By Ron Murdock
No one group has a monopoly on meditation. To think otherwise is setting up an elitist mentality. Plus complying to any particular set way of doing something doesn't help a person in setting up their own meditation practice.
As when starting a new thing in life there is always the initial excitement. It's like buying a toy of any size at any stage of a persons life, the novelty lasts for a short time then wears off as the emotional excitement loses its blinding effect.
It may be just as wise to avoid commitment to any form of group activity until one finds the true essence of what they are looking for. There are times when one needs to look to see if they bringing about real change in their life or just changing costumes. No matter what, firsthand experience is a better teacher than just reading books, sitting in a classroom listening to a teacher or conforming to a set routine or pattern.
People are in the habit of working within a certain framework or take on too much structure in their existence. As a result they do things without questioning the whens and whys of what they are doing. Is it for a good reason or just filling in time? We are constantly told what to think and when to do things. Doing quality research for ourselves is discouraged on whole. Everyone has to reach their own decisions in their own way using their own methods. Until then there is no one or thing that will be of help. In short, don't take anyones word on anything until you've checked it out for yourself. It's better than just accepting anything on blind faith and trying to pigeonhole it.
A problem is when various groups try to communicate through various methods of meditation. A problem is when they try prove they they have the right way of doing it rather than showing constructive ways of doing it. No matter where we meditate, we can still do it even if there is a lot of noise around. We can't stop the noise but we can accept it. Even in noise there is silence mixed in.
Teaching someone is to help them. But if the teacher wants to mold the student into following a certain idea or follow in the teachers way, it may still involve some compassion but still embraces the ego. Teachers can learn from the students as it opens up a larger exchange of ideas and students get more involved. Teaching is showing others that students know just as well as the teacher does. Learning is finding out what the student already knows.
Meditation isn't about accomplishing a higher state of consciousness but to attempt to be aware of the present moment such as ones breathing. So meditation is an exercise that needs to be practiced. While meditating, thoughts need not be suppressed but to be seen as something fleeting. In meditation, thoughts are not to be involved with nor denied but to be simply observed. Then the person can come back to the awareness of breathing.
Reading about meditation is good but it is not a substitute for doing it. Books can provide an excuse for not really gaining practical experience. Head knowledge can only go so far.
Meditation isn't about escaping from life nor to reach a utopian state of mind. Meditation is used to see things as they actually are.