General Questions about Meditation
Do I have to be Buddhist to meditate?
Meditation can be practiced by anyone. The practice of meditation is a process of turning inward to learn about the workings of the mind and how thoughts and emotions shape perception. It does not require one to believe any particular religious doctrine, though many of the world’s greatest sages and saints have used meditation as a way to deepen their understanding and experience of their own faith. Currently, meditation is taught and practiced in health care settings to relieve stress and cope with chronic pain; in the corporate world to develop authentic, value-based leadership; and in the educational system to help students concentrate and center themselves.
What can I expect from meditation?
What can I expect from meditation? Meditation has many benefits. In a general sense, meditation allows us to access the mind’s innate qualities of peace and serenity. Eventually, these experiences become a living reality and our happiness is no longer dependent on the fluctuating conditions of the world around us. Meditation can also be used to cultivate certain qualities, such as compassion or wisdom, and also to address specific problems, such as destructive emotional patterns, chronic illness, and challenging relationship issues. The point of meditation is not to escape such situations, but rather to see that everything we experience can be transformed into a source of joy through the practice of meditation.
What is the best way to learn how to meditate?
There is no one approach to meditation that works for everyone. Indeed, the “best” approach is simply the one that works best for you. Most people, however, find it useful to learn how to meditate from an experienced teacher. If you enjoy reading, books are a good place to start. Please take a look at our recommended reading list, which includes books on meditation from a variety of perspectives and traditions. If you are not much of a reader, or if you’ve already read extensively but haven’t found something that clicks, you may want to visit some meditation centers in the area where you live to see what inspires you. There are also many meditation communities that have online programs and/or instructors that are available via email or phone calls.
If you feel drawn to our approach, then you’re in the right place! Feel free to contact a community leader or send us an email via our contact page. We’d be happy to tell you more about our approach to meditation and help you get started in practice.