Why Meditate?

Why Meditate?

When I first started meditating, I felt so bored. I couldn’t even sit upright for very long... back straight, cross-legged, perched on a cushion. I just wanted to fold forward, rest my chin in my hands and zone out.

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The sound of the clacker on the metal bowl marking the end of the meditation was pure joy... pure relief... like the sound of the bell at elementary school announcing the end of the school day.

Now, 20 years later, meditation is second nature to me. Each morning I get up, clean my face and teeth, then sit on my cushion and clean my mind. It’s like sweeping away the dust and revealing the brightness, the alertness, the clarity of awareness and mind’s purpose.

Sure... run away thoughts enter in and a sense of “why am I doing this?” sometimes shows up. But most of the time I can remember that there are benefits and I return my attention to the breath or body sensations or whatever the focal object of meditation is in that moment.

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For me, meditation settles my mind so that I can think more clearly. I am more in touch with
whatever is going on with me at any moment. I can better maintain a steady, less-reactive, less
judgmental way of being with myself and others. There seems to be more space for creativity to
surface.

And I think my memory is better.

Also, I am more connected to my heart, and compassion and kindness are just second nature. If I am not meditating regularly, I see these qualities diminish.

Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi, Soto Zen monk and teacher, puts it this way:

“Leave your front door and your back door open. Allow your thoughts to come and go. Just don’t serve them tea.”

In the book 5 Reasons to Meditate, the beloved Tibetan Buddhist nun Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo speaks about her own ups and downs with meditation:

“Normally we are so identified with our thoughts and emotions, that we are them. We are the happiness, we are the anger, we are the fear. We have to learn to step back and know our thoughts and emotions are just thoughts and emotions. They're just mental states.”

Special Pricing for our Refresh and De-stress Northern Thailand Retreat is expiring on June 22nd

 

Bruce Spears