Why Meditate?

Ever since I was old enough to think for myself, I have been questioning life. And most specifically, I have been fascinated with humans; their bodies, their minds and their spirits.
I have studied the body extensively though educations in massage, physical therapy, personal training, nutrition, dance and group fitness instruction. All of these endeavors brought me to a study of anatomy, physiology and kinesiology. 
As a personal trainer, I soon discovered that most people have unconscious mental blocks preventing them from achieving their fitness goals. So I studied the mental realm through human psychology/sociology and was certified in a form of therapy called Neuro-Linguistic Programming. 
As an actor, I deeply studied human feelings, their cause and their expression. I practiced tapping into very strong emotional pools and learned what powers they did and didn’t have over me. I became adept at controlling and understanding these wonderful, energetic expressions of energy called emotions. 
Being raised in a household where one parent was a devout Christian and the other was an apathetic agnostic, set the stage for a lot of inquiry into our spiritual nature and investigation into world religions. In short I have made a lifetime practice of studying myself; body/mind/emotion/spirit.

The practices of yoga and Ayurveda, the practice of meditation and experimentation with holding different beliefs, in combination with all I have done and studied so far in my life, has brought me to what I consider to be universal truth.

First of all, and most importantly, our state of happiness and satisfaction comes from our own mind. It does not come from some omnipotent, separate being, but from ourselves. It doesn’t come from each other. Each individual creates his or her own happiness or misery.

There is no happiness from material objects. In fact, the pursuit of material things keeps one from being truly connected to the spirit of happiness. This is why Jesus cautions that there is “no place in heaven for a rich man.”

Secondly, it is also important to understand that there is no absolute ‘good’ or ‘bad.’  There are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ thoughts. No ‘good’ or ‘bad’ actions. No ‘good’ or ‘bad’ beliefs. Everything is relatively neutral until a human brain gives it meaning. So being careful to avoid such labels is advisable.  It is human nature to want to label and categorize things, so it is very tempting to start to declare things as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. But as soon as we do, it can serve as a reminder to us that we are attached to our emotions and are being distracted from seeing reality.  Reality being neutral and meaningless.

Being non-attached does not mean you have to get rid of all of your things. All it means is that you don’t become attached to them. It is very healthy to understand that all of the people and things in your life are temporary. To operate without this important tenet in place is to ask for mental illness, grief and disfunction. It is an invitation to stress, anxiety and sadness. Taken to the extreme, attachment can lead to fear, violence, feelings of isolation, desperation and hatred for other people.

On the other hand, the way to achieve natural, loving kindness is to accept the temporal nature of everything. Once we accept that nothing has meaning and that we own nothing, we let go of a heavy burden and are free to vibrate love, understanding and compassion.

Attachment leads to projection. Unfortunately, it is a vicious cycle that feeds on itself. The more attached we are to the material aspect of the world, the more strongly we hold onto our perspective and call it truth, the more likely we are to assume that everyone is living in the same reality. We will lose the ability to be empathetic and will become more selfish and defensive. It is only attachment that will cause someone to declare someone else as ‘wrong’.

What we desire instead is a clear mind. One that can operate in the material world without becoming attached to it. We can use things without kidding ourselves that they are ‘ours’. The way to do this is to practice. And the practice is meditation.

No one alive knows what happens to our consciousness when our physical bodies die. But a commonly held belief is that our consciousness ascends in tact without our bodies. I have been exposed to many theories about what could happen, but I will share with you the one that makes the most sense to me. 

We are all part of a single entity. On an energetic, spiritual level, we are all the same being. We are the universe, as is everything and everyone we come into contact with on the physical plane. Each of us are temporarily occupying a separate human body for a limited amount of time.  We are given an ego to distract us from this reality and give us the illusion that we are separate beings. During our time in this body, we are meant to figure ourselves out by sharing information with each other about what we observe. Our bodies and our egos are a challenge given to us; a test we are taking.

 During our physical time on earth, we are tempted by material thoughts and objects. And we are tempted to become attached to them. Our egos will tell us that we ‘need’ these things and people and we cause ourselves great distress if we try to cling to them.  Our brilliant minds are free to give us thoughts and we are so impressed by them that we are in danger of believing them and holding onto them so tightly, that it blinds us.

One way to determine your level of attachment is to sit and meditate. The idea of mediation is to quiet and focus your mind. The untamed, unpracticed mind will offer up much distraction. These distractions, in the form of loud, invasive thoughts and feelings, are symptoms of attachment. The level of difficulty that one finds in seeking peace through meditation is exactly the same struggle that one will find once the consciousness leaves the body. 

Without the body, when we are pure consciousness, we can go one of two ways: either we can dissipate our consciousness and become one with everything (this is sometimes called ‘heaven’ or ‘nirvana’) or we can remain attached to the physical plane. Remaining attached will prevent us from becoming one with everything and is sometimes referred to as ‘hell’ or ‘purgatory’.

Meditation is conditioning for our consciousness. It is practice for transition into the next phase. The demons and blockages to silence that we experience in our mediation are the very same ones that will show up before us upon death. If we haven’t faced them enough, they will be very intimidating. If we haven’t gotten familiar with these demons through a mediation practice, they will appear to us as outside entities, when actually they are nothing more than our unbridled, attached ego. The degree of importance that we give to being attached to people and things is the degree to which we are bound to the material world and haunted by these ‘demons’. 

The practice of non-attachment is enlightenment. It is the ability to have thoughts but not be controlled by them. It is the ability to use tools but not to rely on them. It is the ability to love others as if they were a part of yourself. But at the same time it is the ability to let go of any of these things at any moment. And most importantly it is the recognition of our true nature. It is understanding and accepting that we are not separate from one another on any plane but the physical, which is only a temporary distinction. 

I know from experience that it is a simple matter of deciding to be happy that brings one happiness. But it is made much easier by accepting a life of non-attachment. The good news is that the pursuit of happiness on earth in our physical bodies is the very same pursuit that will bring us back to our source once we’re done in these bodies.

And the practices that serve to secure our ascension to the next level of consciousness are the very same ones that will bring us to our natural states of empathy, love and compassion while we are here on the planet.


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