Behind the Thoughts Podcast
A podcast to help you in building and sustaining your meditation practice
This is a 40 episode podcast that I ran to help people interested in building and sustaining a meditation practice. The podcast is archived to listen to in your own time.
(Jump straight to the Episodes.)
Do any of these sound familiar?
- Have you ever wondered just what meditation is all about?
- Have you ever wanted to start meditating, but struggle to get it going?
- Have you sat once or twice, and then never returned to your cushion (or chair)?
- Struggled to find a direction for your meditation practice?
- Wondered how you can fit a meditation practice into a busy life?
If so, this podcast might be for you…
This is an archive of a podcast that ran for 40 episodes offering support, - for those who want to start a meditation practice, - for those who are struggling to keep a meditation practice going, - or those who have a practice but are feeling isolated and missing the support of a community.
What to expect
The structure is very simple. My aim is to offer straightforward and gradual instruction, each episode building on the last and where relevant relating it to everyday experiences. For instance, a construction site outside my window during the recording of Episode #3 caused me to explore the subject of the “ideal meditation space” in a world of noise and distractions.
Each episode will start with a discussion about an aspect of meditation. The text introductions to the right of each episode will give you an idea of the subjects covered in that program. Following the short chat, I will then ring a bell and we will sit and meditate together. This can work in a couple of ways:
- From episode #3 onwards I have a couple of minutes of silence between the starting and ending bell. You can choose to sit for that time and then listen to the concluding words, or
- After I have rung the initial bell, press pause on your computer/mp3 player, and start your own meditation timer to sit for 5, 10, 15, 30 minutes, whatever you are comfortable with. When you have finished sitting, press play again to listen to the concluding words following the second bell.
The podcasts for the most part are no longer than 15 minutes.
- Episode 1 (access here) - An introduction to the podcast series and what it will be about.
- Episode 2 (access here) - Starting the exploration of what meditation is…and what it isn’t.
- Episode 3 (access here) - Exploring the right time to meditate and being wary of waiting for the “ideal” conditions.
- Episode 4 (access here) - Introducing the new name for the podcast, “Behind The Thoughts,” and then exploring what your meditation space might look like.
- Episode 5 (access here) - Meditation as a rehearsal for daily life, helping stay present. (And there is the new, clearer Tibetan bowl to start and end the meditation session.)
- Episode 6 (access here) - In this episode, recorded outside, I look at the traditional seven point meditation posture and how you might adapt it for your own physical needs.
- Episode 7 (access here) - In this episode we explore how meditation can be used as a tool to ground us and bring us back to ourselves when life overwhelms us, and different ways to focus on the breath.
- Episode 8 (access here) - In this episode we look at the reason why we meditate and how that can inform our meditation.
- Episode 9 (access here) - Exploring how can we keep our meditation habit going in the midst of a busy life.
- Episode 10 (access here) - This episode explores sitting with the uncomfortableness of thoughts that arise that we wish weren’t there.
- Episode 11 (access here) - Looking deeper at managing those difficult thoughts that can arise in our mind.
- Episode 12 (access here) - Sometimes the meditation instruction can seem so simple but by sticking with it we can achieve our meditation goals.
- Episode 13 (access here) - What is your relationship with silence? When we sit in meditation, we are sitting in silence with ourselves. This episode explores how we can manage our comfort or discomfort with silence.
- Episode 14 (access here) - In this episode we explore how qualities of mind like peace of mind and patience don’t come from changing the world around us, but from the new perspective that meditation can bring to our lives.
- Episode 15 (access here) - Episode #15 see us returning to the original meditation instruction of watching the breath, and refining it. Looking at different ways to aid our focus and awareness.
- Episode 16 (access here) - This episode introduces the quality of curiosity. When we are curious about a subject we become interested and want to know more. This idea can be a big help in our mediation.
- Episode 17 (access here) - In this podcast we explore taking the curiosity that we spoke about last time out into our daily life. Also how meditation allows us to replay events from our lives so that we might gain greater familiarity with what we are challenged with.
- Episode 18 (access here) - If we stick with meditation for long enough we will hit challenges to our practice, both external and internal. There are many places that we can turn for help and support, this episode defines and explores the role of faith in that support.
- Episode 19 (access here) - Waking up to a migraine this morning made me decide to focus this episode on looking at how meditation can help us manage our pain. This episode explores two methods.
- Episode 20 (access here) - When we experience aches, pains, itches during meditation, what do we do? Stop, try and continue, or make the discomfort the object of meditation?
- Episode 21 (access here) - Further explorations of what helps us when our practice feels challenged - The role of community in helping us build our meditation practice, as well as speaking to how steady cultivation of the mind will lead to benefits in the long term.
- Episode 22 (access here) - With reflections from a busy weekend, episode #22 explores how we can still maintain that continuity of practice when quiet time is difficult, and the part that our formal practice plays in laying the foundation for those busy times.
- Episode 23 (access here) - There are times when the busyness of a day can feel as though it is getting the better of us. We chase after results and loose touch with ourselves. While respecting the value of goal, we can remain present, confident that a steadily working at something will bring results.
- Episode 24 (access here) - Watching the mind we see how it is constantly changing, like a flowing river or the clouds blowing across the sky. This episode looks at how that insight can help us deal with the change in our external lives.
- Episode 25 (access here) - As I and many old friends gather at the meditation center where I use to live, and where this podcast is recorded, to be close to my teacher who is unwell, I reflect on what meditation and quiet reflection can bring to our experience of emotion.
- Episode 26 (access here) - Following on from the last episode, I take the exploration of emotion further, discussing how meditation can help us embrace those emotions that overwhelm or maybe even scare us.
- Episode 27 (access here) - With the launch of an accompanying Facebook Group for this podcast, this episode reviews some of the ground that has been covered so far, reviewing the meditation space, posture and instruction.
- Episode 28 (access here) - Each time that we sit to meditate we are making a commitment to ourselves. We are showing up for ourselves regardless of arises in the mind, and we choose to meet what arises with compassion and impartiality - This is not an easy thing to do. Indeed it might be one of the hardest things that we ever do.
- Episode 29 (access here) - The commitment to ourselves that I spoke to in the last episode is a foundation for getting to know our mind and how it works, and through practice strengthening our ability to sit and be with ourselves.
- Episode 30 (access here) - Sleepiness can be an obstacle to our meditation that can manifest as a clear tendency to fall asleep or just a general dullness in our focus & awareness. How we might deal with this is the subject of this podcast.
- Episode 31 (access here) - This episode starts with a recap of the techniques for managing sleepiness when we meditate, and then expands further on the technique of visualization that was introduced in episode #30.
- Episode 32 (access here) - After an unplanned break in the podcast of a little over 2 weeks, in this episode I discuss the importance of retreat. The importance of taking time for yourself, whether that be your regular meditation practice, an afternoon off, a weekend, or longer.
- Episode 33 (access here) - The opposite of a sleepy mind that we discussed a couple of episodes back is an excited mind that just won’t settle down. This episode looks at ways to quieten and tame a busy, buzzy mind.
- Episode 34 (access here) - In this episode we delve deeper into the practice of visualization, exploring how it is more than about “seeing.” The podcast also includes a guided visualization meditation.
- Episode 35 (access here) - Adding another tool to our meditation belt, I introduce Analytical meditation in this podcast. Paired with the focus that we are developing by watching the breath, it further helps us grow our mind.
- Episode 36 (access here) - Lying on a doctor’s examination table, waiting for what seemed like an age for the nurse practitioner, made me (eventually) catch my mind as it busied itself with the day ahead. Meditation helped to focus, quieten and touch into the nature of the mind beyond the chatter.
- Episode 37 (access here) - This episode revisits the subject of goals in our meditation, diving deeper into the subject. I discuss how goals can not only be helpful in giving us direction, but also a hindrance if we bring the wrong expectations with those goals.
- Episode 38 (access here) - After a break in the podcast which has seen me moving house, I return to a subject that I visit from time to time because I believe that it is important. It’s that of keeping the continuity of one’s practice going, regardless of what is happening in your life.
- Episode 39 (access here) - Sitting with difficult emotions or pain from, for example, a headache can be challenge. However, it is a challenge that is eased by the motivation, the reason that you enter into the meditation.
- Episode 40 (access here) - Taking care of the foundations of our meditation helps to build a solid base for developing our practice. With reaching the 40th episode I review some of the ideas that I covered in the early episodes and that underpin our meditation practice.