Meditations on meditation
A successful and happy life is about saying yes to good things and no to bad things. Evolution has designed us to be largely successful as normal life forms in our usual ecosystem. Our problems arise primarily due to deviations from healthy behaviour.
We have several innate imperfections and a tendency to let them take hold of us. We give in easily to temptation, greed, addiction, anger, prejudice, selfishness, jealousy, etc. Stopping ourselves from acting on these harmful impulses allows us to use the healthy and best parts of ourselves. But these faults are hard to resist as a part of our evolutionary psyche.
In many fundamental areas, our primordial instinct is for harmful things. For example, innate desire makes us eat and cheat too much. Saying no to a weakness comes before saying yes to its healthy opposite. Getting to yes needs to go through the gate opened by no.
Temptations are not only within us. People around us also weaken us in several ways. They may take advantage of us, waste our time, encourage excess, lead us to unethical behaviour or addiction. Being able to say no to them is almost as difficult as saying no to ourselves, as we instinctively identify with others socially to have family and community.
But between the two, being able to say no to ourselves is more crucial because there are more things to control within ourselves. Also, if we can do the difficult thing, which is to stop ourselves, we will more easily say no to the worst of others.
I’ve written about meditation and its many benefits from my experience. But given the reality and impact of our worst impulses, the control that meditation gives us over our feelings and thoughts is its paramount value. It is a knight in shining armour when it is about rescuing us from ourselves.
With regular practice, meditation tightens the brake cables of our mind, and we can press it down firmly at will to say ‘stop!’ to our brain in many perilous moments.
You may read this story on how this happens.Meditate to Take Your Brain to the Gym!
How meditation strengthens our mind and self-control.medium.com
The collateral benefit of meditation is that it allows our minds to explore and grow by substantially freeing our thinking from negative emotions and their repercussions. An emptier mind can make music, not just noise.
As always, we shall finally apply the Golden Mean Razor to our idea. It tells us that we cannot and should not say no to every wicked or weak impulse every time, even if we can. A bit of frailty, unpredictability, and spontaneity makes us human rather than a robot. But mostly, we should. That is what education, religion (for believers), intelligence, society, and family values strive for. Meditation can be a powerful ally to them. Make it yours too.
If you are interested in meditation, you can read the stories below to explore it from different viewpoints.
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