My first encounter with meditation was through reading. The books I tried reading, and I went through quite a few, were loaded with references to what appeared to be key concepts that even the book’s authors claimed could not be understood, rather, they had to be experienced. And the authors did not tell you in plain language how to experience them. It appeared that i had to find a teacher who would provide the actual instruction about the process of meditation, because the books would not provide it.
At a friend’s suggestion I tried what was then a popular form of meditation. You paid a fee and in return you received a mantra and a short period of instruction on how to apply the mantra. From the instruction I had received in English it appeared that this organization was not religious and that what I was learning was not a religious practice. Later I found that was not the case. The introduction to the process, the ceremony, was actually religious. At the time I hadn’t understood that because everything said during most of the induction, including what I was asked to say, was in a language I don’t speak. Because of that, and difficulties I had using this particular form of meditation, I decided to seek elsewhere for what meditation might bring me.
From what I had learned from these books Zen’s “sitting” process appeared compelling. One of the things that appealed to me about Zen was that one could participate in meditation without requiring some article of faith in anything other than the process. This is primarily important to me because I subscribe to a particular faith and I don’t want to run counter to that faith. Still, when I investigated joining Buddhist meditation groups, I felt there was still considerable religious activity as part of the process, so I decided not to follow that path.
Many years later a friend taught me the technique that I’m about to pass on to you. My friend’s technique differed from the approaches I had tried to learn in the past in that my friend focused on the process of meditation, rather than trying to explain or justify it to me. Basically, i had to take up the process to determine its benefits. In line with that approach he gave only practical instructions to keep me on track meditating. The result was that I was quickly able to quickly derive benefit from the process which gave me confidence that I should continue. Its now been five years i’ve been following this approach and I am very happy with the results.
So, why another meditation book, quite simply to pass on what I have learned and practiced to you. This pamphlet is very short, focusing only on the process of meditation with only a few words to support the process because i want readers to get to the heart of the matter quickly, meditation, because practice is everything and understanding only comes after experience. It is my hope that this document will provide you with all you need to learn, and practice, meditation on your own. As this process was given freely to me, I am passing it along to you in the hope that it will minimize barriers to learning meditation, and through practice, obtaining its benefits.