General meditation FAQ
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Different meditations will suit different people depending on their temperaments. In our Learn to Meditate course we present a whole range of meditations so that one will work for you. For some people visualisation is very difficult and almost meaningless, whilst others will revel in it.
Our emphasis in teaching meditation is to shift away from trying to “get things right” and move towards an awareness of what is happening and what works for you. If visualisation doesn’t work for you, then use another meditation.
There is no “right” meditation.
Yes. Meditation is a tool par excellence for developing focus and concentration. Meditation is actually a practical tool for training the mind – as such one of the principal threads of the 2 ½ millennia meditation tradition are the exercises in developing concentration.
Yes. Meditation can greatly assist any creative work. It does this for two reasons.
Firstly, you can develop concentration to a much higher level – training your mind to stay with any piece of creative work for a greater time and being more focused about what you are doing.
Secondly, with Lifeflow meditations you can skillfully learn to tap the root creative aspects of the mind – the wellspring from which all creative acts are drawn.
Meditation can be used as an escape, or it can be used as a way to train the mind and engage more completely with life.
In all Lifeflow courses we emphasize linking the experiences of meditation back to what is happening in your every day life. Even if you can develop great calm and concentration whilst meditating, it is much more useful if you can apply this in your every day life situations.
We do not see meditation as an escape, but rather a way of learning to live skillfully.
Meditation can, however, open up a whole range of inner experiences which are similar to what many people have experienced through the use of drugs. Someone on drugs has no control over what happens and their mind is generally not clear. With meditation your mind is focused and alert and you are in complete control all of the time – you can come out of any experience at any time.
Meditation also gives you the opportunity of linking these inner experiences back into your life, so that nothing is wasted.
The meditation practices taught at the Lifeflow Meditation Centre have been adapted from both the Burmese and Tibetan meditation traditions. In addition, we draw on many of the developments in western psychology and philosophy, plus knowledge coming from contemporary neuroscience.
From the Burmese (sometimes called Theravadin) tradition, we have adapted meditations for developing calm and concentration, plus we make extensive use of mindfulness practices. The meditations for calm and concentration help you to return to a state of balance quickly and easily, and mindfulness helps you to maintain this through the day. We teach a wide range of meditations covering these approaches, and encourage you to choose the ones that work best for you.
In addition, Level 3 & Level 4 cover a range of topics around ethics, or meditation in action. These are primarily drawn from the Theravadin tradition as well, but also incorporate contemporary Western ideas and philosophy. Questions explored involve what is needed for a meaningful life, acting skilfully and cultivating values for healthy relationships with the world around you.
When students are at an advanced level then Insight practices may be introduced. These are normally done in retreat conditions with the guidance of a teacher. Insight is about opening up to a direct realization of the nature of the mind and consciousness.
From the Tibetan tradition, we have incorporated a range of practices for learning to work skilfully with emotions. Many of the exercises begin with working with the breath and visualisation, and begin with cultivating experiences of bliss and well-being through your body. At a more advanced level you can learn to take responsibility for your own emotional wellbeing, freeing up relationships and allowing more joy into your life.
We have participated in neuroscience research studies and keenly track the developments in that emerging field of knowledge. Interestingly, we have repeatedly found that contemporary findings back up the insights that have been developed in the meditation tradition about the nature of mind, perceptions and sense of self.
With all of these practices, the aim has been to teach meditation in a way that is relevant and practical for everyday life. The aim of Lifeflow practices is to live in such a way that thoughts, emotions and actions are not in conflict with one another. For this to happen, the meditation practices and teachings have to be grounded in personal experience. As such, each Lifeflow teacher will naturally present a slightly different approach to the meditation teaching and practice, depending on their individual life experiences.