There are probably as many reasons to meditate as there are people. Perhaps the question should be “Why not meditate? We live in a world which is becoming increasingly confusing and chaotic. Many of us long for some peace and quiet in the midst of all the noise blaring out of our T.V. sets or the constant pings on our smartphones indicating another message coming through.
We have family responsibilities, work responsibilities and countless other things that need doing, leaving us feeling exhausted and overwhelmed in this fast paced, constantly changing universe. Some of us deal with loneliness and feelings of alienation and some of us are constantly anxious about situations that we don’t have any control over. As Mark Twain once said: “I’ve suffered many terrible misfortunes in my life, most of which never happened,” meaning he worried needlessly about things that never happened, as many of us do. The media is constantly telling us of one disaster or another and we become concerned that we’re next.
No wonder we try to escape this daily grind and seek out experiences that will make us happy. We go on vacation, watch Netflix, take a class
to learn something new, have dinner out with friends which are all positive, wonderful activities that bring us happiness while doing it. On the dark side, we may turn to more destructive activities such as drugs or alcohol, thinking it will ease our psychic pain. What many of us discover is that trying to numb ourselves with drugs or finding happiness in short bursts of fun and pleasure is all temporary. That insight is a good thing because then we begin to acknowledge that we are missing something in our lives. We begin to explore methods that will bring us more than just a few hours of fun and happiness. We decide to learn meditation.
Why? Why meditate? Because it teaches us to depend on ourselves for happiness, not on external, fleeting experiences. We begin to still the mind, to become consciously aware of who we really are – the good, the bad and the ugly, without self-criticism or judgement.
Through the practice of meditation, we have the opportunity to become our authentic self, free from anxiety, fear and negative emotions that cause us so much pain and grief. We may experience extraordinary happiness. That’s a very good reason to meditate!