A Course in Meditation, Original Web Version


This is a self-paced course in the art of natural meditation. 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 walking.

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