Meditation is an intrinsic part of the Buddhist path. The type of meditation we practise is called Formless Meditation. Lama Shenpen’s Living the Awakened Heart Training starts with an introductory course to this type of meditation.
People are often drawn to meditation for a variety of reasons such as becoming less stressed, more relaxed, improved focus, greater clarity etc. Whilst these are important reasons for commencing the practice of meditation, they are considered important by-products of Buddhist meditation rather than the primary aim.
Meditation is about how we relate to thoughts, feelings and emotions. It’s about learning to be kind to all aspects of ourselves and developing a greater sense of spaciousness, in which there’s room for all experience. It is a journey of the heart and to the heart, which is full of ungraspable significance: a search for Truth.
The Formless Sitting Meditation that we practice is about simply resting in experience itself, without focusing on any particular form or object. Formless meditation involves two processes: calming and settling the mind (known as Shamata) and the other is developing insight or understanding (known as Vipashyana).
“Meditation wakes us up to new possibilities for choosing how we experience our life. We have more freedom than we realise.” – Lama Shenpen
With any meditation practice it is always good to be able to clarify the meditation method by talking with a teacher who will be interested in your experiences and able to make suggestions based on their own experience.
The Heart of Meditation book which we use as our guide and can be purchased from Amazon and it explains the instructions and practice in much more depth. The Heart of Meditation course is also offered as the first part of the Living the Awakened Heart Training, the donation based, distance learning course offered by the Sangha. Find out more about Formless Meditation practise within the AHS at our meditation website www.howtomeditate.org.uk or visit www.ahs.org.uk/training for full details of the home study course in Buddhist meditation, reflection and insight.