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Everyday Meditation
Meditation 101 : Three Steps to the Experiential Journey of Meditation

Meditation 101

Three Steps to the Experiential Journey of Meditation

Excerpted from Everyday Meditation
by Tobin Blake

Meditation 101 SeriesAlthough meditation is easy enough in theory, without the right tools it can seem to be just the opposite. Many people who begin meditation give up before realizing all it can offer them. This is because there can be tremendous psychological resistance at first. Many meditation teachings instruct students only in the bare techniques, such as mantra, zazen, mindfulness, and visualization, and offer very little help in overcoming the obstacles to deep meditative states. This book is different. While it does teach the ABCs and techniques, part 3, "Reprogramming the Waterfall," will take you beyond the forms of meditation and help you release your own psychological resistance so that you can develop a deep and lasting meditative practice.

Together, the three sections of this book provide a hands-on experiential journey into the meditative experience, as well as presenting a spiritual mind-training system for living a more conscious, peace-filled life. The system focuses on three primary objectives:

1. Daily practice.

This may seem obvious, but you might be surprised by how many people believe they can get something by reading books about meditation without ever actually trying it. Take my word on this point up front — you can't! You do have to meditate, and regularly, to benefit from it. The good news is that the benefits are incredible. In fact, meditation is one of the very best things you can do to improve both your physical and psychological health. It's right up there with quitting smoking. The trick is, just like with exercise, you have to do it. This is an active book that contains one hundred daily meditations to help you take this step. Think of these hundred days as a journey of self-discovery that has been set up not only to get you meditating but also to assist you in rooting out and healing the hurts and fears you have accumulated over many years. Doing so will bring you peace and increase the power of your meditative experiences many times over.

2. Understand and deal with the resistance.

To achieve deep meditative states, you will have to uncover the things that hold you back. We all have some resistance to meditation. As you press toward the center of your being, which is the direction of meditation, you will have to work your way through many layers of resistance. This is what makes meditation feel like work — and make no mistake, it is work. It is self-work of the highest order: conscious personal development. By learning how to meditate, you are embarking on a powerful journey of healing unlike anything else in the world. Meditation takes you inward, directly into contact with your core self (spirit) — an experience that is purifying, empowering, and often exhilarating. An incredible power flows from core self, and aligning yourself with it can change your life in an instant. We'll talk more about core self later. For now, you need to know that besides getting you to practice meditation daily, this book is designed to assist you in the process of uncovering the root causes behind your natural resistance to meditation.

3. Reprogram the waterfall.

If you already meditate, you are no doubt familiar with the endless stream of thoughts that runs in the background of your mind. This stream of word stuff  is so constant that Buddhists call it the "waterfall of thought" because the sound is as steady as the drone of a roaring waterfall — endless and deafening. When you first start meditating, it may even seem as if your thoughts are speeding up; however, this is not the case. You are only becoming more aware of the constant activity of thought. Some people try to force discipline upon their thoughts, but this is rarely successful. You cannot shut down the waterfall of thought stuff. However, you can change its content. Most people's thoughts are substantially composed of negative programming — the products of unhealed guilt, fear, and anger. Such emotions are inherently antithetical to peace, which is the state of meditation. Therefore, negative thoughts make meditation difficult. To deepen your meditations, it is vital to change the background thoughts of your mind to reflect gentleness and other positive emotions. The one hundred meditations that follow are designed to help you begin this process of reprogramming. In a sense, this book is not only about meditation; it is also a course in mind training. Reprogramming your inner dialogue will help you in other ways besides improving your meditative practice. By exchanging a negative waterfall of thought for a positive one, you will see how your whole life can be transformed, for negative thoughts not only interfere with meditative practice but also affect everything in our lives, including our health, happiness, and relationships.

Next: The Benefits of Meditation »

Updated 1/20/14