Tayu Meditation

The Tayu Meditation Program

Many people in the West do not understand why one would ever want to meditate. Some people have gotten the idea that it is a good way to reduce stress, and calm the mind. Of course this is true. But meditation can be much more than this. Meditation is the best way to confront our essential unhappiness, loneliness, and confusion in this strange but wonderful experience that is a human lifetime. It permits us to address the fundamental questions of life: "Who am I? What am I doing? Why am I doing it?" Meditation creates a space in oneself in which real understanding can flourish. Only from such understanding can real change come about in one's life. With this understanding one can begin to act both consciously, and with conscience.

Tayu meditation is different from that with which most people in this culture are currently familiar. Most traditional forms of meditation which focus the awareness inwards, were developed to aid those growing up in Eastern cultures. In those cultures, the primary social emphasis for centuries has been upon humility and cooperation. These meditations were designed to balance the spiritual development of such people by strengthening their personal identities, by creating a kind of internal cave in which to engage in the process of learning to confront the Self.

In Western culture, the primary social emphasis has been upon personal identity and achievement. One is taught from childhood to be independent, to compete for one's place in life, to be self-reliant. While these are certainly virtues, they can leave one feeling isolated, cut-off, and very lonely. The traditional forms of solo sitting meditation, when employed alone by a Westerner without proper guidance, may only heighten an already strongly-developed sense of isolation and separateness.

Further, these meditations were generally expected to be performed either in the context of a monastic community, or by oneself in a solitary location. They are not well adapted to the Western model of householder and family living, and the demands of supporting oneself at a job, rather than by begging. Tayu meditation, in contrast, is designed to be effective under the normal conditions of life in Western culture. It does not demand that one adopt a special or restrictive lifestyle, or separate oneself from the world. Indeed, it is based upon the idea that one must learn how to make the world one's teacher.

Tayu meditation has several forms. The first, and most important, is called Self-observation. Self-observation is a form of continuous meditation, or meditation-in-action. It is intended to be used in the midst of one's daily life. That is how one will discover what one is like under the ordinary conditions of existence, not in special surroundings or circumstances. Unfortunately, in the beginning the difficulty is to remember what one is trying to do. Ordinarily one becomes so wrapped up in, or identified with, one's everyday affairs that one has no attention left over to really observe anything.

But with a strong enough intention, and with persistent practice, eventually one will remember to observe oneself in this way at least part of the time during every day. And the more one remembers to do one's Self-observation, the easier and more rewarding it will become. One will begin to develop a picture of one's life upon which one can rely when the time comes to begin making changes. And some things will begin to change simply by one's having gotten a good look at them.

Self-observation is more difficult in the beginning than the common forms of meditation which involve sitting in a quiet room, because one does not have the advantage of being constantly reminded by one's circumstances that one is engaged in meditation. But done properly, it is ultimately more efficient, because one automatically learns how to apply the insights gained to one's ordinary life. There is no artificial separation between one's meditative practice and one's daily activities. It is also possible to engage in extensive meditation in this way without the necessity for extended retreats or stays in a monastery.

There is also a second basic form of Tayu meditation called Co-meditation. In this two-person meditation one enlists the help of another in one's quest for reliable self-knowledge. One learns how to use another being as a mirror in which one can see things about oneself that might otherwise be difficult or impossible to observe. Just as one cannot observe one's own back without help, many of our most important inner qualities are only revealed in contact with others. By observing the effect that essence contact with oneself has on a variety of other people, one can discover much about one's own essence nature.

Co-meditation can also teach one how to bridge the gulf between oneself and others, and to overcome the fear of openness and relationship that can result from one's upbringing in this society. Co-meditation is designed to expand the awareness and focus it on the rest of Creation, in particular the other beings with whom we share this Universe. This eventually enables one safely to establish full and open communication with others, and gives one a greatly enhanced ability to enter freely into relationship on many levels.