Meditation for Beginners by Jack Kornfield


Meditation is often perceived as an unattainable mode of relaxation.  We commonly see it as reserved for yogis and those with little conflict.  Jack Kornfield’s book and accompanying CD, Meditation for Beginners dispels those ideas, and introduces us to meditation, in a simple and easy to comprehend format.  While the book offers some great explanations and insight, the accompanying CD is wonderful.  Kornfield walks us through a few very specific meditations.  His calm voice and soothing words really facilitate the meditative experience.
I suggest you take some time and allow Kornfield to walk you through his meditations, but in the meantime I will leave you with a few key quotes and ideas from the text:
“When we take time to quiet ourselves, we can all sense that our lives could be lived with greater compassion and greater wakefulness.  To meditate is to support this inner potential and allow it to come forth into our lives.” (p.2)
During almost every support group session, we address the emotions around seeing someone that is pregnant.  Our patients will often experience anger, resentment, sadness, and frustration.  However, if we take a lesson from Kornfield, and you were to immediately divert your mind to a meditative state instead of anger, you may find that these experiences flow much more smoothly.
Although you are enduring a challenging moment, your natural state is not one of anger.  It is calm, patient, compassionate, and loving.  When you feel these new and challenging emotions arise, try to remind yourself that anger is not your default.  You are patient, you are compassionate, and you are loving.
‘Mindfulness meditation does not focus on holding a specific state of mind because in the end you cannot get any state of mind to stay.  Meditation trains us to be present in each moment with awareness, with a greater sense of openness of heart, with clearer seeing.  It can help us learn how to remain more open, and it can help us learn how to love with our whole hearts – and to be unafraid to express that love.”  (p. 14)
There are countless benefits to be had from meditation.  A few of the main elements of meditation Kornfield highlights are:

  1. Place yourself in a comfortable position, so that the body does not distract you.
  2. Allow for a quiet, and consistent breath.
  3. Acknowledge any thoughts, emotions, or sensations by name.  For example if you are feeling sad, repeat to yourself ‘sad, sad, sad…”. The emotion becomes part of the meditation, instead of an opposition.
  4. Allow meditation to be a positive experience – don’t force it!

Be sure to try Jack Kornfield’s CD for yourself, you may find it is just the tool you have been looking for.  Also, we have meditation classes and workshop at each of our CNY Healing Arts Centers, you can find more information on our website.