Lesson 5

Objective: to establish meditation as a daily routine and find ways of connecting with others who meditate.

This course is lengthy and detailed because it aims at setting up an excellent platform for launching a practice of meditation. Bringing the meditative function into the daily cycle holds the deepest and longest promise for drawing value from this course. 

Of course, this is not to say that you

  1. fully understand the reasons that a regular practice is necessary
  2. agree with the reasons we and others give for this
  3. intend to create such a practice for yourself
  4. know how to go about establishing it

The purpose of this lesson is to provide an opportunity for you to engage each of those matters more deeply and in your own way.

Clearly, what we are talking about is nothing less than the formation of a new habit. Establishing meditation as a daily practice means having it be a regular, living part of your life. You may have had enough experience with New Year’s resolutions to know how quickly the seeds scattered at New Year’s day can dry up and blow away. If so, you know that,

Having enthusiasm for meditation in the first weeks does not shield you from losing interest later—perhaps in just a month.

So right now, while you have your attention on the topic, you have the opportunity to put in motion certain actions and ideas that will carry you across the flat and dry lands that always come when establishing any practice. You will want to hear the reasons given by experts for doing a daily practice and consider your own approach to this critical creative act.

At the heart, driving it all, is your motivation. We purposely keep a bit to the side of the direct arena of motivation in this course because it is so personal a matter. You, on the other hand, most assuredly must enter the arena of your own motivation. You must understand it, embrace it, play in it, and work with it.

The course closes with some information about meditative growth. While this is also a very personal matter, it is presented because it is not a simple thing to look up in the library. Ideas about the potential for human development vary even more widely than the practices for attaining it. In eastern practices, the term (in English) that most captures this subject is enlightenment. What exactly is that? You will have to approach that question in your own way, perhaps deciding it is not even relevant to you (or, not yet). No single answer fits all people, but the few ideas presented in this chapter can get you launched in developing a long-term relationship with your meditative practice.

Before going to the Textbook...

Write in your calendar (probably should do it now) to come back to the Course In Meditation in four weeks or less. Plan to redo Lesson Four complete with guided meditation.

Reminder:use something like the Sitting Record to keep track of when you meditate. It gives you four weeks (Sunday to Saturday) to record the date, time and a brief note for each sitting. If you follow the suggestions in Chapter 5, you will consider yourself to be in an important "stage one" during the next month or more. During this time, you will be paying close attention to your record of sitting.

Reading Suggestion:If you want some additional reading to help you understand the importance—and difficulty—of sticking with a program of self improvement, here’s a gem: Mastery, The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment, by George Leonard. Plume 1992. $12.95, paperback, 176 pages. George Leonard is an Aikido master and he got to be one by learning how to enjoy being on the path. He points out that most of the path is a plateau, not bursts of glorious growth. If you want to stick with something long enough to master it, you have to learn to enjoy the path itself. Students of Natural Meditation find this book to be a warming companion on their journey.

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW TO MEDITATE?

If you have questions about how to meditate, they may not be answered in this text, but they might be answered in the resources created after this original web course. Take a look at the high quality paperback book edition of this course and the audio book (CD) instruction.

You are at a stage now in which you learn more by doing the meditation than by reading about it. That is why we begin this lesson with a guided meditation like the one in Lesson 4. If you continue to have a specific question or a problem, begin by writing to yourself in your journal about it. This will help you find the answer and will help you frame a question that others might be able to give you guidance on.

You may write personal questions about your own experience with Natural Meditation to technique-questions@natural-meditation.org. This service is not for delving into theory and hypothetical questions, but to help students of this course establish their practice of Natural Meditation. Questions will be answered in confidence by a qualified teacher of Natural Meditation. Questions should be framed with reference to the method of Natural Meditation using the terms presented in this course. In support of your question, include appropriate excerpts from your journal, state the date of your taking the course and summarize your sitting record to date. Questions may be placed at any time after completing Lesson 4.