Wow. I love Brain Pickings & this hit me hard --
Among the early converts (to meditation) in the 1950s was Jack Kerouac (March 12, 1922–October 21, 1969), who became so besotted with the ancient practice that he extolled its rewards in a poem
HOW TO MEDITATE
— lights out —
fall, hands a-clasped, into instantaneous
ecstasy like a shot of heroin or morphine,
the gland inside of my brain discharging
the good glad fluid (Holy Fluid) as
I hap-down and hold all my body parts
down to a deadstop trance — Healing
all my sicknesses — erasing all — not
even the shred of a “I-hope-you” or a
Loony Balloon left in it, but the mind
blank, serene, thoughtless. When a thought
comes a-springing from afar with its held-
forth figure of image, you spoof it out,
you spuff it out, you fake it, and
it fades, and thought never comes — and
with joy you realize for the first time
“Thinking’s just like not thinking —
So I don’t have to think
I've been teaching meditation for years & when I started, I was afraid meditation was weird or seemed weird. I wasn't sure of it. Is it bs or does it work? I was skeptical, but interested enough to give it a shot and it worked. It worked really well. So I kept meditating and, this part's still a bit odd to me, I became a teacher. Now I teach 2 types of meditation: Vedic and Mindfulness.
What's weird, is not meditation, but that MOST PEOPLE DON'T MEDITATE. That's weird. Because it's been known to be effective for THOUSANDS OF YEARS. Not-Meditation is way weirder than meditation. It's just a cultural thing that we aren't taught how to do it. But it looks like that's changing.
Meditation is becoming more known in the west, more popular and mainstream -- why? Because this is a STRESSED-ASS WORLD! It's simply SO necessary to take a break from thinking now and then. Not medding is like if you were always on your feet and never sat down, if your computer was always on and never powered down, or if you never turned the lights off in your home.
from Brain Pickings:
Centuries after Montaigne contemplated the double meaning of meditation and decades before Western science confirmed what Eastern philosophy has known for millennia — that meditation is our greatest gateway to self-transcendence and that by transforming our minds it is actually transforming our bodies — Alan Watts began popularizing Eastern spiritual teachings in the West and meditation wove itself into the fabric of popular culture.
I'm so glad it's re-weaving itself into popular American culture.
By the way, it's not religious or anti-religious, any more than is a massage. It's like massage in another way, too--you don't have to believe in it for it work.