Q: What do I do to have such amazing meditation experiences like you have had? How do I meditate? I’ve always wanted to do it, I never knew how.
A: The style of meditation I practice is known as “Basic Mindfulness” http://basicmindfulness.org/ (You can sign up for phone/skype lessons/retreats and check out some information in the “Reading & Audio” section. I am also putting some useful links at the end of this answer) which was created by Shinzen Young. It is mainly Vipassana with a hint of Zen and a side of “Nurture Positive” or in Buddhism “Metta”. I would like to make it clear that the point this practice is not to induce trippy or surreal experiences, they are more or less a side effect of meditation. The purpose of this style of meditation is to combine three skills to have a complete sensory experience which can be simple or complex. The three skills we are working on building is concentration power, sensory clarity and equanimity.
Now one might be asking “What in world is concentration power, sensory clarity and equanimity!?!?!?”. Well, let me help you out there but first let me define sensory experience. (* indicates the label you would use while meditating) Sensory experience is basically a sensation arising in the field of mental talk (*Hear In) visual thought (*See In) emotional sensation (*Feel In) external sound (*Hear Out) external vision (*See Out) and external physical sensations that are not emotional (*Feel out). It is important to remember that emotional sensations can feel physical I.E. getting anxious and feeling like there is air pressure in your chest and it is difficult to breathe. Those are the basics and I highly recommend starting with Focus In (Hear, See and Feel In). Now let me define what working with these labels accomplishes.
- Increases concentration power which can be looked at as the ability to stay with what is relevant.
- Increases sensory clarity which can be looked at as the ability to untangle the strands of a sensory experience (I.E. Mental talk triggering emotional sensations “I love my dog” which triggers *warm glowing feeling in heart area*)
- Increases equanimity which can be looked at as the ability to allow sensory experience to come and go without push or pull.
Now you might be asking “Well, what’s the point?” Let me help you with that.
• reduction of your physical or emotional suffering
• elevation of your physical or emotional fulfillment
• deeper knowledge of who you are
• positive changes in your objective behavior
• a spirit of love and service towards others
Here is a playlist which clearly explains Hear, See and Feel In as well as some guided meditations which uses Shinzen’s old labeling style, but is still very helpful. http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAF0E8328F98200F6&feature=plcp
Here is a PDF on labeling and noting http://www.shinzen.org/Retreat%20Reading/How%20to%20Note%20and%20Label.pdf
May all beings be happy,