Basics of Meditation

Okay, the first image of meditation that probably most of us have, is of somebody sitting very peacefully in a cave in the Himalayas, with long hair, orange clothes and he’s sitting there like a Buddha in the lotus posture, with his legs crossed or his legs behind his ears. Or another picture would be of twenty thirty or fifty or a hundred monks sitting together in a Japanese Zen temple. Again with their legs crossed in the lotus position or sitting Japanese style on their knees. And in Japan they would be sitting with their eyes half open, totally removed from the world, its business and its many challenges.
But who can do that. Has anyone here done that? Spent a few years at an Ashram or in a temple? It does not fit with most people. I don’t know if it was different in the old days, but nowadays our lives are so complicated and complex that you can’t just take off for the Himalayas and sit there. The problem is, that even if you went away and spent a year or so sitting silently doing nothing, when you come back your still the same person. Because you bring yourself to the mountains and then you bring yourself back to the valley again too. I have quite a few friends who spent long periods of time meditating, and then they came back with the same anger, the same jealousy, and the same misery. All the same problems came back into their lives almost exactly the same day they came back. So how can we deal with this situation? What can we do, if escaping doesn’t work? What will work? The only thing that works is facing reality the way it is. And your reality is the life you are living with all the situations that you find yourself in. In your family in your job and in all the difficulties that you may be encountering. Running away from them won’t help. It will just postpone the solution.
What we need to do, what we need to learn is to bring a meditative space into our daily lives. Then and only then something can happen, something can change. And for that of course in many spiritual schools or disciplines, teachers will offer meditation classes or weekends just like this group of ours. When you are in a controlled environment like this, with twenty people who are all focused on the same thing, on themselves, on this question "Who am I and "What am I doing here? - in that controlled environment it is relatively easy to be quiet and silent and to be yourself. Because everybody else wants to do the same thing. And that is exactly the space that you encounter when you enter a beautiful church or a beautiful temple or a beautiful place where people come to practice meditation, to practice looking into themselves, to practice looking for themselves. So in this little circle of ours we will start to have a little taste of what a meditative attitude is. But that is only a very little drop of the ocean, and what you have to do afterwards is to bring what you have learned here into your day to day life and nourish it there, and help it to grow bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger.
(Auszug aus der Meditation Lecture Mexico City, October 2001 von Frank Arjava Petter)