Radical meditation & mindfulness index and introduction: start here
If you are interested in my posts on mindfulness and meditation, please start here and read this page first. At least, PLEASE have a look at the Reassurances and Provisos further down the page.
Also below on this page is the index to all the meditation posts.
I aim to create a meditation website that’s different from the mainstream in some ways. I hope you’ll find material here that you won’t easily find gathered together elsewhere, for meditators with all levels of experience. (Definition of meditation and what I call radical meditation.)
- Many newcomers try mindfulness-style sitting meditation, and find it doesn’t work for them. This isn’t sufficiently acknowledged. Don’t worry, the answer is easy, don’t sit still! I’ll explain a range of active-plus-silent meditation methods, one or other of which works for most people. (Thoughts are physical not mental.)
- A fair few newcomers try mindfulness-style sitting meditation and feel frightened and overwhelmed. The more they sit with their thoughts, the worse they feel. Again, this is not acknowledged enough. I’ll discuss the remedies.
- Secular mindfulness is limited in its vision. I will explain that it’s not “science=good; non-science=nonsense”. There is a third way of engaging reality, still science in its own way, but conducted in the aloneness of your meditation.
- Non-duality aka the neo-advaita movement has a truly radical vision of meditation (you may know this better as the heirs of Raman Maharshi, beloved by all.) But it lacks techniques to help people make the vision real. I will be explaining such methods. I know some advaitins teach there are no methods; I’ll explain why that is only partially true.
- Life is physical. Meditation therefore is not mental, but physical. I’ll explain how body-oriented meditation deepens mindfulness.
- There are lots of wonderful and colourful and joyful but less-known schools of meditation, for example Gurdjieff Movements, Osho and his active-plus-silent meditations, Sufism, Christic mysticism, Byron Katie and “The Work”, and, perhaps most widely known, Eckhart Tolle. I aim to show how these relate to each other and to the 20 minutes a day silent sitting which beginners traditionally start with.
- Meditation is about radical life change, therapy is too. They are closely linked. Much therapy is guided meditation under another name. For meditation to go deep, many people are helped if they do some therapeutic-style personal development work.
- Lots of personal development methods come close to meditation but don’t go through the door. (Five Rhythms Wave, Emotional Freedom Technique, many others.) I’ll be explaining the steps they leave out.
- Gautam Buddha points to universal truths. But if you find modern Buddhism complex and rooted in monasticism, I’m with you there. I’m so grateful I didn’t spend the past 35 years doing Buddhist methods, and I’ll be explaining why. Joy, love and being fully alive are every bit as much part of the path as inward absorption.
- Last, but not least. I aim to show that quite likely you already have experience and understanding of meditation much more than you realise. In making love, in a beautiful sunsets, in living through grief, in dreams lost and dreams fulfilled, in decisions that make themselves, in passions awoken, in hearing the inner voice, in moments lived in aloneness, in dancing with abandon, in hearing the call of stillness; many people have a treasury of meditation experiences without realising. The things that Buddha says sound recondite: anatta, no-self, no-doer and so on. But he is talking about natural human experiences and understandings.
Which if any you are interested in, is up to you. Which works for you, is for you to discover. For myself, I’ve found a meditation method that works for me – Osho’s Active plus Silent meditations. I’m hugely enthusiastic about these, and I’ll talk about them a lot. But I am not assuming this is what will work for you. In 35 years experience of meditations, since I was a teenager, I’ve tried lots and lots of different things. I found what works for me. I hope my experience may illuminate the way as you find what works for you.
Again, please see the Provisos and Reassurances at the bottom of this page.
- That’s meditation?! – La Roux, In For The Kill
- A few understandings that help with anger
- Gurdjieff Sacred Dance: meditation, but the very opposite to silent sitting
- Friday in heaven, Friday from hell: radical non-duality in action
- Secular mindfulness cannot escape the sacred
- What makes a school of meditation “radical”?
- Of another era, complex and unalive: a critique of Buddhism today
- “Thoughts” includes EVERYTHING
- What is “radical meditation”? (1) The Song of Ashtavakra
- Thoughts are physical, not mental. Meditation is physical.
- Meditation is not Stop Action
- The definition of meditation (and it’s not sitting still)
- Following your inner voice: Peter Gabriel’s Solsbury Hill
- Mindfulness in the US military – is it mad?
- Meditation and mindfulness in therapy
As the famous phrase goes, this website is not a substitute for medical or psychiatric help. The information is provided in an informative spirit for responsible adults to make their own choices. You alone are responsible for your choices and actions. The range of possible readership is immense. I cannot be responsible for what every person might make of this information. If in doubt, consult your doctor.
If you might be depressed, you should see your doctor in any case. See here for two depression tests and here for when you should go to your doctor urgently with depression.
Unlike the mindfulness movement, I do not think NHS-style mindfulness is a cure-all and I am not prescribing mindfulness.. Some people are interested in meditation; for those, the information in this blog, my 35 years experience, may prove useful.
I first want to reassure those who might come to me for counselling, psychotherapy or hypnosis that I do not in general advise people to practise mindfulness. I don’t in general even mention it unless asked. Therapy needs to be a haven of safety, a place where people feel accepted and respected as they are. My experience is that when people can explore themselves in a very respectful atmosphere, they come up with their own brilliant solutions as to what works for them. I’m happy to make suggestions if asked, but I do aim not to say “Do this.” It’s like learning a musical instrument, you have to be interested.
You can think of these posts as what your friendly local therapist does in his own time at weekends. (There’ll be lots of posts on how therapy and meditation meet.)
Secondly, these posts mix beginners’ and advanced material. I want give a sense of which is which. Newcomers traditionally start with a 20 minutes a day mindful breathing exercise. I’d call that, in UK language, the primary school level of meditation. Not to be rude! But we are exploring a big landscape. I do want to give a sense of taking things in steps. There is some pretty way-out geography, such as tantra, in the landscape. I want everyone to feel OK where they are, and free to explore, or not, at their own speed and see what is first, what is next. I’m going to describe easy and useful methods such as Osho Kundalini Meditation which I’d call secondary school level. These are accessible to anyone (who is not already overwhelmed by sitting meditation.) I’m also going to present some material, including anger release meditations that are even postgraduate level and if you are reading this as a beginner, you almost certainly need preparation for.
I’d like this scale to be reassuring and help you to find what works for you. I am not proposing you suddenly drop your 20 minutes a day in favour of postgraduate methods. I don’t want anyone to feel criticised, or bewildered, or feel they “should” be doing different than they are, or try things they don’t feel ready for. Wherever anyone is in their meditation practice is 101% OK.
I’m not trying to sell meditation. I know that for me, sitting meditation on its own has never gone nearly as deep as active-plus-silent methods of body-oriented meditation. I am very enthusiastic about these methods, and I’ve seen the lives of very many people profoundly transformed. What works for me, I found by trial and error. I hope this information may help you find from your own experience what works for you. If that includes not meditating, fine. To the best of my knowledge, what’s here is not presented in quite this way anywhere else on the internet.