Meditation can also be called mindfulness. It is the practice of simply, continually paying attention to our imperfections in order to realize the ultimate perfection of Life. Here are some basic instructions on meditation:
- Gratitude/Breath Awareness
- Kundalini Rising
- Peace Mantra
- Metta (Lovingkindness)
- Tonglen (Taking and Sending)
There are thousands of different and sometimes conflicting schools of thought on the practice of meditation. How to sit? What technique to use? When? How long? With eyes closed or open?
Though the Dalai Lama has said that sleep is the best meditation, when meditating in any manner, the practitioner is ideally honing awareness. Beware the fallacy of the notion: “Oh, I’ll just meditate here in bed, under the coverzzzz.”
With eyes closed, you can withdraw the senses. Turn your awareness inward. Closing the eyes shuts out visual pollution. It’s helpful, especially for people who are new to meditation.
Meditating with open eyes, as taught by many Tibetan and Zen Buddhist lineages, is a powerful practice that can help us learn to become more mindful in day-to-day activities other than sitting.
Neither method is superior to the other. Just do what you feel.
The key is to sit. Sit even when you think you’ll be bored, even when you think you have sixteen other things you “should” be doing instead, even when your mind is racing.
Warning: living a mindful life causes us to become more challenged, humbler and more compassionate than before.
Meditation is just like running, writing, crossword puzzles, piano playing. The more you do something, the better you get. Enlightenment isn’t golden fireworks and chakra hallucinations. It’s being present. All the time.
In The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, Sogyal Rinpoche writes:
“The gift of learning to meditate is the greatest gift you can give yourself in this life. For it is only through meditation that you can undertake the journey to discover your true nature, and so find the stability and confidence you will need to live, and die, well. Meditation is the road to enlightenment… It is a practice that at once transcends the dogma of religion and is the essence of religions.”