The average person, adult or child, isn’t exposed to meditation in our culture. Although the word is commonplace, there are now many scientific studies, and there’s a familiarity with it from media, meditation is still considered marginal, difficult, and too exotic to mean much. This is unfortunate, because meditation is natural to life and the human experience.

It’s natural, but because of conditioning it may at first seem challenging. It’s considered marginal or exotic, but the body-mind states it uncovers for us are all the various states we seek through other activities, both healthy ones and not so healthy ones. The benefits of meditation are lasting too. It doesn’t require special equipment, there’s no need for a student loan, you don’t have to go anywhere to meditate, and it enhances your days unlike anything else.

Our culture values hard work, success, family, fitness, entertainment, and possessions. These too are a part of life. Only a part, not all of life. We become educated, trained and retrained to have and be all of these things. However, as Andrew Cohen puts it, “Meditation is training for life.” Life includes all the above, plus the human being, this breathing, feeling, pulsing, sensing entity. And Life in all its dimensions is also included in our days: The life of the planet (nature) and the cosmos, and the very source of Life as well. What addresses the totality of Life?

Civilization changes a person on the outside. Meditation softens a person from within, through and through. — Bhante Gunaratana

An essential ingredient of living is to have some meaning to it. We need meaning to feel alive, have purpose and feel it’s all worth something other than what’s on our bank statement. We also seek understanding. We seek to understand ourselves, and life in general. This is often accomplished through art, psychology, science, reading and documentaries. These of course have value. They can come up short when it comes to understanding our own nature.

Meditation is the natural state of mind, and the whole nature of the mind can be our meditation. — Tarthang Tulku


Meditation is actually a process of seeking truth or understanding, of trying to discover the nature of existence and of the human mind.


— Tarthang Tulku

It doesn’t have to feel foreign. Meditation doesn’t have to look or be any particular way. You don’t need ochre robes or flexible joints to meditate. You can keep your belief system. You can still go to your job in the morning, and tuck your kids into bed at night. With meditation, it’s still your life… only, it’s brighter and fresher. There’s a sense of well-being, better flow and greater contentment. You feel clearer and your heart is naturally full. Anxiety melts, stress dissipates and you don’t crash on weekends.

Meditation isn’t a panacea, at least initially. Your challenges and bothersome personal traits don’t disappear overnight, especially if you don’t make time for it. It doesn’t have to be a whole lot of time. Twenty minutes once or twice a day, and a willingness to let the fresh awareness it uncovers filter through into your days. Really paying attention to that awareness as it’s freed up of all the entanglements it’s usually caught up in.

Once we have touched meditative awareness, our questions dissolve, for both the questions and the answers to them are within the meditation.


— Tarthang Tulku

Open yourself to the possibility that you can enhance your living substantially in a simple way with an all-encompassing practice that is natural and abiding. Find a method that appeals to you and commit. Give it three weeks, daily. You won’t even need to think about making it longterm after that.

Meditation is a way to quiet the mind so you can practice all day long wherever you are; see when there is grasping or aversion, clinging or suffering; and then let it go.


— Jack Kornfield

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The Life of Meditation

3 thoughts on “The Life of Meditation

  • 06/29/2011 at 1:41 AM

    Moving meditation is great, too – I practice a slow-moving hard-style martial arts which uses a combination of breath control, body awareness, and muscle tension to strengthen the body, mind, and spirit at once. I often exercise with music playing and it amazes me how frequently I’ll become so absorbed in the practice that I don’t even notice the music has stopped. Meditation is great, I wish it was taught more widely – most of the people I’ve met think meditation is a very difficult, exotic practice outside of their abilities. Thanks for encouraging the practice 🙂

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