This question was asked in one of the spirituality group forums in which I participate. It was asked by a meditation teacher. His comments follow his question. My answer follows below his comments. What comments do you have to his question or my answer?
Why do people (the masses) not meditate? As leaders/trainers/facilitators how can we get them do it?
Meditation has been on earth for ages and has been a tested and proven tool to improve the physical and mental wellbeing. Even then only a small percentage of population engages itself in sincere practice. Thousands attend courses but they do not practice or propagate their learning. I observed that people who have health problems take up meditation and yoga as an alternative medicine. Majority of schools, colleges, and organisations do not even speak of meditation in the campus. I am talking about the masses and not the very small percentage who do. Is it the ignorance of the masses OR is it natures choice to avoid meditation and engage the mind in sense indulgence. Entire humanity seems to be getting into more trouble with the material development and yet the masses are unwilling to seek refuge in meditation and spirituality. Why is this so? In my meditation classes I ask people to sit absolutely still for 30mins, 95% cannot do that. I ask people to breathe slow, 3-4 breaths per minute. That too is impossibility for the majority. What incentive should I attach to get people to do this? Some times I get a feeling that nature has designed the human mind for self destruction. Not individuals but the collective seem to obey nature.
The reason more people do not meditate is that ego does not wish to participate in its own destruction. Therefore it is only the path of the diligent spiritual seeker who is willing to let go of self and surrender to what is who meditates.
I have met people who have wanted to meditate and find their deeper true self, only to breach the beginning of that awakening, and retreat in a panicked fear of the energy they felt during the beginning of that experience (and more accurately… the truth of what lies beyond the experience – ego death – or at least a dramatic ego shift).
And of course we know that we cannot make anyone do anything. We cannot “convert” anyone who does not wish to be converted. We cannot change the patterns of anyone who does not see flaw in the patterns they follow. We can only control how we see things, and how we react to the world, thereby leading by example.
It was Gandhi that said, “be the change you wish to see in the world”. We need to act on that reminder and be at peace with the slow progress at which unconscious ones make toward awakening. In turn, we release our own attachments to our expectations or preferences for their path, and become the more effective spiritual teachers we truly wish to be.
To answer your last question, I would not attach a carrot or an reward to the practice of meditation, as that the practice itself is reward enough. Putting another attachment in front of your students will only give their minds something else for which to strive, for which to achieve, thereby connecting them to mindful attachment even more, and taking them further into mind and away from their true and quieted spiritual existence.
So… what do YOU think?
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