Insight, Inspiration, Motivation


 In the last couple of decades, meditation and yoga centres have mushroomed all over the western world. With so many people taking courses and even more people teaching these courses, one would have expected the collective energies to have risen over the entire western hemisphere. However, where-ever you look, you see discontent, unhappiness, resentment, conflict, depression, anger, hatred and many other negative emotions. Common themes at conferences include ‘workplace stress‘, ‘professionalism’, ‘emotional intelligence‘, and so on.  

The problem I see is that yoga and meditation are sold to the western public as an exercise routine – something that is good for their health. Somehow, somewhere, the mental and spiritual subsets of health got taken out of the equation and the ‘modern’ person came to understand health as relating to the physical body only. Herein lies the trouble. If practiced  as a spiritual exercise first, the mental and physical health would be so much easier to achieve. This is a secret that is clearly not taught widely for some strange reason which I would hate to speculate on.

When I discuss meditation with friends,  they often say that it is difficult to control the mind and that it is impossible to have a mind empty of thought. Obviously, this is how they have been told it should be done. I feel sorry for anyone trying to thus control the mind. Imagine if you are told,”you shall not think of a monkey when you eat a banana”. What do you think your first thought will be when you eat a banana? In fact, the monkey will be positively difficult to banish from your mind!

The idea of meditation is not to empty the mind but to observe it, to be present and aware of the thoughts that are going through it. The aim is to achieve a ‘presence’ of mind, so that we fully experience the richness of each moment that we live. Being so present helps us make better choices, and thus become better people. Being present in each moment also takes away regrets and resentments from the past, and worry, fear and anxiety about the future. Life certainly could get more peaceful, if everybody went around, ever immersed in the present.

“Meditation may require a lifetime to master, but it will have been a lifetime well spent. … If you want to judge your progress, ask yourself these questions: Am I more loving? Is my judgment sounder? Do I have more energy? Can my mind remain calm under provocation? Am I free from the conditioning of anger, fear, and greed? Spiritual awareness reveals itself as eloquently in character development and selfless action as in mystical states.”– Eknath Easwaran


January 22, 2011 Posted by | Personal Journey, Self Improvement, Spirituality and Religion | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


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