Does Meditation Work? What To Do Instead?
Meditation does not mean to fight with a problem. Meditation means to observe. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh (Tweet this)
So there’s this new thing out it’s called, meditation. If you haven’t heard of it, then allow me to fill you in really quick. Meditation, according to Merriam Webster is to spend time in quiet thought for religious purposes or relaxation. Sounds nice and peaceful, doesn’t it? But does meditation work? Here’s the thing, even according to this definition—and many others—meditation is still advocating the thought process. This is the fundamental mistake of meditation. It keeps you thinking.
That’s not to say that reflection or thinking doesn’t serve a purpose. The problem is that we all think too much as it is, already. We do not need to think more, we need to live more. We need to get out of our heads and back into our senses; to feel life and live it completely in mind, body and spirit.
Meditation, according to the definition we just read, is just a type of thinking. It’s actually a very introverted, deep thinking process. But thinking doesn’t solve problems, awareness does. Thinking doesn’t make life more vibrant, alertness does.
Most are meditating to relieve stress or relax; however, there’s much more efficient ways to do this. If you’re meditating to come up with good business ideas or have some other break through, there’s also something much more effective.
The real meditation
In a word, proper meditation is awareness. Meditation has to be something more like breathing. Just like breathing, awareness and alertness comes with us. It doesn’t matter whether you are walking, working or making love; you are either aware or unaware.
If we were to drop our breath in any single moment, no matter how exciting or significant, we would drop as well. Awareness is not like eyeglasses that we can simply take off. It is more like our eyes they are always there. However, the question is, are we alert, do we see what’s really going on, or are we simply sleeping?
Mindlessness vs. Mindfulness
Along with the question of “does meditation work” is this idea of mindfulness. This is another misconception made by many of us. The funny thing is, it’s a basic literacy mistake. Just look at the word. This is a great time to practice awareness. By simply looking at the word and not thinking about it, the word tells us clear as day what it means; mind-full-ness. Meaning, when we are mindful, we are full of mind.
Mindfulness is also consciousness. Yet, the more “in your head” that you are, the less aware you are of what is going on around you. When you are aware; however, you do not even need your consciousness to interpret things for you. This is the exact opposite goal of awareness or meditation.
In meditation, the goal is to lose the mind and become alert. When we live in the mind, constantly thinking, constantly conscious, we become overly analytical and tend to worry, become nervous, insecure and obsessively ponder on the many ways we may have or might mess up.
In short, consciousness or mindfulness is just thinking and thinking is the way to paralysis of analysis.
Don’t think, look
Have you ever wanted to do something in life? You say to yourself, “I want to . . . well what’s stopping you? I’ll give you a hint; it’s your mind. It’s the overly-active and reactive thinking machine. It’s making you worry, it’s making you second guess and it’s keeping you in a state of constant stress.
A person who knows meditation, eventually knows everything. He or she remains alive and aware of everything happening around them. Instead of thinking, they find things out by experiencing them. When we get out of our heads and into reality we start gain the certainty that comes with experience. Certainty allows us to stop thinking and as Nike so eloquently puts, we just do it.
So for all those who ask how does meditation work, what I am proposing for you to consider is very simple, like all good advice. Stop thinking and look. Stop analyzing and evaluating everything, instead become aware of your life and your own existence. If you want something, then stop wanting and just do it. You’re not going to make the unknown known by thinking about it. The real secret to living a life free of stress is to stop worrying and start finding out. Awareness is the way.