Learn to Meditate

You’ve heard about all the benefits of mindfulness meditation and now you’re wondering how to actually do it. Or maybe you’ve done meditation before but you’re a little rusty and you want to refresh your understanding of the practice.

Anyone can learn to meditate. It does not require belief in any particular spiritual tradition or any particular physical skill. Meditation is a natural state of the human mind—at rest, open, alert.

What Is Meditation?

Meditation is an ancient practice that has been taught for over 2,500 years as a vehicle for realizing the beauty and magic of the ordinary world. The view of meditation is that every human being has the ability to cultivate the mind’s inherent stability, clarity and strength.

The teachings of Shambhala Buddhism emphasize the potential for enlightenment inherent in every situation or state of mind. Through discipline, gentleness and a sense of humor, the practitioner is invited to let go of conflicting emotions and wake up on the spot. In this way, we can develop mindfulness and awareness, as well as the compassion and insight needed to care for ourselves, others and the world.

Peaceful Abiding

The main meditation taught at the Ottawa Shambhala Meditation Centre is a mindfulness meditation called shamatha (Sanskrit for “peaceful abiding”). It is practised as sitting meditation, walking meditation and shamatha yoga.

The technique uses the breath as the object of our attention to come back to the present moment and away from distractions. In this way, we train to reconnect with the natural state of the human mind—at rest, open, alert—and relate directly to the flow of life, appreciating each moment.