Tom Pritscher has been teaching meditation to Wood River Valley residents for years. His goal has never been to be the go-to guy for relief of pain (physical, emotional, mental, or psychological), but to help people build and use meditative tools in order to care for themselves. In Pritscher’s vernacular, healing means “making whole”— and, as a “teacher of new spirituality,” his objective is to help people use meditation to balance all aspects of themselves.
Pritscher has studied with masters in many spiritual traditions, and has taught meditation throughout the United States, as well as in India, Southeast Asia, and Europe. The author of Practicing the Presence—A Course in Meditation, he has also produced a videocassette series called Beyond Meditation—Real Healing.
One of the challenges of writing or talking about meditation is that real meditation goes beyond the verbal experience. Pritscher uses a spider-and-fly analogy to demonstrate the human need for meditation practice: A fly lands in a spider’s web. The spider, true to nature and instinct, eats the fly and returns to the center of its web. Many people, however, when a fly gets caught in their web, allow the fly to become the center of their focus and distract them from their true selves and real purpose.
With meditation, we learn to experience difficulties without letting them separate us from our true selves. If, on the other hand, we continue to carry around old, unhealed traumas, stress signals will continue to be sent to the brain, limiting our healing and our growth.
One of the simplest meditations Pritscher teaches to help reduce stress and recover from trauma is a technique that synchronizes eye movements with deep breathing: Sit comfortably upright, with eyes closed. Slowly inhale and gently move the eyes, behind closed lids, from the center to the upper left. While exhaling, return eyes to center. Slowly inhale and gently move eyes from center to upper right. Exhale and return eyes to center. Repeat this sequence, alternating movement to the upper and the lower left and right, for five minutes.
When we are whole, we respond from our true source—not from residual or repressed fear or anger. Finding this wholeness takes a strength that is built slowly through meditation. “You don’t do meditation,” Pritscher points out. “You are the meditation—every moment.”
Pritscher continues to teach a few classes when he is in town, and is currently working on some instructional videos that will avail his teaching to more people. He has always offered his teaching and guidance free of charge, accepting only donations, and generously shares his teachings on his Web site: www.realhealing.com.
Eleanor Jewett lives in Hailey with her husband, Eric Rogers. When not writing for the magazine, she stays busy running a landscape company with her husband and working on a Master’s degree in Education.