Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Why meditation works

Many think meditation is some kind of spacey out-of-this-world experience suited only for eccentrics and people who want to avoid reality. This is obviously an outcome of our Faustian outgoing pragmatic cash on the barreled cultural bias, suspicious of non-productive activity, or worse yet, non-activity. Why sit motionless when you could be doing something? Something quirky or subversive must be going on here.

Yet sitting practice is not some sort of lackadaisical lazy lounging around, it is hard work. First of all, one must maintain a strict but relaxed posture, back straight, not leaning against anything, eyes open, legs crossed in some fashion, usually sitting on a cushion, maintaining silence, watching one's breathing and mentally observing the chaos the mindstream produces without following its seductive come hithers. One of the hardest things to get used to is to realize just how chaotic our subconscious gossiping mind is, and still sit quietly observing it. In this way we become familiar with our neurotic patterns, and they lose their grip on us. We become so acquainted with our games we no longer take them seriously. This is called cutting ego. Ego here means belief in a solid unchanging ME. Does this mean we lose our sense of identity and become vegetables or simpletons easily swayed by the most persuasive propagandists? No, it means we can relax and be who we really are, free of uptight defense mechanisms, and confident in our ability to think for ourself and defend our point of view.

We will not notice any improvement in our life while we meditate, only afterwards. Subtle changes will occur in our environment if we take the time to do sitting practice on a daily schedule. Problems that never get resolved will work themselves out without our input, favorable coincidences will present themselves, we won't take ourselves so seriously anymore, and people will respond favorably to this opening up. Gaps of fresh air occur in our solid suffocating cocoon-like world, and we can see clearly where before we were blinded by our own point of view. Meditation helps us become ourselves, what we really are, and there is no reason to be afraid of this.


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