|What Is Meditation?|
|I put my faith in two things:|
-- The fact of my awareness (awareness being the most basic differentiation between living and non-living things; I write about this more here); and
-- Self-reflection, my ability to be aware of my awareness (the most basic differentiation between humans and all other animals, as far as we know - I write about this more here).
Meditation is my being aware of my awareness in an initially structured manner, leading both to a spaciousness and to a focused but open concentration. My meditation practice is body-based, meaning that the arena in which this is played out is my body, using my breath and bodily felt-sense - both kinesthetic and visceral.
My meditation must be enjoyable. It may well lead to deep insights and future liberation, but it must certainly be an activity that I enjoy doing now, on a daily basis, that will help me embrace my day to day life.
And finally, it must change my behavior for the better. I don't care how many cosmic experiences I have, and what amazing insights I may have on the cushion, but if in my routine everyday life I am no more loving, no more kind, no more steady and relaxed in myself, then it is not worth a bean.
|Why Is Meditation Important?|
Meditation is important because it helps me to live more efficiently.
It helps me stop worrying about things that there is no need to worry about, and helps me focus on those things I should be concerned about. It gives me something of an anchor in myself that lessens a little the anger, the hate and the petty fretting of life, and makes me a little more aware of what is going on, both in myself and in the people and the world around me.
It provides me somewhere to rest; not to withdraw from the world, although I use it for that occasionally, but having rested I go out and deal with what has to be dealt with, but with a little more humor, relaxation and emotional intelligence - that, to me, is efficient living.
I am not sure whether there is some grand other to be obtained - nirvana, kingdom of heaven, utlimate this or infinite that - whether inside myself or without. But if there is, then meditation is the path to it; and if there is not, then the use of meditation to help me be more content and happy in this workaday world each day is enough - more than enough, in fact.
For a fuller account, read my latest article on the meditation I do, what is behind it, and why I do it.|
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