Where to Go From Here
What we have outlined above is two brief sets of instructions to get you started. If you have tried these exercises and want to take your practice further, here we offer a few suggestions for where you might look next.
There are several modalities you might consider if you want to expand your meditation practice. These modalities are not mutually exclusive. Each has attributes that may make it more or less suited to your preferences. We outline these below.
There are many meditation apps. Here are a few we suggest. Most have a free version that enables you to work on the basics, and a paid-subscription version that allows access for further exploration.
Insight Timer. Among popular meditation apps, this is an all-around good option to start with. It is both a customizable meditation timer and a free library of guided meditation sessions. Its guided meditations are grouped by topics that
include “sleep,” “love,” “insight,” and “concentration.” It also features many lectures on these topics.
Calm and Headspace. These apps are highly-reviewed, but cost money to access the vast majority of content. They feature guided meditation courses on different themes, like compassion or body relaxation, and focus on the health
benefits of a meditation practice.
Waking Up. This is a meditation course created and led by Sam Harris, a neuroscientist, philosopher, and author.
Apps can be good for those with time constraints or those who would prefer exploring their practice alone. One word of caution about meditation apps: Some apps conflate meditation-like practices (e.g. body scans) with meditation, or even feature content
that is non-empirical or pseudo-scientific.
Mindfulness in Plain English is a book by Sri Lankan Buddhist monk and academic Henepola Gunaratana published in 1992. It is considered a foundational text in the American Mindfulness Meditation movement and is accessible to meditators at
all levels of experience. It begins with the very basics and progresses from there. The author writes simply, but with psychological depth and humor.
Buddhism is True is written by Robert Wright, an evolutionary psychologist. He discusses the evolutionary origins of our emotional experiences, along with a discussion of how meditation might be particularly well-suited to address the difficulties
presented by the evolved nature of our minds and their mismatch to our current circumstances.
There are several good meditation resources here at UVM. The UVM Mindfulness program at Living Well offers free drop-in meditation classes and is a great place to start. They assume no prior experience with meditation and typically involve a brief
introduction before the session and a short discussion following the session to share and reflect. Living Well also offers multiple-session classes. In our experience, instructors are friendly and welcoming, and can be great resources for both
practical meditation advice and guidance toward other resources for advancing your practice. Classes afford the opportunity to connect with others in the UVM meditation community.
UVM Mindfulness offers full- and half-day meditation retreats. These may be ideal if you have already attended several drop-in meditation sessions offered by UVM Mindfulness. Commercial meditation retreats away from UVM are generally better-suited
to meditators with more experience. They may last from several days to several weeks or months, and they are usually not cheap. They are described as intense - many require that participants not speak, and you will be meditating many hours per
day. However, if what you are after is an intense, immersive, and challenging experience, then we encourage you to consider a retreat