Meditation is natural. How else could it have arisen in so many different cultures, geographies and times?
– To be at ease.
– To be watchful, observant and enquiring.
– To be caring and compassionate.
– To feel connected to the wonder and energy of life.
These are natural.
This handbook is the result of decades of exploring, practising and teaching meditation. There are many different meditation practices and traditions from all across the world. But at their core is a universal state. So it is appropriate for meditation to be liberated from any association with just one particular tradition.
Albert Einstein is reputed to have said, ‘If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.’ I have tried to take that approach in clarifying that there is a core and universal state to meditation; that there are many gateways into that core state; and there are diverse meditation practices. But this simple model needs to be balanced with a respect for the mystery of consciousness and being.
This handbook is for both teachers and practitioners. When people are sitting quietly who can tell the difference? Silence is democratic.
When people are trained as teachers and educators one of the crucial insights is that effective learning builds on what people already know. This recognition of prior experience and instinctive human skills is deeply encouraging for people developing their meditation practice. It is an educational error to learn the core skills of meditation — being at ease, observant, compassionate and connected — as if they are completely new practices.
This handbook takes a learner-centred approach to spirituality, which has been developed by the Spiritual Companions Trust, a UK educational charity. Our first enquiry is always: What works best for you? This approach is also incorporated in our Diploma in Practical Spirituality and Wellness, the first vocational qualification in this field to be on the Ofqual Register. The essence of our method can also be found in our companion publication Your Spiritual Health Programme. Members of the public looking for trained teachers who use our approach will find them via the Spiritual Companions Trust.