You could read the latest neuroscience articles to get scientific explanations on why meditation is worthwhile. You could parooze a million testimonials of people who say its benefited them. Or, if it’s your bent, you could even find several-thousand-year-old treatises from sages and holy men who talk about transcendence, enlightenment or alleviating suffering.
However, you don’t need more reasons.
As a culture, we are extremely good at analysis and reasoning; so good that we live much more from the “head” than the “heart.” Of course, balance is what’s needed. I’m not saying don’t have a reason. I’m suggesting that if you’re gotten this far, you probably already know that it will make you more grounded, less reactive, more directed, less weary, more sincere, less stuck, more AAAAA LLLLLL IIIIII VVVVVV EEEEEEE !!!!!!!
In turn, rather than dive more into the reasons, today I’ll invite you to plunge into your “heart,” your passion, your deep inner well of motivation—that felt sense of I will live my priorities no matter what comes challenges come my way.
Firstly, consider what impulse led you to reading this post on meditation.
Dive into that impulse a layer beneath the surface. Is it the same thing that’s led you to caring about the world or trying to live consciously and deeply?
That “thing” is a raw feeling. It’s nothing you could neatly condense into a “reason.” It’s a pull of your heart. An innate curiosity. A longing of your soul.
Here’s one of the most important questions I’ll ever ask, so take a moment to actually feel into it before answering:What is that longing inside you?
Let it sink in.
Got your answer? Try speaking it out-loud in a phrase or single word.
Maybe it’s just intrigue or even a desire to connect with me personally; but, if you dialogue with that longing well beneath-the-surface, maybe you’d also find something like, “I often feel weighted down by the burden of life, but I’m tired of that and so so so want to break free.” Or, maybe this, “I’m doing alright but I’m committed to living deeply and fully, and that longing is what pushes me into uncharted territory.” Or, how about, “it’s my unstoppable desire for wholeness.” Or, even more simply, “my LIFE-FORCE.”
One truism most seekers eventually discover is that at our core, there’s a profound longing for love and truth. It’s just difficult to see initially because it’s covered by all the bullshit of everyday life.
A direct route to that core longing is to really feel your feelings.
It’s to live in the energy of depression rather than the thoughts of escape. To be with the energy of anxiety rather than the thoughts of worry. To be with every feeling’s bodily energy rather than self-distract or self-numb. To everyday dive into the question, “what is my longing?”
Again, the point of diving into your longing is that it’s the key to actually meditating, opposed to just thinking or reading about it. Apart from simply feeling your feelings, here’s a few common routes to embodying that core longing:
1) Suffering. Often after tragedy, like death, loss, illness or major life change, people dive into immense feelings of suffering that awaken their longing. Inversely, some people tune into the subtle, everyday suffering that comes from ego-identification. Living in reactivity. Living enslaved to the inner monologue or the overwhelm of emotions. When you deeply peer into the suffering of that mode-of-living, it can powerfully awaken your longing.
2) They’ve had a taste. Many people have had some mystical experience that thoroughly blows their mind, and shows them the depths of what’s possible. Perhaps it’s through psychedelics, yoga or meditation retreat, song and dance, prayer or even an ordinary everyday experience, like showering. Whatever the taste, it awakens a longing for the divine that can transcend a large amount of ego.
3) Other people. You meet someone who’s got something you want. A presence beyond explanation. They inspire not with their words but through how they live and interact. That example awakens your longing.
4) Innate curiosity. Every one of us has a voice inside that knows we could always go deeper. That knows there’s something more to this divine comedy that what meets the eye. Tapping into that can also awaken a great longing.
So why meditate?
Of course, it’s helpful to reflect on your #1 reason. However, know that your ability to meditate consistently will have more to do with feeling into the question,
“What is my deepest longing?”
The more you dive into that question, the more you’ll meditate; and the more you meditate, the more you’ll live your longing—what more of a #1 reason do you need?