Your brain is the most precious and advanced thing you’ll ever own. Unfortunately it does not come with an owner’s manual. Nobody has one and it is nowhere to be found or purchased.
Still, even if we don’t have a technical manual explaining in detail how it works and how to maintain it in optimal condition, there are still ways to access it and reprogram it.
I am using computer-related metaphors here not because I am upholding the mind-computer analogy. That is so 70s and 80s. Yet the metaphor rather serves to remind us that most of our beliefs, ideas, attitudes, perspectives and reasoning have been conditioned or programmed by our immediate experiences, society and circumstances. A good part of this programming might have taken place without an intention or design and some of it might be of no benefit for us but on the contrary limiting and hindering us from authentically growing.
Meditation is and has always been the best available method for reprogramming the human mind. It has been proven to work for thousands of years. Moreover it is free, always available, requires no resources and is highly effective.
The benefits are numerous and varied ranging from reducing stress, improving health, memory and concentration to enhancing creativity, curing depression and expanding one’s consciousness into higher states of being.
It always really boggles my mind how in our day and age meditation is not that wildly diffused in the western world and around the globe. It strikes me as so out of sync with our times that meditation is not universally recognized by humans as one of the most fundamental practices for a healthy society. Imagine every single individual on this planet learning meditation at school from a young age. Imagine the benefit on a planetary scale. How there would be balanced emotions, harmony, creativity and peace on a collective level. No more wars, atrocities, greed, famine, crime, domestic violence, over-spending in health, law and order. The possibilities are infinite.
Anyway let me stop here before I get too idealistic. I just wanted to express my personal opinion on how important meditation is. If you wish to start learning meditation or if you have already you might find the following resources useful. I have sifted through tonnes of material to select what I think is technically good quality material.
I hope you find them interesting and helpful. Please send me your thoughts and comments on whether you found the material useful or if you want to suggest more. Thanks!
1. Meditation for Beginners
- An article by Alan Wagener Showing the benefits of meditation and how it helps you cope with stress.
- Gil Fronsdal offers a 5 or 6 week instructional series for beginning meditators. Here is some handout material in PDFs and audio recordings from the beginners’ classes.
- Meditation for Dummies – A great comprehensive introduction to meditation from the ‘for dummies’ series.
- A blog article from Zen habits giving practical tips on meditation for beginners
- An article by Chris Joscelyne in which he gives a step by step guided meditation. This type of meditation is called light meditation in which light is visualized during the meditation.
- Meditation for Beginners – an audio book by Jack Kornfield. Jack is a meditation master and teacher. He was trained as a Buddhist monk and has travelled extensively teaching meditation around the world.
2. Online Meditation
- Online courses in meditation, Buddhism and practice in daily life.
- Free practical meditation tips on Posture, breathing, loving kindness, walking, mantra meditation, six element practice.
3. Guided Meditation
- Other seriously good resources from audiodharma.com this time giving a series of guided meditations.
- A nice guided meditation with Anusari Yogi Bridget Woods Kramer
- A series of short guided meditations lasting between 3 to 10 mins each from learningmeditation.com
- A full guided meditation 22:36 mins
4. Mindfulness Meditation
- A great Google talk by Jon Kabat-Zinn, a master in meditation and a Bio-medical science whose lifetime work was dedicated to bringing mindfulness into mainstream science.
- A guided mindfulness meditation from Angela Carole Brown -
5. Zen Meditation
- Introduction to Zen Meditation: Still Point with John Daido Loori, Roshi, Abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery
- A guided Zen Buddhist Meditation method
6. Transcendental Meditation
- The Transcendental meditation program offers a comprehensive course in meditation. The program is backed up by a high profile organization founded by David Lynch and based on the teaching of the world famous guru Maharishi Mahesh. The course fees are a bit on the high side but it is definitely worth a look.
7. Buddhist Meditation
- How to Meditate.com – A site dedicated to teaching on Buddhist meditation.
- In this series Tan Ajahn Jayasaro, gives an introduction to Buddhist meditation, being part of a path leading to profound happiness, inner peace and liberation from suffering.
8. Yoga Meditation
- A series of 5 videos from the documentary ‘Spiritual reality’. The videos are animations rather than real life filming. I had watched the full length film of ‘Spiritual reality’ once and it was very inspiring.
- Introduction to yoga meditation and the importance of breathing in yoga in this free how-to video on kundalini yoga and meditation training
9. Mantra Meditation
- Simple 7 steps on how to do mantra meditation
- A good article describing how mantra meditation works
10. Vipassana (Insight) Meditation
- A good video giving a clear and simple explanation of Vipassana or insight meditation
- Matthew Flickstein explains insight (Vipassana) meditation
11. Meditation and Health Research
- A very good site dedicated to scientific research on meditation
- An excellent Google Talk by Philippe Goldin on the neuroscience of mindfulness meditation or in simple words the study of the effects of meditation on the brain.
12. Meditation on Twitter
13. Music for Meditation
My all time favorite meditation music – The Japanese artists known as Kokin Gumi in this album named Zen Garden. Probably the only music that still manages to shift my consciousness every time I hear it. Purely wonderful. Here are three tracks I found on youtube by someone who added them as background to his/her videos.
There are even better tracks in the album. I suggest you buy the CD for your meditations here: http://www.amazon.com/Zen-Garden-Kokin-Gumi/dp/B00004Y2DV (this is not an affiliate link)
I also loved the music from this 5 minute meditation video
14. Meditation accessories
- Meditation supplies and accessories – a list of suppliers