This post is inspired by my friend Erric Solomon, blogger and administrator on the site, What Meditation Really Is. His post, Ten Reasons Why We Should Never Meditate, inspired me to write a similar post.
I know that this site is loaded with advice and how to meditate, where to meditate and why you should meditate. But…maybe you shouldn’t meditate. Maybe meditation is really a waste of time, a waste of time that you could be using for other things like surfing the internet, watching TV or playing video games (the list goes on, doesn’t it?!)
Here is a list, and feel free to add to it in the comments section, on why not to meditate. Call this the short-list.
10. You’ll get bored. After all, your mind is too quiet to amuse you.
9. You could be watching TV. Your mind isn’t as entertaining as CSI.
8. Meditation is for monks. Normal people don’t have the problems that they do.
7. You don’t have time to meditate. After all, there are better things to do than to learn how to work with your mind.
6. Meditation is for people with problems. After all, if you don’t have problems your mind is normal.
5. Meditation requires that you sit in one place for a long time. There are better things to do.
4. Meditation is for religious types. If you don’t follow a religion, there’s no use in meditating.
3. You have to be Buddhist to meditate.
2. Meditation is the same as relaxing and you get a chance to do that when you do things like watch TV or read.
And finally…. number 1. If you meditate, you may find out that it’s something that’s good for you.
So, now that you have 10 really good reasons not to meditate, are there any antidotes to your reasons, sometimes known as excuses but also known as “Not tonight, I’ve got a headache,” for not meditating? Well, here are responses to the list that I just presented on why you might want to meditate.
10. You’ll get bored. After all, your mind is too quiet to amuse you. Are you kidding me? Have you ever watched your mind? It’s better than reality-TV or daytime television! What you can come up with in your mind is far better than anything that any TV-producer could imagine. The good, the bad and the ugly – all inside of your mind, all part of the endless stream of thoughts, and all…impermanent.
9. You could be watching TV. Your mind isn’t as entertaining as CSI. See number 10. Like I said, the mind is the creator of so many thoughts, ideas and perceptions. In fact, the historical Buddha was quoted as having said, “We are what we think, all that we are arises with the mind. With our thoughts we make the world. Speak or act with a pure mind and happiness will follow you as your shadow, unbreakable.” Simple enough, right?
8. Meditation is for monks. Normal people don’t have the problems that they do. C’mon, what could be easier than sitting in a cave or monastery somewhere, free from the worries of checkbooks, mortgages and…telemarketers?!
7. You don’t have time to meditate. After all, there are better things to do than to learn how to work with your mind. See #9…and #10. If mind is the forerunner of your world, and if you experience the chaos of your mind when you sit and practice meditation, why wouldn’t it be worth learning how to work with your mind.
6. Meditation is for people with problems. After all, if you don’t have problems your mind is normal. If you have a mind… you have problems! No seriously, if #9 is correct, and if the mind is the forerunner of how you perceive the world, then the problems that you experience in the world, at least your perception of them, can be changed with the practice of meditation. And then…no problems!
5. Meditation requires that you sit in one place for a long time. There are better things to do. This is true, to learn meditation, it does require that you engage in some formal practice in order to learn the art of contemplation. However, even in practicing formally, it doesn’t require that you do it for extended periods of time. When you practice meditation in five-minute chunks, over the course of a day, you’ll find that it doesn’t seem like it’s a long time and you won’t end up doing it while you’re only sitting; you’ll do it while you’re walking, eating, brushing your teeth…pooping! And once you learn how to meditate, you’ll find that all of the “better things to do” are perfect opportunities to practice…meditating!
4. Meditation is for religious types. If you don’t follow a religion, there’s no use in meditating. I’m not religious. Many people who aren’t religious meditate. Enough said.
3. You have to be Buddhist to meditate. See #4. Some Buddhists meditate, some don’t. In fact, there are meditation or contemplative traditions in every major religion. But…you thought that I said that you don’t have to be religious. Exactly! And, there are meditative methods in all of the schools of Buddhism. But, you don’t have to be a Buddhist; you can be a nuddhist!
2. Meditation is the same as relaxing and you get a chance to do that when you do things like watch TV or read. I get to pull out the “science says” card here. Ongoing scientific research, volumes of it, has found that the effects of meditation to be significantly different than the effects of relaxation techniques. While you may find that you’re relaxed while meditating, there’s much..much more to meditation than just relaxing. How? Read the posts on this site to find out.
And finally…. number 1. If you meditate, you may find out that it’s something that’s good for you. That’s right!
So, if you decide that you don’t have enough reasons not to meditate, that is, if you decide that the reasons that you have aren’t good enough reasons to prevent you from meditating, then read the following cartoon and…enjoy!
For more information on how to meditate, please see the Related Posts below. Also, don’t forget to download the free ebook, Can Meditation Change the Way that You View Your World?, for help with getting started in you meditation practice, and download the ebook, How to Work with the Four Distractions to Meditation to learn how to deal with some of the obstacles to meditation.
As always, please feel free to share your comments. And, as always, please feel free to contact me if you’d like to see additional content or other discussions on this site.