Why do we meditate?

meditate

Is there a best reason for us to meditate?

Perhaps asking why we meditate seems to be a silly question coming from me. But I have realized that not only do I meditate daily without often giving this thought, but perhaps many of you do as well.
And today I will not offer any answers for any of you, but hopefully can provoke each of you to consider what is taking place in your own practice with a bit more awareness and understanding. And this, of course, is very personal and individual for each one of you. My mind, age, training and experiences are all unique, as are yours.

I have heard this question asked at Blue Lotus Temple many times before, and there are always a myriad of responses. Some say it is to gain peace or tranquility, some say it is to slow the mind, some say it is to gain wisdom and insight. But are any of these correct, are all of them correct?
One thing that seems apparent to me, is that all have a desire or goal attached to them. And this of course is contrary to what the Buddha taught. If we attempt to eliminate our desires by replacing them with a new desire, it hardly seems that we are on the right path. And there are some of us who do this out of habit I think. We have done it a long time, and it has become a part of our programing. And the problem with that, is it becomes no different that any other habit we develop whether it is wholesome or unwholesome. And perhaps when meditation is done as an habitual practice it is neither one, but actually a neutral exercise. And can that be beneficial to us?

As I stated at the beginning, I am not here to quantify the what or why of meditation. And the reality is that all things rise and fall, all things are impermanent. So is it even possible to say meditation is that or that, or has one singular purpose? I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to this. We all have our perceptions and delusions, with a constant bombardment of assorted stimuli. This moment is not the past one nor is it the next one. This thought is equally as transient. But we have an opportunity always to be mindful and aware of this moment. Perhaps even developing our mindfulness to one of complete awareness and understanding.
And with this in mind, I offer my blessings and love to you for the coming New Year. And understanding that this too is a complete delusion. There is no New Year to be joyful or hopeful about, only this moment and this day to savor one moment at a time.

May you be well, happy and peaceful.

  • wpankey57

    David,
    A timely post!  For some reason, I’ve been struggling lately with the 5th of the Five Hinderances: Doubt about the efficacy of sitting.  
    William

    • WHPDave

      wpankey57 I’m happy to hear that William. I like what Bhante Sujatha says… “there’s no struggling in Buddhism”. :)

  • jekail

    I think that desiring to lessen desiring has a different nature than, say, desiring money.  It’s like  I practice a piano piece so that I don’t have to practice it in the future.  It is self negating.  Kind of like setting fire to a line of trees to stop a forrest fire.   Desiring other things is continuous, keeps going, and has nothing to stop it.