At my high school reunion this weekend (link requires Facebook login), I heard many life stories and was impressed with the variety of issues and difficulties people have overcome or are still facing. It’s easy to forget when we surround ourselves with folks with whom we have a lot in common, but we really are so very uniquely individual. The same is true when we meditate. The tensions and obstacles that we hold in daily life have to be released, resolved, or temporarily set aside in order to settle into a deeper experience of alert tranquility. I often talk about how many people think too much and it’s hard to get our of our head and just sit. But others are quite the opposite and are so very sensitive to the conditions of their body and senses that they can’t just ignore them and be present. In finer detail, each person has a unique path from their daily life state of mind to the heavenly content and vibrantly aware state of mind called of jhana. Traditionally in Zen centers, those things can be discussed in private one-on-one discussions with the teacher where both can be very specific. But there are always lectures, books, dharma talks, etc where the audience is wide. In those cases we have to be selective in the advice we listen to by knowing what our difficulties are.