How do I start meditating?
Months ago, I created a small set of meditation instructions in pdf, in order to help the beginners of a group I am a member of.
Below you will find a link to a file I shared with them. It includes very basic instructions for:
Mindfulness of Breath (from TMI)
Mahasi Vipassana (Noting) (from this blog)
Shikantaza (Zazen) (from this e-book)
Metta (Loving Kindness) from (this post)
To get this pack, use the following link:
Are you a complete beginner?
If you don’t have any idea what these methods are all about but you ’re curious to try, just start with the “mindfulness of breath” instructions.
In addition to the instructions given in this guide, I suggest that you don’t only focus on the breath but you also do breath counting (from 1 to 10 and back), as Shargrol suggests on the following text:
Awareness and counting of breath is a great practice. For what it’s worth, a good, practical combination is:
- Awareness of breathing as the meditation object
- Counting of breath as the meditation method
- When the count is realized to be lost, “note” what is currently in the mind. What did you wake up to? Sensations, emotions, or thoughts in mind? Note what is currently in mind. e.g. “planning thought”, “discomfort”, “frustration”, “pleasure”, etc.
- Give yourself a mini congratulations that you woke up from distraction. Yea!!
- Find the breathing sensations again
- Count the breath again
The whole point of this method is to learn (over time!) how to gently center the mind around awareness of the breath and to sensitize the mind to “waking up” from distraction. Of course the mind has a mind of its own, so to speak, so you don’t force this to happen. You’re more like a parent watching a toddler learn to walk. The mind “learns to walk” on its own. And if you rush it or get angry or frustrated, you’re just freaking out the baby! Although this sounds like a simple practice, it puts you directly in touch with mindfulness and it greatly increases awareness – don’t underestimate it!
Are you interested in noting?
If you have decided to go with noting (which is Mahasi Sayadaw’s vipassana technique), apart from this nice introductory text included in the above pack, I suggest you to read the following material:
I also suggest you to have a look at this contemporary version of noting by Kenneth Folk:
Keep in mind that you can actually practise by “labeling out loud”, as Folk does in these videos. Sometimes, it really helps!
Are you interested in all-day practice?
For more information about Pragmatic Dharma, please visit this link.
On the above sections, I referred to “beginners”. Please note that I’m a beginner too.
I’m not an expert or whatever. I just try to assist fellow meditators that know less than I do.