The Building Blocks of Western Meditative Practice
by A.E. Giacquinta
When we think of meditation, we usually think of the East, of the lotus position, and
of Buddha sitting under a tree entering into a detached “mindful” state. Indeed,
most instructions on “how to meditate” teach this tradition.
But in the West, we have another tradition, one based on the Alexandrian School of
Egypt. It is a more active technique, based on a seed thought that one “mulls over”
in their head. It is not just a matter of watching images and thoughts as they arise,
but of directing the mind toward an understanding of a particular concept or
teaching. In the process, a change in consciousness occurs over time. We learn and
A brief outline of the course:
There are four weeks to this course. Each week is designed to present a new
concept, each week building on the last one so that the student has a firm foundation
in the western style of meditation.
During the first week we will be exploring the four cornerstones of that foundation:
setting aside a space, relaxation, a breathing technique, and journaling.
During the second week, the student will be defining and exploring the differences
between meditation and contemplation.
During the third week, the student will explore ways to help focus the meditation.
During the fourth week, the student will analyze their personal style of meditation
and work to achieve a balance in their work.
Note: This unsupervised lesson was written for applicants who need more
familiarity with the cornerstones of western meditation before being accepted to
our more demanding courses. It, however, does not guarantee admittance to our
school as there are many factors that go into that decision, including availability of
We will make it available to a wider audience upon request. Please send your full
name and email address to email@example.com. We will send instructions on how
to obtain it. A full application is not required.
The cost of this lesson is £4.95.
A.E. Giacquinta is a long-standing member of the SOL and a member of the SOL Admin Team (ARC), this short course has been approved for use in the school as an introduction to meditation by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki who recommends it.