RIDLEY TOWNSHIP >> The class is quiet; you hear only the ticking of the clock. Six people sit in a circle, eyes closed, deep in meditation. It is Meditation Saturdays at the Ridley Township Library. On the third Saturday of the month, Rich Conti leads the group. The first hour is for beginners where he leads them in basic meditation instruction; the second hour is for the more experienced but beginners are welcomed, too. Saturdays Mediation is new at the library this summer.
Using the technology on an iPhone, Conti has a chime app set to time the minutes of mindfulness meditation. In between he monitors the class seeing if they want to increase the time and how beginners feel during meditating.
For some in the group, daily meditation is a part of their life. For others, it is new.
Linda Minton of Folsom does Magnified and Reiki healing. She has been meditating since the 1990s. She finds being in a group is beneficial to slating time to meditate.
She isn’t alone. According to Conti many of the people who meditate find it better in a group setting.
Conti stared meditating in the 1980s when he went to Zen Retreats he found he had lots to learn about meditating. Today he shares his knowledge with others. On Mondays and Fridays at 1 p.m. he holds group meditations at the Schoolhouse Senior Center in Folsom.
“Meditation helps with stress reduction, you still have stress, but it is definitely helpful. It helps with anxiety and sleep problems. It’s a tool to use when you are dealing with stress. When you meditate when you aren’t stressed, you have this tool to use to deal with stress better,” said Conti.
“People are interested in meditation but not comfortable with it, then when they see what happens here, they understand it. Taking time out is good. Your breathing slows down and your body is relaxing. We don’t give ourselves permission to do that. It takes three to six months to get it. Just going to a group gives you a time out to do something with mediation. It’s very accessible but a lot of us have an aversion to sitting still. We have to be doing something every moment,” said Conti.
Conti sees a resurgence of meditation. The Rutledge resident was even asked by Boscov Department Store to teach workshops in meditation but he declined.
“Meditation is very useful and spreading very fast. It is popping up everywhere. Meditation has been part of the Asian culture for a very long time but it’s only been here (America) for 100 years. It’s very new here,” said Conti.
Wallingford resident Sheila Marcy, a retired teacher, taught first and second grade at Wallingford Elementary School in the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District. She used meditation in her classes to help with imagination using the book, “Put Your Mother on the Ceiling,” written by Richard deMille. She had her students use muscle relaxation, guided imagery, meditation and deep breathing through it all.
“Every day morning and night I meditate but the length of time varies on how much I need it. Sometimes five minutes, sometimes 30 minutes,” said Marcy.
Conti explains that there are many ways to meditate: Mindful Breathing, Guided Imagery, Walking Meditation, Silent Meditation, Guided Meditation, Mantras, Mandalas and even listening to music.
“There are many apps that you can download that can guide you in meditation. A lot of people who come to our groups or workshops started with Yoga. There are 20-30 techniques that you can use. You really can’t learn it from books,” said Conti.
Conti has a CD with different tracks with different variations on how to meditate.
He has three simple basic things you must do to be successful in meditation: Sit still, shut up — no talking, no listening, no distractions and pay attention to your breathing.
“I find it very beneficial to show people what to do. I like sharing it with people and helping them get started, “said Conti.
To learn more go to https://sites.google.com/site/delcomeditationgroups/ or contact Ridley Township Library. The next date for Meditation Saturdays is Aug. 20.