I remember when I first was exploring meditation. I thought is was about “checking out” and getting into some sort of blissful state where everything is wonderful! I would be taken away to a place where all of my problems went away. I could not have been more wrong! This one might be the one that makes me laugh the most. Anyone who has spent any time in meditation quickly learns how comical this really is.
Let me ask you this, can any of us predict with 100% accuracy how we are going to feel this time tomorrow? Of course not. We can speculate, we may have a decent guess, but none of us can predict the future or what events might transpire of the next 24 hours. This is the nature of our reality and of our minds. It is completely unpredictable, it is constantly changing at an incredibly rapid pace, whether we like it or not. Our minds and our moods change constantly and often time for no obvious reason whatsoever. This happens even when everything is going okay. What about when we have turmoil, stress, crisis, sickness, unexpected expenses, or endless other circumstances?
What if we formed a different relationship with the states of mind, circumstances of life, and the inevitable problems that we are bound to face? This is much more in line with what meditation offers us. Meditation allows us to form a different relationship with the inevitable adversity of life. We are able to put some mental distance between our emotions and the circumstances of life, to see them more they way that they actually exist, rather than hyper-inflated value we arbitrarily place on them. We give ourselves a chance to more skillfully navigate the tumultuous waters of life. There is a saying that says, “life flows where our attention goes”. Meditation is training and learning to control your attention, this gives you a much better chance to navigate life skillfully in a way that is good for you and good for others.
Does this mean that we cannot have a blissful meditation? Of course not. However, if you go into meditation looking for this experience then you are most likely going to be frustrated and disappointed. It is much more beneficial to meditate with the intention of forming a skillful relationship with the inevitable ups and downs of life rather than trying in vain to make life conform to the way you think it should be. The question I always ask myself and others is this, “How’s that working out for you?”