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    Meditation does something to the mind/body. What those effects are? We’re not certain. But, people have been doing it for centuries, if not longer. The act of letting the mind settle itself out may be an integral part to clear living.

    If you think about it, our lives are much more complicated than they have to be. We could be basic and just hunt for food, screw people, and then go to bed fat and happy. But, we don’t. Over time, we’ve settled in villages by water, we started asserting dominance over each other, we invented gods to show that things are not totally under our control, we subverted women and made them servants, we found science, and we expanded across the whole of the Earth. Finally, we invented technology, the synthesis of knowledge.

    All of this because, why?

    Why did we do this? Why did we keep expanding?

    Power? Hunger? Desire? Greed?

    Maybe. But, I think it is a product of something simpler: growth. Life is designed to grow. Humans have reached a level where survival (in the first world anyway) is not the first thing on our minds. It has been dulled. Other pursuits have replaced it… We now equivocate getting an A in school with our survival instinct. Or, getting ahead at work.

    Being able to put food on the table has never been more important. It’s our new survival instinct.

    With all of these complex changes in the world… the mind is working hard to put it all together. We try and process so much “needless” information. We read books, we have relationships, we browse the internet…

    No wonder meditation is helpful.

    It stops the inflow of conscious information (at least, complex information) and allows the complex thoughts in queue in the brain to shuffle towards the synapse strengthening booth. Memories have time to settle. Yes, dreams do that as well. But, doing it in the day is beneficial.

    That’s my hypothesis. People have just realized over time that we have over-complicated what our species is “supposed” to experience. And, it’s not a bad thing. But, constantly pushing our minds to work harder and harder without any settling is like driving a car at 80 mph for 80 years straight. Even with pulling over for gas… the car is going to be falling apart long before it reaches that goal.

    Meditation is self-repair, self-recovery, and self-evaluation. It is taking stock of where we are in the present moment, and diagnosing problems if there are any.

    If you find yourself dwelling on the birthday party you missed last week… maybe it’s time to resolve the issue. If it’s invading your meditation time… fix it! You know, get up from where you’re sitting and call the person and apologize. Offer to make it up to them. That’s a dumb example, but it gets the point across that we are either burying the problem behind distraction or we are not even realizing it’s a problem.

    Sorry for the ramble, but in my experience the benefits of “sitting still and letting thoughts settle as they will” (which we call meditation, or at least one form of it) are endless and can be helpful every single day.


    On Good and Evil

    (originally a response at TOTJO)

    I noticed there is a quotation by Marcus Aurelius in Edan’s signature. (he’s one of my favorites for quotations… because he wasn’t necessarily trying to say something profound, it just spilled out of his mouth that way)

    And, I thought to myself, what does Marcus say about good and evil?

    “Life is neither good or evil, but only a place for good or evil”
    “Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”
    “If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.”
    “Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”

    They are certainly interesting ideas. They invite a lot of profound thought… until the last one. At the end of the day, looking over his writings, I find that good and evil are products of the mind (as all things are). And, the mind is interested in the self.

    By extension, the mind can be generous, and compassionate. But, still, only in the mental faculty, meaning it is limited to our physical laws of nature, thereby inviting the cause of our goodness to be self-preservation. For example: a mother’s natural instinct is to raise her children. We might think this is compassion, but it seems to me to be compassion only in spirit… whereas the mind is self-serving, wanting preservation and young ones to either take care of her, use her for energy, or keep the species going.

    It requires our spirit to be truly good. It means we have to accept something beyond our understanding. In other words, we couldn’t dictate exactly what it means to be a good person, but we “know” as people in every situation that we feel how to be good. We may be able to rationalize it away with our minds… we might be able to come up with hundreds of good reasons not to be good. They will all be self-serving.

    To act without being hindered by the self-serving attitude, it takes practice learning to “feel” the good.

    And, if it happens to be self-serving as well (which, oftentimes it is), then we win! If not, we can learn to not be attached to the personal and mental loss.

    Just my thoughts.

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