“To study the Way is to study the self, to study the self is to forget the self, to forget the self is to be enlightened by all things.”
— Dogen, Zen Teacher, 13th Century.
I have known people who lived or are living a life of loving-kindness, compassion, justice, joy and peace—what I consider the molecular structure of happiness– and have not ever practiced meditation.
Some folks I know and admire have found that meditating put them in touch with too much fear and pain. My wife Lee experienced exactly that, when she began to practice meditation forty years ago, during our sojourn on a Greek island. She did however, much later, find her way into a mantra meditation she finds rewarding. I respect anyone’s decision to forego meditation, temporarily or permanently.
Meditation is clearly not the only way to achieve inner happiness. As a matter of fact, some meditation teachers have said that most mothers do not have to practice meditation, because being a mother IS a meditation. Many mothers, when I tell them that, immediately nod their head in approval.
Meditation may be inappropriate for some people, but for those of us who stick with it in a yogic way (when a few minutes or more of meditation feel good, but then become in any way painful, you stop) meditation can become a joyful liberation from the stressful and seemingly chaotic mind-body-world river of mental images, memories, mental constructions, emotions, physical sensations and societal/earthly happenings. Meditation can become a clear way to inner peace.