After years of working with meditation students, Eden Koz has learned that it helps to meditate in a group, to practice with a meditation partner, and to find a teacher who is right for us.
I am going to write about what I do. This comes at a super-duper time, because I am no longer sure how to verbally communicate it quickly and precisely! The succinct, careful words I used in the past don’t articulate the strength of it all nor have they realistically ever… sigh.
I own a spiritually based business of 10 years named Just Be that I tag as a meditation, mindfulness, and well-being company. Since I used to be in advertising – branding, having a swift tag line as well as an effective elevator statement, all have paramount value. And, to be dramatic (laugh), I am in the midst of a branding crisis.
This is valid because… this work… if it can reach people, can touch them immensely and make for astounding changes. These changes are not only for the person directly in the class or session, but it also feeds into their family, co-workers, essentially everyone around them.
I feel the issue is when people come in contact with the words “meditation” or “mindfulness” there is a neatly perceived notion of what that is. Breathing. Which I do. Peacefulness. Which I do. Happiness. Which I do. Decreased stress. Which I do.
But, I do not teach in a way that is expected or sometimes even comprehended. And we also tackle concepts like authenticity, vulnerability, finding out the meaning of life, finding out your meaning in life. It is so much more than meditation and mindfulness by typical Western thought. My way is challenging. It puts you in the middle of everything to slowly spark you down to less. Less concern, fewer physical problems, fewer issues… however, to do this, everything must loudly be visited. And, I am able to find these things that must be noisily brought to the surface. Here in lies my specialty. I can take someone who has meditated for years, for example, and quickly open them and alter their practice. I can take someone in physical pain and help them feel and believe in the wonderment of their own body/spirit. I can take someone going through extensive grief and help them understand their heart and mind and why things have happened the way they have.
I teach a Taoist form of meditation. And, I usually don’t even bring this up, as just hearing such an eastern word literally puts the fear of God in some. But, Taoism, in a nutshell, is a philosophy that states that everything has energy. To make a somewhat relatable comparison, the calorie in nutrition measures the unit of energy of food and how it translates to the body. Therefore, we talk about this force all the time; this just has more legs. In my eyes, Taoism is a broad concept and can co-exist with religious doctrines. And, at its heart, energy is what I work with whether I am doing an advanced class or a more general corporate class. I have also worked with many other modalities that are also energy-based. They all come along to the party.
I will focus on my advanced classes which is where the nitty-gritty happens. Typically, these sessions are weekly, for an hour and a half each and occur with the same main group and an occasional new individual. As the classes are atypical, a new person regardless of their experience or background must first complete a prerequisite session.
So, as we begin, I work deeply on the human side and then branch out to the more spiritual level. This is the opposite of many spiritual teachers or places. My goal is balance. Everything you are going through as a breathing individual on this Earth has major impact. Pain, joy, physical issues, physical triumphs, hardships. My goal isn’t to send you up into the clouds or heavens to escape stresses but to help you navigate your life and challenges here. Now. You are a human being first and foremost. And, I don’t care who you are (as I also work with healers, yoga instructors, counselors, etc), we all have stuff. We work together, so you can waltz through the curve balls of existence and have a bigger, more connected perspective about everything. That is the spiritual side.
Coinciding with “stuff,” most of us have blocked energy. These are all, in my estimation, physically/emotionally/spiritually based, and they all have emotion behind them; many times, a strong emotion. This feeling can be current or something very old. And, when I say old, sometimes blocks can come from past lives and not just past experiences. I work to find these areas and to heal them. This results in expansion. Literally parts of your body expand which then equates to the broadening of your spirit.
How is this done? I use my intuitive “gifts” or whatever you want to call it. I have been cultivating my strengths for almost two decades with the help of two amazing teachers. In doing this, I can see deeply inside you. I can see what you need to work on and in what order. I can read your emotions, see your stagnations, what might be holding you back. If you come for a specific challenge such as alcohol addiction or depression, we work specifically on those issues knowing that, at some point, we will amazingly find the direct cause of this concern. This means… no more issues. Startling, right? This goes against many medical definitions.
This is work. I have tried to get away from that word, however my students always steer me back. Because it can be the most challenging, heart wrenching, physically and mentally tasking exertions that you have ever done. Yet… the rewards are monumental. And, as we have been talking about energy, everything is energy. Not just those things directly in front of us, but objects, those who have passed, other spirits, other living individuals not in the room with us… I tap in and utilize whatever force is there to help you in your process. Communication is across the board, and I do it in a very matter-of-fact-way. God and love is the heart of this process. Nothing else.
If… you are ready to take this work to its full extent… there are three core items, beyond what I have already discussed, necessary in this illuminating process.One is meditating in a group. Meditation has been perceived as a singular activity. Cutthe lights, put a sign on the door, eliminate all interruptions. Ah, but meditating with others allows for a deepening and an understanding that can’t come by yourself. This deepening can be explained via one route with our mirror neurons. These neurons attach to what is going on in your periphery. You feel what others feel. And, when others are attempting to be calm or be real, it will have a resounding effect on you. I have many students who have been meditating for years who express that the intensity or depth they have gotten to at home could never equate to class. In this, I say, “Yes!”… as we are not meant to be solitary in life nor are we supposed to be in meditation. Either way, as science catches up, meditating together is powerful stuff.
And, let me go further, my group of meditators isn’t just any collection of people. My intention and the reality is that this group has acute purpose, caring and empathy. Everyone is here to grow and learn more about themselves.
So, the second necessity in this process is partner meditation. Doing meditation with a dedicated companion exposes the truth in why we act the way we do. You can have one person work with you, maybe three or sometimes we all band together ~ the combinations and patterns are endless. We work with our eyes closed, so we can really feel and sense our reaction to others. And, I give everyone a task or work.
Through my vision, intentions, and discussions, I can see how partnering for healing/expansion should best occur. Who should work with whom, what they shall do. In interacting with others we always have multiple reactions or patterns whether we are aware of it or not. These can encompass mental, physical, and spiritual states. Working on these patterns with direction and in an energetic, meditative footing, we can gain super awareness. That, which used to be in your subconscious, is now within your vision and therefore grasp. Alternative thought patterns result, which move us into different action modalities. This is the key. We are able to alter processes AND break through cells, DNA, genetics, and epigenetics. This is not just talk therapy… nor group therapy… but deep down and dirty soul therapy.
As I used the word “loudly” before, we also practice extreme vulnerability. When we get to depth and honesty there can be tears, crying as well as screaming. When we allow for the energy of the body and emotions to take the wheel, things that have been trapped inside of us can surface. This can be raw, extremely dark and heavy. If you have heard of the term “dark night of the soul,” I feel, this is it. But, as you go through these waters, you are not alone and can move to the other side. This is where my penetrating sight is important. This is also where connection and trust in others is vital. In every class, I also see how the group has been magically brought together. What one person is working on, somehow applies to everyone. There are so many alignments — it is crazy. At this point, I should no longer be amazed. I am.
Peace, in these turbulent instances, means balance – definitely not silence. And when the harder stuff is worked out, calmness and balance begins. This allows us to work on different difficulties as well as the joys. This is life; a constant wellspring of things to tap into. Ups and downs. Learning how to go with the flow is the natural harmony, and it is our intent to achieve this.
Doing this work can also be an answer to PTSD, diabetes, anxiety, bi-polarism, abuse, migraines, sleep issues, ADD, disabilities, heart issues, infection challenges, etc. I have seen it happen with all ages, and there is nothing that can be unaffected by this work if an individual is ready. When folks are bold enough to find out the real issues, instead of simply masking problems with medication, drugs or alcohol… amazing things can happen.
And, I haven’t even discussed the relationship to spirit, the universe, or God. This is also a major component so don’t let my briefness be any indication of its beauty. As your awareness expands as well as your connections to others, it is all God. Your relationship to God (or whatever you may deem your spirituality or religion) becomes stronger. Little things start to give you stunning pleasure, and you start to attach to all that is. This was ultimately the reason I was drawn to this work. I thought it was to find balance, but it was to find God.
The third necessity is to have a teacher. It is very critical that you are willing to put your heart and soul with a mentor. Our class is like a microcosm of the world. All the pieces are there in one room. How you relate to it is a mirror of how you relate to the world.
To further demonstrate, meditation allows you to see more of yourself. Being in a group heightens that experience and the depth you are able achieve. Partnering with others allows you to actually break down barriers, feel yourself totally, increase boundaries, as well as let down boundaries. You can do whatever you need to do which will be different from anyone else on any one day. This environment is also totally safe. This increases your trust in people who slowly trickles out to the world. Then, finally, putting your heart and listening to the guidance of a teacher is the complete path to surrender and change. What you believe happens to you here is your belief of everything, of everyone, of the planet.
As we talk about a teacher, let’s clarify that you aren’t giving yourself up but letting go. Above all else, you should always be in control. This mentor must not infringe on that… and on top of that they should be kind, flexible, open, someone who walks their talk and, in my estimation, also willing to be vulnerable and honest about their own flaws as well as the things that make them stand out. This person is not to be put on a pedestal, yet we can acknowledge that they are aware… of more.
This teacher has also created this group and watches over it. Specifically, our group is like a non-dysfunctional family. This is a collective of individuals that holds you like no other. Will be there for you like no other. A group and setting where you can let your hair down and show how you are remarkable as well as your bumps, bruises, and scars. This group, as well as your teacher, should love and accept every piece of you. And to note, I also add my guidance in class through energetic touch/healing. This is yet another layer.
Through all of this we learn how to hold all of the spiritual contradictions intact. To be steadfast in our beliefs yet flexible beyond measure. To love humanity and be discerning. To realize there is nothing to do and nothing to really fix. To just be. And, in doing that, our limitations are not limitations at all. We are limitless.
I have written that there are three main essentials. However, there is one more concrete necessity, really, which is the ultimate of importance. That is YOU. Your willingness. Your patience. Your openness. Your honesty. You, in essence, must be all you ask your teacher to be. Maybe… you are not there yet. But you have the heart and courage to BE. That is everything.