Different Methods to Observe? – Lion’s Roar


As part of our #MeditationHacks series, Konda Mason, a teacher in the Vipassana tradition, answers the question, “Is it okay if I can find ways to be meditative other than sitting on a pillow and following my breath? “

Photo by Artem Beliaikin.

I don’t like formal meditation that much, but I love going for thoughtful walks, listening to beautiful music, reading Buddhist books, and other things that feel spiritual to me. Is it okay if I find ways to be meditative other than sit on a pillow and follow my breath?

Favorite mason: What a great question and not an unusual experience. Our world is full of wonder and beauty that inspire awe in many ways. Forest walks, music and art, sitting on the beach … this human experience is truly a gift full of opportunities to feel a sense of stillness and peace in our lives.

What happens in Vipassana meditation is often the opposite of peacefulness. The mind can become so preoccupied in the so-called “silence” that we feel like we are doing everything wrong and would rather read about the Dharma than actually meditate!

Over time, when you put your consciousness on the breath first, followed by your body, feelings, and thoughts, insight into the present moment begins to appear in small increments with no preference or judgment.

However, if you hold on to it, that busy mind can become the doorway to gain insight into what the word Vipassana actually means. Over time, when you put your consciousness on the breath first, followed by your body, feelings, and thoughts, insight into the present moment begins to appear in small increments with no preference or judgment.

These moments of insight are priceless! They can become an extremely useful tool in your everyday life as you cope with the internal and external challenges of being human.

So I recommend doing both: Enjoy your meditative experiences from the pillow AND stay curious to explore the potential for transformative insights that can arise from regular meditation practice. Good luck!


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Read more from our #MeditationHacks series …

Vipassana teacher Konda Mason answers the question: “Is it okay if I can find other ways to be meditative than sit on a pillow and follow my breath?”

Author and musician Miguel Chen comforts a practitioner who does not seem to be getting any closer to enlightenment.

Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams, founder of the Center for Transformative Change, offers advice on what to do when too many decisions are made.

Author and psychoanalyst Pilar Jennings advises a practitioner who continues to feel unworthy and unloved.

Anita Feng, a teacher at the Blue Heron Zen Community in Seattle, helps a practitioner find the path between sleepiness and daydreaming.

Buddhist teacher Mushim Patricia Ikeda suggests alternatives when meditation becomes too painful.

Lila Kate Wheeler, author and trainer at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center, answers what to do if you don’t enjoy meditating.

A Mahayana Buddhist who is encouraged to practice for the benefit of all living beings feels that he is only practicing for his own benefit. The Venerable Thubten Chodron answers.

Josh Bartok, a Zen teacher, suggests what to do when meditating leads to an unstable mind.

A reader asks Sylvia Boorstein: “What is the use of practicing if it doesn’t make me a better person?”

A new meditator’s spouse disapproves of his newfound practice. Susan Piver, founder of The Open Heart Project, answers.

Author and lay Zen teacher Susan Moon is asked, “Should I stop meditating when the emotions overwhelm me?”

An isolated practitioner asks Dharma teacher Mitchell Ratner where to look for fellowship.


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