They meditated just like the Buddha did. Stay in forests, beg for alms, practice in everyday things, follow the bare breath..all the way. Bare breath and nothing but breath. No reading, no writing, no extended conversations or socialization.
One of the Forest monks I met in the Santa Cruz mountains had panther marks all over his body. They face their lust, their anger, their fears in the bare..
During the first half of this century the forests of Thailand were home to wandering ascetic monks. They were Buddhists, but their brand of Buddhism did not copy the practices described in ancient doctrinal texts. Their Buddhism found expression in living day-to-day in the forest and in contending with the mental and physical challenges of hunger, pain, fear, and desire.
Forest recollections: book on amazon