February 15, 2008
“Erica” asked a the following question today on the About page of this blog.
“I am wondering if your style of meditation is rooted in any specific philosophy. I have had an interest in Buddhist Vipassana meditation (Insight Meditation) for several years. I seem to hear many of the same principles in your meditations and on your website. Could you share a little more about the origins of your meditations and life outlook? Sorry, I know it’s kind of a big question… I’m just curious.”
I’ve hesitated to write much about my background and philosophy for a number of reasons. One reason is that I’m much more interested in people formulating their own philosophies and having their own unique journeys with the meditations than I am in having people focus on mine. Another reason is that I can’t really say I have a philosophy of life. I’m definitely interested in becoming more alive and more at peace, but when I try to put that journey into words, the words can be misleading. In addition, my philosophy of life, if I have one, is constantly evolving. What I might say today is not what I might say tomorrow…
As for my background, it’s something that happened in the past. True meditation is a fresh, new experience. It is influenced by everything one has done and studied before, but it’s always an opportunity for a new discovery. If I look to the past, I may limit what can happen now and my desire is to become increasingly present to the here and now. I try not to limit myself or anyone else by the past.
I also hesitate to be really specific about my background because I want to leave the door open to anyone who may resonate with the meditations I create. In truth, my background has exposed me to many teachers and teachings, but what I have discovered is that there are common elements among different teachings and those elements that are universal seem the most useful and “true”. For me the experience of meditation is what is important, not the ideas about it and philosophies. What is fascinating to me is how different people can have such different insights and results from the meditations. What we get from meditation or a teacher is based more on our own process and intentions than it is on what is put forth by the teacher.
Erica did ask me to share something about my background and philosophy, however, and we do learn something from hearing each others’ journeys and experiences. So now that I’ve told you some of the reasons I like to avoid talking about these things, I think I’ll go ahead with Part 2 of this post and get a bit more “up close and personal”. Thanks for asking, Erica!
November 24, 2007
When we observe the process of breathing, really observe it, even for a moment, a very profound meditation happens. I recently received a newsletter from the Advaita Fellowship (Wayne Liquorman), and am quoting from it below, as it is such a beautiful understanding of the gifts that observing the breath can bring.
“This aliveness we are talking about is worth investigating. It is here, in this moment. It is as close to you as your breath. In fact, your breath IS this Livingness. You do not have to remember to breathe. Your breath is literally breathing you. Stop reading the words on this page for a moment and investigate this phenomenon of breathing….
(If you did not stop, but simply read on to this sentence, I fully understand…you are a lot like me….however there REALLY is something to be seen in the stopping for a moment even if you are an “advanced” student and have examined your breath many times previously.)
Perhaps you were able to see the way in which your breath “just happens.” You breathe even when you forget to breathe. There is a force here that operates independent of your decisions and intentions… It is this Life that is living you even to the extent that you falsely believe yourself to be living IT.”
September 11, 2007
True meditation is by its nature effortless. A meditative state is a state without effort. The basic nature of life itself, actually, is effortless. So what is trying in meditation all about? That’s something worth investigating!
Of course, we can’t become effortless by trying. Hopefully our latest Effortless Meditation podcast will support you in being effortless.
Much of what I wrote about the Letting Go meditation applies here. This is simply another angle on the same theme that runs through all of my meditations and blog posts, and yet I truly feel the less said on this the better!