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[Meditation Society of America] Re: Do You Need Formal Teaching To Meditate?

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  • Katrina
    All, I want to thank you for all your words of guidance. It has taken me a while to sort through them all and I will most likely read them over several times.
    Message 1 of 15 , May 28, 2010

      I want to thank you for all your words of guidance. It has taken me a while to sort through them all and I will most likely read them over several times.


      I liked your response in the sense that I agree there is a certain level of anxiety when you know perhaps "too much"? and focus purely on the technique and not the journey.

      I wonder if the best route is to seek a teacher with an open mind and see if that works. If not, perhaps at a later time. Or perhaps the real answer is the truncated form of that...just keep an open mind!

      Thanks to all,


      --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com, "Aideen Mckenna" <aideenmck@...> wrote:
      > Dear Katrina,
      > In short, yes. That's MHO. Listen to Nike & Just Do It. I meditated for
      > some time & then discovered all the books & articles etc. I may well have
      > read hundreds. I don't really regret having done that, but I noticed that
      > the more I read about meditation, the less I meditated. I became anxious.
      > Should I be doing this rather than that? Did I leave this until too late
      > in life? It was like quitting smoking to stop the compulsive reading, which
      > had become a way to avoid the cushion & the concomitant anxiety & doubt.
      > Ridiculous, because I like to meditate; I'm happier & more peaceful when I
      > practice regularly.
      > As for the teacher question, I think you don't need a teacher at first, but
      > later in your practice, you may find that you do. When/if you need one,
      > you'll meet one.
      > Aideen
      > _____
      > From: meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com
      > [mailto:meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Katrina
      > Sent: May-25-10 5:14 AM
      > To: meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [Meditation Society of America] Re: Do You Need Formal Teaching To
      > Meditate?
      > All,
      > Thank you for your thoughts, guidance, and opinions. I believe it all makes
      > sense. I suppose the trouble I am dealing with is starting. Since I am a
      > researcher and my research involves meditation directly I am exposed to
      > hundreds of studies, books, journal articles, etc., everyday. I know why
      > meditation works, I know how meditation works, and I know what areas of the
      > brain are stimulated through meditation. I've read several Dalai Lama books,
      > Thich Nhat Hanh, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, and other respected teachers. I've
      > written a 150 page dissertation on the subject.
      > Yet I sit down to try it myself and find that I don't even know where to
      > begin. How can I advocate something I can't even do?! Hence I went to the
      > Kadampa Center for guidance and was given a variety of opinions; "You should
      > start with a teacher." "You don't need a teacher." "You're over complicating
      > things."
      > I understand what Chris is saying about simply looking for a way to
      > de-stress and how a teacher may not be necessary based on what one is
      > looking for. I also understand Bryan's feelings on trial and error because
      > what works for one person may not for another.
      > Am I trying too hard? Have I complicated something that should not be so
      > complicated?
      > Katrina
      > --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com
      > <mailto:meditationsocietyofamerica%40yahoogroups.com> , Christopher Boozell
      > <cjb@> wrote:
      > >
      > > Hi Katrina,
      > >
      > > "My question is if there is a proper way to begin? Can someone with no
      > experience truly grasp the concepts by themselves? Does the kind of
      > technique matter here?" This can be a provocative question and I'm sure
      > you'll hear many thoughts. The answer to this question is: it depends on
      > your goals.
      > >
      > > Learning the mechanics of locus, or centering, meditation is the work of
      > about 5 minutes and involves 2 primary skills: 1) placing your attention on
      > some object of your choice, and 2) paying attention to what your mind is
      > doing so you can bring your back to that object when thoughts wander. In
      > the beginning, the emphasis is on the second skill, but as you develop the
      > habit of attending to one particular object that need will fade a bit.
      > >
      > > If you are simply looking for a sure-fire way to destress, those two
      > skills will do you just fine, and it won't usually be necessary to connect
      > with a teacher. This approach is the basis for the popular 'The Relaxation
      > Response', and is very approachable by just about anyone.
      > >
      > > But if you are interested in using those meditative skills for something
      > more involved, as in spiritual development, a teacher would be very
      > valuable. There are a number of reasons for this: there are several modes
      > of meditation, and having an experienced spiritual advisor can help you
      > understand how, when and why you might employ each mode. Also, without an
      > advisor/teacher, our spiritual efforts tend to focus on things we already
      > grok, and avoid the stuff we aren't comfortable with (or haven't even
      > thought to look into), which usually dampens our progress. A good teacher
      > can make sure you look in all the metaphorical 'dusty corners' that we could
      > otherwise miss.
      > >
      > > Hope this helps!
      > >
      > > Vigilate,
      > >
      > > Chris Boozell
      > >
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