Step 1 – Motivation
“May I (We) Be Healthy and Happy”

We hate misery, but love its causes.
We love happiness, but refuse to cultivate its causes.
(Buddhist law of reversed effect” quoted by Alan Watts)

As we begin Step One of ISM, we will explore the causes and conditions for true inner health and happiness.  We will contemplate the positive qualities to be accumulated as well as the negative mental states to be transformed in order to achieve sustainable health and happiness from the inside out.  We will energize our motivation in order to overcome the inevitable challenges and distractions will make it hard to sustain a daily practice.  

Physical, mental, and spiritual health are intertwined, and meditation is scientifically proven to foster good health and happiness in mind, body and spirit. Therefore, we can begin meditating with confidence that this practice will help us to heal the innermost causes of illness and suffering.  

Here are your assignments for this topic.

(1) Video Intro

(2) Readings
ISM Part II, Step One, Motivation Pages 41 – 58.  See also these Inspirational verses from various traditions to stimulate your own contemplation and journaling.

(3) Resources: Take a look at the additional resources I have provided for this topic and do some of your own research.  Gather together and reflect on your own resources and life experiences that support and sustain your motivation to meditate.

(4) Journaling
Contemplate and write about your personal motivation for developing a contemplative practice.

  • Are you motivated to becoming sustainably healthy and happy?
  • How do you define health and happiness in mind, body and spirit?
  • What changes will you make in your life to become more happy and healthy?
  • How can the steps of ISM help you to become healthier and happier?
  • How much time each day will you devote to this meditation?

(5) Meditation

Practice the seven steps with special emphasis on Step One.  You may do this on your own or along with this guided meditation.

 (5a) Guided Meditation with Music

This version of ISM combines a guided meditation with spiritual music from Buddhism (Ganden Loseling Monks), Christianity (Fiona Davidson, Fonn, Ceile De), Hinduism (Swami Atmarupananda), Islam (Sufism – Camille Helminski), Judaism (Rabbi Zalman Schachter), and Native American (Carlos Nakai) traditions.  It is accompanied by a composition by cello player Michael Fitzpatrick “Dawn of the Millenium.”  (It is not presently available for download.)

(6) Weekly Class Audio-Video Recordings

If you weren’t able to attend the live online class, or would like to watch/listen again, please click the following link.

Click here for the video recordings of our weekly classes.

(7) Reflections:

It is not easy to sustain a daily meditation practice and to cultivate the causes of your own health and happiness. Therefore, your motivation is critically important.  To motivate yourself, it helps to express your personal reasons in writing and remind yourself constantly of these.  When you do this, your motivation can become stronger and meditation will become a natural part of our life. After reading the chapter on motivation, then contemplating and journaling on each of its related causes and attributes, please summarize these in about 250 words. By posting your reflection, you will help yourself and others in our cohort to cultivate and sustain their motivation and meditation.

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