11 weeks ago I began this series, “A New Way to Teach Meditation”. Please see at least one or two of the earlier posts for more background. (The archive of earlier posts can be found on the lower right hand corner of the home page).
For a brief recap:
This approach to meditation works just as well for people who believe in God, those who do not, as well as those who are not sure what to believe.
It is not that I am saying, “It makes no difference what you believe as long as it works for you.” There are some belief systems such as Scientology, Opus Dei, or Jehovah’s Witnesses, or the Taliban, or Scientific Determinism that are unhealthy and misguided. It would be more or less a waste of time to think you would gain any benefit from meditation if you are a “true believer” of such teachings. The only exception would be if the meditation was simple and clear enough that the meditation helped you realize you need to walk away from these misguided paths.
I have also said that this new approach to meditation works just as well for those who follow a traditional religion as it does for those who despise organized religion and those who are committed atheists. But this remark also requires a serious qualification.
It is one thing to follow a traditional religion if you also hold a genuine respect for other religious cultures and belief systems. It is quite another to be involved in the arch-conservative or fundamentalist strains of any particular religion or belief system.
What I mean by arch-conservative or fundamentalist strain of an organized religion are those people who feel their way is the “only true way.” They feel that anyone who does not agree with them completely are heretics who are doomed to perdition and that they may be violently attacked. Tragically it is such fanatics in Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist cultures that are discrediting the whole notion of organized religion for many people who otherwise might be quite interested.
Here is another example of such misguided fanaticism.
In the Washington Post today (10-17-15) was a story about Hindu fanatics pouring black paint over the head and face of a former Indian official who hosted an event with a former Foreign Minister of Pakistan. This is a shocking and disgraceful act of intolerance and bigotry on the part of conservative Hindu Nationalists. It is very simple. Any act that supports reasonable dialogue between India and Pakistan needs to be supported not attacked. There have been even worse acts of violence in India where a Hindu mob killed a Muslim for killing a cow and eating its meat. The rise of violent intolerance and fanaticism among Arch conservative Hindu’s in the land of Gandhi is particularly disturbing. However, it is worth remembering that Gandhi was killed by an arch-conservative Hindu just as Yitzhak Rabin was killed by a Jewish extremist.
I am not trying to criticize organized religion, or to promote it. Neither do I have any interest in trying to convince atheists not to be atheists or to increase the numbers of atheists in the world.
What I am criticizing is the violent intolerance of arch-conservatives and fundamentalists of any religion or ethical belief system who specifically target moderates who seeking to create dialogue as a means to reconciliation.
What is needed is more dialogue and compassionate respect among those religions or atheist traditions that honor basic human values and integrity.
What I feel is important is to help people think more clearly and more independently about what they truly do believe and what are their core values. The approach to meditation I have developed will people across a very diverse spectrum of beliefs to do that. But I want to be clear. There are some forms of spirituality or atheist beliefs that are neither credible nor healthy paths to get involved with.
A sustained study of this interfaith approach to meditation will help a greater number of citizens learn to think and act more clearly, creatively, and independently. This general trend will strengthen the center of any society. As greater numbers of people learn to think more clearly, creatively, and independently new breeds of leaders, teachers, healers, thinkers, and scientists, and citizens will emerge in those societies.
As the center of societies are strengthened the responsible cluster of citizens at the center will be better able to resist the violent religious fanatics or extremists in that society who threaten to rip the society apart as is now happening in Syria, and Afghanistan.
As the center of societies are strengthened those societies will also be better able to resist the tendency towards more authoritarian and violent forms of political oppression such as has developed in countries like America and Russia over the past two decades.
Instead of psychopaths like Vladimir Putin, Dick Cheney, George W Bush, Fidel Castro, and Donald Trump, there will be more people like Pope Francis, the Dalai Lama, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, Mohandas Gandhi, and Dr. Zaruful Islam Khan, (President of the All India Muslim Majlise Mushawarat).
Will Raymond Host of Meditationpractice.com Author of the Simple Path of Holiness
774-232-0884 will at meditationpractice dot com ( Spelled out to limit spam)