Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What meditation is not

Sometimes practitioners of meditation are accused of being too focused on themselves, of wasting their time and energy in egocentric introspection and failing to be concerned with others. 

Can we regard as selfish a process which ultimate goal is to root out the obsession with self and to cultivate altruism ?

Would this not be like blaming an aspiring doctor for spending years studying medicine before beginning to practice ?

In the same way that Martial Arts ultimately are not about learning how to fight, meditation is not :

  • An attempt to create a blank mind by blocking out thoughts - which is impossible anyway. 

  • Engaging the mind in endless intellectual cogitation in an attempt to understand the past or foresee and anticipate the future. 

  • A simple process of relaxation in which inner conflicts are temporarily suspended in a vague, warm-fuzzy and amorphous state of consciousness. (Tequila does a better job at this.)

  • There are more practical and efficient ways achieve the above. Among them are senseless exercising, deep intellectual - scientific or philosophical speculation, and the use of recreational drugs.

    Meditation of course induces some sort of relaxation but it is a side effect connected with the relief that comes from letting go of hopes and fears, of attachments and the incessant jumps of the ego and Monkey mind.

    Most of us come to meditation longing for something we are not exactly sure about, most likely for one of the 3 reasons above. And this is perfectly alright, as long we don't get stuck on this for ever. We need to realize this is not what meditation is about. 

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