Rockville Meditation Teacher Focuses On Kindness To Ourselves

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Photo by Lindsey Max

Whether Ofosu Jones-Quartey encourages mindful breathing, plays therapeutic sounds or directs emotional controls, his guiding philosophy remains the same when he teaches mindfulness meditation classes.

“Be present with kindness,” he said. “Just to notice what is going on in your mind and body, and to notice it with a caring and caring attitude. “

Jones-Quartey, 40, was introduced to meditation by his mother, a Buddhist and meditation practitioner, when he was 6 years old. , that he decided to orient himself towards the practice of spirituality. “My then girlfriend, now my wife, was pregnant with our first child,” says Jones-Quartey, who grew up in Silver Spring. “I felt I would be a better father if I took the time to look inside and understand myself better.”

After reading books on meditation, Jones-Quartey studied Vipassana, which he said is similar to mindfulness meditation, for several years starting in 2002 with Professor Bhante Buddharakkhita, a Buddhist monk he met in a monastery in West Virginia. “The way I practiced before I had a teacher, I was pretty hard on myself and felt like I needed to have a perfect mind or have perfect meditations,” says -he. “Working with the teacher and ultimately working with yourself over time will make you realize that kindness to yourself is really the most important thing. “

Since 2004, Jones-Quartey has worked at Insight Meditation Community of Washington as the co-leader of its family program. He teaches for DC-based Minds Incorporated, which brings mindfulness to classrooms and records meditations on the Libra meditation app. He also co-wrote a mindfulness-based positive psychology program for the Ryan Bartel Foundation in Waterford, Va., Which aims to prevent suicide among young people. Jones-Quartey describes his teachings as secular.

Jones-Quartey, who lives in Rockville and teaches all ages, says introducing mindfulness practices to young people can help them through their teenage years. “The three words I like the most are ‘you are enough’,” he says. “When you can present this concept to young people, I think it creates an opportunity to counterbalance the innate difficulties that come with growing up. “

During lessons, he uses singing bowls which create “healing tones” and produce “sound baths” when multiple bowls are played over an extended period of time. He also incorporates songs that he says encourage kindness, such as “Who am I?” »By Nina Simone.

Among Jones-Quartey’s other mindfulness strategies, his students are suggested to pay attention to sensory experiences, such as feeling down to earth. “[I’m] giving them the alternatives and the tools they can use to stay aware as they go about their daily activities, ”he says.

Having struggled with anxiety and depression in the past, Jones-Quartey says meditation has provided refuge. “It’s the difference between being in the middle of the ocean without a life raft… and being in the middle of the ocean with a life raft,” he says. “At the very least, these practices have helped me stay afloat, and at best, they get me where I really want to be. “

In his own words …

Countdown

“A great practice that is suitable for beginners as well as advanced people is the five-four-three-two-one practice: five things you can see, four things you can smell, three things you can hear, two. things you can smell, something you can taste. It is something you can do at any time, and it is a mindfulness practice that brings you into the present moment.

You have a friend

“I like that people take a moment and just check out how they’re feeling, mentally, emotionally, and physically… and then, based on how you’re feeling at that moment, think about what you would say to a best friend. or a loved one who felt the same – what words of support, encouragement, or gratitude could you share with someone who is feeling exactly how you are feeling right now.

Be positive

“Because we have a negativity bias as a survival mechanism, it’s just easier for us to see the negative things about ourselves, easier for us to think about the negative things about ourselves, easier for us. us to say negative things about ourselves, and in extreme instances, easier for us to do negative things to ourselves. The biggest obstacle, then, is making people understand that they don’t have to believe everything they think.

The bright side

“When you are faced with unprecedented uncertainty and circumstances, you can either see it as problematic or you can see it as some kind of challenge or puzzle that you can work with and solve. And when you have the prospect that everything is achievable… then circumstances become less overwhelming and they become opportunities.


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