I’m always surprised by peoples’ objections to meditation—by all the reasons they aren’t interested.
They think it’s boring, or pointless, or that they need to become a Buddhist.
They think it’s all about relaxing. Or that meditation is somehow an end in itself.
I get it.
If all that were true, I wouldn’t do it either.
But meditation isn’t a demonstration of faith.
It isn’t representative of any particular belief.
You aren’t committing to an ideology.
It isn’t just a pretentious way to kick back and relax.
And it certainly isn’t an end in itself.
(Any more than dieting is an end in itself… Do you diet because you just really enjoy the experience of not eating food??)
Yes, Buddhists meditate. Yes, meditation is a part of many religions. Yes, there are lots of gurus who want you to convert…
Buddhists also eat food.
Food is a sacred part of many religions.
And there are approximately eleventy billion vegans who want you to convert.
And yet, here you are… wanton and defiant. Eating each and every day.
As if eating food has nothing to do with any of those things.
Well… meditation doesn’t either.
All a meditation is, is a technique that helps you move from one state of mind to another.
You are in one state… you meditate… your consciousness moves… you end up in a different state.
No religion. No belief. No boring, pointless routine.
It doesn’t sound like much…
But it might be the most important skill you ever learn.
Because consciousness is the key to damn near everything.
Not because “everything is consciousness.”
Not because “everything is connected.”
But simply because consciousness is the common denominator in everything you’ll ever do, or think, or be.
Think about it like this…
No matter what you are doing, you are in some state of mind or another.
Whether you are happy, or anxious, or sleepy, or feeling connected, or dreaming, or having a moment of clarity, or anything else you can think of—your state of consciousness is ultimately responsible for the experience you are having.
Not your environment. Not your company. Not your station in life.
Your own consciousness.
That’s why some people can stay happy and optimistic, even when things are falling apart.
Because it’s more about what’s going on inside you, than what’s going on around you.
Most people emphasize the opposite…
They remain passive on the inside and focus on trying to control the world around them. By controlling others, or controlling the situations they put themselves into, or trying to control the quantum wavefunction using New Age affirmations. (Ugh.)
There’s nothing inherently wrong with trying to steer your life in the direction you want.
But focusing all of your efforts on controlling the rest of the world—while neglecting to exercise any control over your own mind—is a really poor way to do it!
Even when you can’t control your environment… which, you might as well admit it, is most of the time…
If you want to change what you are experiencing—then changing your own state of consciousness is the most effective course of action.
It doesn’t even matter what kind of experience you are looking for…
Maybe you want to be more present. Maybe you want to be less anxious.
Maybe you have insomnia and just want to go the fuck to sleep.
Any time you move from one experience to another, you are changing states of consciousness.
You can change randomly, at the whim of your environment.
Or you can stop drifting, take up a contemplative practice, and start exercising some intentionality.
That’s why you need a contemplative practice.
Even if you aren’t a spiritual person.
As long as you are a conscious person—then you have an unspeakable amount to gain.
Because you will be taking an active role in directing the one part of your life that touches everything in your life.
You don’t have to explore spiritual states of consciousness if you don’t want to.
Personally, I don’t know why you wouldn’t…
Saying, “I don’t want to experience a rapturous state of unity,” is a bit like saying, “I don’t want to experience the most profound, intense orgasm of my entire life.”
But hey… to each their own.
If you just want more focus and less stress, cool… Do that.
It’s a good place to start.
And it’s way better than drifting.
But if you’re one of those people who will never be satisfied with normal…
If you have that irrepressible longing inside you, urging you to deeper things…
If some horizon is calling you, but you aren’t sure how to get there…
It’s been right here all along. Waiting patiently…
Right behind your eyes.
So what’s the catch?
What’s the downside?
Like any skill worth having, a contemplative practice takes work.
It requires thought, and courage, and curiosity.
And passion doesn’t hurt.
There are no shortcuts. No passive paths to mastery. No secret laws of nature poised to sweep you up and reward you for your open mind and best intentions.
It’s like learning a sport, or martial art, or a musical instrument.
You can do it.
You don’t need to feel super-spiritual, or “tuned in,” or all insightful and evolved. (In fact, you’re better off if you don’t.)
But it does require some effort and commitment.
How much depends on how far you want to go.
Anyone can learn chopsticks on the piano in a matter of minutes.
A six year old can leap right into a karate class for kids.
And if you just want to de-stress and be mindful, a few pointers and a quick timeout will get you on your way.
If that’s all you need, then what I’m talking about is overkill.
I’m talking about learning Beethoven… and then composing your own symphony.
I’m talking about getting your black belt… and then becoming Bruce fucking Lee.
I’m talking about becoming the person that YOU aspire to be…
Right now, there is some stubborn spark—some vagrant destiny—trying to burn it’s way out of you.
This is the way.
You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.
You think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not.
You can do it.
You are capable of far more than you realize.
If you liked this post, please consider sharing, along with a brief comment of what you thought… It doesn’t sound like much. But these small gestures make a tremendous impact on building our community, and helping other wayward rebels find a perspective that they can resonate with.
And if it spoke to you, why not Join the Tribe? It's free.. And this is just one tiny piece of more than two decades of impassioned work...... And YOU probably belong here with the rest of us!!
In any case, thanks so much for stopping by! – \m/ – Z
About Zach Herbert
I teach people to do cool things with their consciousness, and break their brains with beautiful ideas.
Professional heretic. Unlikely mystic. Host to rebels, misfits and independent thinkers.
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