I will speak about meditation in the broader sense – as something fundamental to the nature of all living beings. It is the gap between the sounds, the white space between the rows. It gives meaning to our entire life, without us even realizing it consciously. So you need no separate room to meditate, no incense has to be lit and no special position has to be assumed. Meditation is not something ‘oriental’ and it’s not only for ‘spiritual people’. It can be done simply by dropping all concerns, for a few seconds, and giving a break to the process of thought. Most importantly, it can be done everywhere.
Eckhart Tolle, a former Cambridge professor who is now considered one of the most important spiritual leaders of our times, often says that meditation can also occur in your car, while waiting for the lights to change. Rather than being agitated and obsessing over the lights not changing soon enough, just take a break. Breath and enjoy the pause. When you are waiting for the elevator, do the same. Or when you are waiting in line in a que. When you are looking at the fire in your fireplace and your mind is not cluttered by thoughts, that’s meditation. Or when you are out in the park, looking at the nature around you, without formulating opinions about it. So why is this important?
Most of the times, the act of meditation happens automatically and it goes unnoticed. By making it conscious, people find that they are more at peace and that the repetitive thoughts that harass them during the day have less impact on their being. They are more aware of the small and beautiful details that make up their day, in all the things that they previously labeled as dull. Things like drinking a glass of water, helping their kids with their homework or simply eating, become more enjoyable. It’s like they are discovering the world all over again, it’s like the dimmer switch to their senses has been turned up. When meditation is done on a regular basis, it becomes a joy and it changes the people who practice it, they become happier as a result.
One of the most interesting aspects of the human mind is that, even when we are locked up in a maximum security prison, together with the rapists and the murderers, the most painful punishment we can receive is solitary confinement. Being locked up in a place, alone, is less desirable than the company of people we don’t like. I think this says a lot about the relationship we have with ourselves.
People have studied themselves for thousands of years, in conditions very much like solitary confinement, and many of them have found a natural sense of happiness that does not depend on any external factors. If meditation can lead to this self sufficient happiness, as so many people have found, we will naturally be kinder to the others and to the environment that we inhabit. And that is the social aspect of meditation, it literally has the potential to change the world. Things like greed, violence and other self-serving behavior will still be there, but they will be dimmer. When people are happy by themselves, they won’t crave for that yacht or to be famous, the pull of all desires and addictions will not be that influential in their lives.
The evolution of the human race cannot be done only on the external, physical level. We create ever-more amazing and dangerous technology and we play with it like children play with toys. Caught up in our daily routines, we are ignorant of the world that we inhabit. This planet is our only home and we are running it into the ground. It is more important than ever that we put aside our differences and act as one global human family.
On a final note, you don’t have to be a Buddha in order to experience the many benefits of meditation. Simply by doing it every day, for a couple of minutes, people already report tremendous changes in their lives. And it’s free.
Meditation can change the world for all of us. We Make Change are hoping to do just that. We are running a crowdfunding campaign to launch a brand new social network that will help change the world. Users will be able to connect with causes they care about, and give their time, money or things in just three taps.
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