Sometimes you just need to relax, cut yourself off from the electronic bombardments of pop culture, 24 hour news cycles repeating the same facts*, and useless pings reminding you how much of a slave you are to the cycles that keep you occupied during your life, instead of your life occupying you.
You know it’s on your resolution list, every year you tell yourself, “This time it’ll be different.” But it’s not. It doesn’t matter the activity, the goal, what matters is how you keep a carrot on a stick your entire life. Is that carrot moldy yet? So long as you’re not going to do what you told yourself you were going to do, you might as well be content in avoiding it. That’s one way meditation can help, unless meditation is the thing you’ve avoiding, in which case, just call it something else and let the audio begin.
2 short introduction meditations by Sam Harris
Breathe app, for beginners, while they do offer a lot of pay-to-play activities, there are enough sessions included that will keep you busy, and enlightened.
*Facts, they do exist, but some post-modernists might be saying otherwise…Justice? It’s relative.
On the East coast, I recommend the Insight Meditation Society; on the West coast, Spirit Rock Meditation Center.
Those who are new to the practice generally find it useful to hear instructions of this kind spoken aloud, in the form of a guided meditation. UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center has several that beginners should find helpful…
Among Western Buddhists, there are college-educated men and women who apparently believe that Guru Rinpoche was actually born from a lotus. This is not the spiritual breakthrough that civilization has been waiting for these many centuries. For the fact is that a person can embrace the Buddha’s teaching, and even become a genuine Buddhist contemplative (and, one must presume, a buddha) without believing anything on insufficient evidence. The same cannot be said of the teachings for faith-based religion. In many respects, Buddhism is very much like science. One starts with the hypothesis that using attention in the prescribed way (meditation), and engaging in or avoiding certain behaviors (ethics), will bear the promised result (wisdom and psychological well-being). This spirit of empiricism animates Buddhism to a unique degree. For this reason, the methodology of Buddhism, if shorn of its religious encumbrances, could be one of our greatest resources as we struggle to develop our scientific understanding of human subjectivity…If the methodology of Buddhism (ethical precepts and meditation) uncovers genuine truths about the mind and the phenomenal world—truths like emptiness, selflessness, and impermanence—these truths are not in the least “Buddhist.” No doubt, most serious practitioners of meditation realize this, but most Buddhists do not.