Mindfulness meditation is not just another way to fix what we feel might be broken in our lives.
Maybe you struggle with low moods, motivation, or existential malaise. Maybe you feel lonely, or bored.
Maybe you sometimes feel like Peggy Lee when she sang “Is that all there is?”
Meditation, rather, is a way of discovering that whatever you may be feeling or experiencing does not define you.
As you get better at observing you inner world in the present moment, you see this world is just made up of so much mental images, self-talk, and waves of feeling tones in your body. As you separate the sensory pieces and greet each one with kindness they simply flow through.
flow feels good
And this flow feels good. But more importantly you begin to realize that what you really are is unbounded joy and peace.
Bad news happens, as it will from time to time, but it doesn’t define you, your new found sense of well-being is still there.
One huge relief for me was realizing rather than striving to get rid of stress and confusion, these mental states acted as a false barrier to my very own natural calm, focus, and joy.
I was able to simply relax back into to the peace and joy that was already always there.
don’t meditate to get some special mental state
If you meditate to get something, some feeling or some imagined mental state, it becomes another goal, one which may lead you to judge yourself as failing or succeeding. This reinforces what classical Buddhism call “grasping and aversion” — and often leads to a scattered, anxious mind.
With time and practice, you discover an open awareness which is inherently free, peaceful and joyous. And you recognize this as a more profound and delightful “you.”
the difference between pleasure and happiness
You start to appreciate the difference between pleasure and happiness. Many of us live from pleasure to pleasure, with some waiting around in between.
But the happiness you discover with meditation practice comes from deeply experiencing your core, who and what you truly are. There is no waiting around here; it’s on tap 24/7.
a revolutionary act
Practicing meditation is a revolutionary act–it’s like holding a cross to our media-frenzied, consumerist, vampire of a culture.
Thomas Merton said it best, I feel:
Why can’t we be content with the secret gift of happiness that is offered to us, without consulting the rest of the world? Why do we insist rather on a happiness that is approved by magazines and TV? Perhaps because we do not believe in a happiness that is given to us for nothing? We don’t think we can be happy with a happiness that has no price tag on it.
the secret gift of happiness
Mindfulness meditation is this “secret gift of happiness that is offered to us.”
In his bestselling book Joy On Demand Chade-Meng Tan, former software engineer and motivator at Google known for greeting celebrities who visit the Google campus, writes:
After Google director Jonathan Berent took mindfulness meditation training, he noticed a profound impact on his life. He told me, “I have found that I can at any moment take a conscious breath and access joy … A couple years ago, I would have thought this was pointless. Joy on demand? You have to be kidding me. Now it is a reality to me, and I know it’s possible at any moment.”
But let’s be clear: sadness, jealousy, anger, fear, physical and emotional pain, all of it, will still arise. We’re talking about a radically profound change in the relationship with these experiences.
And that’s 99% of the matter with the problems and troubles we inevitably face.
Katina and I are here to support your meditation practice in any way we can, just contact us through the Contact Page on this site. Or if you live in Honolulu, or ever visit, feel free to drop by our free, weekly meditation evenings.