Friday, September 2, 2011

Why I Wish You'd Meditate

This today via AMA Samy, from Mysticism in Religion - Three Ways to View the Sunset by Fr. Richard Rohr -
Consciously or not, far too much organized religion has a vested interest in keeping you . . .  where all can be put into proper  language and deemed certain. This keeps you coming back to church, and it keeps us clergy in business.  This is not usually the result of ill will on anybody's part; it's just that you can lead people only as far as you yourself have gone. Transformed people transform people.
It got me thinking about the many bad "therapists" I've touched down on, and the world's worst psychiatrists, all of whom I've surely seen, the really bad doctors, and ministers, yes.  It is exactly true that people whose level of enlightenment or transformation is low will deal with you from their own interests. 

These days meditation is often sold and sought for personal gain of the most superficial and immediate sort:  I feel so peaceful afterward.  But what we mean to do in Zen is much more than you can get from a good massage - loosen the bonds of our conditioned self, be less driven by its egocentric project.  Awakening means knowing what we're doing, and thus being able to avoid doing harm.

Tired tonight, often I don't post things like this that feel abstract, but I think I will.


  1. It may seem abstract, but it's clear to me. I'm glad you did. [An acquaintance of mine paid a "teacher" $400 to learn how to meditate. I told her I could have shown her for free. She didn't believe me.]

    Be well.

  2. I bet that teacher was not a certified (so to speak) dharma teacher. There is a clear tradition in Zen, at least, that "the dharma is freely given." There are many freelance people who want to teach, or earn money with their books; it's a real problem to some in the field. Roshi James Ford has even written a book called "Zen Master Who?" that lists teachers and discusses their backgrounds.

  3. You're right. I believe it was "Transcendental Meditation" wherein they give you a mantra and instruct you to meditate 20 minutes, twice a day.

  4. I remember that well. I know someone who did that and diligently practiced and it didn't impact her chronic dissatisfaction. Mantra chanting can lead to a certain state of mind but, presented without a context of how we live or a wisdom/cosmology it can only function as a stress relief, or a way to get high. The sad thing is that people then feel they tried meditation and it didn't work.