Nondirective Meditation: The Only Show in Town
Nondirective meditation (NDM) is the only show in town. I will be reorganizing the site in the near future to place NDM as the primary practice and will provide guides and information about it.
Here are the benefits I have experienced so far:
- Releases muscle tension, performs myofascial micro-unwinding (cumulative, getting better each day), and corrects posture over time. Because it is a right-brain mode (of “allowing” rather than “controlling”), NDM puts the right brain back in charge of the body so it can fix these things behind the scenes while you meditate. For me, it is absolutely obvious that this is the case. I guarantee it. Directive meditation (DM) however starts off with a strong left-brain mode which can actually tighten posture via intensity of concentration.
- None, or very little, “Dark Night”. NDM causes you to meditate at your own pace and, because there aren’t any “goals” (at least not in the same way as there are in DM), it does not suck you into believing you are progressing along some map or are stuck in some territory and need to meditate your way out. I believe it is possible that much of the Dark Night may be caused by DM practice itself and the strong (and arguably unnatural) mental states DM causes. E.g. in DM you use powerful concentration to create a blatantly altered state, whereas with NDM, jhanas come and go as they please and feel like extensions of natural consciousness, perhaps what your cat is experiencing as he sits upright with his eyes closed on his favourite cushion.
- Spontaneous natural flowing joy arising during the day “for no reason”. This is also cumulative and permanent. An example is: I was walking around the supermarket today just thinking, This is fucking amazing. This kind of joy is tangibly different from the dopamine-opioid dumps from blatant altered states (e.g. DM jhanas, energy work etc.) which begin to slowly wane as soon as you exit the state. This joy is “transparent”, is everywhere at once, does not go away, and has no “cause” (meaning it cannot be attributed to anything you “did”, which is kind of the deal with DM, e.g. do energy work → enjoy some altered state for some time).
- Conditions letting go of attachment. I had got into the pattern of using highly directive meditation in order to attain altered states. This bred a lot of attachment to those states (and to altered states in general), and to all sorts of other things in my life. With NDM however I can honestly say I have no attachment to altered states, one reason perhaps being that progress is quite clearly progressive and cumulative regardless of whether a blatantly altered state happened or not.
Finally – and perhaps this pertains to my last point more than the others – life has taken on far more of a “dreamlike” quality. The urgency is gone. There is more time. And I have started having bizarre thoughts such as, “The universe is the greatest story ever told”, which would have been unconscionable to me even a few months ago.
Get started with nondirective meditation:
- Conscious Mental Rest (CMR) (thanks to Arpan for the write-up).
- TM-style mantra meditation (thanks again to Arpan) – I consider this far more directive than the above, and I will write a post explaining the directive–nondirective spectrum when I create the materials.
- My own “What Is” meditation. This is what I use almost exclusively now.
- Shinzen Young – “Do Nothing” (YouTube video).
- Awareness Watching Awareness – Q&A with LuminousBliss
- Concentrative Or Nondirective Meditation? Which Does Science Say Works Better? – Notice the increased brain activity on the MRI scans of the nondirective meditators!
I am active on the forum all the time now, so please consider making an account and asking questions there.