Our challenge is to remain lucid, aware, and present. This is Gotama’s injunction and one of his main teachings. To understand this reality means, in traditional Buddhist terms, to understand the middle way, emptiness and not-self. It means entering the stream of the river of life to go against the current.
Touching the Earth groups aspire to treat participants as equals, where no one is paid to lead or facilitate, and each participant takes responsibility for cultivating their own path and for supporting others in cultivating theirs. The basic format involves meditation, journaling one’s meditation experience, and then exploring the meditation in triads.
Meditative practice enables us to develop a more present, lucid and conscious connection with what surrounds us, in the precise moment and place where we find ourselves. Meditative practice does not take us beyond that present moment in its totality. If anything, it leads us deeper, to union with it.
Dave Smith is an internationally recognized Buddhist meditation teacher, addiction treatment specialist, and published author. We recently interviewed Dave about his approach to being a meditation teacher and his Secular Dharma Foundation.
Martine Batchelor discusses how concentration and experiential enquiry are the two basic elements of all forms of Buddhist meditation.
Mike Slott argues that the purpose of meditation for secular Buddhists is to cultivate certain virtues and insights which are crucial to promoting human flourishing in this world, not the attainment of nirvana.
At a Sŏn-style retreat in which the question ‘What is this?’ is posed Martine Batchelor explains that all forms of meditation practice are all based on two fundamental elements – anchoring and experiential inquiry.
In his 2015 book After Buddhism Stephen Batchelor argues that the goal of meditation for secular Buddhists is not achieving nirvana but gaining an embodied understanding of our experiences from moment to moment.
According to Winton Higgins, ‘We meditate to experience this world and this life as vividly as possible. Intensely. The way we experience it reflects back at us – it tells us who we are and where we’re at in this moment.’
From a secular Buddhist perspective, Mike Slott contends that meditation should not be about reaching or accessing nirvana, but developing the capacity to become wiser, more compassionate, and mindful.