An interview with Carlos Montero
Med: What types of meditation do you find most effective? Carlos: The effectiveness of one form, or technique, of meditation practice over another depends on each practitioner. Every person has a different karma and some techniques are better suited for some people than others. The most traditional practice is sitting meditation. However, some people cannot sit well. Maybe they have too much energy, or their thinking is VERY strong.
Then we suggest they try chanting or bowing. Bowing is one of the most powerful techniques because it involves the active engagement of the whole body. It is also very humbling. I like bowing a great deal and recommend it to people all the time. In most of our centers however we focus on sitting and chanting. Ultimately the point of meditation is to return to this moment, before thinking.This can be achieved with any technique or form of meditation as long as one tries. Once a person finds a meditation technique that suits him/her it is important to stick with it and continue practicing 100%. Then it is necessary to bring this formal practice and awareness into everyday life. In that manner it is possible to return to the now at any time, when driving, eating, sleeping, etc. After all, Zen mind is ordinary, moment to moment mind.
Med: Thank you. This is all very good. I would like to return to the look a bit closer at a few of these forms, perhaps with a focus on bowing as meditation. However, first as it is always encouraging to read personal accounts, I would like to hear about how and where you yourself started meditation. Carlos: You are welcome. The links below are from our group's website. It explains each of the forms and it has links to more information on them. I think this will answer any question you may have on them: Sitting as Practice - South Florida Zen Center, Chanting as Practice - South Florida Zen Center, and Bowing as Practice - South Florida Zen Center. Personally, I started meditation by doing zen meditation in 1997 at the Providence Zen Center in Rhode Island. This is the head temple of the Kwan Um School of Zen founded by Korean Zen Master Seung Sahn. I decided to begin meditation because it was recommended to me by my golf coach. I was a competitive golfer and he suggested that I worked on the mental aspect of the game through meditation. This was the entry point but the truth is that Zen helped me with my life much more than with my golf game.
At that time I had many questions about life and had a lot of suffering. I didn't understand myself, didn't know what I wanted or why I wanted it. The simple Zen philosophy of putting it all down including all likes, dislikes, desires, opinions, etc was what I needed to learn in order to regain some balance in my life. It is not enough to learn it of course, practice is necessary to attain and digest this understanding.
So I immersed myself in this practice and have been doing it since. It really helped my life and that is why I continue to practice it. Now, as one of many teachers of meditation, I enjoy how it both helps me and helps those around me. I started the South Florida Zen group to be able to offer this practice to everyone here. Ultimately this practice is for the whole world, not just for one person.
Continue reading >> Part Two