Frances Brown in meditation at Tone Studio, Owen SoundFrances Brown is an amazing teacher and person. She has this graceful calm that she brings to each and every staff meeting and class that she attends. We sat down this week and asked Frances a few general meditation questions, mostly about her personal journey. Below are her inspiring answers.

Frances, when did you first learn meditation?

I first learned meditation in the summer of 2004, 3 years after my husband died.  When I first started I could hardly sit in a chair for twenty minutes, but during the 10 weeks of practice I was able to let go of my discomfort and sit comfortably.

What is the biggest benefit that you have gained from meditation in your own life?
The biggest benefit I have gained from meditation is to see how easily the body and mind can be reactive and how by using a simple technique of labeling in life or during meditation you can notice how the reactivity begins to subside and break away.
After I did my first 1-week intensive retreat, (only 2 weeks after I had completed my meditation classes), I noticed that my emotional suffering from my husband’s death had decreased significantly.  My body was 90% free of my reactivity to this emotional pain.

How often do you think someone new to meditation should spend per day/week in meditation?
When someone first begins learning meditation with me for a duration of eight weeks, we start off with sitting for ten minutes per day day.  This allows the student to familiarize themselves by coming to the same place each day, building the basic skills of concentration while focusing on the breath at the abdomen.  After two weeks the sitting time is increased by five minutes each week.  By the end of eight weeks a student will be able to sit for thirty minutes or longer.Meditation with France Brown at Tone Studio, Owen Sound
A daily practice is recommended but if you can’t sit daily, once or twice a week is better than not doing anything at all.

Does the room have to be quiet for meditation?
No, there is really no such thing as a quiet room.  There is some noise going on somewhere either in or outside the room.  When you are aware of the sounds around you and you let go of the reactivity that you might have around it, you will find that you can go deeper into your practice.

Can I have music while I am meditating?
When you learn the skills of meditation there is no need to have music playing during your sit.

Why do you teach meditation?
I teach meditation because I see how my life has profoundly changed by it and I wanted to share what I have learned to help others.  I have always been a quiet, shy type of person but I notice that I kept my emotions in.  Only when I started meditation I began to see how these emotions were embedded in the body.  By seeing it clearly for what it is, it’s just about feel sensation and by not reacting to it.  I was able to see the changing nature. Watching it break apart and fall away over time.  When we are less reactive to the world around us, it become easier to move more freely in it.