It is often said that there are as many paths to meditation as there are meditators. These paths can be likened to streams flowing into the ocean. Each stream takes a unique course, but they all return to the source from which all waters originate.
The most commonly known forms of meditation share a few basic characteristics:
- Posture: Bring your body into a stable sitting position, in alignment, spine straight.
- Solitude: Bring yourself away to a quiet place where you may be relatively undisturbed.
- Silence: Bring yourself to silence.
- Mental quiescence: Bring your mind to stillness.
One of the main practices of meditation is to focus the mind on an object (the breath, a visual object, a visualized object, a repeated sound), and when the mind wanders from the object, immediately and without commentary bring the mind back to the object of attention.
Because our lifetime habit is to be controlled by the perpetually moving mind, the practice of meditation is ongoing. Like playing the piano or painting or flying a plane, it takes practice and repetition to create new muscle memory, especially when the muscle is your mind. One of the most important pieces of advice regarding meditation is to relax and enter each session free of expectation.
Zen Master Jakusho Kwong-roshi once said to a group of students, “You have come to hear what cannot be heard, and I have come to say what cannot be said. It cannot be heard, cannot be said. But it can be demonstrated; and that’s what we do here.” Meditation is this demonstration of our original awakened nature.
Poet • Lover • Parent • Galactic Traveler