Meditation: why should we practice it?
In the fourth installment of the Weekly Wisdom blog, we will touch upon the issue of meditation. Throughout the ages, poets, mystics and sages have given us an enticing inkling of what lies ahead if we practice meditation. They have served as signposts and facilitators enabling us to one day embody that which is indescribable and indefinable.
Today there are countless books and manuals on meditation people can choose from, so there is no intention here to present an exhaustive analysis. Let us just briefly discuss the issue of why one should meditate.
Reconnect to your center.
Meditation, a method to help us “be in our center,” gives us the ability to look inside ourselves. It helps us to be aware of, reconnect to and reside in the center of our being. This reconnection comprises the essence of the Latin word “religare”, which is considered to be the basis of the word “religion”.
BE what you really are.
Through mediation, you can experience such blessings as fearlessness, bliss and the chance to enjoy the grace of our infinite, eternal Being. It can help lead you to Sat, Chit and Ananda – to Being, Conscious Being and Bliss. Meditation is designed to help you BE what you already are: pure, unconditional, Absolute Being.
Relief from your burdens.
Meditation enables a person to venture into the center of her or his being, dispelling the evil afflicting us in the process. Meditation helps you see through the process of illusion, and to realize the games that your ego is playing with you. Burdens detach themselves from your heart and are released from your chest when you let go of your burdens, when you meditate, and when you accept Existence as it is. Such a process cleanses you and sets you free. Meditation helps free yourself from distress and misery by helping you finally let go and sit in peace. You can experience a state of deep serenity above and beyond all words, terms and synonyms, a state without the necessity to recommence thinking.
Thinking will not do it for you.
Of course, we need the ego to help us transcend the ego. In the beginning, we need to be “convinced” of the need to delve into our beings, reconnect to the One Self and actually sit down and meditate. However, as much as your mind and thinking are valuable tools, they were not made for the purpose of penetrating to the Absolute. They do not have the capability of leading you to your original Being and your Self.
Meditation is not just sitting down.
The Zen Masters themselves like to remind us that meditation is not only sitting down in a quiet place with dimmed lights and a pleasant atmosphere, but involves centering ourselves anywhere and everywhere, even at the “marketplace” with all its hustle and bustle. The 17th century monk Brother Lawrence already showed us how to “practice the presence of God” in our everyday activities such as washing the dishes.
Zazen, the meditation posture of Zen Buddhism, is just sitting absorbed and immersed in the Self, without intention, expectation or goals. There is Nobody meditating, and nothing to be achieved. Zen complements the sit-down kind with “Kinhin”, or meditative walking.
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