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Meditation: Why Bother?

by Lei Huang

Meditation is not easy. It takes time and it takes energy. It also takes grit, determination and discipline. It is certainly a great deal easier just to kick back and watch television. So why bother? Why waste all that time and energy when you could be out enjoying yourself? Simple. Because you are human. And just because of the simple fact that you are human, you find yourself heir to an inherent unsatisfactoriness in life which simply will not go away.

The essence of our experience is change. Change is incessant. Moment by moment life flows by and it is never the same. We categorize experiences into good, bad, or neutral and perceive with a set of fixed habitual mental responses accordingly. We try to grasp and hold on to the good, to push away the bad, and to ignore the neutral so we can return our attention to the first two. Our minds are full of opinions and criticisms. We have built walls all around ourselves and we are trapped with the prison of our own likes and dislikes.

Sounds pretty bleak doesn't it? Luckily it is not; not at all. It only sounds bleak when you view it from the level of ordinary mental perspective. There is a way to perceive the world beyond good and bad experiences. And it is a learnable skill. It is not easy, but it is learnable.

Meditation is intended to purify the mind. It brings the mind to a state of tranquillity and awareness, a state of concentration and insight.

The purpose of meditation is personal transformation. It changes your character by a process of sensitization, by making you deeply aware of your own thoughts, words, and deeds. Thus, meditation properly performed prepares you to meet the ups and downs of existence.

Meditation sharpens your concentration and your thinking power. Then, piece by piece, your own subconscious motives and mechanics become clear to you. Your intuition sharpens. The precision of your thought increases and gradually you come to a direct knowledge of things as they really are, without prejudice and without illusion. So is this reason enough to bother? Scarcely. These are just promises on paper. There is only one way you will ever know if meditation is worth the effort. Learn to do it right, and do it. See for yourself.