[Meditation Society of America] Re: Do You Need Formal Teaching To Meditate?
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 email@example.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.
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Katrina
> Sent: May-25-10 5:14 AM
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: [Meditation Society of America] Re: Do You Need Formal Teaching To
> 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
> 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
> --- In email@example.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