Many people tell me: “I always wanted to meditate. Do you know anybody or anything that can help me get started? I can’t even stay still for 2 minutes.” As a matter of fact, I do know of someone who can get you started: Jack Kornfield. Kornfield, a teacher, psychologist and long-time meditator trained in Southeast Asia, is very knowledgeable about the spiritual path and a gifted and inspiring storyteller.
A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life is gentle but pragmatic. It tells Kornfield’s own story, what it takes to actually make progress using meditation, and how it all ties in to being more kind to yourself and others
The audio set The Inner Art of Meditation, taken from a 5-week retreat led by Jack Kornfield, is a complete practical introduction to meditation practice. Kornfield gives gradual instruction in insight meditation (Vipassana), tips on setting up your practice and integrating it with your life, and inspiring stories. Highly recommended for those who are serious about starting a meditation practice.
One of my favorite mediations is a Gratitude Meditation mentioned in another book, “The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace“ written by Kornfield. Print this mediation, connect to your heart and read it daily:
“Let yourself sit quietly and at ease. Allow your body to be relaxed and open, your breath natural, your heart easy. Begin the practice of gratitude by feeling how year after year you have cared for your own life. Now let yourself begin to acknowledge all that has supported you in this care:
With gratitude I remember the people, animals, plants, insects, creatures of the sky and sea, air and water, fire and earth, all whose joyful exertion blesses my life every day.
With gratitude I remember the care and labor of a thousand generations of elders and ancestors who came before me.
I offer my gratitude for the safety and well-being I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the blessing of this earth I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the measure of health I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the family and friends I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the community I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the teachings and lessons I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the life I have been given.
Just as we are grateful for our blessings, so we can be grateful for the blessings of others.
Continue to breathe gently. Bring to mind someone you care about, someone it is easy to rejoice for. Picture them and feel the natural joy you have for their well-being, for their happiness and success. With each breath, offer them your grateful, heartfelt wishes:
May you be joyful.
May your happiness increase.
May you not be separated from great happiness.
May your good fortune and the causes for your joy and happiness increase.”