Many people do not have enough time to become themselves. They fill their time with work, relationships and hobbies that distract them from boredom and bad feelings. They live fast-paced lives designed to disallow the periods of reflection that would render their way of living inefficient and wasteful. They live as most of us live— doing the best they can with what they have.
But what happens when you only look ‘out there’ for truth? What happens if you, like many people today, never look within?
The simple answer is that the truth never arrives. You end up living life staring through a false projection of reality and die never having experienced the world outside of your limited purview. In this regard, meditation is indeed a sort-of holy activity; it gives you direct access to inner truth regardless of your past, background or place in the world. It allows you to grow into yourself.
If you never take time to reflect, you live in a world of pure illusion. Thoughts, emotions and external stimuli control you. You may find yourself a slave to money, sex, power and other desires. You may find yourself wanting to be someone else, behaving like someone else, and believing yourself to be someone who you are not. Our chaotic world of images has countless emerging consequences that we won’t recognize until history shifts its tides back against our narcissistic tendencies.
In looking within, you discover that you have pretty much everything you need. You are the source of all your happiness, sadness, failure and success. These judgments do not exist in the external world but are projected onto it by you. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Judgment upon the external world comes from within; controlling it changes your world, like a software update. If your mind is uncontrolled and indulgent, you end up living in a bugged state of delusion.
Some people begin meditating and are shocked by how a genuine this new understanding of the self feels. For this reason, meditation can be dangerous. If you’ve spent years and years dwelling under countless layers of delusions, false judgments and vain motivations, meditation might really mess with your head. Is this a red pill that you’re willing to swallow? For me, the answer has always been yes. It is always better to suffer over the truth of reality than to suffer over your delusional misinterpretations of reality. Through the former, we forge a new perspective with new possibilities. Through the latter, we remain stuck in the cycle of samsara and falseness.
Saying yes to true understanding is a difficult path in today’s world. Pretty much everyone you meet and everything you see, especially if you live in an apex of modern life like a city or a university, serves the interest of projected false realities. Dishonesty has always run rampant in human common life because fantasy, solipsism and idealization are easier than true reflection.
Similarly, with so many technological distractions and a total lack of societal control over impulses, decadence becomes a norm rather than a vice. Overindulgence in food, drugs, sex and madness are the norm rather than the exception. Without restraints, standards or reflections, there are no honest questions. Without these questions, we lose our way.
For this reason, to be a daily meditator in 2016 is a profoundly self-directed and even revolutionary act. That is not to say that it will turn you into an ideologue or a revolutionary. It will do the opposite— turn you into a self-confident and honest person in a world rife with weakness, clinging and indulgence. Meditative reflection reveals yourself to you. It allows you to respect your inborn nature rather than trying desperately to become what you can never be. It allows you to make peace with what is and work within the unfolding of the present moment towards a greater understanding of life.