I yesterday explained why I thought it was impossible to empty one’s mind completely and think nothing at all, something that many people call the aim of meditation. Today I want to take a look at those impressive things that people actually do achieve with the help of meditation – and I will also mention why I believe that these people are actually artists, not meditators.
I am sure that you have already seen this kind of thing, most probably on television: a man can bend iron rods with his bare hands, a woman can hit right through a pile of hard bricks or a man can pull a truck by a rope just with his teeth. These and other, sometimes record-breaking stunts are done with extreme concentration – and lots of meditation teachers claim that this is what one can achieve only with the practice of meditation! Their theory is that you bring all your energy together at one point where you are able to channel it and display superhuman strength!
I don’t believe in this. I don’t see anything spiritual or meditative in these performances. It is a performance, maybe even these people’s business and that is fully fine. It is, in my eyes, art. You practice and practice to achieve something that not everyone can achieve. You have reached a level of practice that gives you a certain qualification, that enables you to make others look in amazement at what you do.
Now if you tell me that this is what meditation does, I won’t agree with you. I won’t say that these people don’t meditate, they probably do, but by displaying their achievement merely as a result of meditation, I believe you reduce the value of these people’s practice and you try to present meditation as something terribly difficult that only great meditators can do. Only those who have spent years in the Himalayan caves in meditation, those who were born in special families or those who have reached enlightenment. The message that you give others is: these people are great and could reach to this point of meditation but for everyone else, for the normal human, it is near to impossible to meditate so well and properly to have an effect like this.
If you hear someone say this and point you in that direction, you will notice that they always try to sell you their style of meditation to guide you to this goal. They will be there with the offer to make you stronger or better in whatever way you like, to make you special and even get supernatural powers – if you just try hard enough.
No, I don’t agree.
Meditation is not an art that you need to practice hard to actually get a nice result. Meditation is not something that only selected people are able to do. Meditation is for everyone and while it may help your concentration, it is not something for being presented on a show or in a performance.
Tomorrow I will tell you in detail what I believe meditation is.