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When Meditation Feels Difficult: Working with Our Edges on the Cushion

July 22, 2017 @ 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

The meditation instruction is simple: stay with the present moment. Yet meditators invariably run into complex questions. How much discomfort is too much? Is it ever unhelpful to lean into difficult emotions?  When should we explore pain and when should we back off?  How do we work with our “edges”?

Often, our longing for peace and quiet on the cushion can lead to disconnection from, or aggression against, aspects of ourselves which seem to be in the way of such peace.  This workshop will help you learn to explore all aspects of self by applying lovingkindness, patience, and wisdom to embrace and respect your places of resistance and find freedom from internal conflict, both in your practice and in your life.

In this three-hour workshop, experienced teachers Dan Cayer and Emily Saunders will guide and instruct on different techniques to allow us to respond to difficult emotions and physical pain.  They will share insights from psychobiology, modern trauma theory, and bodywork, to provide you with skillful methods to support your body’s inherent ability to process urgent or uncomfortable feelings, and discover its natural rhythm.  Guided instruction will be provided for you to experience and practice several different techniques of settling oneself through an anxious or uncomfortable meditation session.

This event is designed for those who have already begun a meditation practice.  Chairs and cushions will be provided.

Registration Fees

Please select the highest amount you can comfortably afford to support this and other donation-based initiatives.  IDP Members, please select the middle rate.  Students, seniors, and unemployed persons, please select the lowest rate. See below for scholarship opportunities.


Dan Cayer is a nationally certified teacher of the Alexander Technique and a meditator in the Shambhala tradition. After a serious injury left Dan unable to work or carry out household tasks like cleaning dishes, he began studying the Alexander Technique. His return to health, as well as his experience dealing with the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of pain, has inspired him to help others. Dan now teaches the Alexander Technique as a method of recovering balance and well-being. He advocates it as a fantastic embodiment of mindfulness and awareness both on and off the cushion. He is a graduate of IDP’s yearlong Meditation Teacher Training program.





Emily Saunders is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who takes heart in our individual and collective capacity for transformational growth. She has pursued deep study in mindfulness and meditation, primarily in the Insight/Vipasanna Tradition. Emily was first introduced to concentration practices as a young person managing anxiety and depression. She feels fortunate to now support other young people and adults to transform trauma and discover their center of balance in a dynamic society. She currently lives in Ajo, Arizona where she integrates mindfulness-based, anti-oppressive, and somatic-informed trauma resolution approaches into her therapeutic practice and humanitarian work on the border. She is a graduate of IDP’s yearlong Meditation Teacher Training program and expects to complete a three year Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy training in 2018.


Dan Cayer