What is Meditation?

Lakeland Meditation Group offers numerous meditation techniques, that are spiritual and psychological in nature. Our preferred style of meditation is called insight meditation, or mindfulness meditation. Insight meditation is not affiliated with any religion, yet can support a practitioner’s spiritual path. Insight meditation is spiritual and psychological in nature. Practitioners typically commit to a set of ethics that can be briefly summarized as do no harm to self or others. The Buddha, namesake Siddhartha Gautama, was considered the first great psychologist. The Buddha is considered the developer of insight meditation.

Mindfulness of breathing meditation is typically the first style of meditation that a practitioner learns and develops. The Buddha was practicing mindfulness of breathing on the night of his enlightenment, and consistently exhorted his followers to practice this technique. The meditation is simple to understand and challenging to develop. The following excerpt from the Anapanasati Sutta (Scripture:) Mindfulness of Breathing, the Buddha states

“There is the case where a monk, having gone to the wilderness, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building, sits down folding his legs crosswise, holding his body erect, and setting mindfulness to the fore. Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out. Breathing in long, he discerns, ‘I am breathing in long’; or breathing out long, he discerns, ‘I am breathing out long.’ Or breathing in short, he discerns, ‘I am breathing in short’; or breathing out short, he discerns, ‘I am breathing out short.’

translated

from the Pali (language at the time of the Buddha) by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, found on the website “Access to Insight.”

These instructions are simple and become more developed in this sutta. For more explicit instructions see notes Introduction to Mindfulness of Breathing and audio:

Practitioners come to meditation for a variety of reasons: anxiety, depression, relationship issues, spiritual inquiry, the list of challenges is long. Meditation can assist with all of these issues and more. Meditation is not a cure all. Most practitioners find that the intention to meditate develops into a commitment to bring harmony and loving kindness to all creatures and the earth.

Meditation instructions are incredibly subtle and profound. To properly understand and practice, a practitioner is encouraged to take a class or retreat from a qualified teacher. Qualified teachers typically have a consistent strong daily meditation practice. They are committed to following a code of morally which supports practice. Qualified teachers have meditated long retreats, anywhere from one week to 3 months.