Am I Doing This Right: Audio Meditations

Mindfulness expert Steve Hickman answers your burning questions about the finer points of meditation.

I really like listening to audio meditations. Is guided meditation as good as quietly meditating?

The key word here is “listening.” If you’ve arrayed yourself on your meditation cushion or favorite chair, flipped the switch on your sound system, and settled in to listen to Jon Kabat-Zinn guide you through an awareness of breath medita- tion because you just love his voice, then you may have a bit of a problem because you really aren’t meditating. You’re listening to a recording while sitting on a cushion. Big difference.

But you may find that having a gentle, invitational voice nudge you back on track when your attention drifts facil- itates your practice. Maybe when you sit on your own without the recording, your attention seems to drift, wander, meander, and dart about aimlessly. Then perhaps the delicate scaffolding of a recording will help you develop the mental discipline you need to more frequently tap into the experience of being present.

But could the use of a recording actually be a mindful choice you make as you take stock of the state of your mind for any par- ticular meditation session? If you actually practiced meditation a time or two without guidance,…

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