A Course in Meditation, Original Web Version
This is a self-paced course in the art of natural
Student experience level is mature high school
and college. The course is designed both as a web course and a book. It's a practical, hands-on course in how to meditate. It
doesn’t assume you know anything about meditation, and it won’t drop you off
until you have had a good launch into it. You can relax into the text and let it
carry you across some (possibly) new territory into a classic, effective
personal meditation—and then a bit further, into the beginnings of a lifelong
relationship with meditation. Maybe it is too much to say the text will carry
you across that territory, because it is you who will be doing the
The course has five lessons and usually can be completed in a
week, spending one or two hours on each lesson. When you are done, you will have
the following skills:
1. Sitting: The ability to sit down, almost anywhere, at
anytime, sitting on anything reasonably comfortable, and to let yourself enter a
natural meditative state of mind and body for 15 or 20 minutes.
2. Practice: The ability to do one or two sittings of meditation nearly
every day and to understand how meditative growth fits into your own aspirations
for your life.
A typical schedule to complete the course
What types of meditation does this course cover?
Unlike some books and courses on meditation, we focus on a single method.
Remaining dedicated to one method lets you make a careful and complete study of
the subject, something that is not possible with a "smorgasbord." There are many
types of meditation and we do not assume you have decided which kind is best for
you. So, the method we are using, Natural Meditation,
is a good introductory style, appropriate for anyone, beginner or experienced.
It works on something we already own and deserve to understand. We have an
inborn ability to enter the silence, collected energy and expanded awareness of
meditation. While you can exercise this ability through many styles of
meditation, Natural Meditation is a simple, direct method for doing that.
The method is designed closely to nature’s specifications—like a bottle of
spring water—with nothing added.
Does it take a whole course to learn this style of meditation?
The first objective of the course, learning how to meditate, can be learned in
one session with a teacher. The second objective, establishing practice, takes
more time, even when working with a teacher. The main instructions are simple to
learn in this and other forms. For example, a common beginner’s method is to
count outgoing breaths, starting over when you reach 10 or lose track. The
recipe of Natural Meditation is only a little bit longer (see Idea #9), but
learning to meditate is more than learning the recipe. It is learning to make
the recipe come alive, and that takes thoughtful work regardless of the method.
Can you really learn this online or from a book?Meditation is an art, and art isn’t learned
from a book—be it painting, piano, ballet, or meditation. Art is learned from
yourself, from your experience, guided by others’ ideas and by their example. A
millennium of education has proven that ideas travel quite effectively through
the written word. When you and a book get together with the right attitude, you
can make magic. But, books cannot convey the living example of an art. So, you
may want to meet someone who can show you meditation as a living practice.
Resourcefulness has long been an important trait of the student of meditative
arts. Today, that resourcefulness is taking new forms. The seeker has expansive
new tools and an unprecedented access to resources. People around the world with
access to the Internet have learned to meditate using A Course in Meditation
because they actively sought a resource they could use on their own. A Canadian
student of meditation expressed the two sides of this issue—it is great to have
a teacher, but it is also good to have an effective guidebook.
I thank you for taking the time to build this Internet
course for Natural Meditation and making my life that much easier. A little
more than a month ago, I decided to take the course after struggling for
approximately 3 months with [another meditation method]. I had been
self-teaching through books for the whole time—probably not the best choice,
but the resources in this part of the world are few and far between.
I have to say that this Internet course is by far the
clearest and best-structured guide I have come across so far and is the
closest thing to an in-person teacher I've read. I have definitely made some
progress since the beginning. Lots of ups and downs in the process, but they
seem to be thinning out. This course is an indispensable tool for those who
wish to truly understand meditation and its benefits: Plain and Simple.
-Guy C, New Brunswick, Canada