Meditation Is Ridiculously, Amazingly Simple
By Lorin Roche
If we just look at what’s really going on with any meditation technique, it’s so simple as to be unbelievable.
- Enjoy the flow of your breathing.
- Notice the flow of thoughts, emotions, and sensations through your body, heart, and mind.
- Enjoy the beauty of an internal sound—a mantra—that to you feels like the song of life.
- Notice the rhythms of activation and release, tension and relaxation, in your body.
That’s all you need to know about meditation.
If you approach your practice as a path of love, the rhythms of life will teach you moment by moment how to proceed. Each little discovery about what breathing feels like will give you more access to your inner life and the secret power of recovery built into your body.
The main thing with meditation is to approach it in your own natural way, so that the technique does not feel like a technique at all, but rather something you enjoy doing that’s also a bit adventurous. For example, if you love cats, you could start out your meditation by wondering, “What would it feel like if I could purr? What would my cat nap feel like?” If you love music, put on something you love without reservation and give yourself over to it. Be there for however long you want: five minutes, ten minutes, just enjoying, maybe moving your body, maybe not. Then for a couple of minutes afterwards, savor the after-effects.
If food is your thing, make a treat and have your whole meditation be about enjoying the hell out of it. The challenge comes in making the deliciousness last, and that is a skill set we can learn through meditation. Loving each moment as the food melts in your mouth, then savoring the aftertaste, then breathing in the aroma of the treat before taking another bite.
Taking the example of food a little further . . .
Consider the many senses involved in enjoying what you eat and drink. Say you have a beverage you love—tea and cream, coffee with chocolate—or a dessert, or some other morsel, like a piece of fruit. First there is hunger, and perhaps thirst: these are both senses, as important as vision and hearing. With hunger, we have sensors in the body that detect our blood sugar and tell us when we need fuel. With thirst, we have hydration sensors in the body. These sensors talk to us through desire. Then we may see a mental image of a food we love. And behold, when we have that cup of something or piece of fruit, we get to see its color, shape, and visual texture. We get to smell its loveliness.
We have balance and motion sensors throughout the body, and when we reach for the food, we use them; it is a dance. When we bring the food to touch our lips, there is both touch and temperature. As we take a sip or bite, there is a world of tiny sensations and tastes hitting the tongue and roof of the mouth, changing as rapidly as a fast rap song so that you can’t really keep up. Then when we swallow, there are all those wonderful sensations and—ah—sense of satisfaction.
We have “fullness” senses in the stomach also. Just as with breathing, we have sensors in our lungs that say “Okay, full,” at the end of the inhale when the lungs are temporarily full and ready to swing to the opposite.
Everything in meditation is just like this. You start with something you enjoy, and let it teach you. As you explore, more and more of your senses come online, and as this happens meditation becomes like a vacation. You can apply this simple model to the whole world’s panoply of practices.
Buddha once said that he gave us 84,000 different “Dharma Doors” for all the kinds of people there are. All the basic techniques of meditation are simply ways of letting ourselves fall in love with how life is recreating us in every moment.
About the Author
Lorin Roche was lucky enough to begin practicing asana, pranayama, and meditation in 1968. He has been practicing, researching, and teaching meditation for more than fifty years—and he still feels like a beginner every day. Lorin is a pioneer in developing personalized meditation practices, designing the techniques around an individual’s inner nature. He is the founder of two related meditation systems: The Radiance Sutras®, which utilizes the richness of the Sanskrit language and is oriented toward the yoga community, and Instinctive Meditation™, an approach that uses common sense language and is designed to match one’s individual nature. Lorin has a PhD from the University of California, Irvine, where he has done extensive research on meditation and meditative experiences. His books on meditation are treasured by meditation practitioners across the globe and have been widely recognized as “must read.” He leads international meditation retreats and workshops and trains meditation teachers in a two-year meditation teacher training. Lorin lives in Marina del Rey, California, with his yogini shaktini wife, Camille Maurine. He also teaches and consults worldwide with individuals (private coaching), businesses, and universities to create custom meditation programs that suit their needs and cultures.