Meditation is simple, it is as simple as opening your own hand and unfortunately just as complicated. That is because meditation is a study of your own mind, and That is simply complicated.
As you begin looking at your own mind, you see that there is this cycle; at first it looks something might be too good and “too good is no good”, then that same thing has become no good and “no good is no good”, and finally “no good is too good”? or maybe it is the other way around? You can fluctuate in an almost schizophrenic fashion until finally you get to a point where it does not matter and decide “I am just going to eat dinner”. Like when your hand opens, if you know it is open do you need to know EXACTLY how that happened?
Here are some of the top reasons people list for why they meditate:
· “To see more good and beauty in all that surrounds me.”
· “To build the ability to see the good growing within although much appears to be wrong.”
· “To be more tolerant”
· “To build internal strength and joy”
· “Compassion and loving-kindness for all beings”
· “To gain an understanding of the different ways other individual's are working towards perfection.
As you read the list you might begin to imagine many ways other than straight meditation to work towards these goals. Tai Chi, Jogging, Yoga, Golf, Walking, etc … that list is staggering too. You could even just find pharmaceutical help of one kind or another and reduce the effort and time you put in to almost nothing.
We commonly use terms that give credit for an activity as being meditative. These uses can be surprising. I have a friend who feels so relaxed after watching horror movies that he calls that a meditative experience. I do not see how that can be, but … it is a deeply personal experience and I am not in his mind. So what do I know. But it does make sense in a way, in order to relax blocked muscles one method is to at first tense, then relax. Maybe he needs that kind of tension at first in order to feel relaxed later.
“You can not be too old, too sick, too weak, too strong, too wise, or too young for benefits with meditation.” Neverheless, there are many styles and each style has an approach suitable for the diverse situations and environments you might find yourself in. Some have you sitting a lot, some have you walking a lot, some have you visualizing, focusing on the breath, not focusing at all, etc … the variety is staggering. Some will make sense to you, and some will not. The style you choose will hopefully seem to you as if as simple as opening your own hand and it will seem that way because it is a match for you, almost as if it was programmed into your DNA.
The varying accoutrements of practice are primarily the result of different combinations of culture, experience and imaginations. No matter … independent of which style you come across, what language, the level of ornatemeness of the practice rooms, the uniforms, or how much chanting (or not chanting), it boils down to “too good is no good” and “no good is too good” and any style that you might be attracted to will be attractive based on your own combinations and those change over time.
Meditation is a study of your own mind. It is deeply personal, and is about self-knowledge. Therefore, no matter what style, practice, or method you choose, if it ends with you ignoring truths, what else matters? The effect of meditation is that you will build more inner peace and joy, become more tolerant, see more of the good and beauty that surrounds you, gain more of an understanding of the different ways individuals are working on their own perfection, etc .. . Quite possibly your style will help you to relax more, or forget some personal truths along the way, or maybe not. The answers, and the questions and the process are complicated so if it pleases – just look for what is there and eat the dinner.