The meditation paradox is this: While it is true that most of us take up meditation for a specific purpose (i.e., anger management, inner wisdom, stress relief, lowering the blood pressure etc…), using our practice as a means to an ends impedes true progress. This is because meditation is an evolution. Your understanding of yourself, your environment, and your needs evolve as you practice.
If you are focused solely on the outcome, for example inner wisdom, you will eventually become frustrated with your practice because you will be expecting “something to happen,” during your meditation. In fact the more you want something the less likely you are to get it because when you are in a state of wanting, what you are really saying is, “I don’t have.” Wanting something denotes future time. It’s like saying, “I’ll be happy when…” or “I’ll be happy when I’ve achieved….” or “I’ll be happy when I have…”
A general Buddhist belief is that every human being has within them the potential for enlightenment. Religious Scientists believe that since God is omnipresent, and God is perfect, whole and complete, then the human being is also perfect, whole and complete. Ask a Hindu about the divinity of Jesus Christ, and she might say, “Well if one person is the perfect son of god, then we are all the perfect sons and daughters of god.” If you believe that what you want already exists as a potential within you, then you have removed the need for future in your practice. That is, what you want is already there.
There is a paradox between having a destination and resting in the confidence that you will eventually arrive at your destination. If you are always asking yourself, “How much further, when will I get there,” you may in fact become disheartened with the journey. If however you decide to enjoy journey and the scenery then you are more likely to arrive at your destination in a timely manner.
Your practice is a living thing that needs room to breathe, to grow, and to evolve. Come to your practice with an intention then let the intention go and enjoy the ride.
Photo Credit: Peter Hershey