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Effort vs. Effortlessness in Meditation Practice

by Michael W. Taft started out trying way too hard in meditation practice, and continued to practice like that for a very long time. Waking up was serious business, the most important thing in life, and I threw myself into practice with almost comedic fervor and dedication. The Indian scriptures I was reading at the time tended to reinforce that …

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Sleep Meditation – Guided

Enjoy this sleep meditation, guided by Michael W. Taft Play this audio when you want to go to sleep. It’s a 34 minute long guided meditation that will help you go to sleep. It is peaceful and soft, so if you go to sleep quickly, the sleep meditation guidance will not wake you back up. Instead, it will help you …

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Do Nothing Meditation

by Michael W. Taft The sages of many spiritual traditions have said that the highest state of spiritual awakening is present in our minds at all times. Total enlightenment has always been there, is there now, and always will be there. In Buddhism this is referred to as the Buddha nature, in Hinduism it is called the Self. It’s funny …

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What Is the Self? An Interview with Thomas Metzinger

by Michael W. Taft Thomas Metzinger is a German philosopher. As of 2011 he holds the position of director of the theoretical philosophy group at the department of philosophy at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz and is an Adjunct Fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies and on the advisory board of the Giordano Bruno Foundation. From 2008 …

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Nondual Meditation: One Practice of Total Awareness

There are many pathways into nondual awareness. Most forms of meditation, if you push them to their farthest limit, will take you into a nondual experience. Which one(s) will work for you is a matter of practice and experience. In this post, I’ll lead you through one practice that I’ve found works well for people who’ve done a fair amount …

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Meditation: The Cosmic Joke

by Michael W. Taft God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference. The lines of the famous Serenity Prayer (written by Reinhold Niebuhr) suggest that there are two types of situations in life: those we can change and those we cannot. If we …

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Just Keep Meditating: Cultivating Acceptance in Meditation Practice

by Michael W. Taft Meditation works best if you do it every day. Establishing and maintaining that kind of steady, daily practice presents a challenge, even for people with a strong motivation to sit. For example, in the past, I’ve traveled to India for meditation intensives. These trips were expensive—both in time and money—and required engineering my entire life around …

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Dimensions of Focus and Concentration

Want to learn how to focus and concentrate? Start here What do you think of when you think of focusing? For most people it means narrowing the attention to a single point. But actually there are several dimensions of focus or concentration that are relevant. We can think of concentration as having at least three important dimensions: Width (or “scope”) …

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The Sensuality of Everyday Experience

How to Use Sensory Clarity to Deepen Your Mindfulness Meditation Practice—and Enliven Your Life by Michael W. Taft Once some friends of mine were trying to get pregnant, and were having a hard time. They went to all the usual doctors, but—even though everything was deemed to be in working order—no baby. Eventually, the doctors said there was only one …

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What to Do Next

by Michael W. Taft I make my living as a meditation teacher. And in the last two months or so—as I’m sure you are perfectly aware—people have been freaking out. The election, the reality tv mogul, the surreal and terrifying descent of our country, has people profoundly worried and upset. As a teacher, they ask me what to do. How …

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Meditation Will Wreck Your Life

by Michael W. Taft During the “Calvin and Hobbes” part of childhood, I had a very clear career goal. My grade school teacher asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up, and the other children raised their hands, saying things like fireman, doctor, and archeologist. I, on the other hand, ardently desired to become a Viking. I …