not used to talking to neurodivergent people risk stepping into it. I’ll admit that I might have stepped into it too when I thought I was neurotypical. Here is some advice to make things smoother.
You don’t have issues managing your neurodivergence because you are neurotypical. So I expect you to only talk about meditation issues during our discussion session.
Things that neurodivergent people do not like:
- You don’t look autistic/ADHD/etc. This minimizes the impact of our condition on our life. First, it is possible that the person to whom you say this is masking very well. So you don’t see the condition. Second, most of the problems our condition causes are mental. You just don’t see them.
- In the same vein, don’t tell us that we don’t look like Sheldon Cooper or Rain Man. The media presents stereotypes of the condition. Keep in mind that when you’ve met one autistic person, you’ve only met one of us. Our neurodivergence presents differently in different people.
- One of the consequences of neurodivergence is that we do not perceive the world the same way you do. If someone reports an experience that is not concordant with your own, don’t steamroll them.