Thursday, March 11, 2010

Meditation

Buddhists meditate a lot. Most Christians do not meditate, although some do. Christian monks meditate but as Thomas Merton pointed out, not enough compared to Buddhist monks. Meditation is essential. It is a way of training the mind and the effects can be measured using neural imaging techniques. Meditation can be compared to training in the martial arts. For example, there are many people who watch the UFC and know a lot about the different types of moves and strategies, but if they were to get into the ring they would be destroyed because they do not have the necessary level of training. Martial arts moves cannot be executed in a real fight without a lot of training - knowing them and being able to step through them with a cooperative partner is not enough. The same is true for the mind. Both Buddhism and Christianity instill in us values that are meant to make us kind and compassionate in the world. But these will not work under pressure unless your mind has been trained. Meditation is that training. Many people mean well and have good intentions but when they get in a difficult situation they do things they later regret. That is because they could not control their mind in a stressful or confusing situation. To be a Buddhist or a Christian (or a Buddhist Christian) in the real world requires serious training of the mind. Speaking for myself, I do not meditate enough.

Zen Mind, Beginner's MindThis is one of the best books ever written on meditation

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