Meditation, Mindfulness, Healing & Spirituality
I’m honored to introduce author and meditation expert, Andrew Shykofsky, as my guest blogger today.
No need for me to begin this article talking about the benefits of meditation. It’s all been covered by a thousand other writers before me. So let’s get right to the heart of the matter; does meditation make you happy?
Unfortunately, the real answer is… it depends.
Believe it or not, some twenty years ago, I took a shot at playing poker on a professional level. And in case you’re wondering, I was in fact meditating at that time! I wasn’t ready to really make God central to my life (as has become my reality now).
Like all the things I get serious about, I studied poker intensely. I read all the recommended strategy books I could find (no YouTube back in 1998). Many students of poker would ask the same question; ‘What do I do in such and such situation?’ Everyone wanted a rule they could follow when the moment came about. They didn’t want to have to figure out the best course of action and take unnecessary chances.
The pros who had demonstrated profitability over the long term always said the same thing to that very question…’It depends.’ In poker, the factors making up a specific situation are always changing. So it depends who is in the hand, what your image is like at the table, who bet before you, who will bet after you, what your odds of improving are, what you think your opponent has…
So you can see those factors will never be quite the same in any two poker hands.
Now back to meditation. Meditation does not automatically steer you to happiness. Meditation as I teach it is a way to train your mind to function at the highest level it can. When your mind is trained, you can quiet it with much greater success.
I also teach meditation as a tool to process negative emotions so you can move through them promptly. This means much less time in states of anxiety, fear, sadness, worry, anger and even depression. All the answers to what is causing those internal states can be found when meditating.
The reason the answer to whether meditation brings happiness is ‘it depends’ is that even learning solid techniques of concentration does not guarantee a practitioner will cultivate the happiness they feel is lacking.
Think of it like this; I give you a hammer, nails, measuring tape, power saw and whatever else you need to build a shed. You have enough wood and have been shown how to build the shed. So will it get built? Well, really it depends. It depends on if you paid attention when you were being taught. It depends on if you are willing to take your time and avoid mistakes. But mostly it depends on one thing… do you WANT to build the shed?
The very same thing applies in meditation. Throughout the 10 years I have been teaching meditation, the great majority of my students taught have been beginners. Everyone begins wanting the benefits of meditation. But not everyone wants them bad enough to keep trying when it gets hard.
Specifically, happiness is almost universally the goal that people say they want. What makes this guy happy or that woman may be different. Each has to define what they believe will make them happy and then set out to manifest those very things, whether they be internal things or external things.
For me, happiness comes more easily when my internal life is flowing smoothly but when outer challenges come, like getting a parking ticket that seems unfair, or being rejected by someone I like or having a negative interaction with someone in the world, I feel those emotions.
I use meditation to process the feelings and let them go but when in states of frustration, happiness eludes me. I have to work to get back there. And luckily, I know how. I was taught and I paid attention and I kept trying until I got to be decent at it.
I don’t think happiness would’ve just come through meditation if I did not make that one of the focuses. If you are someone who is considering meditation because you want to be happier, the good news is that it can work. Besides meditation (or during meditation), contemplate what you feel will lead to happiness for you and then strive to actualize those things.
A simple list might look like this;
- A real relationship with God that feels personal
- A spouse whom I love and whom loves me
- We live harmoniously together in a city we both like
- Her and I both meditate and value spirituality
- I have a killer job that really inspires me
- My student loans are paid off and I am saving $XXXX per year
- I have little to no anxiety and if I feel anxious, I know how to move through it quickly
- My relationship with my younger brother is repaired
Bonus: We have a President that inspires me!
You can meditate an hour a day and then do nothing to draw the above reality to you. Or you can meditate and get active, using all the energy that meditation can muster and make the above list your reality. Will you do it? Well, it depends on how bad you want it!
Andrew Shykofsky began meditating in 1982. He is a Priest and Teacher of Christian Mysticism which includes teaching meditation. He began the Mystical Church of Christ in 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Currently the Mystical Church offers classes and Services in Chicago and Charleston, SC. Andrew lives in Charleston. Contact Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org For online courses and more, please visit his website at Meditate.
Your Blog Host – Joseph Drumheller
I’m a leader in Meditation, Healing, Education and a three-time, award-winning author. My mission is to assist people of all ages, in becoming the greatest version of who they are meant to be.
Pick up a FREE 3-minute meditation audio, or check out my online meditation course, private sessions, or info on my website.
If you have any questions on spiritual growth, meditation or energy healing, please contact me. I’ve been working in these worlds since 1991. I’m here to help you out. That’s what I was born to do.