Many people begin to meditate in the hope of reaping the benefits the media, the countless books on the topic, and schools devoted to spreading it. Most of these benefits are real, and a lot has been confirmed by academic studies.
However, we should not seek the positive “results” of practicing meditation. On the contrary, we have to meditate with the simple purpose of observing the noise “in our head” while maintaining attention in the body, sensations or mental states, without any expectation of achievement. With this approach, we “train” our minds for inner silence and lasting attention.
Then the meditation must take place without expecting any punishment. There is absolutely no mystery in his exercise and there is no need for enlightened teachers or calming mantras or (bad) Hindu mosquitoes to support us in focus … We just have to sit in silence, a few hours a week, in a passive position without judgments of any kind, To observe the experiment. Meditation of the Buddha, in a similar directional fashion, leads to frequent recommendations for flowing with life and staying in the present.
This columnist, very religious in his childhood and youth, considers that in the same way, prayer should also be indifferent, without seeking any service, as advised by Santa Teresa de Jesus, 16th-century Spanish nun. In the prayers of most beliefs, there are, as types of ritual foci, deities, the chosen prophets, an openness to Heaven and an evasion of punishment. Saint Teresa was the mental focus of the image of Jesus, whom she spoke to and “received her answers” from him.
“For life to flow, be authentic,” repeat personal growth texts. Wrong advice! We cannot flow with life or be original as long as the “coded” conditions in our brain – turbulent desires, aversion, prejudiced opinions, according to the Buddha – are the hidden factors that control our behavior.
Disturbed desires (greed, addiction, compulsive ambitions …), aversion (phobias, hate, hate …) and biased opinions (political, religious or ethnic) are the conditions that “ lead us ” and make our decisions, without even being aware of it. that. For this reason, we cannot hold on to the spoon when we are full, reject the second drink, or forget the wrongdoings of those who wronged us.
We will only be able to be spontaneous when we act from a silenced mind; This is where silent meditation helps, in particular. His practice supports us in raising awareness and controlling our conditioning. Then yes we can flow with life … it is impossible to be spontaneous and to remain in the present with absolute willpower.
How long should we meditate? Not so much that it implies isolating ourselves in a monastery or so little that it is not sufficient to “ reset ” our conditioned brain. All attachments, all aversion, and biased opinions are encoded into the brain’s “software”.
Meditation itself is the goal. Let’s not chase anything. We meditate on training the mind to be still, accustom it to silence, and to pay attention to the present. The meditator should not try to turn away or get rid of the conditioning at the point of discipline … he should simply direct his attention to his body, feelings, thoughts, or mental states … it satisfies, relieves, and disappears.
As meditation continues, our brain computer begins to respond to harmful adaptation, in real time, (using an expression of technology that also applies to brain computing). This columnist doesn’t always stay in such coveted form. If so, I probably won’t write this note.
In short: We are meditating on training the mind to stillness and accustom it to silence. This is where all of its benefits come from. What is the most important motivation? Strengthening lasting attention in routine life. Other benefits will come in addition to this.
Author of “Inner Harmony” and “Toward the Buddha from the West”
On Twitter: @ gustrada1