Over the years, as I’ve learned more about meditation, I’ve also noticed a growing number of information gaps. By gaps, I mean gaps in our understanding that we just haven’t filled in yet. The most obvious gap concerns the different opinions of what “meditation” is.
I wondered if I could better define meditation if I had a more information from others. Perhaps there was a definable consensus that I was missing? So I posed the question “What is Meditation?” across several G+ and Facebook communities.
The replies to my query described meditation as being everything from praying, to considering what clothing to wear, and even breathing. Among the most common were hypnotic suggestions, mindfulness, concentration, egolessness, and letting-go. Some of the replies were what you might call “really out there”, and a few of them must have been jokes or came from some folks you’d want to avoid on a full moon.
The evidence strongly suggests the word “Meditation” has become so generic that it’s usage doesn’t even convey an agreed upon central theme. Some schools of meditation get around this problem without too much difficulty by specifying a type, such as Insight Meditation, Guided Meditation, etc., but even among these there are so many variations and differing opinions that it can be difficult to get a handle on things.
I had always considered “teaching meditation” to be straight-forward and easy to understand. As it turns out, “meditation” is a poor choice if you want someone to understand you.
Now days I’m using the word “meditation” less and less, for the sake of clarity. So you’ll hear me use terms like “Awareness of walking” in place of “walking meditation” because it more clearly states what we’re actually doing.
When I meet people, and they ask what I do, I no longer tell them I teach meditation. Instead I reply, “I teach Applied Awareness™.” More often than not, I have an opening to talk more about Applied Awareness when they ask, “What’s that?”, instead of some usual polite head nod or gesture indicating they might have a general idea of what teaching meditation is…where that idea may be anything from sitting around contemplating the meaning of life, to standing on one foot while hanging onto a coat-hanger antenna waiting for a download from GOD.
If you’re also wondering what Applied Awareness is, it’s a school of modern awareness based meditation built upon the knowledge of how traditional awareness based meditation works. Through ongoing research and development, we’re constantly discovering and refining practice techniques to heighten overall effectiveness, while enhancing the quality of day to day life.