We practice two basic forms of meditation – mindfulness of breathing and metta bhavana.
I recommend you search the app store on your smart phone for “insight timer”, then you can set it to ring x times at y minutes apart to mark the stages of the meditation when you practise at home. You can choose between several very beautiful bell sounds.
This is a really excellent book. Lots of very practical information, and highly recommended. But it is hard to learn meditation from a book. I recommend you use it in conjunction with some of the other resources listed here, not instead of.
And don’t just sit at home and meditate alone. Come along and meditate with us. People usually find that their meditations are deeper when they meditate with others, not to mention all the other benefits of spiritual fellowship with friends.
Especially when starting out, it can be very useful to play an audio that teaches and leads you through the meditation.
http://www.wildmind.org/mindfulness/introduction This is an excellent resource. There are several pages on each of the stages answering a lot of common questions, and breaking it all down step by step.
http://www.wildmind.org/mindfulness/four has a streaming 26 minute audio at the bottom of the page that you can listen to or download as an mp3 (right click and save if on a PC)
Also the following are audios of lead meditations
http://www.wildmind.org/metta/introduction is a really excellent resource. He breaks down this meditation step by step and gives a lot of helpful information. There is a a section on each of the stages,
http://www.wildmind.org/metta/metta-five has a streaming audio near the bottom of the page that you can also download as an mp3 .
is by Ratnaguna at the Manchester Buddhist Centre
Also the following sites have some mp3s, online courses, and a book. They are run as a business, and they charge money which allow them to create more resources. They are very good quality, and they are run by members of the Triratna Buddhist Order
http://www.wildmind.org – he has some great stuff on here. But he has lots of different meditations. I recommend you stick to the mindfulness of breathing and metta bhavana at first, until you are fully immersed in these, before doing a lot of other ones, otherwise you might end up a bit overwhelmed by all the different techniques.
http://www.breathworks-mindfulness.org.uk/downloads also has some mp3 downloads
Wildmind do many online courses, often a month long for a donation of between $40 and $100 depending on your income.
Breathworks do a lot of mindfulness courses. They also specialise in the areas of relief of stress, anxiety, pain etc
These are a great way to learn both practices
The London Buddhist Centre hold beginners mediation days once a month at Bethnal Green. https://www.lbc.org.uk/events/meditation/meditation-days.html lists their meditation days. Make sure it is at the right level for you. Some are for beginners, and some are for people who already know the basic practice.
You can also do a meditation course https://www.lbc.org.uk/events/meditation/meditation-courses.html
Failing that, most of these places also hold drop in beginners classes where you can learn meditation at lunchtime and/or evenings
The very best way to learn meditation is to go on a beginners retreat. This can be for a weekend, or one or two weeks.
I highly recommend that you jump in and do this. They are really great fun, and you can make some amazing friends there. They are a mixture of trying out some meditations with a lot of instruction, having group discussions, drinking tea and biscuits and chatting, and sometimes walks in the country.
A retreat gives the very best conditions to meditate, and after you have been there a day or two, the gaps between your thoughts will increase, allowing you to naturally access deeper states of meditation which can be a very beautiful experience.
Then when you come back home, it will be easier to get back into those states, as you have already experienced them.
We are part of the Triratna Buddhist Community, so we recommend that you go on a Triratna retreat, as they will teach the same meditations that we practice at Broxbourne Buddhist Group.
http://goingonretreat.com gives a consolidated list of all Triratna retreats in the UK.
https://www.lbc.org.uk/homepage-links/retreats/introductory-retreats.html lists all the introductory weekend retreats held in Suffolk by the London Buddhist Centre. About an hour and a half drive from Broxbourne. They hold one a month. Plus they hold beginners week or two week retreats at Easter, Summer and Christmas.
Also http://www.cambridgebuddhistcentre.com/retreats/about.php hold retreats open to beginners.
I still remember the first retreat I went on 36 years ago. It was an amazing experience, and opened up a whole new world to me. I quickly got hooked, and spent most of my annual leave going on retreats, as I found it a lot more satisfying and a lot more fun than conventional holidays.
Once you have learned the basics of the metta bhavana, and want to take things deeper, there are some excellent videos on youtube from a series of talks called “Who hates the metta bhavana?”.
delivered by Jnanavaca (below)
Also available as downloadable audio here .
https://kindnessbehaviourtraining.com/downloads/ has many helpful short downloadable and streamable mp3s of meditations relating to the excellent book
Click here for their meditation toolkit playlist. They are in a funny order, with “Thursday” coming before “Wednesday” etc, with several series of lectures all mixed up together. But these are really excellent videos to help you really deepen your practice. At the time of writing, there are 28 videos in this playlist.
is a good place to start, then watch Tuesday, Wednesday etc
But you should learn the basic technique first before you watch these. Try them listening to a lead audio a couple of times, and then these videos will make more sense.
The other playlists on this channel are also excellent.
So you have no excuse now! After you have meditated two or three times with instruction, and know what to do in each stage, you are ready to jump in and come along and meditate with us and join our spiritual community of friends 🙂