There is a popular misconception about meditation, that it makes you all soft and spongy and full of the wish for
peace, a wish so strong that you will roll over and take whatever comes your way for the sake of a quiet life.
That it will make you see everything in relativistic terms and not see injustice for what it is, let alone motivate you to act swiftly and effectively when the time comes to do so.
While a daily meditation practice does make peace more important, and does enable you to zoom further out to see the bigger picture in the quest for better outcomes all round, it also has a cognitively galvanizing effect. As the mind clears, data coming in from the world around becomes easier to decipher and delineate. In short, the longer you meditate, the sharper you become. This is one aspect of what Buddhists call ‘skillful action’.
When I started meditating I didn’t know about that aspect of the effects, I just hoped it would help me feel better. As I have described before, I started meditating – through chanting mantra – because I was in a hole and knew that only I could get myself out of it. Nothing around me was working, but nothing around me was in my power to change. Only I could change, so I took action.
As my practice has continued, that skillful action aspect of my mind on meditation has come to the fore again and again. I am less likely to get caught up in things that are not necessarily a good idea. I am less easy to dupe. I am quicker to spot a wrong ‘un and more effective at making a gentle swerve to avoid trouble when I see it. Where possible I will respond to what comes my way so that not only do I not get sucked into someone else’s agenda, but also that anyone trying to take advantage of me is more likely to give some thought to trying it again.
So don’t worry about meditation or chanting to gods and goddesses turning you into an appeasing surrender-amoeba. It won’t. Those deities don’t only come with lotus flowers in their hands and smiles on their faces; they come with fangs and swords too.
Daily meditation, and meditation through chanting, untangles the mind and gives it the room to work out what’s best for its servant and mistress or master – you.
Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha