In INSIGHTS by Frans Stiene7 Comments

Many people get confused about what meditation is, so let’s take a closer look about the concept of meditation. The first misconception is that when you meditate you should not have any thoughts in your mind. But this of course is impossible, because if you have no thoughts you become like a zombie. You can ask yourself, “How do I get up from my sitting practice if I have no thought to get up?” You will always have thoughts in your mind, but through practicing meditation techniques you can learn how not to cling to them. The key word here is cling; it is so easy to get caught up in thought patterns. We follow our thoughts when we cling to the past, to the future, and even to the present moment. When we follow our thoughts, getting tangled up like cling wrap, we suffer from anger, fears, worries and all sorts of attachments.

When we feel thoughts coming up and we don’t cling to them, then we are free; the thoughts will dissolve back to the place they came from, leaving no trace of anger, fear, worry or other attachments. Zen Master Dogen described this with the metaphor of a bird flying in the sky that leaves no trace; similarly, our thoughts should leave no trace at all. So next time when you meditate and you experience thoughts coming up, don’t follow them, don’t cling to them; leave them alone and all by themselves they will dissipate. Now this of course is not that easy and therefore we work with meditation practices and techniques to support this. As you can see I call them meditation practices and techniques because this is where another misconception comes in, and that is that there is only one way to meditate: sitting down on a meditation pillow, as would a monk or a nun.

Meditation is in fact not a physical position, but rather a state of mind, free from dualistic thinking. It is a direct experience in the true nature of our ultimate reality. Thus meditation is life, and life is meditation. But of course to have this direct experience of being free from our dualistic thinking is once again not that easy, therefore we use more meditation practices and techniques. These meditation practices and techniques have many different forms. They can be performed when sitting, moving, and sitting and moving. At different times during your life you might need to work with different forms depending on how your practice is developing. If we only use a sitting meditation practice or technique we might find it very difficult to maintain the state of being free of dualistic thinking while we are walking. Therefore we need to use both so that we learn how to engage in the world while our mind rests in a non-dualistic state.

This means that with lots of practice and perseverance one can learn to live life in a state of mind of meditation, free from clinging, free form attachments, and free from dualistic thinking. Thus no matter if we walk, talk, brush our teeth, shit, laugh, sit or sleep, our mind is free, and this is the deepest form of meditation of all.

Author of The Inner Heart of Reiki – Rediscovering Your True Self, co-author of The Reiki Sourcebook, Your Reiki Treatment, and The Japanese Art of Reiki.

About the Author
Frans Stiene

Frans Stiene


I love travel, teaching and writing, and have been teaching meditation internationally for over seventeen years. I am passionate about studying Japanese esoteric Buddhist teachings like Shingon, Tendai, and Shugendo, and then teaching them from a less strict viewpoint so that we all can benefit from these wonderful teachings. My main focus is helping people to remember their own true identity, because it is only through remembering this that we can start to create a world full of compassion and wisdom. My website. Other LEVEKUNST articles by the same author.

Photos by Dean Moriarty. England

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  1. Frans Stiene

    Hi Raman,
    Yes it is hard to describe the state on non-duality with our dual language 😉
    Have a great week!

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    Who is there to be or not to be ? “To be” implies as if there exists someone who needs to be…is not it ? Being-ness is already the case as there is no other way to be. “Not to be” is not an option at all as there is none who is going to exercise that option…is not it ? Perhaps better to say “Everything is as it should be in the moment”….As It Is…..perhaps the best is to not use the words at all to describe what IS. 😀

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      Thank you for tolerating this so called me 😀

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    Perhaps that realisation (everything is just happening on its own) happens simultaneously along with the experiential realisation that even “effort making” too is happening on its own as there is none behind who can be said to be making effort.

    This is very simple as well as difficult at the same time…perhaps it all depends upon “awakening of Viveka (intelligence) vanishing of resistance (feeling/sense of doership popularly called Ego) to the flow of life” or better to say “being in perfect alignment with flow of life’s intelligence” or in popular words being established in “state of surrender or letting go”.

    Thank you.

  4. Frans Stiene

    Hi Rama, Thanks for your feedback. As you can read in the blog I call them “meditation techniques”. So for me there is a difference, meditation is a state of mind and we can realize this through practicing meditation techniques.
    Indeed there is in in essence no one who does, but for most of us that is very hard to realize therefore we use meditation techniques so that hopefully one day we can realize all of this.

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    Stiene , from practicing point of view it’s alright but do you see the contradiction in your statements…..on the one hand you say one has “to practice meditation” and on another hand you say meditation is a “state of mind”. The fact is that the whole existence is in the state of meditation….the original word is this state is Dhyana in Sanskrit. Dhyana = Dhya(goal) + na(no) = means NO GOAL STATE. Right from atom to stellar objects are in this state of No Goal…..relentlessly all are engaged in their duties assigned by the nature….and our body is made up of atoms only….means our bodies too are in that state because for anything whatsoever there is no other way to be in the existence but to be in this state called Dhyana (loosely translated as meditative state in English). Hence the question arises who is not in this state ? The Advaita (Nonduality) philosophy says – there is no entity/self….the nature of everything is void/emptiness/nothingness.
    If there is none…who is going to meditate and if at all there is one why should one meditate at all because everything (including who wants to make effort) in existence is already in the state of meditation ?
    In reality it simply requires a clarity of this existential fact (state of meditation in which everything is already). All the techniques have been conceived to make one reach to that state when he/she can realise that no effort is needed at all to reach/know the state in which everything in the existence already is…..or in other words one has to reach to a point of when he/she realises that everything is just happening on its own including his/her making efforts (meditating) as there doesn’t exist any who is making effort. Then and only then one can understand the Buddha’s statement – Doing is there but there is no doer.

    Anyway you have tried well. Congrats!

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