EDITION: June - August '08


For who is meditation intended?
In order to practice meditation we don’t have to leave our family, to spend the rest of our life in the Himalayas. We can meditate in our normal, modern life alongside work, family, friends, internet and mobile phone. Meditation even allows us to deal better with all our duties and the resulting tensions that arise from them.

To confront the demands of life in an awake and relaxed manner, we have to direct out attention inwards in order to tune into ourselves. Meditation is not just for Tibetan Lamas, Japanese Zen masters or Catholic monks, but for all those who appreciate not being dragged along in the increasing stress of our hectic world.

How can I best begin by myself?
The easiest and oldest method is to watch your breath. Sit comfortably on a cushion or chair, maybe with your legs crossed, put your back straight and your head slightly tipped forwards and your hands on your lap or knees. Breathe deeply in and out a few times to relax the body. Then bring your whole attention to your breath and the resulting rise and fall of your belly. Don’t change anything about your breathing, just observe it.

If you notice that instead of watching your breath, you’ve slipped to getting lost in a train of thought; just bring your attention back to the breath. Without judgment or criticism! It is perfectly normal that this happens, but being aware of the fact that you got lost in thoughts is already a big step.

Watch thoughts as if they were clouds drifting by. They come and go, no cloud is more beautiful than the next; they just pass by. The attention is always brought back to the breath, gently.

You can change your sitting position if you like, but bring your whole attention into this movement. Once you are sitting in a relaxed manner, the attention comes back to the breath. For beginners it’s important to know that body and mind will protest during this meditation method. We are used to permanent action, stress and simultaneous thinking and doing but we’re not used to doing simply nothing.

It is advisable to begin with 10 minutes for example. This can be built up to half an hour. It’s not about how much time you spend but about finding stillness.

Dassana has been leading meditation courses in Ibiza, Holland and Germany.