Tall Mountain Mindfulness and Meditation

Meditation Techniques, Definitions, the Benefits of Meditation, and More

​Commonly, meditation is thought of as something you do. That’s not quite right – it’s more about how you do an activity rather than what you’re doing.

A straightforward definition of meditation is ‘intentional, non-judgemental, accepting awareness.’  An example: focusing on eating a sandwich (intention) while not getting carried away by how it’s not like the last one you had (non-judgement), shrugging at the lack of hot sauce (acceptance), and being aware of what your lunch tastes like (awareness). That’s the goal.

A straightforward definition of mindfulness is ‘intentional, non-judgemental, accepting awareness in the present moment.’ The sandwich example above is mindfulness because we;re bringing awareness to what’s happening right now. We’re not daydreaming about the amazing sandwich we had five years ago with that really great friend who lives far away now and…

More information can be found in my free Introduction to Mindfulness and Zen Meditation course.

A good question. Have you or someone you know been affected by any of the following?

  • Stress

  • Burnout

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Self-judgement

  • Lack of focus

  • Feelings of powerlessness

  • Time pressure

  • Physical pain

  • Fatigue

  • Anger

Regular meditators often report significant reduction in the intensity of these common conditions. It’s not uncommon to hear that they have been overcome completely. 

I am a member of a living Zen tradition, which is itself part of a 2500 year old process that guides human beings in transforming their suffering permanently. My initial training was done under the guidance of a Zen master while on a 100hr retreat. This was followed by a rigorous analysis of the quality of my teaching, ensuring that I was maintaining the standard. To remain certified, I follow a Code of Conduct and develop my knowledge of meditation – both independently and with a live teacher. I also report on my professional development every year.

In addition, I maintain my personal meditation practices and train with Zen Master Daizen Roshi as one of his students. I have formally become a Buddhist and follow the 5 Precepts, which are practical guidelines for living peacefully, ethically, and ending suffering. An important part of my personal practice has been a vow to transform the suffering in myself and do my best to guide others in transforming their own. I renew this vow and intention daily.

Our practices stem from Buddhist teachings, which have been helping people live more peaceful lives for over 2500 years. Japanese Rinzai monks have taught meditation for improved wellbeing to everyday people for centuries. This is called ‘Bompu Zen.’ Practicing meditation that has a connection to Buddhism can offer deep benefits as the point of the Buddhist path is to end suffering, not just to relieve it temporarily.

Our workshops and courses also consist of highly practical information that is based in scientific research. The combination of traditional practices with modern medical knowledge create a practical and invaluable way to navigate  all aspects of our modern lives.

I instruct in two specific kinds of meditation: concentration and insight.

Concentration techniques hone our ability to focus and maintain awareness. Insight techniques help us adopt a broader view in order to see things more fully and clearly.

More information can be found in my free Introduction to Mindfulness and Zen Meditation course.

You are welcome to, however, we can get the same benefits from sitting on a chair. Sitting cross-legged is sometimes said to be the ‘right’ way to meditate and while this posture certainly is stable, it helps to remember that many of these traditions come from Asian countries where chairs were not a part of the local culture. As long as your posture is comfortable and stable, there is no need to find a mountaintop.

Traditionally, there are 4 postures of Zen meditation: sitting, standing, walking, and lying down. Choose which is most useful to you. (Note: I have found that lying down leads to me falling asleep most of the time.)

Mindfulness and meditation are generally considered safe but may not be helpful to people with paranoia, schizophrenia, or trauma. In some cases, it may worsen the condition. If you are unsure if mindfulness and meditation is for you, please contact a health professional. 

In our workshops and courses, we offer alternatives to our main practices that minimize distress for the above conditions and resist re-traumatization. 

Absolutely. Our health and wellbeing courses and workshops are a blend of traditional Buddhist practices and modern science and do not concern faith or beliefs. The only requirement is a willingness to engage with the techniques to improve overall health and wellness.

You will never be asked to adopt or change any beliefs while participating in our workshops and courses.

Interestingly, there are many people who combine Zen practice with chosen faiths. For example, James Ishmael Ford was the first Unitarian minister to be named as a Zen master.

Nothing can be guaranteed yet from my own experience, I have experienced the following:

  • Deeper and more restorative sleep
  • Improved focus at work and in daily activities
  • A feeling of deep, unshakable stability inside
  • Identification and transformation of a number of negative mental habits
  • Much deeper and useful self-knowledge
  • Calmer, more stable reactions to physical and emotional pain 
  • The ability to soothe strong feelings, such as anxiety, depression, fear, and anger
  • Disengaging at will from strong stress reactions
  • My asthma flaring up only rarely 
  • Noticably more empathy for others
  • More energy and liveliness 
  • My decisions and choices are noticably more positive
  • A deeper life direction

We look at health benefits and medical research in depth on my Health and Wellbeing Course.

Although I cannot guarantee any results, I share practices that have research-proven benefits. Many people find relief from challenging conditions. The benefits of mindfulness and meditation come with engagement and dedicated practice, much like sports or exercise. The more you practice them, the more you benefit.

Personally, I have found that my anxiety, anger, fear, stress, and self-criticism have become much, much weaker than before I started meditating.

Yes. They can be very effective in providing breathing space and ending stress reactions before the chemical imbalances hurt us.

Mindfulness and meditation programs have been used in the modern healthcare field since the late 1970s. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, founded by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, has been implemented in hospitals around the world. Over 24,000 people have trained in its use to deal more effectively with pain, illness, and stress. Research done by the Harvard Medical School into the benefits of these programs can be found in the Harvard Gazette and in this study.

If you are interested in managing stress through mindfulness and meditation, I invite you to check out my online stressproofing course.

I recommend starting slow. A beneficial meditation practice is one that’s sustainable for you. It might require some experimentation to find what suits you the best right now. 

This blog post has detailed guidance on how to set up and maintain a daily meditation practice that works for you.