Meditation is predominantly taught in western countries as a none religious therapy. It’s fascinated me when I first discovered it. I cannot say I am a highly accomplished mediator. However, I have learnt and practised meditation with what would be categorized as religious meditation and also my own practices of nonreligious.
The whole of the Buddha’s teachings may be summed up in three words: morality, mental concentration, and wisdom, sila, samadhi and pañña. This is the threefold division of the Noble Eightfold Path leading to deliverance from the misery of Samsara. And of this Eightfold Path, right speech, action and livelihood are included in morality, or sila; right effort, mindfulness and concentration in mental concentration, or samadhi; right understanding and thought in wisdom, or pañña.
Of these three stages, morality constitutes the foundation without which no real progress along the Eightfold Path to purity and deliverance is possible. The two higher stages, concentration and wisdom, are brought to perfection by that which in the West usually, but rather ambiguously, is called “meditation.” By this latter term, the Buddhist Pali term bhavana is usually translated.
Fundamentals of Buddhism
Four Lectures by Nyanatiloka Mahathera © 2005–2013
What am I saying?
Well, meditation is taught back to front mostly!
For example, a great metaphor and another huge misleading industry are dieting, you know the deal we will cook meals for you, and even tell you how to exercise.
What they don’t tell you is to reflect on why you eat so much or why you don’t want to care for yourself in the first place. Real change comes about from understanding ourselves better. Learning about nutrition and learning to cook makes all the difference in the world. The real questions are overlooked avoided so someone else can make money out of you generally speaking.
Meditation is the same. You are stressed for a reason. Is it you have a terrible diet? No exercise, or doing things that are plain wrong. Meditation is not going to stop you from sexual immorality. Its not going to help you cook nutritional meals. We have to do the hard work and clean our lives up. We don’t have to be perfect to enjoy the wonderful benefits of meditation. However, we do have to change our ways to gain any lasting benefits.
Similarly, eating home cooked, nutritionally rich meals are delicious and healthy. We can go for a walk, swim, cycling and be sensible with our portion sizes. The issue in Australia, they have convinced us we need experts for everything. Even birth and death have become highly professional, once they mostly happen at home. I was with a person who died at home last week, surprise, surprise there were no medical professionals present when she passed
You don’t need an expert to help you do basic meditate or a guru, you do not need a personal trainer to go for a walk, and no nutritionist needed to eat an apple and drink plenty of water. You may need help once you have done your best and have reached a point where you know it’s time to get some advanced tips. However, we have to give it our best first, not for a week, more like six to twelve months. We all, me included are more than we think we are, in terms of skills, determination, capabilities and intelligence. We can do much more, once we stop putting our hand out for help prematurely.
Let’s all give life our best shot, we have huge potential, all off us.