I was discussing meditation by phone with a friend in Aotearoa New Zealand. He was talking about one of the most popular meditation apps and I listened attentively. After he had finished, I said something to the effect of, "Yes, guided meditation apps have widened experience of meditation generally in the West, but they are not the 'goal' of meditation." This lead us into a discussion that lasted some time and he suggested that I share this online, so here I am.
Guided Meditation Historically
Guided meditation was something that people new to meditation or who were somehow struggling were taken through. The purpose has been to introduce to meditation, not to replace meditative practice. The whole point of meditation is to learn to focus - to learn to be "alone" with one's mind.
Guided Meditation As A Hinderance To Practice
What does it matter, you might wonder? If you start to imagine that meditation is something that is "meant" to last 10 - 20 minutes and that you should have someone talk you through it, you will never learn what meditation is really like.
What is it like? It can be wondrous. It can be peaceful. It can bring insight that has always been just out of your grasp, because your mind is not still enough. You will never get to these levels when someone is talking to you. You will never get to these levels when you limit your time to what you get from an app.
Guided meditation is like riding your bicycle with the trainers on - you can never go fast with these tiny wheels dragging you back, you can never take corners gracefully with these trainers dragging the ground, you will never learn to balance yourself and truly experience the joys of bicycling while limiting yourself to training wheels.
Prepare to Grow Beyond Guided Meditation
There is nothing wrong with learning from or with another, but in time you need to grow. Meditation is something we have to do for ourselves. That is why it is called a "practice". By all means try guided meditation practice, but know that this is only a very humble beginning for something that you can spend a lifetime exploring - your own mind.
May you find peace.
Lee Jordan, MBA, MEd, MCounsperson_outline Lee Jordan
schedule Fri, 15 May 2020 23:34:00 +1200
category blog, meditation