Meditation is great. It helps you get centered and more in touch with your body and mind. It’s an excellent mental workout.
At the same time, a focus on meditation as the only solution to a stressful lifestyle or cluttered brain seems like misplaced energy. If someone works out for an hour a day, but then eats nothing but candy bars and Big Macs, smokes like a chimney, and shoots up heroine on the weekends, you would be correct in questioning their dedication to a healthy body.
Why, then, do we consider it to be the indicator of a healthy mind when someone takes an hour a day to focus on clear thinking, before heading back to the ‘real world’ and thinking as usual?
I would argue that rather than focusing on different brands of meditation, each served up like a sports team or martial art (“My Yoni Mudra style will defeat your Vipassana style!”), we should be focusing on being meditative in life. Always.
This is not as easy as it sounds. Most of us have grown accustomed to filling every spare moment with activity. When there’s no one around to talk to, we check our phones. Or we read. Or we open up a book and pretend to read. These are potentially beneficial activities, so it makes sense that we do them, but they also have the unfortunate side-effect of never allowing us to simply think.
Non-active thinking. Just sitting or standing or walking and thinking. How often do you do this? How often does anyone?
The value we’re trying to get out of meditation, we could be getting without even having to set time aside. Just imagine a world where people were more conscious of themselves and their needs and where they fit in the world and how their body responds to different stimuli and what stresses them and what makes them happy and how they can help others achieve the same clarity they do.
Such always-on lucidity is possible, though incredibly unlikely if we meditate and then go back to our normal, cluttered way of thinking.
Meditation is great, but being meditative — day in and day out — is better.