Some traditions believe that, to truly practice meditation, you must turn your back on the world: Monks in Thailand live in the woods, hundreds of miles from civilization. Other traditions emphatically state that you must engage in the whole of life, as Buddhist meditation teacher Jack Kornfield attests: "We may start by practicing meditation much like practicing piano. Eventually, when we become proficient, we will not need to practice anymore. Just as playing becomes practice, everything we do will become meditation. In the end, meditation techniques transcend even themselves. Then, there will be neither meditation or non-meditation. Just what is.''
Those disinclined to move into the deep woods, or not far enough along the woodsy path to make every moment a meditation, can create a proscribed area for meditation. While doing this, pay attention to Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki's advice in his classic treatise, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind (Weatherill, 1990): Try to see the space without preconceptions or expectations. As Suzuki puts it,"In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind, there are few.'' Keep it simple, and make it real.
Check out the November/December 2000 issue of Natural Home for more on meditating in your home, including:
- How to get started with a meditation program
- Meditation roots and traditions
- Create an altar or shrine in your meditation space
- Meditation resources and supplies