Natural Meditation

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The definition and practice of natural meditation can seem rather obscure at first. When we meditate naturally, we don’t particularly do anything, such as concentrate our attention, count breaths, repeat mantras, or strive to maintain complicated visualizations.

We may start by gently bring our attention to our natural breath or sounds in the environment, as a way of settling and disengaging from thinking. Once we settle, though, we simply rest, consciously aware of everything just as it is – uncorrected, unmodified, unaltered. Our only objective – if it could be called that – is to relax deeply with the true condition of what is, both aware and aware of being aware.

Of course, in one sense, we’re always aware. If we’re awake, we’re aware. If you’re reading this, you’re aware. Yet, ordinary awareness isn’t quite the same as meditative awareness – which is more open, spacious, and illuminating. Ordinary awareness is generally all wrapped up in thinking, analyzing, and selecting experiences as desirable, undesirable, or neutral. It’s a survival mechanism that tends to keep us very busy grasping, rejecting, and oddly enough, ignoring most of what is happening right here, right now.

Ordinary awareness isn’t particularly in touch with the present moment or the vast accumulation of information right at its finger tips. Condensed inside a narrow stream of thought that often includes a lot of obsessive, negative thinking, it’s both cut off from the world and from itself. For at the base of ordinary awareness is a vast, open sea we might call meditative awareness – awareness both aware of itself and of everything that is happening right now as one vast continuum.

Natural Meditation is simply a process of discovering and then relaxing in the mind’s natural state of open awareness consciously – and then bringing meditative awareness to life. It includes everything and excludes nothing, which is why some traditions speak of the bravery of the warrior. It takes a lot of courage and discipline to meet life as it is.

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Kimberly Holman

Kimberly is a Certified Mindfulness Meditation Teacher with a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Maine and an M.A. in Religious Studies from Naropa University. She has been practicing Mahamudra Meditation since 1996 and studies Dzogchen with her teacher, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.
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