How do I get Meditation Training?
The question of where to find meditation training really comes down to what type of meditation people have in mind. There are so many types, which can include brief focus on the inner eye while keeping the mind clear, sitting in peace and chanting a mantra out loud or in the head, contemplating a particular idea, such as a Buddhist koan, praying, or using a meditative state to visualize certain things, such as a body getting well or performing an action successfully. This last may also be called positive visualization.
Another question folks may have about meditation training is whether they should do it alone. Will someone guiding them through a meditation, as occurs at the end of many yoga classes, in different martial arts, or in a variety of religious settings, be more effective than observing the self alone? Answer to this question is highly individual. Some people prefer to be guided, and others find great peace in silence.
Given the variety of meditation training techniques, many things can be observed. First, there are numerous places where people can get training, and for free. Those interested might start on the Internet and read descriptions or listen to podcasts about meditation, and many feel this is adequate training to begin a regular practice. When people want to try meditation in more formal settings, they can attend church meetings that offer it, or consider visiting Buddhist temples, that often have weekly hour-long meditations. If the latter is not fully free, there’s usually a very small donation to the temple.
A number of spiritual gurus or others offer meditation training in the form of classes and practice, often for a fee. It’s possible to look up these by checking local event calendars in community newspapers or on online community bulletin boards. Some people find introductions to the topic at junior colleges or regular universities or through Parks & Recreation Departments. Training can also be found through books, books on tape, and DVD/videos.
Perhaps people want a little more activity with their meditation. Taking martial arts like aikido and tai chi chuan, the latter being less vigorous, can be excellent ways to start a meditative practice. Yoga, to a degree, is all meditation, and some forms like Kundalini may be particularly useful.
Inquiry into meditation training often fails to take into account the many forms of it, and that fact that almost all spiritual traditions have some kind of meditative path. The Christian and Jewish prayer may not be greatly different in this intent, though prayers could be conducted while people sit or stand instead of in a cross-legged position. In virtually all traditions, people are asked to quiet the mind, either to observe the quiet or to focus on an intention. Training to do this may have occurred very early in people’s lives when they were exposed to a spiritual tradition, and it may be easy to adapt that early learning to different forms of meditation in the present.
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