Tuesday, August 17, 2004

From the Mail: On Meditation

Kevin Kim writes:

Thanks for the email and the very, very interesting post.

However, I was hoping you would discuss your own personal reasons for meditating (I may have been too vague to ask simply, "Why meditate?"), but I appreciated your survey of various styles.

BV: My next post on meditation, which will contain suggestions on how to meditate, should be a bit more personal. After that, we'll see how far you can draw me out. As you can see from my masthead, meditation is one of the announced topics of this blog, and I plan to write a series of posts on its theory and practice. I appreciate your interest and for posing the question.

If I have time, I'm going to address one issue you brought up: "Someone who claims to be serious about understanding the mind, but refuses to meditate I would dismiss as unserious." I agree and want to expand on this point, because it raises serious questions for the generalist. No serious practitioner does "meditation in general," just as serious adherents of religious traditions don't practice "religion in general" (nor do we speak "language in general"). Your post seems to agree by implication, because you surveyed *specific types* of meditation, each with discernible and distinct goals (though it'd be wrong to imply that everyone follows *only* established, traditional techniques, as if different forms of praxis were immiscible). I think your approach to the question was the proper one.

I'll understand if you choose not to reveal anything about your own personal practice, but that was, to be honest, what I was asking for when I asked "Why meditate?" If you'd like to offer your own insights, I and your readership would appreciate it. If you'd rather just answer with a private email, I'd appreciate that, too.