Learn How to Meditate

Posted on August 16, 2009

As a meditation teacher for many years, I am frequently approached by people who have really tried to meditate but they run into all sorts of difficulties in actually doing it. Learning to meditate is just like learning any skill, you have to keep doing it even though at first your skill levels are low, With practise you will get better at it. Of course, just like taking up any new practise, there is the motivation problem. For the first few days or weeks we are very keen, we rush to exercise or meditate or whatever we are trying to do, but somehow the motivation drops away and the enthusiasm fades and we move on to the next thing that takes our interest.

One of the most difficult aspects of learning to meditate is perseverance. You do not just sit down and meditate first time unless you are extremely lucky. Many of the books on meditation instruct you to sit down and to ‘empty your mind.’ This is not something that comes easily to the Western person, we are trained to use our minds, to cultivate an active and analytical way of thinking, this is in direct contrast to the Eastern way of being, a mode where clearing the mind is a great deal easier for them to follow. Because of this problem it is helpful if you are interested in taking up meditation to think of trying the methods that have been developed by Westerners rather than Eastern techniques to begin with. By using guided visualisations and processes you can keep the mind busy, the mind is following the journey or process described and eventually this will liberate the consciousness. When you have become used to sitting still and concentrating, then you can try the more advanced techniques.

One of the greatest mistakes we make is to think that the mind is the consciousness; the mind is the tool of consciousness but consciousness does not arise from the mind. When you meditate the truth of this becomes clear. For me this was a great breakthrough, my training as a scientist told me that the brain was everything and that my awareness arose from my mind, now I know this is not the case and I know this from direct experience. When I have taught other people to meditate and asserted this, they always look sceptical, but after a few weeks of meditation they soon change their view!

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