Meditation Articles Series
How efficient is meditation in dealing with "baggage"?
Recently I had an email from a friend who said that his partner had decided that meditation seemed to be a rather inefficient way of sorting one's stuff out. I took "stuff" to mean fears, and negative thoughts about oneself, others, and life in general. Is meditation inefficient in this sense? It would seem from all the research available that meditation is indeed a very efficient tool to align yourself to life. Training and focusing the mind through whatever style or technique suits, whether based on the physical or mental senses brings about change.
In many of the circles and groups I have moved about in there was often a great emphasis on 'enlightenment'. This is a state that produces oneness with the universe, increased awareness and understanding, and a continuous state of bliss. The emphasis on being all light and love so often left many of us still dealing with "our stuff." I had mistaken the real purpose of meditation (to focus and concentrate the mind with its many beneficial mental and physical side affects), to escaping from all that appeared to be mundane. I wanted to become very spiritual and above having to deal with such things as relationships, working, and paying the bills. Well, I was doing these things but in a haphazard way because my attention was always on the light and the love that seemed to me to be separate from daily living.
Back in those days I had an expectation of meditation. So much for the Budda's teaching of "Anicca, Anicca, Annica," ( Everything constantly rising and falling and passing away). I wanted to be out of this miserable world on a high of bliss and everlasting nirvana. That was my goal and my immense struggle for a long time. Perhaps that is one of the reasons people get so confused about meditation. It is so often seen as a mystical practice; of reaching a state of holy endowment, sitting in some serene cross-legged pose.
In writing Fragrant Heart I wanted to create a website that focuses on the practical benefits of living your life in greater peace, calmness and relaxation. If 'enlightenment' happens along the way, well and good.
As I researched and talked to others and brought my own experience into this website, I found that most people are looking for a meditation practice to reduce the stresses in their lives. In doing so there are the side effects of letting go worry and anxiety, and experiencing increasing states of inner peace and calm. In this very fertile practice it will stand to reason that "stuff," "baggage", or whatever else is deemed as limiting to fully experiencing the joy of being alive will also gradually dissolve.
If you also consider meditation to be inefficient in dealing with your "stuff" I would encourage you to find a meditation technique that interests you. There are so many of them. In doing so you will find that the benefits of meditation will come to you much faster.