Secret Purpose of Meditation is to Help You Escape Your Addiction To Neuroticism
Meditation awakens us to the weirdness inherent in a normal life
It’s no secret that the western world is becoming more neurotic. People are becoming increasingly captives of their ego — as commonly epitomised by reference to selfies on Instagram.
This leads them to measure their value by the good and bad that they have to endure as compared to the good and bad they see others enjoying. The stress this creates is often countered by suggestions to relax, and especially to seek calmness and perhaps meditate.
However, escape is not the purpose of meditation. I have experienced the true purpose, and it is remarkably different.
A comparative life is a disappointing life
Living a comparative life is a one-way street to disappointment, jealousy, resentment, anger, fear, depression. These feed neuroticism, along with the industry that is being created to “cure” it.
This new industry is the 21st-century version of the pharmaceutical industry. (Follow the money and you’ll see how much profit can be made from neuroticism, and hence why the “cures” will only target the symptoms.)
Even gratitude has been captured by our new comparative culture. We are encouraged to recognise those less fortunate and then be grateful for what we have.
But gratitude is not derived from recognising our comparative good fortune. Rather, gratitude is the self-recognition that we each have the capacity to be more kind to our fellow human beings. Those who are less well off are just as gifted to show gratitude as those with more.
Extreme discomfort is a message to seek clarity, not run away
To escape a comparatist life we have to be able to confront those things which cause us discomfort and not back away. It’s the constant backing away that increases the neurotic tension. We feel that we have to pad the problem and to soften it — often by blaming others.
The next time you encounter fear consider yourself one of the lucky ones
Do you run from fear? Do you sense it coming and back off?
At those times when we are truly nailed by life we are in a place where we have no choice but to embrace what is happening or to run away.
When we’ve lost our ground completely and are unable to hold it together, it’s hard not to run to our addictions.
And it is extremely hard to take it as a message to seek clarity about our role in creating a sustainable solution. That is the true purpose of meditation.
Meditation awakeness us to the weirdness of our normal life
Meditation is not for creating silence or escaping the tensions of life. It is for illuminating our life and training us to not get carried away by our fears, nor our hopes.
The calmness of meditation is not the calmness of sleep. It is the calmness of our strength in clearly seeing what is going on with our thoughts and emotions. It clarifies that embarrassing moment and dissolves our ignorance around our disappointments and anxiety.
This calmness illuminates the darkness of our ignorance — the beliefs that we run from when we seek solace in our addictions. The calmness of meditation is the road to our openness with ourselves.
In this way, meditation provides us with the room to acknowledge the flow of life as it is — without judgement, fear or emotion. We learn the skill of just being with our experience, whatever it is.
Mediation is not about seeking the ideal existence. On the contrary, it awakeness us to the normality of our weird, unfathomable, everyday lives.
Experiencing the mind and body as one
I experienced the full power of mediation about 25 years ago — at a Vipassana retreat in Japan. Meditating for 10 days, from 5:30 am to 9 pm — in silence.
Before that experience, I had no idea what people were talking about when referred to the mind and body being one. Vipassana teaches you the practical skill to experience the mind and body as one. It’s quite remarkable.
Having this skill allows you to leverage your body to heal your mind, and to leverage your mind to heal your body. It gives you a fantastic “tool for life”, for living life better.
For example, at any time that your body signals discomfort, e.g. embarrassment, then through meditation, you can find the mental source of that discomfort. Then, by acknowledging without judgement, you can dissolve the subconscious origins of that discomfort, and any associated physical consequences, e.g. cramps, pains, ulcers, reflexes, heat, sweat, tension.
Despite the benefits I experienced from the Vipassana method of meditation, it takes a huge effort to build it into your life. That’s because they suggest a minimum of 2 hours per day. You get one hour back from needing less sleep. Nevertheless, after 2 years, I stopped.
I was hit by lightning in Korea. Here's what happened next ...
People were screaming. Dazed, I wondered why some were running towards me; no, wait - they aren't looking at me?
A simpler way
I found a technique from Indonesia, which only required 5 minutes. Remarkably it provides me with sufficient clarity into my thoughts and emotions to make it my daily choice of meditation. I hate to use the word efficient in regard to meditation, but this is.
If you have not meditated, I suggest that you find someone to teach you and give it a go. Not for the calmness but for the room it will create in your mind to view your fears and hopes as part of the normal context of your everyday life.
If you enjoyed this post then you might also enjoy my Mindful Passion, Poise and Posture and Not Minding Leads to Confidence, Not Caring to Disengagement and Depression and Optimism is important but it is not the choice between it and pessimism that will help you succeed
I’m Walter. I write articles on fitness, health, and motivation for men and women over 50. However, curiosity is my main distinction. I’ve been lucky enough to have experienced a bolt of lightning hitting me in Korea, crash landing in a 747 (LAX), being sucked into a thundercloud at 4,000m in a sailplane (Australia), jumping freefall from 3,000m on my 1st ever parachute jump (Florida), and two different lethal cancers. In 2000 I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes which sparked my interested in exercise, nutrition, motivation and cognitive fitness. University qualified in mathematical statistics, and computing science (Masters); have a professional diploma in sports nutrition; certified social media strategist. Feel free to message/email me with any comments, questions, or collaboration ideas. Blog: walteradamson.com