As you are reading this book, people all over the world are using meditation techniques to prepare to perform at their best. Athletes, surgeons, dancers, actors, martial artists, and business executives are meditating so that they will be able to perform with excellence under pressure.
Singers are meditating to tune their voices and bodies so they can sing more passionately and without stress. Mothers-to-be are meditating in preparation for giving birth. Trackers are meditating to be at one with nature. Taoist, Buddhist, Hindu, and Christian monks are doing long meditations as part of their life of devotion. And regular people with jobs and families are meditating for a few minutes in the morning and evening as a way of caring for themselves, releasing stress and fatigue, and remembering the Big Picture of their lives. In addition, people in therapy are meditating as part of their healing process. Members of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and other 12-step programs are doing the 11th step, which is prayer and meditation.
There are formal, intentional situations where meditation techniques are practiced, and there are also many informal situations in which people slip into meditation spontaneously. Lovers sitting and holding hands, just being together, can enter a meditative state. People gazing at sunrises and sunsets can drift into a peaceful reverie. Wildlife photographers, sitting still for hours waiting for animals to appear, can meditate spontaneously. People waking up in the middle of the night, worried about their kids, friends, spouses or themselves, can let go, slip into a meditative state, find peace, and eventually fall asleep. In churches, temples, and homes, people slip into meditation while saying their prayers.
Right now, there are people sitting by rivers and oceans, just gazing at the flow and ripples, and entering meditation without really noticing. Somewhere on the planet, someone is sitting and looking at a fire. The flames have burned away her troubles, and she feels with every cell that life is good, the heart is warm, and love can shine forth from her heart again, in spite of everything.
When people thrive in meditation, it’s because they have learned to customize the techniques to fit their lives. When people quit, usually it’s because they haven’t found a way that they love. In this book, we are encouraging you to approach meditation through your own everyday moments, and experience them with more gusto and awareness. Linger for an extra sixty seconds or even several minutes, as you make the transition from sleeping to waking, home to commuting, work to lunch break, or as you walk in the door from work. In this way, you will learn to meditate in a style that is natural for you.