Our “western” society is extremely thought-oriented. We pride ourselves on logic and reason. I grew up in this society, so I know how it is.
As a teenager and young adult, I suffered greatly from the effects of an over-active and out-of-control mind. I spent (literally) thousands of hours thinking about psychology, analyzing others and exploring the depths of my own mind, in order to “be my own therapist.” I was constantly analyzing my mind, how it worked, and how to make myself “happier.” It didn’t really help. In fact, it kind of made me crazy for a while.
If some long-haired tie-dyed Tommy-Chong-sounding hippie came to me at that time, and told me, “Hey man, all you’ve got to do is meditate man,” I probably wouldn’t have given it much thought. If some no-haired sober-faced orange-robed Buddhist monk came to me and said “You must meditate in order to conquer Dukkha!” I would probably have thought he was just some crazy religious person expressing some crazy dogma from his belief system.
There are dozens of these people on the Internet, yet none of them were able to reach me in my time of need.
What I really needed was for someone to put meditation in terms that I could understand through my thought-oriented “Western” paradigm. I needed someone to explain why I should meditate, and how it would benefit me. Meditators always talk about the “benefits” of meditation, but they tend to put them in such vague terms as “finding your center” and “living in the now” that most western people don’t even know they’re talking about!
The funny thing is, now that I have experienced the benefits of meditation for myself, I can see that it is actually the solution to all of the problems I was having as a young adult. It is the solution to the problems of tens of millions of people across the USA and European Union, who are currently wasting billions of dollars every year on psychiatric treatment and drugs that are only making things worse. Meditation is the cure for the “disorders,” but it won’t just take you back to “neutral;” it will take you all the way up, into the realms of boundless joy and happiness. And it will awaken you to the spiritual reality of consciousness itself.
So, without further ado, here is a short list of the benefits of meditation, in western terms. Continue reading