So lately I’ve been feeling like I’m letting life’s tiny stresses get to me, and I’d really like to try meditation. I have an appreciation for other cultures, I’m not religious and not looking to be. If you know of any good sites of books to check out that will teach me different forms of meditation and zen, etc. please share them with me, I’d really appreciate it. Thanks:)
As I stated, I’m not looking to get into any religion of any sort, please repsect that. And I’m very left-brained as well.
I wrote the following in response to a question about meditation some time ago.
There maybe something in it for you.
Don’t let people confuse you about the object of meditation.
It’s simply the lengthening of the gaps between thoughts and slowing down the thoughts by NOT buying into their dramas.
It may take some time before you can just ‘observe’ the thought and let it ‘float’ way into the ether.
The mind is like a two year old – it wants ALL your attention ALL the time.
Don’t fight it – go with the flow.
Learn to ‘manage’ the mind … softly softly catchee monkee.
It may take some time for you to ‘control’ it.
“is it good or bad?”
“And how long have you been meditating?”
Since the mid 80s.
“has it affect you in anyway?”
I don’t know anymore; it’s all so second nature.
“Any dreams or out of body experiences?”
The best (although very rare for me) are the OBEs whilst you wide awake.
To explain, I was giving a talk at a conference in the early 90s and I seemed to step out of myself and become ‘the watcher’ for almost a minute.
It was very amusing – on one level I was talking without missing a beat – on another level I was watching the man (me) give a talk.
I know one of ‘us’ was smiling.
You could say that I was multi-tasking, aye?
I love them … these days.
(After I came back from Vietnam I used to have a few nightmares …
I’d like to think they’re a thing of the past)
There is no set amount of time you ‘should’ do it.
(Take should, ought and must outa your vocabulary)
I’ve meditated from a few seconds to hours.
Any moment spent stilling the mind is beneficial.
There is no RIGHT or WRONG way to meditate.
Anyone who says otherwise is ignorant, a liar or has some other agenda.
You can meditate eyes open or closed.
You can do it in silence or noise.
You can ‘focus’ on anything or nothing at all.
You can use noises (clock ticking, kids laughing or fighting, cars and sirens, etc) to intensify your meditation … with every sound I hear I will become even more relaxed.
You can do it sitting, standing, lying, walking, driving, washing, cooking, etc.
How often have you been so intensely doing something or driving somewhere and suddenly become ‘conscious’ and wonder where the time went?
(Do NOT punish yourself for anything during meditation unless you’ve killed someone and then it’s too late anyway so you may as well relax while you can.)
It is said that those who meditate don’t need to and those who don’t, need to.
Zen meditation is really quite easy and requires no “religion” (you don’t need to adopt a creed or doctrine). It’s just a simple way of practicing every day.
Here’s a great, short video that describes nearly everything about how to practice Zen:
If you practice every day, your life will flourish with kindness, creativity, generosity, and ease.
Best wishes on your path!
There are lots.
The book, “Meditation for Dummies” isn’t bad. Vipassana Buddhist teacher, Jack Kornfield’s, “A Path with Heart,” is very nice. Philip Kapleau’s, “Three Pillars of Zen” has been around a while now, but it’s pretty good for Zen meditation instructions.
The Buddhists, you may know, aren’t particularly insistent that you “become” Buddhist; by and large their focus is on the practice, and a core element of “the practice” is meditation. I would very much recommend finding a practice group/ meditation teacher to confer with once you get started to answer any questions that come up. (Experiences in meditation, particularly in the beginning, can be quite varied and that is sometimes confusing.)
I’ll offer below a paste of a meditation instruction I’ve posted a number of times now elsewhere on YA.
In mindfulness meditation, the idea is to cultivate a simple, intimate awareness of some on-going aspect of the present moment. A most commonly effective way to do that is to practice mindfulness of the breath.
One directs one’s attention to the sensation of breathing, wherever one typically notices it most distinctly — at the nostrils, or in the throat, or in the rise and fall of the chest, or in the belly. And just be aware of those sensations, without judgment or any attempt to make yourself breathe any way other than the way you normally do.
Some people find it helps them stay present with the sensation of breathing (rather than get caught up in thoughts about something else) if they count their breaths. There’s a number of ways to do that; one way is to breathe in, breathe out, and simply know “one,” in, out, “two,” etc. up to ten … and then either start over at one, or count backwards from ten down to one.
When you can maintain an aware connection with the breath more or less stably, and not spend long stretches of time caught up in thinking about something else instead, then you can extend the mindfulness practice this way: when some other sensation comes up with some noticeable force (like hearing a sound, or feeling an itch on your face), allow your awareness to move from the breath to that other sensation for a moment. And just notice what it’s like, again without judgment. When you see yourself start to make some kind of story about it in your mind (thinking about what it “means” or how much you like it or don’t like it), then stop and gently move the direction of your awareness back to the sensations of the breath.
Mindfulness meditation can also be practiced with walking, doing things like noticing the physical sensations on the soles of your feet as you slowly walk back and forth for a while.
There are lots of other modifications or additional techniques (like softly “labeling” the kinds of experiences that come up — like “thinking, thinking,” or “itching, itching,” or “warmth, warmth”, and then going back to the breath; or, in walking meditation, to pay attention to the INTENTION to move your foot, or to the quality of pleasantness/ unpleasantness/ or neutral feeling in the sensations you experience). But the above is a general basic core of mindfulness meditation. This approach is taught especially in Theravada Buddhism, also known as Insight Meditation or Vipassana.
You can do these kinds of meditation for, say, 15 to 20 minutes, and, with practice, extend the length of time.
There’re a couple of good sites that I’d personally really recommend. So, feel free to visit any of them.
So, good luck! =)