Meditation FAQ


What is meditation?

The practice of meditation has been taught for over 2,500 years as a vehicle for realizing the beauty and magic of the ordinary world without aggression or manipulation. Meditation can help your mind become more stable and clear. It’s not strictly a Buddhist practice – it’s something that anyone can do, regardless of your faith or background.

At its core, meditation is a way of learning how our minds work and being able to be present with ourselves.

Meditation includes a variety of techniques that incorporate posture, breathing, and reflection that helps your mind return to a calm, natural state of being.

 

Why meditate? What are the benefits?

Meditation is based on the idea that the natural state of the mind is calm and clear. By meditating, we help our minds return to this state.

One common reason for meditation is to find freedom from an agitated mind.

Meditation allows us to nurture a stronger, more flexible mind. By stretching the mind and expanding our comfort zones, we can tune into what is in front of us. The mind becomes responsive, not reactive, to challenges. This can improve everything in our lives: our work, relationships, sense of wellbeing, and health. 

 

How do I start?

The basic premise of shamatha meditation is “not too tight, not too loose.” This can be applied to every aspect of the practice. Intentionally setting aside time, creating the right environment, and preparing the body in the right posture are all important steps to starting meditation. 

In our beginner workshops, our instructors will assist you through these steps and guide you to work with your thoughts while you practice meditation techniques. 

 

I have too many racing thoughts, what can I do?

Racing thoughts are common for an untrained mind. The untrained mind is like a wild horse. It runs away when we try to find it, shies when we approach it. If we try to ride it, we get thrown to the ground. The first step is to recognize what the mind is doing and find communication between the mind and the body. Through synchronizing with the body, the mind can begin to settle and be a willing participant in training. 

 

Is meditation difficult?

We are often unaccustomed to doing nothing. Through being gentle with ourselves and understanding that meditation is a path, not a goal, we can learn how to simply be present. While you may encounter challenges at first, anyone can learn and practice meditation. It is a natural human ability and with practice, comes with more ease. 

 

What kind of space or set-up do I need?

A good environment is an important part of meditation – comfortable, quiet, and clean. A corner of your room that feels spacious and private is a great place to start. However, do not get caught up in chasing your idea of the “perfect” place to meditate. Some people from the city will go to the mountains to meditate and find that the crickets won’t shut up! The most important thing is that you find a space where you feel good, where there are fewer distractions that can interrupt your meditation.

 

Am I doing it right?

This is a common question without a clear answer. It is important to understand that there is no final goal of meditation. It is a continuous journey and practice. It is normal to encounter challenges and doubt when you begin meditating. Talking with an instructor for clarity and guidance can be a great help to deepen your practice and find clarity about your path.

 

How do I maintain a consistent meditation practice?

There are many obstacles to sustaining a meditation practice. Busy-ness, lack of motivation, and procrastination are common barriers to a consistent practice. This is where planning comes in. It is helpful to set aside regular, short periods of time to meditate each day or week. Perhaps 10 minutes every morning before work. Consistency is more important than the length of time. The more you can keep to a routine, the easier and more natural it becomes.

Sometimes half the challenge is simply getting seated and settled. You may become distracted by other tasks you need to complete. Or perhaps you just had an argument. It can be helpful to start with a slow walk, gentle stretching, or a shower to help you transition into it. Other times, reading something inspiring about meditation can also help you arrive more relaxed when you do start.

 

What can I expect from a meditation workshop?

Our meditation workshops usually consist of an introduction to basic techniques taught in the Shambhala community, an explanation of meditation principles, a chance to practice, and a space to ask questions and discuss common obstacles to maintaining a practice. Our experienced instructors will talk with you to help you begin learning these techniques and will work with you if you encounter difficulties.

 

If you have other questions about meditation and would like to speak with one of our instructors, please feel free to email us at [email protected]

Our experienced instructors can help you determine the best program for you and answer any questions you have about learning meditation.