It is not uncommon these days for meditation to be practiced in schools, yoga centers and even churches. However I have noticed that a large number of beginners are confused about what meditation is.
I have heard people complain they cannot meditate. That their teacher tells them to “empty their mind of thoughts”. Others tell me they cannot sit still because their minds are too busy. Even experienced meditators tell me they cannot meditate anymore because they don’t get the same benefits they once did.
In 1987 I travelled to India. While there I heard Osho speak about meditation. He said something that shocked me. He said meditation was about being un-automatic. He said anything you do automatically, is not meditation. Even meditation practice can be become automatic. Meditation is an attitude toward whatever you do, not an action you take. This helped me, at least in part, see through the idea that meditation was separate from everyday life.
The second breakthrough in understanding meditation occurred when I read Krishnamurti. He describes meditation as the practice of understanding the nature of thought, not the absence of thought. This made so much more sense to me than the impossible instructions from well-intentioned yoga teachers telling me to empty my mind of thoughts.
The third aha moment in my meditation journeys came on a ten day retreat in 2005. Sitting for ten hours a day I discovered that by putting my attention onto my body and breath my mind would inexplicably start to calm down. Many years later I read a quote from the great yogi BKS Iyengar - “The mind is the king of the senses, the breath is the king of the mind, and meditation is the king of the breath.” Reading this was like a bolt of lightning across a dark sky. In its flash another dot in the meditation matrix connected.
So beware - meditation is not about:
Meditation is about:
Then find out what is left?
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