November 12, 2009

Looking for Meaning

As long as we insist that meditation must be meaningful, we fail to understand it. We meditate with the idea that we’re going to get something from it—that it will lower our blood pressure, calm us down, or enhance our concentration. And, we believe, if we meditate long enough, and in just the right was, it might even bring us to enlightenment.

All of this is delusion.

- Steve Hagen, from “Looking For Meaning,” Tricycle, Fall 2003

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Greg's picture


Doing nothing certainly does demand something. I find it much harder to do nothing than to, for example, be diving into my work emails all the time -- when I don't really have to.

And it obviously delivers something. Just doesn't follow the usual input/output relationship based on expectation and reward that we have come to expect.


alan's picture

Arrash, I am looking to use my time and effort wisely. I expect a positive result from my right effort.
The pernicious Western Zen idea: "just do nothing and expect nothing" is junk. Why? It demands nothing. It delivers nothing. It makes no sense and is therefore a waste of time.
Plus, it has no relation to what the Buddha actually taught.

Gina's picture

Stay away from telling people what meditation "should" be or what it is. If it lowers blood pressure and it feels good, so be it. If it helps you relax, so be it. Who made the rules? Who decided what meditation "should" be about? Follow your path of joy. You decide what is right for you. Gina

Arrash's picture

Alan, what appeal are you looking for? :) What thing do you want that has "worth" over the "junk" that has no worth?

marco's picture

alan's picture

Typical worthless Zen junk.
What is the appeal here?

Angela's picture

People are always saying to me, "you meditate that must be so relaxing". It always makes me laugh. This paragraph sums it up perfectly!