Through the years that I have taught meditation classes—both as a Buddhist teacher and as a community education tutor—I have found that people expect meditation to be a solution to their problems. This was another common factor that arose amongst many of those attending my classes: a need for relief from exceptional personal circumstances such as illness or bereavement. People attended the class in the hope of finding help with a particular personal problem. A period of life with an unusual degree of stress or difficulty however, may not be the best time to try to begin meditation practice and in such circumstances it will certainly be better to begin with relaxation techniques. It is in fact preferable to have established a degree of stability in one’s life and relief from immediate pain—mental, emotional or physical—before beginning meditation. Hence I begin this book with relaxation techniques to allow us to arrive at a starting point for meditation.
Chapter 1, page 5, Relaxing into Meditation