Why do I meditate and why do I recommend everyone to meditate as well?
As I go around trying to convince people to come to meditate with me, pushing my offering out there, this question keeps coming back to me.
It’s a good question, especially if one is trying to market meditation. Which I am.
Marketing people keep telling me, don’t sale yourself, don’t speak about yourself, speak about what someone will get from it.
So I made a list. I like lists. I like the organization they offer.
My list does not include all the reasons I came up with, because there is not enought space, and it turned out to be a bit idealistic. I think it reflects the desire I have to make the whole world practice mindfulness meditation because it has some terrific effect on me and I want to share it.
So a word of warning: meditation is not a magic solution to anything. And it’s not easy. It’s a practice, which means, we go at it again and again and again. We place our attention on the meditation object and it (our attention) does its own thing, moves, run away. So we start again. We bring it back. And again. And again. And again. That’s why we call it practice.
And now, here it is – a host of reasons why to practice meditation:
- Because while we are trying to be mindful of our breathing, or the body, or whatever the object of meditation may be, our mind is not creating more problems and worries for ourselves. We are doing something different, more beneficial.
- Because in mindfulness meditation we practice observing our thoughts. And over time observing our thoughts creates a slight distance from them, we are less invested in them, and we learn to see them as they are, a passing event.
- Because meditation is an investigation into ourselves. It brings us close and intimate to and with ourselves. And from that comes inner growth, and from that comes change. Mindful meditation is a tool for inner development, for inner growth.
- Because with mindfulness we practice being more present in our life, relying less on the auto-pilot, relying less on automatic reactions, and automatic behavior. After all, it’s only by being present, here and now, that we can make a difference.
- Because mindfulness can be our buffer – a buffer between something happening to us, an event, and our reaction. Between facing difficulties and reacting with stress. Because mindfulness helps us move from auto-reaction to wise response.
- Because in meditation we experience ourselves in a different way than usual. Not in a relationship (daughter of, mother of, wife of, boss of), not in a job (working, studying, cooking, doing things), not in relation to, not compared with, not in a certain mood, not beautiful and not ugly, not thin and not fat. not our nationality and now are religious. We can experience ourselves without all of those. When all that drops, what is left? Who am I?
- Because of the parable of the second arrow: it is said that once a disciple of the Buddha, a monk, a meditation practitioner, asked the Buddha exactly the same question – What do I get from all this practice, what do I get from meditation? The Buddha answered him: One who does not practice goes for a walk in the forest. Suddenly an arrow hits him. He is hurt. He experienced physical pain. He was also frightened. Angry. Confused. He does not know what to do. He yells in frustration. He blames himself. He thinks something bad will happen to him. He thinks he will not recover from this. He blames himself. Why does this always happen to me, he thinks, why did I go this way and not that way, why wasn’t I careful, what will happen to me, I’m bleeding, I’m getting weaker, I will never recover, what will happen, what will happen, what will be? On top of his physical pain, he adds mental pain. On the other hand, says the Buddha, a skilled person, a person that does practice, goes for a walk in the forest and is hit by an arrow. He treats the wound and continues with his life. He does not add mental suffering to the physical pain. He was hit only by the first arrow. And that is actually what the practice can do for us. In this life there is pain. Things we want don’t happen to us, things we want don’t do happen. We can’t change that. But we can change our reaction to it. We can – with practice – avoid the second arrow. Experience pain without suffering. And after all, who wants to suffer?
Meditation and mindfulness are not magic. It’s a journey. It’s a practice for life, for all our life. One really needs to sit on the pillow. To meditate. To be present. Not just think about it and plan it but really do it.
A good way to start, to get motivated, to strengthen our practice, is to join a group, for example in Prenzlauerberg, on Fridays and/or Sundays.
So let’s practice together, because practicing is good, and together makes it easier, creates commitment, and eases up the sense of loneliness we might have. Practicing together strengthens us.
Fridays at 1830
Cost: 10 – 20 euros per session
Registration in the link: