Meditation that Goes Beyond Self Help

These days meditation is popping up everywhere. In fact, the “business of mindfulness” is quickly becoming a foundation of the multi-trillion dollar wellness industry. In the United States alone, the “meditation industry” is worth over one billion dollars!

With so much money behind modern mindfulness, it’s worth paying attention to how meditation is marketed and the way that can actually limit — or even derail — one’s spiritual practice. For in spite of the wholesome intentions of teachers, investors or practitioners, the economic machine fueling the wellness industry (and by extension, portions of the popular meditation world) is driven by one thing only: profit.

The next time you see, hear or read something advertising meditation, pay attention to how it’s marketed. Nine times out of ten, you can boil it down to a simple message: “This will make you feel better.” It gets packaged differently: better sleep, more focus, less stress, and so on.

Why not? Who isn’t interested in those things? And yes, of course—meditation CAN help with all of those.

The problem is that the self-improvement project never ends. When meditation becomes coopted by the impulse to become anything, we rob ourselves of contentment. Aiming for an imagined future, we overshoot and miss the true happiness and well-being that is available in the here and now.

So the next time you sit down to meditate, whatever your goals and aspirations are, consider if you are okay enough just right now. There’s room for improvement in all of us, and that can certainly come to pass. But in the meantime, don’t forget to step back and notice that you’re alive, awake and breathing right here and now. And this is a miracle, an unearned gift, worth celebrating.

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