How to Prepare for Meditation

Yesterday I heard that the Dalai Lama is coming to Atlanta, Georgia in October. I’ve always wanted to meet him, listen to his teachings, and take part in something so excitingly spiritual. This is probably my only chance. I can afford the ticket (if I don’t spend any other money) and so I’m going.

One of my friends asked how serious I am about Buddhism and invited me to come meditate with her at Drepung Loseling Monastery. I told her I used to meditate but was out of the habit.

When I was a teenager, I found a little book on yoga and learned to do the morning “Salute to the Sun.” I remember literally rolling out of bed and into Mountain Pose. It felt really good to get all the blood flowing and stretch first thing.

Over the years, I’ve been in and out of yoga practice, in and out of meditation practice. Although I always feel better when I have a regular spiritual practice its one of the first things to fall by the wayside when I get busy or suffer a depressive bout. Its one of the last things I pick up again. Other people say the same thing and I wonder why that is so.


I decided that now would be a good time to start meditating again, in preparation for DL’s visit. Every night I fall asleep listening to Pema Chödrön’s “How to Meditate.” It’s a 5 CD set and I’ve never gotten beyond the first disc. Come to think of it, I never actually stayed awake all the way through the first disc.

I knew that I really need to work with a group, being the basically lazy person I am.

First I checked the internet and the Flagpole for some meditation centers in Athens, which is only about 30 minutes away and has manageable traffic. Main criteria: fit my budget of $0. No luck … I know there must be something out there but they don’t have a budget for advertising it seems.

 Breezing around the internet I finally found the site for the Shambala Meditation Center in Atlanta, which has an open meditation and beginner’s session scheduled on Tuesday evenings at the god-awfully inconvenient (for me) time of 7 pm. Free.

 So the unsinkable Dakota and I will brave the Atlanta rush hour traffic tomorrow and try to arrive with a peaceful mind for my first meditation session in years.

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