Meditation

The practice of meditation is a way of working with the mind by examining our experience. There is a wide variety of techniques to explore, but the following serves as a good overview of the path from the beginning to advanced practices.

Mindfulness - The Path of Concentration

In addition to helping us bring more mindfulness and awareness into our daily lives, practicing concentration prepares the mind for deeper meditative experiences . It also helps reduce our anxiety and to develop resilience to life’s difficulties. Training in concentration can be challenging at first, but we quickly learn to deeply enjoy the practice, looking forward to our time “on the cushion” each day.

The ultimate goal in concentration training is to follow the object completely over time. At first, we will be easily distracted by thoughts and bodily sensations. Progress is apparent when we can spend longer and longer periods of time without losing the thread. When we can achieve this focus and equanimity with automaticity, we experience a state of deep, restorative relaxation which allows for the automatic release of somatic tension and subconscious anxiety.

Additional reading: Mindfulness and Concentration

Related Buddhist practices: Shamatha (Calm Abiding)

Spaciousness - The Path of Insight

When we apply our new skills of concentration to the task of looking into the nature of things, some transformative effects begin to take shape. As we dismantle some of our problematic misconceptions about the way things appear, we reshape our cognition and behavior. Our new understanding of the world informs our decisions, interactions and choices. Through these changes, we begin to reduce our own suffering and, in turn, the suffering of those around us.

Related Buddhist practices: Vipassana

Beyondness - The Path of Non-Meditation

With our new understanding of the way things are, we can turn to the task of shifting our perceptions more directly. Through the practices of essence meditation and non-meditation, we work directly with sensory perception, transforming the way we process information in real-time. This is a practice of deep allowance and release. We establish the conditions for a radical and complete opening to experience, letting go moment-to-moment into the unity of transpersonal awareness.

Related Buddhist practices: Mahamudra (Great Seal), Dzogchen (Great Completion)

Blissfulness - The Path of Sublimation

Through breathwork, visualization, concentration and movement, we activate and stimulate the subtle energy body. As we learn to manipulate the pranic energies of this system, we cultivate states of high energization, contentment and bliss. Bringing realization into the physical body, we further transform our experience.

Related Yogic practices: Tummo (Inner Fire), Pranayama (breathwork), Energy Work (Tactile Imaging)

Darkness - The Path of the Heart

Utilizing sensory deprivation and the foundational practices above, we can explore the deep substructures of the subtle body, descending more and more deeply into the womb of the heart. Settling into the core of being, we abide in the profound referenceless of the black hole of clear light.

Related Yogic practices: Kalachakra (The Wheel of Time), Togyal (crossing over), Isolated Mind, Isolated Speech, Isolated Body, Sleep Yoga

Bodylessness - The Astral Path

Related Yogic practices: Lucid Dreaming, Dream Yoga, Astral Projection

Dharma

The Dharma is the collective teachings of truth from the world’s wisdom traditions. These traditions have flowered all over the planet, but much of the foundational work was done by mystics in the Himalayan regions in and around India and Tibet. Having spread globally across centuries, the Dharma continues to evolve through a series of movements working to realize a vision of evolution and universal compassion.

I’ve spent the last several years studying and developing an experiential understanding of Dharma teachings and various meditation practices. I strongly believe an engagement with spirituality is critical to human development and the future of our planet. My personal training has been primarily Buddhist, but I have also received Bön teachings and am a proponent of Perennialism. I believe that all of the worlds spiritual traditions share a common metaphysical foundation and in reality, there’s a single, unified human tradition.

I know it can be difficult to know where to begin when stepping onto the spiritual path. Please reach out if you would like personal guidance on meditation or recommendations for books and resources.