So who needs to meditate? Not everyone. Most of my closest friends and family don't meditate at all, zero, yet they are as happy as most of my friends and students that do. They manage their stress in their own ways. But, if you do want to meditate or already have an established practice consider there are other reasons why you are choosing this hobby.

After years of teaching, studying, and practicing meditation I've noticed there are three reasons why all people come to meditate. The first is general curiosity. The second is to reduce anxiety and stress. The third is boredom with life, which subsequently leads to a curiosity about exotic spirituality and the magical ideas of Enlightenment.

So, are you simply curious? There's a lot of talk about meditation now. The conversation is filled with a lot of promises. In truth, meditation has always been out there. In the early 1900's Carl Jung, a famous psychoanalyst, and his peers were researching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation alongside Europe as a whole. The mysteries of the East were becoming popular at that point for the first time in the “modern” era. Meditation, however, has been a part of the human experience for thousands and thousands of years because the mind has been central to the human experience since we've been "human" and happiness or peace, as the goal of meditation, is central to that human mind. The promises of meditation have amplified through its evolution, ranging widely and almost preposterously from stress reduction, happiness, and peace to the transcendence of reality itself! It’s an impressive carrot dangling from a time tested and now very popular stick!


If you're just curious my advice is to try it out! Give yourself a month to fully commit and experiment with it. It's very simple and, again, deeply intuitive. Trust yourself. Sit down. Close your eyes. Be still. Breathe slowly. Then, simply observe sensations and thoughts arise and disappear. Be careful not to diminish these “basic” instructions and consider even the trail up to the summit of Everest in the end is only a trail. Become utterly passive. Notice how everything "flows" because all things from thoughts to itchy spots on the skin to pain come and go on their own. Epiphanies arise. Memories come up. It’s all moving and changing!

Movement but more importantly change is a central understanding of all meditative arts. In that seated stillness you’ll learn how to observe life. Then its most basic and universal patterns will become more obvious and more meaningful. While it feels like you're just sitting there that is meditation. It takes people a long time to get how simple meditation actually is. Even advanced meditators fall into the trap of complicating the whole process, as all people tend to complicate life. Mastery is simplicity. It usually takes even longer to appreciate how valuable just sitting there actually is. Remember if you are curious of meditation just stay curious of life by sitting there and observing as much of it as possible, including yourself as part of life.


If you have high levels of anxiety and stress because life's a bit intense meditation was made for you. There's a saying that comes from an ancient yogic text stating that meditation begins when suffering begins. Life has always been hard. Just think of the animal kingdom or watch a Discovery Channel Nature Documentary. Nature is and will always be life and death, every day, and every second. For a long time we were somewhere in the middle of the food chain. Now we’re at the top but that doesn’t mean we’re out. Life is still hard. The big fears of death, aging, and illness are still inescapable. Social status, money, finding partners, and managing relationships are modern but also fundamental desires and when our expectations aren’t met we suffer! Meditation, technically, is about learning to become seriously sensitive to body sensations so that in time the meditator can better understand and accept suffering as the physical sensations of stress, anxiety, and fear versus the mental constructs of stress, anxiety, and fear. Learn to see the forest from the trees. This is what a meditator calls discrimination. What is real? What is unreal?

I’ve learned to prescribe breathwork, or pranayama in Sanskrit, to these sorts of meditators. It is a very effective way of learning to feel and interact with “negative” nerve sensation. As Carl Jung and many 18th century psychologists believed, Yoga and meditation are ancient forms of psychology that use the body over the mind like in talk-therapy. By exposing ourselves to the stress literally generated just by sitting still we begin to feel our suppressed panic. Through stillness, which is a statement of determined acceptance, we learn to overcome our panic and associate those same sensations with pleasure. It’s similar to reframing in psychology. You are rebuilding associations and learning what is bad is not actually bad.
It’s like developing a palette for a food you previously didn’t like. I didn’t enjoy coffee and wine for along time. Now, it’s a cup of Joe in the morning and a glass of red in the evening because I’ve built new associations to both of those drinks.

The deeper lesson for meditators that come to meditate because they are seeking refuge or a solution to suffering is that the very suffering they are trying to elude must be embraced to the extent that it must be felt. Do not run! Observe and feel! You are not prey. Stand your ground but not aggressively, openly.

The yogis also share to those that suffer that the majority of our strife is due to the mind misinterpreting the circumstance or sensation. We catastrophize the reality of our pain and so often forget that in the past it was those very chapters of suffering that made us who we are. “The wound is where the light enters,” as Rumi, a mystic poet, so eloquently puts it. Meditation from this angle is about learning to mistrust our own thoughts and feelings so that we can see suffering "clearly".

To be continued... REASON 3 ENLIGHTENMENT