Meditating Without Faith is Like Breathing Without Air
It occurred to me today, that one thing I’ve neglected to write about on this blog is perhaps, one of the most important requirements of efficient meditation.
And that is the notion of Faith.
Now, I’m not a religious person, but I do understand why religions rely on faith – faith that there is a god of the kind they believe in. Faith that their God loves them and will take care of of them. Faith that their God is the only God, and stuff like that. Though this unquestioning kind of belief could be disparagingly called ‘blind faith’, nevertheless, for those people, it is essential to their religion because without it, there are only questions. And all those questions will eventually corrode their belief in their God – so they shy away from them. Because its the only way their religion can function as a working part of their lives. Put simply, their faith gives their religious beliefs strength, power and facility in their lives.
So, when it comes to meditation, we need a similar faith – but it’s not religious faith, nor is it blind.
Rather, we need informed faith. We need a faith that is derived from deduction and common sense. A faith that arises from the informed conclusion that meditation makes sense – that it will deliver what we need from it.
Further this, I would go as far as to say that trying to meditate without this kind of faith makes meditation extremely difficult.
A lot of people come to meditation with hope. They hope it works – that it will help them, or cure them. They hope it will release them from one kind of suffering or another.
But meditating from hope is futile, largely because hope leaves so much space for doubt. And doubt creates questions and anxiety and restlessness. And it creates expectations. And all that turmoil creates much of the disturbances and insecurities that make meditation virtually impossible. .
So far, I’ve written three books about meditation – ‘Happy to Burn’, ‘Love and Imagination’, as well as the most recent, ‘Being Still’ (which you can get below) – and when I distil my intention down, the mission I gave myself when I wrote these books – it was to help create faith.
Regardless of the particular method I’ve outlined in my books, my principal purpose was to ‘make the case’ so to speak – to lift meditation out of the vague waffle of mysticism and esoteric speculation, and outline the inherent sense and workability of meditation.
To create faith.
When we have faith, we can accept the difficulties of meditation. We can relax into them, and be confident that they are temporary. We can allow our mind and body to work things out in their own intuitive way as we contemplate the breath.
We can surrender to the flow of moment by moment experience, without puddling about with questions like, ‘is it working? ‘Am I getting there?’ Am I doing it right?’ and so on.
We can surrender because we have faith. With faith we accept that the journey is long, with many twists and turns and challenges – but worth doing, because it works.
And we have faith because the case for meditation has been made to our satisfaction, that so long as we remain as still as possible, our mind and body will naturally adjust, heal and find balance.
So if, after reading my books, you still don’t have faith, then read other books. Or better still, go to the source – the huge resource of Buddhist texts and writings that are available on the net.
Just click on the links to which follow:
And once you have built your knowledge of how meditation works and why, and how essential it is to a life – once you have developed informed faith, then sit down and surrender to its process.
And be surprised.
‘BEING STILL – MEDITATION THAT MAKES SENSE’, Roger’s new book, is available now.
(The audiobook includes all the exercises, as well as ebooks of Being Still, to fit any device.)