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Find Your Own Meditation

Most meditation teachers give you instructions on how to meditate, and then encourage you to find yourself in their particular meditation style. I think you need to back up one step, and find your own meditation first.

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Two of the most important questions are: Why do I want to meditate? and How do I meditate? The first question I discuss elsewhere on this site; here I ruminate on the How do I meditate? question.

After I left Maharaji, I wanted to take up meditation again - meaning finding a valid and worthwhile meditation, which I don't believe Maharaji's meditation is.

At first I kept doing the same meditation, but in my own way, not regarding it as Maharaji's property any more. Then I tried various Hindu-style meditations, including several from the SantMat style, and found them not for me. Then I went on to various Buddhist meditations. But now I do my own meditation, that I crafted all myself (with considerable help of course!).

I found that the search for what type of meditation to do, was in itself almost a meditation, or at least an investigative journey which I think was very healthy. And there was also a reluctance just to accept some set of meditation instructions on blind faith. I wanted to know what to do, but I did not want to be told what to do - a pair of wishes which taken together can either spiral you down into the pit, or provide a catalyst for you to soar!

What I am getting at, is that you can wheel your cart through the meditation-supermarket, and pick a meditation up off the shelf that you like the look off. You may be lucky, but the problem I found is that you are almost into a religion/cult again, because: first, you are just following someone's instructions (breathe like this, repeat that, sit like so-and-so); second you need that someone or his/her helper to interpret for you and refine the instructions, since they are not yours but something you have picked up; and third, you need to rely on them (the formulator of the instructions) to interpret your experience.

The alternative to looking for a set of meditation instructions formulated by someone else, is to formulate your own! This is what I have done, but with considerable help, of course, as I said above.

I think first you need to trust that within you is the wisdom you need. I think you also need to accept that others can help you, but they cannot do much more. And unfortunately, if you take on an off-the-shelf meditation technique, then you logically have to give others (or at least the formulator of your chosen meditation instructions) a lot more power than I wanted to.

I find a healthy way to accept the help of others is to listen to them, and if an idea resonates, to consider it a seed-thought. Their idea or explanation, even if well packaged, is for me only a beginning, a seed that I need to grow myself. Even if it grows into exactly the same idea that the speaker originally articulated, it does not matter, since I will have grown it myself and it will then be my idea; in practice, that is unlikely, and the seed will usually grow into something uniquely mine - perhaps with almost no resemblance to the original idea, but it is somewhere I probably would not have arrived at if I had not listened to the original idea and planted it.

So to find my own meditation, I found I needed at least these qualities:

-- A healthy wish to be helped (but no more) by others;

-- A clear idea, or feeling perhaps, of what I wanted meditation to do for me;

-- And last, but by no means least, a sensitive and robust bullshit meter, which sends a red flag up at the first hint of bullshit; fortunately, my thirty years with Maharaji provided me with an excellent one (it was a pity I did not get it out, clean it up and put it to service well before).

[Return to list of articles]    [next article] Last revised July 08 2011

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