including soulmates, creating prosperity, the "law of attraction," etc.

What do you feel the ultimate purpose of meditation is?

Does meditation have to have a purpose?  Does everything have to have a purpose, in order to justify itself?  Different people contruct different "purposes" for meditating, depending upon their personality, their desires, and their stage in their life path. Personally, I believe some useful ways of conceptualizing meditation are: being with what is, making friends with ourselves, realizing the radiant nature of the heart and mind, and seeing our interconnection with all of life.  Those are some ways that I might think about it.

What about attaining comfort and prosperity? Some people want to use the "law of attraction" to draw wealth into their life.  Is it really that simple?  What do you think about that?

Everyone is free to believe what they want, and to try to manifest whatever they choose.
But, before doing so, why not investigate what it is that is ultimately the most important thing for your life?

External and material conditions are important. There is no doubt about that. My wish is that everyone on the planet could have a loving family, a comfortable dwelling, adequate nutrition, access to education and health care, meaninful work, and leisure time.  Would that it were so.

But external conditions alone do not determine happiness.  We all know there are comfortably middle-class people, and some wealthy people, who are quite unhappy.  And there are some rather poor people who are nevertheless reasonably happy, or even "unreasonably" happy.

Joy can appear at any moment, independent of the material situation we find ourselves in!

So, it seems clear that our internal disposition and attitude are a decisive factor, regardless of external conditions.

If I decide to materialize, or manifest wealth, first I must inquire, what does wealth mean?
We think we know what wealth is, namely having a lot of money.  But is this wealth?
Vibrant health is a form of wealth.  Truly loving relationships are a form of wealth.  A person with a lot of money is not necessarily going to be more wealthy in health and loving relationships, than a person with a modest, but adequate amount of money.

What do we want wealth for?  What does it signifiy?  If we are wealthy, then what?  What do we get out of it?  This requires some thought.

How much money is required for wealth?  Is it really the amount of money that defines wealth, or the amount of money relative to others?  In a competitive economy only a small percentage of the population can be at the highest level of earnings.  After all, a company cannot have all CEOs.  There have to be workers for the company to function.  So, if wealth is defined as being in the upper echelon, then not everyone can be wealthy.  Is it true then that anyone can manifest wealth if they really want to?  Don't economic recessions, market collapse, war, pandemic, and natural disaster sometimes play a role in limiting the ability to obtain wealth.

If someone is meditating on "manifesting" wealth, they might find that their income goes up significantly, or they may discover that the wealth they manifest is something much bigger than their previous idea of "wealth." 

If all we ever did in life was to effortlessly manifest what we thought were our wishes, where would be the room for growth?  For discovery?  For surprises? 

Life is a dance, a dance in which we follow as well as lead.  We improvise the dance with life, as the music changes.  Our dance is ultimately more enjoyable, because we didn't know the exact form it would take.

The "law of attraction" says we attract things to us based on the state of mind and heart that we are projecting.  If we are projecting joy and love, we should attract joy and love.

So, then, we should work at manifesting joy?

I don't know if "work at" is the best phrase.  We cannot command ourselves to be joyful.
Nor can we command ourselves to be in love. We can try to brainwash ourselves into thinking we are joyful or in love.  We can try to manipulate ourselves into some constructed feeling of joy or of love.  But that is going to fall short of the deepest satisfaction.

I think this is part of the appeal of wealth: we have the fantasy that with wealth we will be able to finally manipulate the material situation. And that gives us the illusion that will also be able to manipulate and control our internal feelings.  If I feel unhappy I can buy myself the juiciest, most tender steak, in the most elegant restaurant, served with a glass of the finest wine, and thereby I can manipulate my unhappiness.  Or so I think. After all, I must be happy, because here I am, fulfilling myself with the finest products.

However, our deepest feelings cannot be manipulated.  They only can be allowed and invited.  We can create the conditions that encourage our deeper, more sincere feelings to emerge.  And then we have to wait, respectfully, for them.  And this often involves allowing ourselves to feel vulnerable. 

We would like to be able to control our feelings, and turn them on or off like a television program, when it is convenient for us.  But the price of our truest feelings is vulnerability.

Meditation is a training in how to wait, how to listen, how to create the conditions to meet our truest, deepest, most sincere feelings.

How about using meditation in order to pursue joy?

Maybe we don't have to pursue joy.  What if joy is not an external object? What if our true nature already is joy? And our attempts to run around and pursue joy obscure that fact.? Meditation helps us to settle and realize the joy that is "within" us.  We cannot create or control joy.  But everytime we let go and see the moment as it is, this creates the conditions for joy to spontaneously arise.  Joy for no particular reason.  Simply joy!  Spontaneous joy. "Unreasonable" joy.

How about meditation to find our soulmate?

Is there just one soulmate for you?  Can you be sure of that?  Or is that a belief that you have accepted unquestioningly?  Maybe you are your own "soulmate."  As you meditate you may discover that you are love. Maybe you don't have to "obtain" love from someone else.  Then, whatever relationship you are in is a manifestation of the love that you and the other already are -- two people celebrating love.

Every encounter that you have, even passing someone on the sidewalk, can be a manifestation of love.  You may discover that you already swim in a sea of relationship, exchanging eneregy with others all of the time.  Some of these relationships may be "special" and you may spend more time with that person or persons, or have a certain type of commitment to them in the practical world.

But the line between, "I love this one person, but not those others," can become more of a shading than a line.  And your understanding of love can broaden to include allowing every moment to be what it is -- not in the sense of being passive, or not exercising discrimination and wisdom, but in the sense of touching in with every moment, and making living contact with it.

copyright 2008

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