My Guide to Meditation.

This is a quick post for everyone who struggles with strong emotions.

I used to be one of those people. I still feel things deeply, and I am slightly bipolar – it is mild, gives me intuitive and creative blessings, is not severe enough to require medication. Nonetheless, I do contend with my natural pendulum swing of emotional highs and lows.

There isn’t one magic solution that will “fix” people like us. A disciplined, holistic approach to ones mind, body, and spiritual health is necessary in order to keep us all in a good place – fit enough to make the most of our lives and be happy, functional people contributing to the world.

However, over the years I have found one practice that has helped me profoundly to balance during times of emotional turmoil: MEDITATION.

Intuition during hard times has led me to try and practice many forms of meditation over the years: Eckhart Tolle’s presence method of detaching from ‘the Thinker’ and ‘the pain body’; mindfulness meditation; numerous guided meditations, and Transcendental Meditation (TM).

All the methods I have tried are aiming for the same thing: to enable the practitioner to get beyond both their thoughts and their emotions – which are intertwined – and become the Overseer of everything that is going on both inside and outside of them. 

Many people have a permanent and regular meditation routine that they follow, but I find that I use meditation regularly only during periods of instability and emotional turmoil. This is mainly because I am able to stay in ‘Overseer’ mode for long periods these days.

Tolle talks about practicing presence all day, everyday, and I actually find I do this – primarily because my family – whom I am in regular contact with – present constant challenges to my emotional state. In his books, Tolle talks about how simply staying ‘conscious’ with ‘unconscious’ relatives is the ultimate way to become a Master of presence. I think this is absolutely true.

Tolle also says having to transmute intense suffering can lead to the ultimate ‘awakening’ in the person who is forced by circumstance to transcend their suffering… and the only way to do so, again, is presence – going beyond thinking and emotional reactions, stepping into a higher consciousness. Transmuting suffering into consciousness is the ultimate alchemy. I have multiple experiences with this scenario, too.

So, I highly recommend giving meditation a go. And if you can, check out Eckhart Tolle’s books – I listen to his audiobooks regularly. If you’re on a tight budget (as I am!), see if you can order them in at your local library. There are numerous free meditation podcasts on iTunes – I love the ‘Meditation Oasis’ podcast. And you may be able to find affordable, accessible meditation classes at community centres in your area.


On a comedic note, below is a link to a 2 minute soothing guided mediation: for those of us who strive for “nirvana”, but adore the F word 🙂

Next post in 9 days. Have a great week.


4 Comments on “My Guide to Meditation.”

  1. Jess Gruber says:

    I love Tolle too! He helped my meditations practice significantly. And I love that video! Too funny 😀

  2. saijanai says:

    Transcendental Meditation is exactly the opposite simultaneously of both mindfulness and concentrative practices. The latter practices are meant to train your attention, as in “‘practicing presence,” while TM is an intuitive strategy for enhancing simple mind-wandering rest.

    the long-term outcome of TM is also the exact opposite of the attention training:

    Mindfulness and concentration are meant to reduce sense-of-self, while TM is supposed to bring about an enhanced sense-of-self that eventually becomes permanent.

    With respect to “practicing presence,” not everyone agrees with the popular meme, as expressed by Tolle.

    For example, here’s what one Zen master has to say about being mindful:

    “2. Outside of zazen practice, in our daily life when we walk, talk, eat, sit, lay down or work, should we keep being mindful of, or following anything specific? For example, like the Rinzai students who keep the koans on their minds at all times, should we be mindful of our breathing any time other than during zazen? Or when we take a regular walk, should we keep being mindful of our steps like in kinhin?”

    We should always try to be active coming out of samadhi. For this, we have to forget things like “I should be mindful of this or that”. If you are mindful, you are already creating a separation (“I – am – mindful -of – ….”). Don’t be mindful, please! When you walk, just walk. Let the walk walk. Let the talk talk (Dogen Zenji says: “When we open our mouths, it is filled with Dharma”). Let the eating eat, the sitting sit, the work work. Let sleep sleep. Kinhin is nothing special. We do not have to make our everyday life into something special. We try to live in the most natural and ordinary way possible. So my advice is: Ask yourself why you practice zazen? If it is to reach some specific goal, or to create some special state of mind, then you are heading in the opposite direction from zazen. You create a separation from reality. Please, trust zazen as it is, surrender to reality here and now, forget body and mind, and do not DO zazen, do not DO anything, don’t be mindful, don’t be anything – just let zazen be and follow along.

    To drive a car well and safely you need long practice and even then you still have to watch out very well not to cause any accident. Nobody can teach you that except the car itself, the action of driving the car itself.

    Take care, and stop being mindful!

    • Thank you for your comment saijanai, it is much appreciated. I’m aware of the controversies surrounding the meditation practices mentioned in the post. As stated above, I came to those practices prompted by my own inner guidance; each has been essential to me at different points of trauma in my life, helping me move through those experiences, gain from them, and return to a state of balance, inner peace and clarity.

      Tolle’s concepts in particular helped me (and continue to help me) tremendously in re-framing and understanding my everyday existence and, in particular, my relationships with others in my life. So critics can continue to criticise Tolle or any of the forms of meditation mentioned; and I will continue to practice that which stabilises me, brings me peace, and blesses my relationships with others in the world.

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