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Bernie Schreck

What mountain are you trying to climb in your meditation?

The great 19th century meditation master Patrul Rinpoche meditated in a cave below the snow line of this Himalayan glacier The great 19th century meditation master Patrul Rinpoche meditated in a cave below the snow line of this Himalayan glacier

In my last post I wrote about how we can find a common ground between the many different approaches to meditation. Today I want to share a list of questions that might be useful to ask ourselves to clarify our practice, regardless of what kind of meditation we may be practicing.


Although meditation may mean something different to everyone, I suggested in my last post that we can look at it as a journey and other meditators as fellow travelers on a similar journey. Some people meditate because it helps them deal with the stresses of life. Some are primarily interested in improving their physical health or emotional well-being. Some simply enjoy the relaxation, peace and bliss that quietly sitting brings to them.  Some see meditation as a search for the same awakening that Buddha attained. Rather than judging that one goal is better than another it might be best to celebrate what we have in common: a love for meditation!

Regardless of why we meditate and what kind of meditation we practice, it might be very helpful to be clear about what mountain we are trying to climb in our meditation and how we can actually reach our goal. I came up with a list of questions that personally help me clarify this for a recent question and answer session of our local weekly Puna Mediation Circle in Hawaii. They were meant to be thought provoking and get the discussion started, but the way the meeting went we actually didn’t need these questions. We had a lively discussion and had enough to talk about without them.

I phrased these questions generally in terms of the image of making a journey. If we want to successfully get from one place to another it might be helpful to ask ourselves questions like:

• Do I know where I am at now?

• Am I clear about where I want to go?

• Do I know the way that will lead there?

• Do I have everything I need in terms of supplies, like map, money food, gear, car, fuel, e.t.c.?

• Do I have all the skills that the journey will require?

• Am I checking periodically that  I am going in the right direction and getting closer to my destination?

I leave it up to you to translate these questions to your meditation practice. So have fun rephrasing these questions to whatever mountain you are trying to climb. What is more important than the questions are actually the answers you will come up for yourself. You know that we have a forum on the community section of this web site where you can go to talk about this, right?