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Meditation Teacher Mark's Blog

Meditation TechniquesLet's enjoy a little metaphor for a while. Imagine meditation is a bit like toasting a slice of bread. There's generally two ways to potentially end up with a nice bit of toast.

Option 1: The Toaster Approach

The first way is to pop the bread in the toaster, turn the dial to the desired amount of time and leave the toaster to do its thing, safe in the knowledge that setting number 3 will leave the bread perfectly toasted. It's convenient, easy and leaves you free to do other things, like deciding which flavour of jam to have on your toast.

Option 2: The Grill Approach

The second approach is more risky but more rewarding. Put the toast under the grill and keep checking on it. Forget to check on it or turn it and you'll end up with a charred bit of carbon, like the photo above which I took this morning. Isn't it nice how life gives us these lovely metaphors sometimes. Burning my toast under the grill got me thinking about the whole time and awareness aspect of meditation.

The Time Element With Meditation

I'm talking here about those morning meditate or the one you do in your lunch break, where there's a fixed time limit. When there is a time limit, most people will set an alarm, close their eyes and start meditating. But how you approach the meditation can be a bit like either a toaster or a grill.
If you're like the toaster then it doesn't matter if you pay attention, because you know the toast will pop automatically, a bit like the alarm going off. Sure you've done the time but did you even check the bread once during the process? Probably not. The other approach is being more like a grill, constantly paying attention to what's happening.

What I really mean here is being present on the inside during the meditate so that you get more from the experience.  Sure toasters are a convenient, but they also mean we no longer pay attention to the bread. We often need to use timers and alarms for meditation so that we are not keeping an eye on the clock, but we want to avoid being like toasters and not being present or paying attention either.

Be Like a Grill...

So next time you sit down, be like a grill. Understand that it is the radiance of your attention which transforms the bread (I know! I'm really stretching this analogy). You get the idea though.
By maintaining your attention and being present you'll get much more from your meditate. The good news is that you're not going to end up looking like these sorry pieces of bread no matter what you do,
but by being more present within your meditation you'll benefit more and find you can get even stiller.
Now I'm off to buy some more bread as those were my last two pieces.

Posted by Mark Zaretti at 21:59

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