We need a clear mind-training map to keep us from missing the correct path. If we want to go to New York we need to know the roads and directions. Just jumping in the car and starting to drive may get us there, but most likely we will end up in another place or take much longer than is necessary.
I have seen this happen with students who tell me of doing years of meditation without seeing any changes. They may blame themselves, meditation, or the Dharma, yet most often the problem is not knowing or applying the correct techniques or methods. Meditation is both easy and not easy. With the correct techniques and methods, applied with diligence, meditation can become a swift path to clearing confusion and unhelpful habits. Without them, we may wander in fogginess or agitation, never having engaged in true meditation even after years of “sitting.”
At Namdroling Monastery we practiced both resting and analytical meditation. The renowned teacher Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche believed that both types of meditation were important, but he thought it was best to begin with analytical meditation, because gaining familiarity with the true nature of reality would naturally lead to a clearer understanding of resting meditation and how to engage our mind constructively.
From Your Mind Is Your Teacher: Self-Awakening through Contemplative Meditation by Khenpo Gawang, pages 22-23