Meditation #

What is meditation? #

To try to answer this question, I have studied the contemplative traditions of many of the world’s major religions. For example,

  • Christianity
  • Islam
  • Hinduism
  • Buddhism (Vajrayāna, Mahāyāna, & Zen)
  • Daoism (Taoism)
  • Judaism

I have also studied with a handful of contemporary meditation teachers.1 What I learned is that there is not much consensus about the precise defintion of meditation. I prefer to define meditation in IFS terms:

Meditation becomes possible when you are not identified with your parts. Meditation occurs when some proportion of your being is free to radiate Self energy.

In some traditions, there is a notion of enlightenment or liberation that demarcates some stage of personal transformation. However, we should not be satisfied with personal transformation of any degree; the appropriate benchmark for attainment is global, societal transformation. Everybody should have the opportunity to climb Maslow’s pyramid.

Maslow’s needs

Meditation Techniques #

Meditation is more like a dance than a desk lamp. There are moves to learn. The techniques that I describe in sub-sections assume that you are already proficient in meditation. Without a basic competence in effortless meditation, you may not obtain any benefit from these techniques. Moreover, these techniques may not work when under the influence of psychedelics.

On breathing #

Use an inspiratory muscle training device to improve your breathing mechanics.2

The only meditation technique that I am familiar with is here.

There are other interesting techniques (Holotropic Breathwork, Wim Hof Method3) with which I have little experience.

On mantras, prayers, poetry, music #

In a solo context, there is potential for spiritual bypass. A mantra recited vigorously can pave over and hide unaddressed parts with unaddressed issues that would otherwise be in dialog filling your head with thoughts. Suppression is not a good long-term strategy.

In a group context, prayers and music can help synchronize individuals and invite communitas.4

Timing #

The best time to practice meditation is 4:30 to 9:00 (am and pm) in your local time zone.

Sample Schedule #

When Activity Duration
morning drink green tea -
withdrawal of the senses 10 min
sahasrara 5-10 min
lunch eat calmly and undistracted5 -
before dinner foot soak & withdrawal of the senses 15 min
sahasrara 10 min
before sleep ice on the liver 15 min

This is just a sample schedule. Customize as per your preference.

References #

  1. Among others, I was a student of for a few years. For a retrospective, check out the associated Smoke Screen Podcast↩︎

  2. One option is the O2 trainer↩︎

  3. Carney, S. (2017). What Doesn’t Kill Us: How Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude, and Environmental Conditioning Will Renew Our Lost Evolutionary Strength. Rodale. ↩︎

  4. Turner, E. (2012). Communitas: The anthropology of collective joy. Springer. ↩︎

  5. Calm and undistracted meals are generally a good idea, but particularly important for lunch. ↩︎