When we learn a meditation practice, we are often given a particular meditation instruction. We essentially learn how to do the instruction correctly to get the intended results or arrive at the specified goal. This kind of learning often entails a strict adherence to the meditation practice we are being taught, and requires us to adopt the beliefs and views of our teacher. It therefore generally turns into a type of learning process that encourages conformity, compliance, and dependence. And, on account of that, it may not be the kind of learning environment we had in our minds when we first heard of it, though it may have given us the certainty, safety, and clarity we needed just then.
This way of learning meditation may be unavoidable. I have made every effort to develop a way of teaching meditation where the detrimental aspects of such a process of learning are reduced to a minimum. Still, whenever meditation instructions are given and followed, whenever a teacher is the highest authority on a student's meditation practice, and whenever a set of concepts are taught which are held sacred and beyond question, the type of learning process described above will dominate and inform our meditation practice. The only way I see through this is to learn meditation with the knowledge that as we continue to meditate, we will need to look at the meditation practice we have done and begin to disentangle ourselves from the "side-effects" or "artifacts" created by our experience of learning it.
Unlearning meditation is the way in which we take a close, honest look at our meditation practice. In practice, it does not look radically different than learning meditation, and may even use some of the same approach to meditation, though for a slightly different purpose and from a different vantage point. Whereas, for example, we may use conditions instead of instructions (see article) in our meditation practice at the outset, from the vantage point of someone in an unlearning process, these will truly be conditions and not instructions. For a beginning meditation student, they will most likely be turned into instructions.