It’s definitely a good thing that spirituality is becoming more and more common, more accessible to all, more widespread.
The disadvantage of anything becoming trendy and widespread is that it very easily starts loosing its original essence, as more and more people spread it by their own personal understanding. Sometimes, that understanding is very far from the original idea.
I feel this has been happening a lot to practices like yoga and meditation. We have such a big amount of books, teachers, courses, schools, each one with their own understanding and tendencies.
Don’t get me wrong, whatever meditation you do, is best than no meditation at all. So it is good we have all this, it reaches more people at different stages of understanding and depth of spiritual practices. What kind of annoys me is the fact that the core essence of these practices seems to be further and further way and harder to get.
Meditation has been on the news a lot, due to many scientific studies that prove its benefits. Things like, decreased heart-rate and blood pressure, relaxes the nervous system, improves calmness and memory, and even increase your lifespan! All good, no doubt. But really, meditation it’s not meant for that.
Spiritual practices like meditation have one purpose: to withdraw the mind from external objects and direct it inwards, towards it’s own core, it’s own essence. And when that goal is achieved, then the mind knows itself, or should I say, it knows that is actually something much bigger than just a “mind”. This inner psychic process is difficult, is challenging. It’s not about putting some nice sea sounds cd, and burning a candle or incense sticks. It’s not about “being in the present when you eat or go for a walk” (although I most certainly advise you to do so ;) It’s about conquering a universal force of extroversion and, with each battle won, at each step, feeling ourselves getting closer and closer to that pure entity, pure consciousness, far from being affected by life’s problems, needs, joys and sorrows. It’s a magical journey. If you ask me what are the benefits of meditation, I could come up with a few of them:
- Reducing mental agitation and desires
- Naturally achieve a state of detachment
- Increase our own radius of love and compassion
- Developing a concern and care for the welfare of all beings
- Achieve a deeper understanding of things, not based on intellect but intuition
- Finding a source of limitless bliss
- Discovering the most beautiful, romantic and mystic connection one can have: the one with the supreme (call it god if you wish)
- Become as big as the universe itself
Everything else, is nothing but pleasant side-effects ;)