Skillfully Sharing Meditation: Coaching Others

Skilfully sharing meditation and its benefits presents us with some challenges. On one hand, we want our family and friends to experience the benefits of meditation. But, we don’t always know how to encourage others. In this very short audio clip, a student directly asks Phakchok Rinpoche how best to go about skilfully sharing meditation. We may all know people who say they just can’t meditate. How do we offer real encouragement?

Skillfully Sharing Meditation Tips: Start Small!

We can begin by suggesting conducive situations. For example, Rinpoche notes that exercise can help calm our minds. When we engage in exercise and tire our physical bodies, our minds settle more easily. But Rinpoche also understands that busy minds are very challenging. In the beginning, when we try to sit, we may feel our minds exploding with thoughts. So, when we talk with others, we need to give skilfully advice. We don’t expect someone who doesn’t walk to start jogging, right? Similarly, we should be very gentle when coaching our friends in meditation.

Therefore, Rinpoche suggests we encourage people to start by meditating for just five minutes.  

Then, once they’ve done that for a week or so, encourage them to add another two minutes. And acknowledge the progress! “Great, you’ve done seven minutes!” That’s important. We all need to encourage ourselves–and it truly is amazing that someone is taking time to work with their mind in this way.

Then, maybe after three weeks, we can suggest ten minutes of meditation. And again, we need to offer praise and encouragement for that ten minutes. It is important to proceed slowly and gradually. Gradual improvement results in a steady practice.

Skillfully Sharing Meditation: Think of Your Mind as a Kitten

Rinpoche often reminds us to treat our mind like a small kitten. We know we need to be very gentle and soft with such a tiny being.  Similarly, we should approach our untamed minds in that way.Skilfully sharing meditation

In this talk on What does meditation practice mean?, Rinpoche explains why we gently approach our minds like a kitten. Don’t be too harsh or too strict in the beginning.

Additional Resources

As beginners, we benefit from additional teachings, meditation instruction, and practice exercises. In the short at-home program, Training the Mind: An Introduction, Phakchok Rinpoche gives more detailed meditation guidelines. Also, we present meditation exercises and reflections for you and your friends to discuss and apply in your daily life.

Reflection question:

How might you encourage loved ones, family members or friends to give meditation a try?

If you’ve talked about meditation with beginners before, what has been particularly helpful?