Amanda and I are listening to “the great courses”, and the current course is “practicing mindfulness: an introduction to meditation”. I’m only 3 lectures into it, but here are my initial thoughts and notes:
- meditation is not what you think
- all religions use meditation to some degree (although Buddhism is certainly the most prevalent), but you don’t need to be religious to do it either. According to the professor, it’s simply a good thing for anyone to do become more mindful and happy
- if you want to undertake meditation, realize that it needs to affect the rest of your life too. Becoming mindful means becoming aware of yourself, and that you and others affect each other, and you should help others.
- meditation is not an escape from reality, it is an escape “into” reality. By that, he meant we are usually I’m the rat race, trying to get more money so we can have more things etc and participating in this man-made lifestyle; instead of focusing on your senses and experiences.
- meditation is actually not synonymous with ruminating or thinking deeply about something. I’m not sure if the professor has really gotten into explaining exactly what it is yet. But it’s not just thinking deeply on a subject, as the common usage of the word suggests.
- meditation is not exotic. Having a shaved head or long beard or robes is not necessary, and may actually detract from it. You shouldn’t do it to seek spiritual experiences, or to appear pious. You should do it to more fully experience life
- if it’s selfish, i.e. The only one benefiting from your meditation is yourself, then it’s not real meditation. Wisdom and compassion are inseparable
Anyways, I’ll probably post here next time I get some time to listen to it (probably next week on my headphones while I mow the lawn again).