A few basics
We’re going to throw you in the deep end as soon as possible – this will help you worry less about trying to understand instructions perfectly, and will allow you to take it easy, as it comes.
Permission to be comfortable.
In our style of meditation, we sit comfortably.
Seating position in meditation is important, but it varies differently for each technique. In ancient India, they sat in padmasana during meditation. It’s the crossed leg pose you see everywhere. This is difficult for most westerners, but it wasn’t for people in ancient india, (very few people owned chairs). For those in ancient india, sitting in padmasana was comfortable.
Moving with the history of meditation, it spread to china, and through china spread to japan. In ancient japan the seating style was kneeling, for them, kneeling was comfortable. And that’s how they meditate in zen meditation* today. For most people these days, kneeling isn’t so comfortable.
So, just like those before us, we sit in meditation just like we sit in everyday life – and that’s usually with our back supported.
There is some benefit to being uncomfortable in meditation, but that’s like step #99 of meditation, and for most people it’s way too much, way too soon. Like learning to run before you learn to crawl.
I’ve studied seating style in meditation for years, it’s a complex topic, but for now, others sit like they do in their meditation, and we sit like we do in ours!
This isn’t a big deal
You’re only closing your eyes for 20mins. Take it easy. It’s not such a big deal. Just like that first time you rode a bike, I’ll give you a push, and you just pedal.
About 80% of the difficulty in meditation comes from people making a massive deal of it, (believe me, I was the worst when I started). So, I’ll say it again, you’re only meditating. Bring a sense of humour into it.
With our method, we use an innocent, almost lazy, effortless style that’s been refined for thousands of years. If you can’t let go, have the intention to let go of trying so hard to let go!
Time to Meditate!
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Take a minute
Go for a walk outside or maybe clean up your room
No need to rush into the next section. I’m sure you have questions, or are perhaps worried if you did it right.
All this will be answered when you get back.
The idea that “thoughts aren’t a part of meditation” is a myth. A myth that shows up in every culture that new to meditation.
The earliest mention of this myth that I’ve found in my studies, is from 735 ce. This was a time that meditation, “called Dhyān”, was popularising from India to China, pronounced, “Chān” by the Chinese, (eventually moving to japan, being pronounced as “Zen”, and that’s where the word Zen comes from today.)
At this time, 735ce, as meditation was moving to China, China believed, like all new cultures to meditation, that meditation was this whole “no thoughts” thing.
The indians though, who had been practicing meditation for much longer, completely disagreed.
Now, in the middle of India and China is Tibet.
Tibet didn’t know who to listen to – are thoughts a part of meditation or not? Who’s right about thoughts during meditation? The Chinese or the Indians?
So Tibet held a debate. In the heat of debate, the Indian scholar Kamasilā is quoted as saying “... there is a particular place in hell for heterodox yogi’s that believe meditation is no thoughts, it’s the land of mindless drooling zombies, who wander the halls of the afterlife for 500 eons”, shortly after that comment, Kamasilā and the Indians won the debate – thoughts were a necessary part of meditation of the meditation process, and we have Tibetan buddhism as it is today.
How meditation is usually taught, by professional meditation teachers, should always follow this idea:
Thoughts are a necessary part of meditation.
Imagine that getting lost in thought is just like lifting a weight, every repetition (from being lost in thought, back to the points of awareness) is like lifting a weight once. Every repetition is training your brain to be more focused on the present moment.
10mins a Day
Start with 10mins of Meditation Daily. To get any real benefit from meditation, it needs to be done daily. Like brushing your teeth.
This is simply how healthy habits work.
Meditate daily for 10 minutes, and you will gain far greater benefit than a once yearly meditation retreat.
With this technique, you can meditate everywhere. In fact, I recommend you, (sometimes!) meditate in the weirdest places possible. It will make you a better meditator.
Meditation is for life, not hiding away in meditation studios.
Every Session is Successful
Don’t judge each meditation session as “good” or “bad”. Meditation is a process – like exercise, not a skill – like snowboarding or guitar.
Every time you exercise, (or meditate) it works. If you run 10mins on a treadmill, (whether it was fun or horrible) it’s going to work. It’s exactly the same with meditation. If you meditate for 10mins, (whether it was fun or horrible) it’s going to work. Every meditation is successful.
Not So Fast!
Remember – Meditation is much more that a quick, online 40minute course!
If you want to really experience meditation for yourself, contact a local teacher, it certainly doesn’t need to be me, but I simply need you to know that individual support helps a bunch.
I’d be sad if this one online experience to put you off meditation forever!
It’s so much more than that!
If you loved it, or are ready to learn more, then there’s even more to come. So stay tuned!
You did it!
Remember, some of the best meditation teachers hated their first sessions.
I know some meditation teachers who tried meditation once, didn’t like it, and came back after years to realise how great daily meditation practice was.
Believe me, if you feel like you sucked at meditation the first time, or you think it will never work for you, you are in great company. I was just the same.
Take it easy for now. No more meditation today, don’t overdo it – go for a walk, clean your room, get into the world!
Come back tomorrow when you’re ready for another meditation, you’ll notice the experience of the meditation changes each day!