Even for those of us who are service-driven and mindful, as normal human beings it’s natural for us to asses a situation in terms of what we can get out of it. It’s a natural survival technique really, “is this worth expending my energy on?” That is a totally valid question and it’s important that we ask ourselves just that. Yet, there are so many other times—especially in our modern world where basic survival is not our top priority—when the question of “what can I get out of this” is overemphasized.
I’ve seen a lot lately about how meditation can be beneficial for the brain, for the body, for success, and so on. And for the record, I agree. But, the emphasis on what the “self” can get out of meditation can only take us so far. A longterm meditation practice aims to take the “self” out of the practice altogether.
If we let our meditation practice be only what it can provide to us, then when we inevitably “feel better” and drop the need to meditate. A meditation practice that is only focused on personal gain eventually will get boring and be dropped by the wayside. A life that focuses only on what “I” can get is one that will never be fulfilled.
Our meditation practices—and our lives—are far more valuable when they are in the service of others, when the focus of self is benign and the emphasis is on the greater good—the recognition that our differences are far fewer than our similarities.
This week, let’s remind ourselves that when we meditate we are aiming to reduce comparison and judgement. We are training our bodies and our minds to view our world as one, not as separate entities, not about what we can get out of situation, but how we can give to it.
Our meditation practice not only serves us by strengthening our ability to sit with ourselves during uncomfortable times but also by recognizing when those around us need that kindness too, or even more so when they need the space to do that for themselves. When we take the self-benefit out of our focus we create a practice that goes far beyond our own fulfillment, which is more interesting, sustainable and meaningful.
The benefit is beyond me.
I see past myself.
Have a happy & healthy (election!) week!