I was recently invited to accompany a friend to a Meditation Seminar in upstate California. As it turned out, it was in the same city where my sister lives, and not all that far from my son. So, in addition to the seminar, I would be getting in a visit with my relatives, all for the same price, so to speak, even though it was his treat.
The trip itself was relatively uneventful, although it took us about 10 hours to get there. I will bypass all the details relating to seeing my sister and son during the trip, having an enjoyable time, and so forth (except for the one incident involving an amazing 2-hour delay in being served dinner at a normally “good service” restaurant), and get right to the part about the meditation seminar and its automatic assumption that it includes the quest for getting to know God and reducing one’s stress.
I’m a big fan of meditation. I certainly don’t mind learning someone else’s way of meditating — any way of getting closer to God is fine with me — if indeed it heads in that direction. Although I do not in any way regret going to that meditation seminar — after all, it brought me to see my sister and my son all for the same effort in going along for the ride — it really, unfortunately, did not resonate with me spiritually.
It was easy to realize that many of the attendees had seen this guru before and were happy to see him again. My friend, who had been a disciple and friend of this guru many years ago, was even mentioned (twice) in the book that he gave me to read to get familiar with his teacher’s beliefs and teachings before I got to hear him speak at the seminar.
I read every word. It was not an especially revealing book; the guru’s thoughts and beliefs were those I had heard before, yet some were just the author’s beliefs attached to his own life experiences. Not all of our respective beliefs were a matched set.
A little regrettably for me — in regard to what I had hoped to hear at that seminar — there was nothing especially new or more satisfying for me than my own beliefs or practices… not to take anything away from the guru everyone came to see, but to state that his talk did not resonate with me or take me to a higher level.
My point is that many people strive to learn more about God, about how to contact God, about how to talk to God and hear God talk to them. Many people seek after truth, and want to follow someone who is known as a leader in that regard, to help them find the truth for which they seek. I would imagine that seeking God is always a good thing, and following a spiritual leader that one believes can help is therefore also a good thing. I didn’t sense that this particular guru was in any way not a good man, yet I didn’t sense that he was someone who had a message for me.
Going through ordinary life, day to day, we all know that we’re far from perfect. Maybe our “faults” don’t show that much, or others don’t notice them that much… or, maybe they do. If we were perfect, there would obviously be no need for improvement. If we were perfect, we would likely be patterning our behavior after someone we believe to be perfect, like Jesus, who relayed to us the message (or mandate) from the Universal Father, “Be you perfect, even as I am perfect.”
The source of all creation would have to be perfect; you can’t put into your creation what you don’t have within yourself. Knowing we can be perfect helps us to aim in that direction and strive for that reality. Therefore, communing with our Heavenly Father on some level is important for all spiritual beings, and finding the best way to do that would obviously be important to every spiritual person.
It is not surprising that some seek to follow a particular guru for that help; and it is not surprising that some do not find that help with a particular guru, seeking instead to find that help with another, or by going within — within themselves where they believe their Heavenly Father resides. Yet whatever path one chooses to help get in touch with the God within is likely a good path.
It is possible that not everyone who meditates finds their God within, even with a teacher or a guru; and it’s likely that not everyone who even consciously chooses the path toward perfection looks like they’re leading such a life to those of us looking on. Even those who are our teachers often continually seek higher spiritual levels for themselves. If it were easy to both find God and reach the level of perfection that we were assured is not only possible but mandated for us to achieve, perhaps there would be many more teachers to guide us and many more “students” taking up the quest.
In any regard, whether for the higher purpose of connecting with God, or the more physical purpose of finding inner peace to help deal with one’s stress, “going within” (meditation) is worth learning. If one can find a guru or a teacher of some kind who has been meditating for years and can help one to better learn the technique, it will probably be worth giving it a try.
Since meditation is a relatively easy concept that can produce amazing results — although it is not necessarily an easy thing to do for many people — it would behoove one to learn and understand some of the various ways to meditate. (The late Wayne Dyer, who was a friend of Deepak Chopra, would sometimes call his friend when he was apparently in need of some advice, and Deepak would always give him the same advice: “Meditate! Meditate!”).
Whether to further one’s spiritual life, to feel one is getting closer to one’s God, to calm oneself down, or to find a way to better deal with one’s daily stress and strife, meditation is always a great choice.
I was so pleased I was asked to accompany my friend to hear his guru friend’s meditation seminar. Many of the attendees apparently got a lot out of it, although they most likely learned the technique from him many years ago and just wanted to be in his presence again. Outside of the ever-popular TM (Transcendental Meditation, made even more popular by the Beatles trip to India), there are many different approaches to and techniques for learning meditation. I once bought a boxed set of six (yes, SIX) cassettes to help me learn meditating and finally gave up on them, convincing myself that if I needed that much instruction to learn something supposedly easy to do, I would just give up then, before it drove me crazy.
Thankfully, I told myself, I could just fall back on contemplation instead, which — according to a certain priest I knew back in the day — is what I had been doing anyway since I was about 15. But fortunately for me, a teacher of meditation came into my life and with less than a couple hours of instruction and practice, a new and really easier form of meditation found its way into my world.
Would I go to another meditation seminar if it came my way? Sure. Especially if it had the added benefit of allowing me the opportunity to visit with a family member. But the take-away is that meditation is not only still popular and relatively easy to learn, it is also both a spiritual tool and a helpful tool for reducing one’s daily stress, so apparently meditation is here to stay.
Perhaps someone will introduce meditation to our president. He could have used it during the campaign, and it looks like he could surely use it long about now.