By Lou DiVirgilio
The idea of meditation and its practice has nested within our cultural confindmints for a number of years. Generally, it congers up for us visions made popular by T.V. and movies: of priests or monks cloistered in some remote place, either chanting or quietly absorbed in prayer, or a practitioner of one of the marshal arts preparing for mortal combat or some spaced out “newager” sitting in a crossed legged position trying to experience oneness. Beyond those images, we have not a cultural niche of real value in which to place the practice of meditation.
The problem is that we have no tradition, no established conceptual foundation, aside from the Science of Psychology whose study mainly focuses on the functions of the physical brain. We therefore, need to barrow the cultural traditions of mind established over many ages, from the Orient and from India to help us understand, experience, and establish a true value for meditation. These borrowed traditions of mind are difficult for us to quickly and neatly integrate, adapt, and transpose into our culture. Yet as remote as these concepts seem from our everyday experiences, we are beginning to realize that the practice of meditation has a relevance to our spiritual, mental, and physical lives.
The motivation for this releverancy comes from our desperate desire to, in some way, neutralize and manage the stress and anxiety we create in our daily lives. People are desperately seeking any practice, method or technique that may relief their stress and bring some peace of mind. The problem is that the search is usually confined to the material side, trying to find the right pill, therapy, medical technique , psychological training, ect. The more we search for cures from the outside, and the more our attempts fail to satisfy, the greater our stress, anxiety, insecurity, and confusion. We are trying to satisfy infinite appetites with finite practices; an exercise in futility and ultimate frustration. Life’s enduring fulfillments lie within us, and the practice of meditation puts us in touch with that infinite world within. The practice of meditation begins to discipline our mind and gradually begins to abate those 1000 voices in the mind speaking at one time.
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