Roche answers questions and debunks meditation myths, and gives three easy-to-follow techniques for getting started The Do Nothing Technique," "Salute Each of the Senses," and "Feeling at Home Exercise". He and shows you how to integrate "mini meditations" into spare moments of the day, from savouring morning coffee to taking advantage of the five minutes before a meeting. He explains how to overcome meditation obstacles, customise meditation to your own needs, and use your breath, voice, and attention as meditation aids. And he shows how meditation will give you the power to explore your inner passions , and enrich your sense of self.
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Meditation Made Easy
Questions and Answers
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is a naturally occurring rest state; it is resting in yourself while remaining awake and alert. Meditation is innate, and your body already knows how to do it. The human body has an instinctive ability to shift into profound rest states in order to heat, energise, integrate, tune itself up, and assimilate learning. It is almost a sure bet that you have already experienced this many times in your life.
Meditation is paradoxical in that you are resting more deeply than you do in sleep, yet you are wide awake inside. It is very similar to taking a nap, but you don′t fall asleep you fall awake. You can induce this state by attentively doing anything simple and repetitive. We breathe all the time, and breathing is rhythmic, so you could pay attention to your breathing. There are so many ways in.
Meditation promotes a heightened awareness of the details of everyday life. Even a few minutes of meditation will help you move through the world with more relaxation and alertness.
Meditation is giving attention a chance to explore its full range, both inward and outward. It is a conversation between your inner and your outer life. This sounds simple, and it is. But there is no end to the delights of attention; there is always more to learn, more to explore, more to awaken to.
Where Did Meditation Come From?
Meditation was probably discovered independently by hunters, singers, dancers, drummers, lovers, and hermits, each in their own way. People tend to encounter meditative states whenever they throw themselves with total intensity into life′s callings. The knowledge of how to intentionally cultivate meditative states is a kind of craft knowledge : those handy tips people pass on to each other. Meditation does not come from India or Tibet : those are just places where the knowledge rested for a while, and the hermits in those places wrote it all down. Bless them.
Human beings have been using tools for hundreds of thousands of years, according to the archaeologists. I consider it very likely that they have been using sophisticated mental tools for tens of thousands of years.
Hunters, for example, sometimes have to make themselves still for hours. They have to merge with the forest and not even think, lest they scare the prey away. Then they leap into action with total precision at a moment′s notice : that′s Zen in a nutshell. Hunters teach each other these skills, through verbal instruction and example.
Singers and dancers often enter meditative states through their passionate expression. Singers work with breath awareness in ways far more sophisticated than yoga. Lovers are often in a state of heightened appreciation that borders on meditation. Hermits are the ones we have heard the most from, because they kept the best notes. That is why we always think of yogis and bearded guys in the Himalayas when we think of meditation. But their way is only one small subset of the many different gateways into meditation.
Meditation comes from the human heart and is a way of warming your hands and your life at the fire always pulsing there in your core. It comes from the depths of your instinctive wisdom. Human beings are always wondering and inquiring, and meditation is a natural emergence of that adventure.
On the other hand, cats obviously meditate. That′s what it looks like to me, anyway. So it may be a genetically encoded, instinctive talent in mammals. Cats don′t need to be taught to meditate, but human beings need a little coaching.
Why Do People Meditate?
People meditate for innumerable reasons, and all of them are valid. Here are a few:
People meditate out of curiosity, wonder, and a desire to explore.
People meditate because they are worried, tired, bored, lonely, horny, or tense.
People meditate because they are happy, grateful, in love, streaming with delight, and glad to be alive.
People meditate because they are grieving, sad, despairing, resigned, frustrated.
People meditate because they have lost someone or some part of themselves or lost the joy of life.
People meditate because they feel out of place in the world created by human beings and prefer to live in the world of Nature.
People meditate as an attempt to escape from life and from Nature.
People meditate because they are sick in body or soul and need healing.
People meditate because they feel perfectly at home and want to savour the feeling.
People meditate to touch the essence of life and bring its magic into everyday living.
People meditate because they have not touched the essence of life but suspect that it is there for the touching.
People meditate because it is an urge in them that they have long felt, and it gradually condensed into a movement they realise is meditation.
People meditate as a response to the calling of their own souls.
People meditate because they are so excited by life they figure they could use a little calmness.
People meditate to keep their intuition and senses sharp.
Each of these impulses has generated a variety of techniques and traditions. Honour them in yourself, as they come and go. And whenever you read or hear something about meditation, you can wonder, which emotion does this emerge from?
It is always good to take a moment and feel what it is you want out of meditation, what impulses are moving you. That is part of the preparation for meditation. The list above is by no means comprehensive make your own list. Your list can be a description of how you want to feel, or the practical outcome you want, or a mingling of the two.
Meditation is there to help you fulfil your everyday needs. Things like getting a little rest and relaxation. Clearing your mind of clutter. Getting some perspective on your life, as you would if you were on vacation. Having more energy, being able to go into action with relaxation, even if you′re facing a test, an interview, or some other crucial action.
The key is to know what you want, or at least be open to what you want out of meditation. That is the passion that will lead you to invest time in meditation. Then, the moment you enter meditation, let go completely of your expectations...Meditation Made Easy. Copyright © by Lorin Roche. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.