Written by Will Harader, The Galactic Free Press.
The West has seen a recent surge of interest in meditation, and it’s a wonderful tool for finding a little peace and calm in an otherwise hectic world. You can sit quietly somewhere, let go of all your worldly concerns, and just relax. This is something almost everyone could use more of, but it’s also just the very beginning of real transformation.
It’s easy to find peace in a peaceful environment, anybody can do that. This is why spiritual retreats are so popular, you get a nice peaceful environment to do your spiritual work in. However, the “normal” human world is usually everything but a peaceful environment. It’s chaotic, full of emotions and distractions. It’s very challenging to stay balanced in that sort of environment, though balanced people are what the human world needs the most.
Many people who consider themselves spiritual have a fake sort of peace. Their peace is dependent upon the external environment. It’s not real Peace, just an imitation. This is why the monks flee to the mountain tops, why so many spiritual people attempt to disconnect from society as much as possible. They don’t want their mind’s illusion of peace disturbed. Dogs barking, children yelling, cars honking, all of these must be eliminated to create the illusion of internal peace. The world gets renounced and ignored, like it’s the cause of their problems and not their own mind.
Real Peace isn’t dependent upon the external world, though I will say true Peace also erases all separation between the internal and external. A truly balanced being is not so easily disturbed, and meditation becomes all-inclusive instead of focusing upon avoiding that which disturbs the mind. This is why people need to meditate sitting in a comfortable position, eyes closed, in a quiet space. Just about anything can disturb their false sense of “peace”.
Now there’s nothing wrong with doing that kind of meditation, I’m not against it, but I am aware of its limitations. I feel that sort of meditation is just the tip of the iceberg, it’s for people to begin to get in touch with themselves again, but it’s incomplete. You’re probably not able to spend your whole life in sitting meditation, so they key is to integrate the peaceful states of being you discover during meditation into every aspect of your life. So long as you just use meditation to relieve stress, and then go right back to the patterns that create the stress, you’re spinning in circles. Progress comes very slowly, though you probably feel a lot better than you did before beginning meditation.
The states you discover during meditation can be brought into every aspect of your life. If you’re really quieting your mind, there’s an intense awareness in every moment. Living from this place isn’t just useful in some vague spiritual sense, but from a purely practical and even a material sense as well. Instead of being caught up in your own mind’s little world all the time, you can really be aware of what’s occurring around and within you. An overworked mind has difficulty solving problems, it’s exhausted, whereas a peaceful being can often solve problems before they even become problems.
I recommend expanding your meditative practices to the point that I wouldn’t even call it practicing anymore. Instead of searching for balance when it’s convenient, make Balance your whole way of life. Being able to relax and disconnect from your emotions is nice when you’re sitting down comfortably, but what about when you need it the most? It’s possible to enter those meditative states even while you’re talking to someone, while you’re walking around, while you’re on the computer. Why limit yourself? I used to do meditation while working a mindless corporate job, and I got paid while doing self-improvement, imagine that! It didn’t negatively effect my work at all, as some might believe, in fact I was even promoted to manager.
Meditation is not really learning to quiet the mind, that’s only the first step. One learns to quiet the mind until one can begin to see what’s beyond the mind. One stops associating with all their thoughts, and just observes them. Meditation is about going beyond the illusion of mind altogether, and simply witnessing thoughts without getting attached to them. This kind of meditation is not a means to an end, it’s really the very beginning of your life.
The Galactic Free Press
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