Can meditation speed me on my way to an excellent life?
Two friends and I spent several weeks reading and discussing Mastery of the Mind East and West a few years ago. In it Dan Brown contrasts peak performance with a continuous way of being in the world.
He identifies seven factors of enlightenment from the Buddhist literature: mindfulness, intelligence, balanced energy, light-heartedness, sustained concentration, calmness of mind, and equanimity (non-reactivity). These were considered prerequisite to making progress in meditation.
When one of these factors is absent, he says the Buddhists visualize a deity or Buddha embodying the virtues the practitioner wants to possess. The examples he gives here weren’t very clear to me, so I looked for others on the web, and found some on this website.
Now regardless of your religious predilections, it’s hard to argue with the intended outcome: radiating wisdom and compassion in all directions, transforming all sentient beings into enlightened ones, all environments into pure lands.
In other words envision your ideal self, blessing those around you, even nature itself.
Perhaps you’re uncomfortable with the particulars of the visualizations given. Alter them enough to fit your own faith.
Sometimes I think we are all pursued by the same god, but we don’t see god the same way, or hear god the same way, or feel god the same way.
We don’t see paintings the same way, or hear a poem the same way, or feel music the same way, even when we speak the same language or live in the same culture.
We get so caught up in right and wrong that we don’t listen to one another, or learn from one another.
I suspect the Buddhists have something powerful to teach me here. I haven’t put this practice to the test, but I’m going to.