Haven Tobias

Local meditation teacher Haven Tobias will bring a new class to The Well starting in December.

People meditate for all kinds of reasons. While there is no universal definition for the term or practice of meditation, the etymology of the English word, meditation, comes from the Latin and means to think, contemplate or ponder.

In ancient times, meditation was associated with various spiritual paths, including Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism, but, in more recent times, people have begun practicing meditation for health benefits.

“Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that can benefit both your emotional well-being and your overall health,” according to the Mayo Clinic (mayoclinic.org).

If you want to try mediation with an experienced teacher an initial Mindfulness Meditation class will be taught from 12:30-1:30 p.m. on Dec. 12 at the Cleveland County Wellness Square (The Well), 210 S. James Garner Ave. in Norman. Taught by experienced teacher Haven Tobias, this class will be offered free of charge.

“When you say mindful, you’re talking about moment-to-moment awareness without judgment,” Tobias said. “Notice it does not mean not thinking. ‘Not thinking’ is not possible for a person who is alive. It’s just a fully embodied awareness of what is going on. You don’t have to get carried away with the thoughts as if the thoughts are a wild horse.”

This class takes a secular approach and serves everyone regardless of religious association or lack of religious association.

“I don’t think every meditation technique is for everybody but there is a mediation technique for everybody,” Tobias said

Tobias said each class will drill down into different techniques and styles of mediation, covering at least 12 techniques. Following the initial class in December, Tobias will continue the class starting in January, aiming for a consistent day and time each week.

“This is not about staring at a blank wall for 30 minutes,” she said. “I believe mindfulness is available through many different techniques. I call it building a toolbox.”

Tobias will also talk about meditation styles like walking, cooking and gardening meditation, but probably won’t do those styles in the class.

“We’ll do some types people don’t always realize is meditation like meditative journaling,” she said. “It’s one of my passions. I keep a gratitude journal.”

Tobias has a Bachelor of Arts degree in History, a Master of Arts in American Studies and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma. She has been a long-time member of lifetime learning at OU, both teaching and taking classes. She also teaches meditation through Pioneer Library Systems’ Norman locations.

The Well provides a new venue and an opportunity to reach more people including experienced and new students.

“I try my best to make it accessible and interesting to everybody,” she said.

Tobias plans to start with basics and build from there, but people can join the class at any time and still benefit.

“We’ll do a forgiveness practice, that’s another kind of meditation, and of course a body scan meditation,” she said. “I have a very interesting one for dealing with anger, and it’s one you can use right on the spot.”

Over the course of the class, Tobias said she may bring in other teachers or use YouTube clips to help teach various methods.

To sign up for Mindfulness Mediation or any of the free and low-cost classes at The Well, visit thewellok.org/all-classes.

Joy Hampton is a public information officer for Cleveland County.

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