Meditation: Enlightenment Is Not the Goal

On the final day of a recent 10-day vipassana retreat, the first and only day when we could talk with each other, another participant posed an interesting conundrum: “I don’t know whether it’s worth meditating every day and going for liberation in this lifetime, or instead not meditating at all and just enjoying myself.” His thinking was that it might take more than one lifetime of meditation to purify his mind to the point where it was perfectly clear of defilements, which would mean that he would be free from suffering forever.

I totally understand this perspective. I attended my first 10-day retreat a few years ago, and failed to practice every day afterwards. My level of suffering gradually increased again, which led me to going on this more recent retreat. It’s very easy to think that meditating regularly is boring or makes your life worse. The idea is that meditation is a form of suffering now in order to earn some distant reward, to be totally liberated from suffering years or lifetimes in the future.

Here is the reality: practicing vipassana today improves your life today and in the future. Every time I meditate, I end the session calm and content. On a day that I have practiced, all day is spent with low anxiety, high inspiration, and high confidence. Two hours is not wasted because you need to sleep less, are more productive, and are more creative. There are less disputes and arguments, more focus, wiser decisions, and less time wasted on pointless things. These are just a few of the benefits of regular meditation, and I will write about many more in other articles.

A side effect of practicing vipassana two hours per day, one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening, is that one day, maybe next week, maybe next year, or maybe next lifetime, your mind will be so purified that it will cease to generate any more impurities. That is a side-effect. The main purpose is that today is made better, and that tomorrow is made better.

If you want to learn and get established in the practice that Buddha re-discovered, that he used to make is life increasingly awesome, and that ultimately freed him permanently from suffering, I recommend this free, high-quality training available near you.