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 kind of unquestioning belief could be disparagingly called ‘blind faith’, nevertheless, for those people, it’s essential to their religious practice because without it, there are only questions. And 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 faith that is derived from deduction and common sense. Faith that arises from the informed conclusion that meditation makes sense – that it will deliver what we need from it.
Further to 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 inner questioning and anxiety 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 was to help create informed 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 where it usually resides, and outline the inherent sense and workability of meditation as a life enhancing skill.
To create informed faith.
When we have this kind of 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.
With informed faith we can surrender to the process of meditation because we have taken in all the information we needed to decide that this is the path for us. With this kind of faith we accept that the journey is long, with many twists and turns and challenges – but worth doing because it works, because the case for meditation has been made to our satisfaction.
So if, after reading my books, you still don’t have faith, then read other books. Or better still, go to a good teacher, or 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 the process.
And be surprised.
‘BEING STILL – MEDITATION THAT MAKES SENSE’, Roger’s new book, is available now.
‘BEING STILL’ is available on Amazon as a paperback …….
‘BEING STILL’ is also available as a Kindle ebook …………….
‘BEING STILL’ the audiobook (including all exercises) ……….
(The audiobook includes all the exercises, as well as ebooks of Being Still, to fit any device.)