Everyday Meditation Book Interview : Page 2 of 2
Everyday Meditation Interview with Author Tobin Blake
Q: What makes Everyday Meditation different from other meditation books?
A: The book centers around one hundred meditations that not only teach meditation, they offer a daily guide to living a more self-aware and empowered life. It is both a journey into meditation and into healing in the most profound sense of the word. The exercises are simple and they don’t require much time. They are designed to help readers reprogram what Buddhists call “the waterfall of thought.” This expression comes from the observation that the human thought process is so forceful and constant, it resembles the background drone of a cascading waterfall — endless, white noise. It is important to understand, however, that this white noise is not without effects in our lives. It isn’t passive. Our thoughts have incredible power.
Q: How do our thoughts affect us?
A: Our thoughts shape our entire experience of the world, our health, whether we fail or succeed, our careers, relationships, and how we feel day to day. In a sense, your own unique thinking pattern is like a computer program running in the background of your mind. Essentially, your thoughts are the operating system of your life. During the first thirty daily exercises of Everyday Meditation, the book focuses primarily on meditation and its techniques, but the last seventy days are intended to help readers begin the process of reprogramming their own inner waterfall. It is through reprogramming our thought system to reflect peace, compassion, and loving kindness that we are finally able to release our restlessness and enter deep meditation — and it is during deep meditation that we can experience the most incredible, joyous states human beings are capable of achieving. The Hindus, who have been using meditation for thousands of years, call such states samadhi. They are intense experiences of pure spiritual ecstasy.
Q: Is samadhi the goal of meditation?
A: Not necessarily. Some people are seeking such states, but others just want to learn to de-stress and unwind, or improve their health. There are many great reasons to meditate, and anybody can learn. You don’t have to change your religious views. You don’t have to change your lifestyle. You don’t have to give up sex or alcohol. If there is any helpful change that you need to make to learn meditation, it is changing thoughts of fear, anger, and guilt to thoughts of peace, forgiveness, and innocence. Meditation works on the things that are inside of you, not outside.
Q: Can people who are restless or who have very active minds learn to meditate?
A: Absolutely. Mind training is a major component of meditation. Many people believe they could never sit still long enough to meditate, but that’s just not so. The key to meditation is not so much learning to focus; it involves learning to be at peace at the level of the mind. The more peaceful your thoughts become, the deeper your meditations. You don’t have to shut your mind off. You just need to learn new ways of thinking that inspire inner tranquility instead of conflict.
Q: How can an ordinary person find inner tranquility?
A: It’s not nearly as difficult as it sounds at first. It requires some training and discipline, but given that, experience is a profound teacher. When a person learns through their own experiences that one way of living and thinking brings them joy and peace while another way causes depression and conflict, they adjust pretty fast. Day to day, it is our own our minds and thoughts that cause us the most pain, but most people never even realize this. We tend to attribute our feelings to things going on outside of us. We tell ourselves, in one form or another, “If only this person was different, if only this circumstance was changed, if only this hadn’t happened, then I would be happy!” This is a line of B.S. we’ve been feeding ourselves our entire lives, and some people will never escape this thought loop — and so they will never find lasting happiness and peace. However, the great law of peace says this: as long as you believe peace can be found by changing the external circumstances of your life and other people, you will never find it because the world is inherently unstable and you can’t control others. True peace is an internal state.
Q: In one chapter you discuss using something you call “the law of reciprocity” in order to facilitate inner peace. Can you explain this idea?
A: The law of reciprocity is all about cause and effect. We understand that, for instance, when we throw a ball against a wall, it will bounce back to us. Actions cause reactions. What we don’t realize is that our thoughts are bound by the same principle. The thoughts you think — whether they are good or bad, happy or sad, peaceful or fearful — have a profound impact on the way you feel and experience life. Thoughts are pure energy. This is not a metaphysical principle, but an observable fact. In reality, everything is composed of raw energy. If you were to look upon the world with true vision, you would see a vast, interconnected energy field, which has organized into various shapes, people, and specific objects, but which is, at its fundamental reality, still just raw energy. This includes the thoughts that pass through your mind every minute of every day. The law of reciprocity is all about honoring the power of your thoughts. This is a major aspect of mind training, and it leads to much more than just deeper meditations. It is life changing. This is why I formatted Everyday Meditation as a daily guidebook. It gives readers the opportunity to examine their own mind and feelings in a nonthreatening way, and helps them retrain their thoughts one easy step at a time. It is the perfect book to keep on your nightstand, and try just one short meditation a day. In this way, you invite a little more peace, a little more light, a little more joy into your life each day, and before you know it, you wake up one day feeling stronger, healthier, and more emotionally balanced. This transformation is subtle, yet profound, and it begins the very instant you set your intentions to become a more aware, lucid human being. •
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© 2012 Tobin Blake. All rights reserved.
Tobin Blake is the author of Everyday Meditation: 100 Daily Meditations for Health, Stress Relief, and Everyday Joy. He has taught meditation and spiritual awakening at Unity centers, private schools, and colleges. More »