Young People Have It So Easy These Days…

14/06/2010

A Little Perspective

Filed under: Meditation,Philosophy,Psychotherapy — davedoyle87 @ 23:23

People meditate in order to relax.

Everyone knows that, surely.

But what is the link between meditation and relaxation? And if it’s such a great tranquiliser, why aren’t millions of meditation addicts overflowing from rehabilitation centres worldwide for the positively sociopathic amount of time they spend alone (or indeed in groups) with their eyes closed?

It was a question which puzzled me too, as a particularly stress-prone young man, before I was introduced to this ancient and life-enhancing practice: what about all the time that you’re not meditating? Did meditation provide, at best, brief respite from… well, the world? Given that my anxiety generally came about as a consequence of exams or social situations, and not sitting with my eyes closed, this unanswered question seemed like reasonable grounds for scepticism.

Of course the way to learn about such things is not to avoid them, but to try them for yourself. And learn I did. The answer, based on my own experience of meditation, is perspective. Focussing on one’s inner self, one’s own continuous, vital life processes (i.e. breathing) or the propagation of metta (universal loving kindness, very roughly translated) encourages a greatly improved perspective on the relatively trivial matters which can all-too-easily cause distress in even the most emotionally stable people in their darker moments. And you don’t have to be sitting down or have your eyes closed to have a perspective on something; it stays with you indefinitely, as long as you sit and foster it occasionally.

As such, little stuff just bothers you less. It’s as simple as that. It’s a beautiful thing, really.

For the ordained Buddhist who has pretty much devoted his life to meditation, it seems to be a ticket to perpetual contentment (judging by the content smiles they permanently wear, at least). To those of us still driven by more material concerns, life remains complicated. Just a little less so. Go on; give it a try.

Written in memory of the twelve Cumbrian individuals murdered by Derrick Bird on the 2nd of June and with metta for the families who survive them: proof that no matter how distressing your life may seem, it can almost always be infinitely more so.

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