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What type of meditation, that is to say, what style or what technique, is the very best?
It's a question that I get asked a lot. And unfortunately, it's the wrong question. You see, asking which meditation technique is the best is a little bit like asking which type of surgery is the best.
Is an appendectomy the best type of surgery?
Or maybe arthroscopic knee surgery? Is that the best kind of surgery?
And when we ask the question in this way, it becomes pretty obvious that the question isn't about what type of surgery or what type of meditation is best. It's more about what we're trying to accomplish. Because surgery is not about surgery. Surgery is about eradicating disease, bringing us back to health.
And in the same way, though maybe not enough people are talking about it, meditation is not about meditation. It's also about eradicating dis-ease, more in the mental and emotional sphere, and bringing us back to that sense of wholeness, joy, harmony, love that we all ultimately crave, whether we realize it or not.
So, the question then, the first question has less to do with the most appropriate technique and has more to do with what's the obstruction.
What is it for me, and for this brain and for this nervous system, that is standing between me and the inner peace, the harmony and the love, the meaning that I crave?
And the fact of the matter is it could be many, many different things. It could be a case of attention deficit: where my mind is constantly wandering and distracted and overwhelming my nervous system with stimulus so that I feel perpetually stressed and anxious.
Or it could just as easily be a chronic focus on the negative aspects of my experience, the problems, the difficulties, the things that are not going right; all the while I conveniently, or maybe not so conveniently, am blind to all of the blessings and the gifts that are in my life. Something that psychologists call inattentional blindness.
Or maybe it's a traumatic event in my past; something that's left me caught in a loop of thinking or memories or saddled with a set of beliefs that color my world in a way that keeps me stuck in unhappiness and disconnection.
So, we can see these are three very, very different kinds of issues. With attention deficit calling for maybe a different approach from a traumatic stress injury, for example.
So just like with surgery, we want the diagnosis before we sign up for a particular kind of surgery, the same goes with meditation.
Ask first, not what type of meditation I should be doing.
Ask first, what is the internal pattern, the cause of the dis-ease that I am experiencing.
And with the clarity about that, we're then able to evaluate and select and practice the best kind of meditation that will move us optimally towards the state of ease and joy and wholeness that we deserve.