lördag, mars 22, 2008

Am I a “Meditation Addict”?

People who were addicted to narcotic substances before starting a meditation practice, say meditation does not create addiction the way they experienced their drug did. I guess that has to be taken account of when I now start exploring if I am a “Meditation Addict”.
What if there is nothing noble about my so called “spiritual path”. Interesting to notice that a word for alcohol in fact is SPIRIT. Wow, I have have never seen that so clear before.

Its always been obvious to me that meditation and mindfulness in some sense aims at changes in consciousness – exactly the same thing as with all kinds of substance abuse.
Let me say upfront that I am not going to propose that meditation can be dangerous in any way. I don’t believe its dangerous. Is it healthy then? Many people say it is

Meditation as workout for awareness/attention.
If you see attention as a muscle meditation could be a good way to exercise that muscle. But are there not other ways to practice that would give you other benefits – I think of anything really that requires concentration. Because meditation and concentration are on some level related. I say on some level, since the kind of meditation I have in mind, vipassana / zazen etc does not involve effort, which I guess is what suggests a relationship to drug abuse. Whereas concentration always involves effort, using mental energy to drag attention back to the object of concentration, such effort are not allowed in zazen. – move your attention very gently back to the breath /body etc and just notice that you got lost in thought. Just notice it, that is all you need to know, don’t judge yourself and say you are a bad meditator, no, just notice, and if you happen to judge yourself, notice that too, quite effortless.

Wow, effortlessness is the keyword in meditation. No wonder its addictive…. You should not try to attain anything (I am talking of zazen inspired meditation here), you should not expect anything. It’s the exact opposite of the arduous everyday life filled with expectances and things to attain. That’s where mindfulness comes in… you can actually extend your practice to everyday whereabouts like cleaning, washing the dishes, well, in fact to everything. Not having to attain any future goals sounds like sweet music to my ears. Why? Am I tired of this life? Sick and tired of doing the same things over and over again, striving for future goals only in order to fail or get disappointed when reaching the goal didn’t deliver up to my expectations. Tired, tired, tired….

Is it so? I feel like I have no choice here but being completely honest with myself on everything concerning this spiritual path of mine. Where is this path full of meditation and mindfulness leading me?
Am I becoming a better person or am I escaping the responsibility to become so. Do I have a responsibility to improve? Am I not going to die anyway. Maybe I get Alzheimers before that, so that everything I have acquired goes down the drain. A complete waste of effort. Why try to learn anything when you are going to forget it anyway?
- Oh, come on, take yourself together, don’t think along those lines, its not good for you. You should think empowering thoughts.
- Why? See, this is also something that makes me so tired of this existence. You should and should not ad infinity. Would it not be a huge relief to let go of all these shoulds?? That is I think one of the reasons people abuse drugs. They know its not good for them or others but the need to free themselves from what is expected of them is so strong. They are sometimes willing to sacrifice EVERYTHING in order to get that high. A moment of release. A moment of OK-ness. Everything is ok right now. That feeling is for some people worth more than anything, more than family, loved ones, friends, community, money, security, long life …

But I have found a better way, an activity that lets me be there, in that space of ultimate ok-ness every day, several times a day if I want to, and that activity is meditation.
Ultimate ok-ness is addictive. I can promise you that, if you have never tried, think twice, because it could lead to lifelong addiction…

I should tell you that I write this way, drawing things to the extremes, in order to make things more clear to myself. Don’t take what I say too seriously. Of course I can see that there are other benefits of meditation and mindfulness. I could ramble on about all the benefits for hours and hours.
But wouldn’t that be boring? I always feel drawn to going deeper. I cant stop myself there. Of course I could but that would require effort and EFFORTLESSNESS is my thing. And that I share with drug addicts. That’s the connection I want to explore here.

I also want to really look close at what Eckhart Tolle are suggesting me and other spiritual seekers to do, and what consequences that might have. Mr Tolle is telling us to surrender future. Sounds like one of these spiritual slogans / clichés. But slogans are being repeated over and over again just because they sound fancy, it sounds kind of cool, - surrender future – different from all the boring wisdom we are used to - like "our children are the future". "We have to take care of this earth and each other in order to create a better future for our children". How cool is that? It’s not cool at all and it just puts a tremendous responsibility on us. Do we want that? Don’t we rather have some fancy, cool wisdom that relieves us from all responsibility. Wisdom that makes us feel great.
Surrender future, live in the now, be here now, - sounds spiritual but could as well be used to promote a hedonistic lifestyle.
Well, my exploration will continue. It’s a circle of thought, that hopefully takes me a bit deeper every day. So I can as well stop right here. Time for breakfast.
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