This post has suggestions for taking a healthy, comfortable posture when meditating in a chair.
A choice that meditators sometimes encounter is whether to practice sitting with our eyes open or closed. I recommend changing it up – sometimes meditating with eyes open and at other times closed – depending on what works best for the situation.
A friend asked me about how to use meditation to avoid feeling physical pain. I replied that, yes, classically, there are mindfulness techniques that help us to turn away from and avoid pain, but usually these are just preliminaries to turning towards and fully feeling the pain.
One way to understand meditation practice is to see it as similar to the habit of physical exercise and working out, which is something that more people are more familiar with and able to understand.
We can recognize a deeply effective mindfulness technique by noticing that it usually has three aspects to it: concentrating the mind, providing deep sensory richness, and cultivating a calm, steady, equanimous mind.
For many people establishing a meditation practice, buying a sitting cushion of one’s own is a big moment. Many people find that there is something special about having their own cushion…
A traditional teaching in the Buddhist lineage is that the best times of day to engage in formal, still meditative practice is first thing in the morning, upon waking up from sleep and before the day gets going, or right before sleeping, as the challenges of another day on Earth wind down and slip away. I personally feel best about the practice of meditating first thing in the morning
I believe that breath meditation is the best place for people to start a regular meditation practice; it is the most basic, foundational, beginner meditation practice. This post contains some breath meditation instructions for beginners.
One core teaching of classic Buddhism is “the Brahma Viharas”. The first on the list is “metta” or “maitri”, which translates as “loving kindness”. The second is karuna, compassion. The third is “mudita”, sympathetic joy. The final one is “Upekka”, equanimity, an evenness of emotionality.
Over the years, people have often asked me for recommendations for Buddhist meditation resources for beginners. Here is what I have been suggesting:
A straight up masterpiece. This book is filled with deep, true, authentic Buddhist wisdom, and yet is written in an easy, extraordinarily clear Americanized vernacular. It is a comprehensive introduction for mindfulness meditation practice, filled with clear instructions for the path. The book challenges the reader to go deep and to practice properly, but it also has a simple, patient, humorous, kind, smiling vibe to it. It covers a wide ground, and yet touches on each subject in depth.