Sometimes I arrange private sessions with people. Sometimes I teach a small group on Skype. Sometimes it’s just me all alone. However it turns out to be, meditation inspires me & has become my passion.
I want to share with you how I see meditation & how I teach it. I teach it how I do it. Even though I have been trained in several traditions: Zen, Vipassana, Metta, mantra repetition, & other Hindu & Buddhist methods & techniques, the way I teach meditation comes intuitive to me. But if someone preferred another method, like one of the ones I have studied in the past, I would be happy to meditate with them in that way. I really enjoy those methods. But today, we’ll do it this way…
I want you to get comfortable. Forget everything. Be nothing. Simply relax. Don’t work. The goal is not to get rid of thoughts; not to repeat anything; not to focus the mind; not to concentrate on anything. There is no goal. Simply relax. And if you are wondering how to relax, the best way I can instruct that is to say: let go. When I say let go, I don’t mean that you need to release anything literally. There is nothing you need to detach from, or physically let go of.
Don’t think of letting something go as if you were in a boat detaching yourself from a pier, or detaching yourself from your thoughts — or anything else that may be preventing you from relaxing. That is not what I mean by let go. What I mean is more like this: imagine yourself in a boat, just you. And the boat has a huge beautiful sail. You are sitting in this boat in the middle of the ocean. And for some reason you are paddling like crazy, trying to get somewhere. Stop that! Can you not see that the boat already has a sail? The boat, the water, the wind, the sail, they will do the work for you, there is no need to struggle. You can lean a bit to direct it, or move the sail about, but don’t try to override the wind, water & sail. Who do you think you are? (*laughing*) You, your paddle, & your fear will not get you anywhere. Trust. Let go. Put the paddle down & relax.
For me meditation is all about being relaxed & fearless. My best ideas come to me during meditation. My life feels effortless when I maintain a regular practice. Everything becomes clear after I meditate (especially when I’m in need of answers). To perform at a top level, most coaches or experts will tell you that being relaxed & fearless is the key to phenomenal success. There is so much power in letting go.
So as you sit there, or lie there. Just relax. Let go of any fears you have about doing it right, or if it’s a waste of time, or if you understand it or its purpose. When I say let go, I don’t mean rid yourself of that thought. I mean allow it. Let it be there until it feels that it is no longer needed. It’s like a waiter hovering around to take your order or to clear your table. If he sees you are engrossed in the menu as you see what it has to offer, or completely busy eating your meal, he’ll give you some space & leave you be. You don’t need to feel that you need to get rid of him. You’ll need him later. Allow him to return when the time is right, & allow him the honor of deciding when that is. Be kind to your thoughts & to yourself. Just like you would to another person. Allow them to be.
There is no fixed time to meditate: 2 minutes to 2 hours, it makes no difference. But I will say, that for me, meditating twice a day in two short sessions feels more impactful than mediating for one long session once a day. That being said, I hardly meditate twice a day. I usually do a 20-30 minute session in the morning, & if I can grab other mini-moments to close my eyes & “let go”, I do. I especially like when I am riding the subway train & instead of reading a book, I just sit. Sometimes it’s with eyes open, sometimes I close them. But to take the time to just sit feels like a gift.
When I meditate with friends on Skype, I usually read a little something to them. (Sometimes I talk them through a full body guided relaxation too, it just depends on what feels right at that moment.) Yesterday I read a wonderful verse from the Tao Te Ching. I want to share it with you because after I read it I thought, “Wow, this is beingness, this is meditation, this verse describes it perfectly!”
“We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.
We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.
We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.
We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.”
― Lao Tzu
[Little side note: Lao Tzu uses “non-being” the same way I use “beingness”. We use different words to describe the same thing.]
I shared Lao Tzu’s words with you because I wanted you to see that there is no goal with mediation because what you are looking for is already there. Just like the emptiness in the clay pot, or the livable space in a house, you already are peace, spaciousness, clarity, effortlessness, love, fearlessness & all of the other things that you think meditation might bring to your life. All you have to do is to stop trying so hard. Stop trying to control everything. Put the paddle down & relax. See that the Universe is holding you up. The ocean, the boat, the water, the wind, the sail — it’s all there. Allow it to take you to where you need to go. Allow yourself to enjoy the ride. — It doesn’t mean that you will be passive in life, & as a result no longer care; no longer want to make things happen or have goals. It just means that you will no longer suffer over them.
[I will be writing a series of instructional posts on mediation, as well as writing an ebook on the topic. I couldn’t go into depth in this blog post do to the amount of people that do not like long blog posts. So I try my best to write my posts in various (but manageable) lengths. The essence of what I want to say about meditation is here. Everything you need to know about meditation is in this blog post. Meditation is VERY-VERY simple. Please do not think that it is complicated. It’s just an ancient topic, so there has been much information written about it to process & to experience if one is interested. If you would like to meditate with me or have questions regarding meditation, please feel free to email me. I would be glad to work with you in any way I can. I love mediating with people & I love the topic.]