Is your meditation functional??

Meditation is great, right?

A nice, tranquil room, some incense burning, some soothing music in the background and someone walking you through some guided visualisation, maybe…
After you come out of class, you feel refreshed, you feel alert – generally, you’re feeling pretty awesome, and life is great.
Then, you pull out of the car-park and some jack-ass cuts across in front of you. You slam on your brakes, and your body tenses for an impact that never comes. Your blood is up, you mutter some curses to yourself, but you’re still a bit high from your meditation. A couple of minutes later, your calmer, and your on your way home.
You get home, the house is a mess, you’ve got to go shopping… And so on, and so on.
Life is never simple – that’s just the way things are. No matter how tranquil you are feeling, life will throw up something to disrupt you.
That is my issue with meditation classes. They create a false reality for the duration of the class, then you are thrown back out into the real world, with little explanation and less experience of how to transfer your meditation work over into real-world application.
Have you ever tried meditation whilst walking down a busy high street? Or have you ever practiced ‘mildfulness’ exercises throughout the day, to train your mind to centre?
If you haven’t, if you can only meditate whilst in a quiet room, with incense and peaceful music playing, then I’m afraid you can’t meditate at all.
At some point, you need to go out and throw yourself into the chaos of the world, and begin to actively work your meditation in the hustle and bustle of your every-day life.


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chrisbale's picture

Meditation is a wonderful method to relax our mind and body. We feel fresh after meditating for some time.
Ronin Athletics's picture

Meditation, like martial arts, requires a certain degree of focus. I am curious, as to how the author proposes to focus on meditation, while walking a main street, and stay alive. Is that the essence of successful mind control, or simply an effort to prove the hypothesis of Darwin's theory?
Medway Tai Chi Society's picture

Perhaps you failed to read the article? Meditation is the practice of becoming aware of yourself and the world around you. If you can achieve this level of awareness in a quiet room, then it is worthless. The practice needs to be brought into the real world in order to achieve real results. You say that practicing meditation on a busy street is an effort to prove Darwin's theory - surely an active awareness of yourself and the world and people around you is more likely to ensure your survival? You're not as likely to walk out infront of a car, you're able to notice the predatory behaviour of a group of thugs ahead, and take action to avoid conflict, you're heightened awareness of your posture and structure reduces the risk of you tripping...
Taoquan's picture

Yes, maybe people should be less "Aware" of their cell phones, text messages and tablets and more Aware of the world around them. I was taught the ultimate level of Meditative practice is that it is not a Practice, it just is. If Meditation is not Life, then it is not Meditation. You need to be aware, there is no difference from being Aware in sparring contest, to being aware of potential (or none at all) threats on the street. If you look up from your electronics, books, or other distracting things we do this day and age on the street, you will quickly see how unaware people are. Meditation is a way to practice this Awareness, but in order for it to be Applicable to every part of our life, it must come out of the practice "Hall", "Temple", "Room" etc and go into every aspect of our lives.
Medway Tai Chi Society's picture

Agreed, if you can only 'meditate' in a quiet room, with candles and incense, and calming music in the background - then you cannot meditate at all! It's like going swimming every so often, and thinking you could live in the ocean.
bruceva's picture

Yes, but bear in mind, you've got to start somewhere. Most people can't even meditate in a quiet room. Being able to achieve a high state of consciousness in a controlled environment is a great first step. Once you've got that down, its fun to throw it into more chaotic environments and really work on your mindfulness.
andym's picture

All the said Medway, as some who really only does meditation under the ideal conditions. I do feel it builds up a reserve of calmness, to fall back onto, when 'IT' hits the fan.
Aran's picture

From my understanding of what you talked about in the above blog post is one aspect of meditation. It can be used for many outcomes, my definition of meditation would be the pursuit of inner calmness or balance. If that is achieved then your subconscious is less concerned with egotistical thoughts freeing you to be more perceptive of you environment. Is that not what you were talking about? Also depending on the school of meditation you subscribe, your out comes and results will be different. Your point seems a bit blinkered to me but what do I know. (p.s. when people pull out in front of me like that, no amount of meditation will stop me from wanting to giving them a in prom-to dentistry examination with my feet :) )
bryanskrantz's picture

Meditation is actually about looking within and finding the answers. As the buddha said.
Stephen Finch's picture

I used to practice meditation when I studied Goshin Jutsu with Sensei Kris Tanaka in Hedge End, Near Southampton England. I found the results while practicing quite beneficial within the dojo. However outside the dojo I couldn't get the focus I had while meditating in a quiet room. I was practicing meditation in the mid and late 1990's. Now though I haven't really practiced any form of meditation for about 16 years or more. What I do think is more important is to be more aware of yourself and your surroundings or environment. The way I get to relax is by doing qi gong, pushing hands and practicing xing yi quan. Everyone is different and one thing can work for one person and not another. Meditation is not for everyone, it may work for some and not for others. Everyone should find something to help themselves relax and become more aware of themselves and their environment.