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Wise Words
Our authors and book editors offer these choice written selections for your contemplative reading and inspiration.

Adyashanti: True Meditation


An Attitude of Innocence

Our ideas about meditation are usually colored by our past conditioning—what we’ve learned about it, what we think meditation is, where we think it should lead. Meditation can serve a whole array of agendas. Some people meditate for better physical or emotional health or to still their bodies or minds. Some people meditate to open up certain subtle energy channels within their bodies, often called chakras. Some people meditate to develop love, to develop compassion. Some people meditate in order to achieve altered states of consciousness. Other people meditate to try and gain certain spiritual or psychic powers—what they call siddhis. And then there’s meditation as an aid to spiritual awakening and enlightenment. It’s this kind of meditation—meditation that is an aid to spiritual awakening and enlightenment—that really interests me. It’s what True Meditation is all about.

It doesn’t matter whether one is brand new to meditation or has been meditating for a long time. What I have found is that history doesn’t really make any difference. What matters is the attitude with which we engage the process of meditation. The most important thing is that we come to meditation with an open attitude, an attitude that is truly innocent, by which I mean an attitude that’s not colored by the past, by what we’ve heard about meditation through culture, through the media, or through our various spiritual and religious traditions. We need to approach the notion of meditation in a way that is fresh and innocent.

As a spiritual teacher, I’ve met a lot of people who have meditated for many, many years. One of the most common things I hear from many of these people is that, despite having meditated for all this time, they feel essentially untransformed. The deep inner transformation—the spiritual revelation—that meditation offers is something that eludes a lot of people, even those who are longtime practitioners. There are actually good and specific reasons why some meditation practices, including the kind of meditation that I was once engaged in, do not lead to this promised state of transformation. The main reason is actually extraordinarily simple and therefore easy to miss: we approach meditation with the wrong attitude. We carry out our meditation with an attitude of control and manipulation, and that is the very reason our meditation leads us to what feels like a dead end. The awakened state of being, the enlightened state of being, can also be called the natural state of being. How can control and manipulation possibly lead us to our natural state?

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