By Wayne Hoover
I don’t believe that meditation has a goal, it has no purpose. Yet I believe that meditation is one of the most beneficial things that I can do for myself. I strive to meditate everyday and when I do I notice that my overall wellbeing improves.
Goals in meditation kind of defeat the purpose of meditation. I find I have the “best” meditations when I’m not trying to do anything at all, when I have no goal. The times when I have meditated with a goal I have noticed that those times didn’t produce the best meditations. Some buddhist traditions call the “beginners mind” the best mind to have for meditation. The beginners mind isn’t trying for anything, it just sits and meditates, it doesn’t have any ideas yet of what its trying to accomplish, it hasn’t had the time to formulate a goal for meditation, its a novel thing, so it just does.
This reminds me of a quote from Ajahn Chah that goes something like “When you first start you are hurring forward, when you are in the middle you are hurring back and when you are near the end you are happy where you are.” I think meditation is very much like that, when you set goals for your meditations you might not get the most benefit out of your meditation.
All of that said, I would still like to talk about one of the benefits of meditation. Meditation helps me be more in tune with my feelings and body. In the past when I wasn’t meditating so much I would be more prone to not listen to my feelings. When I’m not aware of what me body is telling me I would be more prone to just do whatever it is that I was doing no matter how it felt, I was much less in control of my destiny, just going about my day like a log in the ocean, no real direction. But the more I meditate the more I come to pay attention to my feelings and allow them to guide me, and the more I feel I have direction, I have choice in my life.
When I base my actions on how I feel I notice that I usually feel much better in the long run. Its like my body knows the best route for me and I just have to follow it, yet sometimes my mind or other things around me persuade me to do other things. Usually when i’m not following my feelings I’m not that happy. This process of learning to follow my heart, I think is an amazingly beautiful and personal process, and one that will lead me to greater and greater joy, and it is most helped by meditation.
It should be of no shock that meditation helps one become more aware. What exactly you become aware of is the most amazing thing. For me it is more and more the knowledge of what it is that I should be doing, what I should be focusing on or how I should be spending my time. It is the knowledge of my feelings that guide me, and it is from my meditation that I am sensitive enough to hear them. My feelings become my guide because I am aware of them, and I allow them to guide me as through my day, how can I not when they are so clear?
This is one of the main reasons that I keep meditation around in my life; to become more connected to myself, to become more aware of my inner feelings. By becoming more aware I am able to follow my the guidance of my feelings. This gives me immense joy.