Don’t Hate, Meditate

One of the very few bumper stickers I’ve ever put on one of my cars was a very stark white one with blue lettering. It said, “Don’t Hate, Meditate”. It reflected perfectly my approach towards life back in the 1970s. After the bumper sticker aged and faded, I managed to find a “Don’t Hate, Meditate” lapel pin and stuck it onto my favorite jeans jacket.

I dug out that old pin yesterday and decided to wear it again. In order to wear it all through May–National Meditation Month.

I’m glad whomever, in their infinite wisdom, decided to set aside an entire month for this practice. Popular advice indicates that if you do something for a month, it will become ingrained as a habit. The idea of Meditation Month is to encourage meditation as a habit.

One of the cultural beauties of formal meditation is that it is non-sectarian. It is a practice or ritual found in some form in all of the world’s major religions. If you find religion to be off-putting, there are formal meditation techniques for non-religious people to practice. Regardless of whether you’re religious or non-religious and don’t like the idea of formal meditation, don’t worry. You probably do some form of informal meditation every day without fully realizing that you do.

“If you truly get in touch with a piece of carrot, you get in touch with the soil, the rain, the sunshine. You get in touch with Mother Earth and eating in such a way, you feel in touch with true life, your roots, and that is meditation. If we chew every morsel of our food in that way we become grateful and when you are grateful, you are happy.”–Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh

The popular word “mindfulness”, is just a synonym for the word “meditation”. Mindfulness is simply informal meditation. You don’t need to follow any particular belief system, dogma, nor cult to be mindful. All one has to do is pay attention to what is going on and to what one is doing. No hocus-pocus. No woo woo. Nobody knocking on your door imploring you to believe something.

Life is the flow of moments that come and go, fleeting, unpredictable, and without conforming to our desires. Through reflection, introspection, and some form of meditation we become more aware of the flow of life. This awareness is the catalyst that enables effectiveness, calms anxiety, gives focus and a fair amount of joy to anyone who pays attention.

Meditation, formal and informal, calms and pacifies the mind. When our minds are peaceful, we are better able to cope with mental worries and physical discomfort. If our minds are not peaceful, it is difficult to find satisfaction and happiness. Unpeaceful minds are filled with aversions, intolerance, and hate. One of the beauties of the saying, “Don’t Hate, Meditate” is that it works both ways. If a person meditates, she or he is less likely to hate; if the person does not hate, she or he is likely to be open to meditation.

Whether you prefer sitting for half-an-hour in a yoga or monk pose, or simply sitting for a few minutes, conventionally on a chair, meditation is beneficial. Meditation is basically to be aware of every feeling and every thought, acknowledge them and let them go. It is being alert to watching and moving with the moments at hand. It is in unattached observation that the meditator begins to understand her or his processes of thought and emotion. Out of this understanding, empathy and silence arises.

Many beginners of formal meditation have the preconceived notion that meditation blanks the mind and all thinking disappears. The first thing they notice is that the mind is flooded with random thinking, memories, desires, plans, schemes, and thinking. The meditation teacher guides the novice into paying attention to all of that mental “furniture” and letting them pass into the stream of thought. This is normal. To do pay attention then let go right away takes a lot of practice. That is why formal meditation is undertaken as an habitual ritual.

In as much as meditators pay attention to the chatter in their heads or monkey-mind, there are other times when the mental noise lessens. There are some precious moments when concentration settles in and a lush tranquility arrives. It is best not to chase after this concentration and tranquility. It is the process of simply observing whatever is in the mind. If one happens to experience the tranquility, that’s fine. If one doesn’t experience it in a session, that’s fine, too.

Meditation is simply the conscious act of being fully alive.

The Blue Jay of Happiness ponders a thought from the late physician and spiritual teacher Swami Sivananda. “Meditation is painful in the beginning but it bestows immortal Bliss and supreme Joy in the end.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, cultural highlights, Health, philosophy, religion and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Don’t Hate, Meditate

  1. 🙏🏼

    Enjoy the day.


  2. tingsha says:

    I enjoyed this post-and might need to find myself a bumper sticker😂 thank you!

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