What is meditation?

Stephen Batchelor in “Buddhism Without Beliefs” has a metaphor for meditation that I like: think of the process of awakening like a footpath. We struggle through the undergrowth to reach it, and when we do, we know we are heading somewhere and are able to move more freely.  The footpath is maintained because others are walking on the path, just as we are helping to maintain it by walking on it. “What counts is not so much the destination but the resolve to take the next step.”

The aim of meditation is to encourage a greater understanding of what is going on in mind. We may focus on one aspect of our mental state: the breath, feelings, awareness, our thoughts, but through it all we try to cultivate interest and curiosity about what is arising in our minds.

There are many forms of meditation. I was taught both Vipassana (inquiry, noticing) and Samadhi (concentration, jhanas) meditation techniques. My preferred technique is Recollective Awareness, as developed by Jason Siff.  This  is a meditation technique that emphasizes gentleness and openness: allowing your mind to go wherever it wants during meditation, even if you end up “lost” in your thoughts or drifting.

Unlearning Meditation: What to Do When the Instructions  Get In the Way,  by Jason Siff

Meditation Guidance:

http://recollectiveawareness.org/guidance/

I highly recommend Recollective Awareness for those who want to try a different approach from the usual “sit down and watch your breath.” Good for people having difficulties or questions about their practice or wanting to try something a little different.

That being said, I am open to discussing any meditation you are currently practicing. Meditation is not “one size fits all” and you may find some methods work better for you than others.