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Table of Contents
A Course in Meditation

by Theodore K. Phelps © 2007

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Contents

Personal Note     13

Open House      19

Overview     19
Welcome     20
Q: Why is this meditation called "natural?"     22
A Quiet Moment     26
A Demonstration of Sorts     28
The Course Plan     32

 

Instruction: Classroom

[This section is the heart of the course. It takes the student step by step through the recipe for learning Natural Meditation and creating a practice. It delivers ideas and actions in a carefully arranged sequence as in a classroom. It is meant to be read in order, word by word. Readings in the Textbook, Part 1 are assigned or suggested at the end of each lesson as are suggestions for browsing the chapters in the Textbook, Part 2.]

Preparations     37

More Course-Taking Advice     37
Guide Card and Room Preparation     39

Day One     43

Orientation 43
First Meditation     44
After Meditating from the Guide Cards     44
Reflection     45
Meditating on Your Own     45
Your Next Two Meditations     48
Homework     48

Day Two     49

When to Meditate     50
Weaving the Fabric     50
The Heart of Natural Meditation Part 1, Structure: Mantra and Recalling     52
Guided Meditation     59
How Are You Doing?     59
Homework 60

Day Three     61

The Meditative Function     63
The Heart of Natural Meditation Part 2, Dynamics:  Handling Experiences     66
Homework     70

Day Four     73

The Heart of Natural Meditation Part 3, Navigation: Flow and Openness     74
Loosening muscular tension     78
Loosening mental tension     78
Homework      80

Day Five     81

Building a Practice Part 1, Structure: Scheduling Daily Practice     83
Homework     86

Day Six     87

Building a Practice Part 2, Dynamics: the Daily Balancing Act    88
Review and Guided Meditations     91
Homework     92

Day Seven    93

Building a Practice Part 3, Navigation: Growth and Purpose     94
Growth     98
Traditions     100
Some Other Places to Go     101
Closing Farewell     103
Ongoing Work 105


Textbook Part 1: Student Reading


[Part 1 of the textbook contains further reading for students in the course and for others practicing Natural Meditation. The ideas in this part elaborate and complement the instruction presented in the Classroom section.]

1: The 10-Step Agenda of a Sitting    109

Starting     110
Meditating     111
Returning     112

2: Correct and Expected Experiences     113

The Cycle of Discipline     117
Windows on Awareness     118

3: Thoughts and Wandering     121

Thoughts Can Peacefully Coexist     121
Losing Awareness     126
Six Phases of Attention in Listening     131

4: The Engine and Direction of Meditation 137

Where We Are Going     140

5: Daily Practice     147

Two Stages of Starting a Practice     149
The Cycle of Discipline in Daily Practice     152
Practice for the Joy of Practice     154
Making Meditation Social     156
The Faith Factor     157

Appendix     159

Guide Cards     161
Guided Meditation Cards     167
Course Schedule & Record     170
Sitting Record     171


Textbook Part 2: Talks
 

These essays, written in the style of talks or lectures, put the subject of meditation and its naturalness into perspective with respect to a wide variety of concepts. The talks can stand alone, without other readings in the Course and can be thought of as a separate book on the subject of naturalness in meditation. They define a class of meditation, here nicknamed the "Naturals," and show where this concept fits in the wide world of meditative methods and why we should care about it.

6: The Nature of Meditation     175

What Is Meditation?     176
What Is It Like to Meditate?     182
The Secret Everyone Knows About     185
The Natural Side of Meditation     189
Doing Natural Meditation     197

7: The Inner Power of Intention    201

Intention vs. Intentions     205
Three Inner Postures of Intention     209
Three Major Meditative Intentions     212

8: The Naturals 219

Meditative Function or Relaxation Response?     223
Immediate Effects: Restoration & Healing     227
Accumulative Effects: Conditioning & Health     231
How the "Naturals" Are Built     235

9: The Longer View    239

What Is Enlightenment?     239
A Journey of Enlightenment     243
Recent Landmark Studies     271
Suffering and Wisdom     277

10: Traditions of Meditative Growth 283

Perennial Philosophy     284
Meditation and Mindfulness     286
Self-Actualization & Self-Realization     290
Spirituality     297
Right Action     299

References     303

Windows    307

Inspired by Zen's Oxherding Pictures, a sequence of 10 drawings and commentary attributed to 12th Century Chinese Zen master, Kakuan Shien, the Windows drawings show a development in sitting practice that applies to any meditation designed to inspire transcendence. The pictures speak to meditations that use an object of meditation, such as a mantra, mandala, koan, or name of God, and use it, not to get into the object itself, but to go beyond it, to reveal the essence of awareness. They seek to let go of the striving self, cut through spiritual materialism, and directly expand and open the mind.

Canoe Ride Script     313

Use this script to give others a taste of the flowing experience of a natural-style meditation. No experience is necessary for the reader or listeners, but ideally, the reader would be experienced in meditation. This is not instruction in Natural Meditation. Itís just an experience. The experience takes about 12 minutes.

Index     317

 

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