I shall update this post over time
Q. Why do we meditate?
We meditate to become familiar with the mind.
Q. Why do we want to become familiar with the mind?
Because we want to be comfortable with the mind. We want to be able to guide the mind. We want a healthy mind.
Q. What is a healthy mind?
A healthy mind is resilient. It helps us cope with adversity while learning to cope with future adversity.
A healthy mind can be calmed.
A healthy mind is capable of focus.
A healthy mind is deeply connected to our bodies and can help us to relax or rise to a challenge.
A healthy mind is a tool for connection to others, and connection to nature.
Q. Can meditation help you wake up?
A. It depends on what you mean by meditation and awakening.
If meditation is the size of the room that I'm sitting in, mindfulness meditation is the size of my hand.
We are trained to make choices hedonistically in the modern world.
We have a natural tendency to select the foods with the most nutrition and the environments with least threats. Pleasure and Comfort basically.
It is easy for advertisers (and meditation teachers sadly) to use our innate drive to minimise effort and maximise pleasure and comfort.
For this reason, most meditation is designed to provide instant gratification or an instant release of the mind.
The most popular meditations on YouTube, for instance, are guided visualisations which are a kind of adult bedtime story. They help people to get to sleep and help them to be distracted from how they feel.
Mindfulness meditations do the opposite. They bring you closer to 2 things instantly: your busy mind and your uncomfortable emotions.
The important thing is what happens then!
There are one of three paths
- Give up (this is what 95% of new meditators do)
- Try to battle through feeling bad and thinking that this is progress. (Far too many people do this).
- If you're lucky enough, you will learn practices that help you to bear the discomfort of your uncomfortable emotions in a way that helps you make progress in resolving the suffering that underlies them.
Number 3 is very rare for a whole variety of reasons in the modern world, but this is how people have awoken to the illusory narrative of their lives and their culture for thousands of years.
Awake = Enlightened = Moksha/Nirvana (both 2,500 year old concepts).
Meditation teaches two things
- How to connect to the present moment, to your body, your mind, nature and to others.
- How to learn what isn't absolutely true.