Have you been sold meditation?
Meditation has officially become a consumer product. And what a product! It promises to bring you wealth, health and success. Meditation improves your productivity at work, creates financial abundance, reverses the ageing process and enhances your sex drive, so you can enjoy more and better sex. Wow, that is impressive. Who would not want that?
Marketing experts are over the moon; they have free rein and can play wildly with people’s deepest desires. But here is the hilarious paradox: the marketing machine leverages on the same exact conditionings which real meditation is meant to dismantle. True meditation is about dropping the goal-oriented and business-like mindset, rather than strengthening it. Yes, surely practising meditation on a regular basis brings relaxation, a more focused mind, better emotional balance and a healthier body, so you can experience a state of high-performance. And once you operate from a state of high-performance, it is natural to achieve your goals. But all this is just a by-product of meditation, not its aim.
The popularisation of meditation in the West presents similar patterns to what has happened to Yoga. From a highly spiritual and esoteric discipline, which initially attracted a small portion of sincere seekers, to a mass product available in every gym alongside all sort of fitness classes. Nonetheless, I am very positive because even if people start meditating to have better sex and more money, when they accidentally experience a glimpse of silence for a split second, it can change their life forever.
All those who follow a meditation practice anchored into an authentic spiritual tradition, understand that the mind and the ego are the only obstacles to happiness and freedom. The whole spiritual journey is about dissolving the ego, recognising the mind for what it is and dropping all desires to achieve, improve and evolve. If you want to use meditation to reach your goals, that is fine. Satisfy all your desires till you get fed up with them and come to recognise the whole absurdity of this endless cycle. At that point, you can step out of the game. Only then, you will start appreciating what meditation has to offer.
Meditation can make you feel happy for no reason at all, not because you have obtained professional, social or financial success. If there is a reason for your happiness, it is not going to last for long. Soon circumstances will change and the cunning mind will look for the next move, comparing, planning and dreaming. The dreaming mind: what a diabolic game! When you get tired of this game, then meditation opens its doors to you.
And remember: despite what marketers, media and sales people say, meditation is not a quick fix. It takes time, energy, effort and daily commitment to unmask the subtle ways of the ego. In life nothing worth having comes easy. Meditation is a process of understanding how the mind works and there is no short-cut to it. It is a journey to expand your consciousness which changes the whole quality of your life. It is something you need to earn consciously, it cannot be given to you by a drug, a biofeedback devise, an 8-week course, a 10-minute technique, or even a Guru.
Results are not guaranteed, you may never become rich and successful in the material world but you may find inner peace and happiness. Ultimately, every human being is in search of the same exact thing: happiness.