Why Meditate?

My answer is based on both the teachings of my teacher, Shinzen Young, and my own experience.My answer is based on both the teachings of my teacher, Shinzen Young, and my own experience.

The short answer is Happiness. Meditation optimizes five fundamental dimensions of human happiness.

1. The first is reducing suffering – strengthening the ability to experience unavoidable pain with fewer problems. Chronic or passing illness or pain, disappointment with loved ones, rejection and hurt.

2. Another dimension is elevating fulfillment. The ability to experience even small pleasures with enormous satisfaction: noticing a flower or  insect, tasting food, using a tool that really works, noting your friends smile – deeply, finishing the NYT crossword in record time.

3. The third dimension of contemplative practice is Self-understanding. This is very helpful at a psychological level. But where meditation  really shines is to understand who your are at the deepest level.

4. The fourth dimension is that meditation will help us make objective behavior changes. So if there is something I’m doing that I need to stop doing, or something I should be doing and I’m procrastinating, meditation skills can help me behave more successfully in the world.Reduce suffering, elevate fulfillment, Understand ourselves at all levels including the deepest, improve behavior and 

5. ultimately to find within ourselves a spirit of service. Contributing to the happiness of others that comes from a spontaneous love. Actually that spirit of love and serving others is a natural consequence of success in the other four dimensions. As we suffer less, are more fulfilled, learn about ourselves at all levels, and start to get more skilled at carrying ourselves in the world.

Nobel Prize winner, Spanish poet, Juan Ramon JimenezI have a feeling that my boat struck, down there in the depths, against a great thing.. 

And Nothing happens. 

Sound, silence, waves. 

Nothing happens?  Or perhaps everything happened, and we are sitting now quietly, 

In a new life.