< Read Other Blog Posts

February 20, 2011

No Coming or Going - Why We Meditate

Written by: Matthew Wagner, L.Ac., M.S.O.M.

We are master escape artists in our ability to hide from the truth.  We have a grass is greener mentality.  We always think it’s better somewhere else - better house, car, job.  While personal progress is often a virtue, affording us better access to life’s essentials, when applied to our spiritual lives, not only does this mentality get us absolutely nowhere, but it keeps us in the same painful perspectives and relationships to life we are trying to escape from.  The relationship that most people have to their lives is one of discomfort, shame, and fundamental alienation and isolation.  For this reason, the modern approach to spirituality is to seek for happiness outside oneself.  Traditionalists pine for happiness in the afterlife.  The new age movement has cornered the market on manic projection.  But, is anyone truly happy right now?

There is the expression “change comes form within”, but consider also, you’re not going anywhere.  For every spiritual high, there is always a come down.  For every spiritual hallucination, there is reality.  For every dream of the future, there is waking.  Every time you think you’ve escaped the harshness of reality, you find yourself there again, once again struggling to get out.  You’re not going anywhere.  Can you willfully refuse to hear the sounds around you?  With your eyes open, can you refuse to see?  Right now, as you read this, can you willfully choose not to exist - right in this very moment?  You’re not going anywhere.  

You have no choice but to make your spiritual life right here and now.  Because you cannot escape, you have no choice but to realize your spirituality right now.  Who are you - right now?  What is your experience of divinity - right now?  How does this experience feel in you body and mind - right now?  How do you know this experience is real?

To answer all of these questions is the reason why we meditate.  As Christ said, “the kingdom of heaven lies within.”  This is true from a Zen Buddhist perspective, as well, for it is only by experiencing the deeper truth of who we are, completely and irrefutably,   that we can actually change our own perspectives to life, and all of the relationships in it.  Furthermore, it is only by knowing oneself completely and irrefutably, that we can know true joy and peace in our lives.

If exploring your life in this way sounds appealing to you, feel free to come the group meditation.  If physical or functional pain of the body is getting int he way of you developing your practice, consider acupuncture and Chinese medical herbal medicine as a way to open and strengthen the body, to help you along the way.