Most any long time meditator will tell you that when they first started meditating, one of the things that occupied space in their brains the most was the need to do it right. So much so, that the belief itself prevented many from initially reaping the benefits a meditation practice holds. I guess that was all just a part of their teaching.
Well known meditation teacher Swami Durgananda takes a look at this phenomenon of doing it right in this Yoga Journal post. According to Durgananda, he himself at the beginning was confused over which meditation technique was correct. He acknowledges that while those just starting out do need support, the point of meditation is to let go and not get hung up on the small details. His restricted practice turned liberating when he was able to let go.
We use techniques in meditation for a very simple reason: Most of us, at least when we begin meditation, need support for the mind. A technique provides a place for the mind to rest while it settles back down into its essential nature. That’s all it is really, a kind of cushion. No technique is an end in itself, and no matter which one people use, it will eventually dissolve when their meditation deepens.
I like to think of meditation methods as portals, entry points into the spaciousness that underlies the mind. The inner spaciousness is always there, with its clarity, love, and innate goodness. It is like the sky that suddenly appears over our heads when we step out of the kitchen door after a harried morning and glance upward. The Self, like the sky, is ever present yet hidden by the ceiling and walls of our minds. In approaching the Self, it helps to have a doorway we can comfortably walk through, rather than having to break through the wall of thoughts separating us from our inner space.
Read more from Durgananda on meditation techniques and letting go here.