Brian Hilliard is a co-founder of Mindfulness Journeys. He teaches the art of meditation, based on a lifetime of in-depth training, and makes the practice of meditation easily accessible and relevant to daily life.
What is meditation?
What is a meditation and yoga retreat like? How does sitting meditation help you in your life? What is the connection of meditation and yoga? Is meditation for everyone? Can meditation help people with big problems? Is meditation useful for people who have everything?
The real meditation practice
When we think of meditation, it’s often surrounded with lots of questions. When you get into a real meditation practice, which is like jumping into a cool lake, what happens is that you get simplified. The questions start to fall away. If it’s the real meditation practice, with a genuine meditation teacher, and genuine meditation teachings, we start to ask better questions. And the answers that come, come with our truest friend, silence.
What makes meditation practice the real thing?
Because meditation is deceptively simple, it is very effective. These days there are lots of gimmicks and gadgets surrounding the meditation and yoga worlds. Sure, listening to plinky plonk music in a candlelit room has its place, and a soundbath with crystal bowls and metal gongs accompanying a restorative yoga can be quite penetrating. But the real meditation practice based on truth, is completely simple and gadgetless. When we are left to simplicity, when we feel our sit bones pressing into the meditation mat, and we are alone in the group with our breath, then we can begin to trust in silence.
In genuine meditation teachings something is very elegantly left unsaid
The elegance of genuine meditation teachings is the beauty of the silence they create. The genuine meditation teacher knows how to leave things unsaid, to not provide all the answers to all the questions. At the same time there is lots to talk about, plenty of categories that express the truth. The true words weave a net of truth and clarity around our buzzing minds. They resonate with our experience in meditation. We find comfort and confirmation there in the truth they express. Then, the words drop away. . .
The real thing is words dropping away
So in meditation practice, first we are with the words that resonate truth, then we are without words and we meet our true friend, silence. The teacher weaves a space with the truth of the words, and trusts the silence and the students to find their own truth. This is the elegance of true meditation. One example of this is the practice of Tea, as taught in the Japanese tradition.
A genuine meditation teacher has a lot of trust in silence
We say, “Silence is golden.” When the world becomes golden in silence, this is when meditators who practice real meditation free themselves. It is like jumping into a cool lake. Refreshed and relaxed we are not so bothered by ourselves anymore. Meditation with true friends, genuine meditation teachings, and a genuine meditation teacher, help us see the clear light of peace. The teacher helps the students to trust in silence because he has trust in silence himself.
An elegant world without gadgets, everything in its place
As in the practice of Tea, or a session of meditation, our surroundings begin to express our silence. We are not so cluttered inside, and the peace we feel as cool and light reflects on the place we are staying in. Our simplicity speaks through simple gestures and words, and the sonorous voice of silence between the words.
Join Brian Hilliard and Shannon van Staden for the next golden retreat, taking place in the elegance of the Morocco countryside, 23-29 September 2017.