I’m often asked for practical advice about beginning, sustaining, improving, or troubleshooting a meditation practice. In my experience, that’s a topic best discussed person-to-person, and that’s a conversation I’m happy to have with interested individuals. That said, these pages collect some of my general thoughts about meditation, and some guidelines and instructions for meditation techniques that I personally have found helpful and which I recommend to others.
In my personal practice, I use techniques of meditation that originate in the Greek world of the ancient Meditteranean—in the Pythagorean, Stoic, and Platonist schools of philosophy—and which have been handed on and developed in Western Europe down the centuries. Descriptions of many of these techniques can be found below.
I emphatically do not believe that there is a single “best way to meditate” which is the same for everyone; I do not even believe that everyone needs to practice any kind of meditation at all. These are simply a collection of tools and practices which I personally have found to be helpful. I’m happy to discuss them—at either a theoretical or a practical level—with others who might be interested in them.
While I have some scholarly acquaintance with meditative techniques that derive from Asian sources (Buddhist and otherwise), those techniques are not part of my personal practice, and so I have very little to say about them at an applied, practical level. If you need hands-on advice about those styles of meditation, I recommend that you consult an experienced teacher from the appropriate tradition.
- What does meditation do? It depends.
- Why I do not practice mindfulness.
- Do we need prayer or ritual as part of meditation?
Guidelines for Meditation Practice
- Discursive Meditation: Deep understanding and focus.
- Evening Recollection: A helpful way to wind up the day.
- Lectio Divina: “Divine reading,” for the religious and non-religious alike.
- Stoic Pre-Meditation: Prepare for the worst, so that you don’t turn into a hardened crimimal. (Because it’s all pre-meditated. Get it? Sorry.)