On Meditation: Zen and Tao Mind

It’s interesting but you can’t really teach “Meditation” in the sense of the internal structure. You can give instruction on how the body can be held. How the breath can be counted and what to “notice.” Yes you can point a person’s thought structure towards what might be considered a meditative mind, but you cannot actually teach the mind anything.

I run into a lot of counter thinking. I have observed people being told that “This” is the correct way to hold the body, and you “Must” sit with a strong spine and straight back. Head tilted just so, eyes looking just so, mind focused just so all in the form of a suggestion. (The last part about focusing the mind cannot possibly be taught or there would be a lot more focused mind type people out there.) Except, none of that is much use when teaching people who are challenged physically, cognitively, and emotionally. (That’s all of us in one way or another.) And honestly, I am a little tired of the insinuation that people can only be successful if they meditate the “right” way.

One: There is no right way.

Two: There is no success.

I find myself sharing the basics with people who want to mediate and who also experience physical/cognitive/emotional challenges. My belief is meditation is for everybody. And I mean everybody. After all, it’s not the meditation that matters, it’s developing the reference frame that meditation encourages. That frame that says, “We are not our thoughts!”

Sooner or later the same process occurs to everyone who engages in meditation for any length of time. You experience a gap between thinking and what observes thinking. What happens after that is going to have a lot to do with your next decision about how you will maintain and relate to that view.

Knowing that we are not our thoughts is a powerful message. Much of what consumes us and drives us away from our own peace is believing that our thoughts represent reality. And, due to Cognitive Bias, we think the thoughts are right and true. After all they are my thoughts so they have to be true, and more importantly to most people, right!

But what we find is that most of our idea’s about anything are less than accurate. You can test this without having a meditation practice. Notice how your mind will provide a scenario the next time you go to meet a group of people. Who will be there, who won’t, who I like, who I don’t, what kind of environment, and even what kind of “time” (good/bad) I am going to experience.

Then later after all is said and done, compare what actually took place with how your mind pictured what was going to take place. Different isn’t it? Nothing we think or plan is the way we think or plan.

Here is what I encourage people to experience. Don’t let ego tell you that you need mats or incense or bells and whistles. You don’t.

Meditate because you desire to sit and examine yourself. If you are meditating to gain something it will provide challenges. Yes there are benefits, no you cant’ make yourself receive them.

Have a location to meditate.

Select your physical preference. Standing, walking, laying down, or one of the sitting styles. A folded blanked will do for sitting.

Be comfortable! Sometimes it’s good to shake yourself out a little and take some deep breaths before sitting. Feel the body.

I recommend starting with 5 minutes. It doesn’t seem like much until you try it. You might want to start with 1 minute. There are a lot of stories concerning peoples experiences about fighting their way into sitting for 45 minutes to an hour, exhausting themselves, and moving away from meditation.

Commit to a practice that you find yourself doing as many days as possible during the week. Constancy and consistency mean more than any specific length of practice time. A few minutes a day on a regular basis will shift your perspective more than meditating an hour every weekend. It’s being familiar with the mindset that matters.

Too many times there seems to be some kind of ego trip involved with the time people meditate and how often they sit. Cheri Huber encourages folks to “Do a little more than you think you can but not as much as you think you should.” I love that. Remember that meditation is about you and you. Remember that meditation is a process not an event.

I encourage people to meditate. There are things that will happen. But, for sure, if you are dedicated and sincere you will develop a new reference frame from which to see your world.

Bows to everyone,


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